I was unaware that this was now a movement, but evidently not washing one’s hair with shampoo and conditioner is the new thing.
And this movement has the most horrid name I could ever imagine:
No SHAMpoo, I get it.
Much to my surprise, there’s even an entry on Wikipedia about it.
But I knew none of this when I first read this blog posted on my friend’s Facebook page.*
*I’ll have you know, the above sentence took me three days to write. I couldn’t find the original blog in to hyperlink it, and this drove me crazy. A normal person would have moved on with her life, or chosen a different article from the 5,430,683 that popped up from searching, “I haven’t washed my hair in six weeks” [which, you may notice, is not even close to the correct title.] But no. I scoured my friend’s Facebook wall three times to no avail (sorry HJ). I tried several variations of the Google search (“Six weeks without washing hair,” “this is my hair six weeks after not washing it,” “six weeks no shampoo”—which is funny because there is no indication of how long she went without washing her hair. There are only two pictures, one featuring her hair at three weeks and one at eight weeks.) Finally, I had to creep on my own computer and search through my web history to find it.**
**yes, it was that important.
The essence of the “I’ll Never Wash My Hair Again (Seriously)” blog is that the author, a remarkably photogenic girl with great hair, changed her hair-washing regimen to include baking soda for shampoo and diluted apple cider vinegar for conditioner, and then used coconut oil as the occasional conditioning treatment.
“All right,” I thought. “Sounds healthy and reasonably priced.”
I’ve recently had my hair colored darker—something I was shocked to discover my male friends noticing—but I hadn’t bought color preserving shampoo and conditioner and was afraid I’d rinse my color out.
The blogger said baking soda was safe for color-treated hair, so as I stood in the shampoo/conditioner aisle at Stop and Shop feeling overwhelmed and frightened, I remembered this no-shampoo idea and thought: $2.50 for baking soda and apple cider vinegar, or $10 for Pantene?
Ding ding ding! Household cleaning products win!
I was actually excited to try this experiment.
It wasn’t until I was thirty seconds into scrubbing baking soda paste (half of which fell down the drain) into my scalp that I had one of those worst-case scenario moments. What if this person is evil and lying, and baking soda actually makes people’s hair fall out? What if all of my hair falls out!?
Kids at home, this is why you should always do an internet cross-reference before putting unusual things onto your head.
I then did the apple-cider vinegar treatment, letting my ends soak in the cup before pouring the rest on my hair.
I learned two very important lessons from this:
- Apple cider vinegar burns the eye more than any other shampoo/conditioner on the market, in an alcohol-to-an-open-wound burning sensation.***
- Do not pre-dilute the ACV with cold tap water. Otherwise the icy chill pouring down your back will instinctively cause you to gasp and inhale vinegar.***
Lucky for me, I like vinegar. But not icy cold water. Thenceforth, I used warm shower water to dilute the apple cider vinegar.
***I’m not sure why pouring a solution on the back of my head amounted to getting it on the front of my face, but it happened.
An odd thing happened. My hair felt clean (well, scrubbed) after the baking soda, but when I rinsed off the apple cider vinegar, it felt oily.
Not an ideal result of washing one’s hair.
That happened every time, and a week and a half after I began the experiment I gave up because my hair was not “less greasy” than before, as proclaimed by the hippie blog goddess. I considered the possibility that baking soda and apple cider vinegar should not be mixed.
So I did the only logical thing and Googled it.
Turns out, even though they’ll erupt into a volcano if you mix them together (6th grade science, anyone?), by using them in succession, one creates a little bit of salt and, the larger byproduct, water.
Water, the universal cleaning agent.
I now know, after caving and buying Pantene products, that I should NOT have poured the apple cider vinegar solution onto the top of my head. Not only would this have saved me from burning my eyes, but I also think it would’ve left my hair cleaner [which makes sense: I don’t condition the top of my head on a regular basis, so why would I dump a “conditioning treatment” all over my roots?] I thought apple cider vinegar, since it was “natural,” would be fine to condition my whole head, considering it didn’t make my hair fall out.
Another lesson learned.
Although I’m back to normal shampoo, I may try this experiment again having done slightly more research. It should be noted, however, that this “no hair washing^” thing hasn’t worked for everyone and instead made their hair more oily (instead of letting the hair revert to a reduced level of production), so perhaps it depends on hair type.
^I refuse to call it by its other name.
Here’s one more warning: don’t sweat.
I was in the middle of spin class, and as I started, like, sweating, my entire being began to reek of apple cider vinegar. Excessive drinkers and college students will know this sensation—it was as if I had alcohol oozing from my pores.
That’s really something, considering I hadn’t ingested it. It must have lain dormant on the strands of my hair until I was overheated.
I’m not easily grossed out by hair, but this was an exception.
So keep that in mind, young romantics, on the upcoming holiday if you are planning to undertake this regimen. You might want to avoid doing anything that’ll make you sweaty.
P.S. Speaking tangentially of Valentine’s Day, a friend shared this with me and I’d like to share it with you. By clicking HERE, you can bring happiness to those who are not yet embittered by sending a Valentine’s Day card to a child at the Arkansas Children’s Hospital. It’s free and takes less than two minutes. Spread some love. 🙂