Stop Washing Your Hair: An Experiment in Simple Grooming


This might sound like a dare. A dare in the vein of Jackass or a bizarre reality TV show based on personal hygiene stunts.

It’s not.

I just wanted to try something new, something that could simplify my life and save a bit of cash, and see the results. I have a sensitive scalp and get dandruff when the seasons change and if I move and the water is harder or softer than the previous city. So I…

On the no ‘poo system

Stopped Using Shampoo on My Hair

If you follow this blog on Facebook you may have seen me post a picture of my hair back in January. I was testing out the no ‘poo method: a light baking soda and water rinse to the roots and apple cider vinegar and water rinse to the ends of the hair (you can get more info on this method here). I tried it for two weeks and then gave it up.

There were two things I didn’t like about the no ‘poo method. The first was fairly legitimate, I didn’t like how my hair felt. It felt quite dry. Now, I have read a lot of comments from others that use this method and have colored hair as well and there was a mixed bag of “fantastic!” and “couldn’t make it work for me.”

The second reason I didn’t like the method was that I didn’t like pouring cold water on my hair and scalp in a hot shower. I know, what a baby. But the shower is a little haven of personal time for me. I didn’t enjoy getting the shock of a cold water mix on my scalp in the middle of it.

Some of you asked on Facebook if my hair smelled from the no ‘poo method. I didn’t notice any odors, either from the apple cider vinegar or from lack of  shampoo. I even got my husband to give it a whiff and he said there was no smell to it.

So after a couple of weeks of the no ‘poo method I went Full Monty.

I Stopped Washing My Hair

Don’t freak out. I still rinsed with water but I gave up on shampoo and the no ‘poo mixtures.

As expected, there was an adjustment period. Even after a good rinse my hair felt heavy at the roots and oily. I kept at it though and the heavy feeling at the roots went away after two weeks.

I got in the habit of brushing my hair before bed and first thing in the morning. This pulled the oils from my scalp further down the hair shaft and I had less of the ‘greasy roots and dry ends’ look and feeling that I had with the no ‘poo method.

Interesting to me is that normally I avoid brushing my hair once it’s air dried or been styled (blow dry + flat iron). More brushing usually means huge fuzzy hair. When I stopped washing my hair, brushing actually kept it styled longer and looking shinier.

My scalp initially felt worse with no hair washing and I was getting dandruff. At the two week mark it started to improve. A week after that and my dandruff was almost gone. This defies the info I found here in a Huffington Post article about not washing your hair.

The plan was to keep going with this method for a few more weeks. I wasn’t convinced it was for me, my hair felt a little too stiff without shampoo, but I wanted to give it a little longer. I hit a roadblock when I got my hair colored last week. The stylist said he had to use shampoo to get all the colour out.

A Shampoo After Six Weeks of Uber Minimalist Hair Care

You’re probably thinking that getting my hair washed after a month and a half without conventional hair products would be orgasmic. Like a first meal after being stranded on an island.

It wasn’t.

Even the person that shampooed my hair said it didn’t feel dirty or overly greasy.

Sure, it was shinier and felt a bit lighter but it wasn’t a dramatic change.


5 days after getting a cut and colour – haven’t washed it yet

After this experiment I’ve decided that while the no ‘poo method isn’t for me, I do like the results from washing my hair less. For now I’m going to play it by ear. I’ll do some stretches of just rinsing my hair and then when I feel it needs a pick me up, I’ll use shampoo.

UPDATE: It’s been over two years and I still shampoo less frequently. At most I shampoo every five days and at a minimum I shampoo every two weeks. I’ve noticed that with pregnancy and in my postpartum stage my hair gets greasier faster and my scalp is more prone to dandruff even with less shampooing. Damn you hormones! But I still shampoo less and it really works from me. And from all the comments below it works for many of you.

In between washing I use this dry shampoo from Lush on my scalp if things are feeling greasy or not fresh. It’s made of corn starch and is toxin free. My sister also introduced me to the Kevin Murphy Fresh Hair spray which I love but it’s an aerosol so I don’t use it as often. And while I splurge on salon shampoos and conditioners a bottle of each lasts me over a year so it’s hardly a hit to the budget.

Anyone else tried the ‘no poo method?

More posts about hair and grooming:

The Great Declutter: Under The Sink

After the epic clothing declutter I have lost a bit of my mojo. Still excited by this project but feeling a bit overwhelmed with it. The cold I have been battling for the last week and half has also not helped.

Decided to get back on it and start with, what I thought were, two small projects. The under the sink area of the main and master bathrooms.

This is not a new area to declutter. In fact, I’ve enjoyed sorting this area many times this year. Neat piles and boxes of grooming items and such. I just never had the balls to actually throw stuff out. Sparkly purple nail polish my niece picked out for me? Check. Still keeping it should she ever arrive and ask to use it. Large Ziploc of hotel shampoos, conditioners and body wash? Check. Despite traveling a fair bit I have yet to get the urge to pack a mini mouthwash with me. Because I know they will have them at the hotel we are staying at.

Expectations are a b*tch. Thinking this was going to be easy I am shocked at how much I could not part with from the master bath. Miracle beauty products that I have used once were easy; the scads of over the counter medications for colds and coughs were not. Maybe because I am in the middle of sinus torture?

Will revisit under the sink in a few months and see if there is more to part with.

And yes, we love us some Costco toilet paper! You can be minimalist and still visit Costco. At least, we will.

Speaking of huge boxes of toilet paper…. an expert ruminates on the subject below.

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