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Haircare sans shampoo

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Since the "Right Girls - Hair washing and not doing it with shampoo" thread is now so long, several of us have commented on the need for a summary of the details, to save hours of searching - so here it is! :)


[Your hair is] designed to look after itself, is it not? Did we evolve with a shampoo bottle attached to our elbow? No. So when you use shampoo you strip all the natural oil from your head and hair shaft, and your scalp panics and produces more, and so you go on, a negative feedback loop ...


If you completely stop using shampoo and other alkaline cleansers on your hair, it takes about three months to settle down - in the meantime you will have to cope with some bouts of very greasy hair, especially around week 5 :(


It seems to work best if you live in a soft-water area - if you don't, or if you need to look presentable for work, you might find it easier to wean your hair off cleansers more gradually. Here are some of the tried-and-tested techniques for keeping your hair acceptably clean* without shampoo:


1. 200ml vinegar + 800ml of water - massage in with fingertips as if shampooing, then rinse well. The smell will fade on drying. N.B. Use cider vinegar or distilled malt vinegar, not the brown stuff you put on chips! Best used about once a week.


2. 2 tsps bicarbonate of soda in 1/2 litre water - massage and rinse as per vinegar. Can make your hair dry, so best done only once a fortnight.


3. Handful of oatmeal (medium or pinhead - not porridge oats!) massaged into dry hair and then thoroughly brushed out. Best done outdoors or over the sink! Good way to "rescue" greasy hair between other treatments.


In between all these treatments, just wash your hair with plain water - and put it up in a chignon if it's getting a bit greasy :wink: You might also find it helpful to brush your hair thoroughly twice a day with a natural bristle brush (just like Granny used to), to redistribute the natural oils.


Thanks to everyone who has contributed to this ongoing experiment! Feel free to add your own tips and "recipes", but to keep this thread manageable, please use the original thread to talk about your progress, etc. Thanks!





* Note that it may not feel quite as clean as with shampoo, but these "products" will definitely stop it from smelling dirty!

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Can I also add:


It's normal to feel as if you've got a chipfat helmet on at some point. It does get better after this, but at the time you'll be washing your pillow slip every two days etc, and very possibly wishing you've never started.


Different people have different responses to this regime. It's not uncommon for people to hardly notice. Also, many report that flaky, itchy or sore scalps are better on this regime. Also that facial skin condition improves for many.


Your hair will be different at the end, even if only slightly so. Frizzy hair generally improves dramatically, and most people find that it's in general less reactive to damp, and dries quicker.


it's not just an environmental thing, it saves POUNDS in fancy shampoos and conditioners, space in the packing when you go away, space in the bathroom, time in the shower, and so ultimately, saves water too.

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