I gave up shampoo for a month and here’s what happened
St Andrews is by the sea so really it’s beachy waves from now on
“You’re not going to use shampoo? Oh,” says friend and steps back cautiously looking a bit sick.
Another response to my decision was: “Ew! And I was touching your hair!” Yet, when my friend felt my hair she didn’t notice anything. It’s not dripping with grease. It isn’t matted into an odd electrocuted shape. And neither have I decided to go off and live in a cave.
I’m not doing this as part of a movement, I’m simply sick of the commercialisation and of putting environmentally damaging stuff in my hair. But the movement #nopoo (as in sham-poo) is still great. Through its seemingly grim title, it confronts the industry-indoctrinated misconception that shampoo is necessary for our personal hygiene.
There is a glaring hypocrisy, whereby when we ‘wash’ our hair we actually make it less clean. More dry. Less alive.
Shampoo creates a vicious cycle by unnaturally stimulating oil production through drying out the scalp. Great business strategy: create a problem and then pretend to solve it. It wouldn’t be too big a stretch to compare shampoo to a drug. Your body feels like it needs it, so when you stop, the first little while is tricky.
Your head feels itchy and hot and you’re generally pretty cranky. Like a drug, it’s a drain on your wallet: hair products cost women an average of £751 a year (and half as much for men).
Not using shampoo does not mean being gross. I still wash my hair. I tried several natural alternatives to find something which worked for me. Herbs had no effect. Soda was pretty good – about the same effect as shampoo. But eggs yolks were amazing.
I understand how you might squirm at the idea of putting eggs in your hair. One person said with alarm: “what if they don’t wash out?!” Yet my head has never felt so free and my hair so light and voluminous at the same time. My hair colour has become more vibrant so people are convinced that I’ve dyed it. If you’re still repelled, take a look at the contents of your shampoo bottle. Is there anything beyond ‘aqua’ there that you recognise?
If you go online, you will find many people arguing that shampoo is a necessity. But if you dig a little deeper, you’ll see that most of those who claim to be ‘experts’ have their financial interests tied to the industry. How can the head of a hairdressing association possibly be objective?
There’s already a trend towards natural hair products, as people are becoming more conscious of what they put in their hair and of the environmental impact. I think #nopoo is next.
I’m used to experimenting with my hair: I’ve been cutting it myself for over a year, which considering the fact that it doesn’t reach my shoulders, folk find difficult to believe. But I now feel excited and liberated by the fact that I can take full ownership of my hair.