No Shampoo, three years on

I’ve not used shampoo for over 3 years now. I could write how it doesn’t feel that long but it does, in fact it feels longer. It’s become a habit now. My hair has had its ups and downs, likely due to changing locations, and experimenting with my routine. When I lived in Malaysia last year I was able to get myself down to one wash a week- water only, a silicone free conditioner on the ends. My hair looked fine. Coming back to the UK I had to push it back to two washes a week, and then I moved to uni and even that wasn’t enough. My hair was sticky and clumping together – typical of transitioning hair, although thankfully not as bad as that can get. Nonetheless it did not look good. I live in a hard water area so I decided to try a water filter. I’ve had problems with water quality from the start, but I’ve never been able to try a filter – my living arrangements have never suited it, and they seemed expensive. I currently live on my own in a rental which gives me a bit more leeway now, and so I bought myself a super cheap filter for about £10. It’s like a brita filter and not particularly sophisticated – nor do I think it completely softens my water. But it does the job. I’m back on my one wash a week routine now- water only, conditioner on the ends. My hair looks nice, I think. Its certainly growing fast enough, bringing me ever closer to my goal of classic length hair, and its become fuller, thicker looking, and has obtained a nice soft wave to it since I’ve given up shampoo. I will also always be fascinated by the texture of natural hair – my hair is fine, but appears reasonably thick, and has a very particular feel – it has a kind of a woollen texture, although it doesn’t look dry or greasy or anything.

I’ve also discovered the world of etsy. The high shipping costs acts as a barrier for me buying all the products I want. But I have become a fan of this shop. They sell inexpensive samples of their products, which allowed me to try them out. The dry shampoo didn’t do much, it made my hair look greasier in fact, but the dark hair herbal rinse is stunning. I love how soft and glossy it makes my hair, and it is admittedly nice to have that vague floral scent about my hair, when usually it doesn’t smell like anything. I splurged on the full size now and I’m going to try and use it regularly – I’m thinking once every two weeks should do. As can be seen, my hair care routine is very simple, lazy even, and involves just two products- conditioner and a hair rinse. My conditioner lasts forever and I don’t know about the rinse yet, but still, I must be saving money. And I’m certainly spending a small amount of time, which suits me.

Initially I gave up shampoo due to problems with eczema on my scalp. No-poo has helped my eczema, but my scalp remains dry, slightly flaky and itchy. I think no-poo has done more for my hair than my scalp, although my eczema is definitely better and at no risk of becoming worse/the way it was. I wish I could find some kind of moisturising scalp treatment. The hairdresser last year used this lovely product on my scalp but I cannot remember what it was. I thought it was Shiseido and googled it to find that Shiseido do sell a scalp treatment and regardless of whether it is the right one it is about £30, which is way out of my budget. I looked on etsy but all I could find were scalp creams and oils – neither of which seem particularly suited to no-poo. I have in fact tried applying a herbal eczema cream to my scalp, as well as an emollient cream, and some natural oils but they are all too thick, and its really a pain to apply, and doesn’t even seem to help. The hairdressers product was a thin liquid that sank into the scalp wonderfully, with no residue. I wish I could find something like that.

Apart from that, since giving up shampoo I’ve been thinking about what other products I use. Since I was little I’ve had sensitive skin and so I’ve had to be careful about what I wore and what I used on my skin, and despite that I’ve struggled with my skin. I’ve always felt self conscious about this. Things like- I wanted to be able to pick something off the rack and try it on without looking at the label first to see what it was made of, I wanted to be able to travel without lugging around my own products – who actually travels with soap these days when most hotels give decent shower gels? I just wanted to wear and use whatever I liked. Giving up shampoo has made me realise how unneccesary it all is though. I now walk past a whole section of the supermarket filled with products marketed as essential, but I’ve found they are not. So I try and look at these other things and instead of thinking I can’t use them, I think I choose not to. Since giving up shampoo I’ve been thinking about what products I choose to use, and am keen to experiment to find what’s best for me. I’ve become very open to alternate things – I never thought I’d be using herbal rinses and natural oils but I’ve become very comfortable with this now.

Giving up shampoo has helped my eczema get better, but it has also opened up a door to a world of beauty that is accessible to me. I have, I think I mentioned it before, become a big fan of using oils as a body moisturiser and sugar or salt scrubs for exfoliating. I’ve never been able to find a moisturiser that made my skin feel so soft and comfortable (i.e. no allergies) since discovering oils, nor have I ever been able to exfoliate. Its pretty great. I also experimented a bit with my facial skincare – trying those cleansing balms made with oils, an organic moisturiser. However I didn’t like any of what I tried. I think I’ll stick with my chemicals for my face! My face is the one area of my body which isn’t so sensitive, so I like having the freedom to play around with commercial stuff in this instance. I’m currently thinking about soap. I’ve always used very just plain bar soaps and now I’m wondering if I need even that. My hair is fine with just water, why not my body? How wonderfully lazy would it be to just use water for everything? Plus it would make travelling a lot easier!

I’m hesitant to say I’ll never use shampoo ever again, but right now I like it. I like the way my hair looks and feels, and I like the fact that through no-poo I’ve been thinking about alternate skincare, questioning what we’ve been conditioned to believe we should be doing and becoming comfortable with making my own choices.