Back to Basics Challenge 1: Going Shampoo Free

No, I didn’t just decide my hair never needs to be cleaned again.  I’m just not going to use shampoo and conditioner any longer. They cost a lot of money and are packed with chemicals that I can’t pronounce. My hair has been stuck in a cycle. I pull out all the natural oils with shampoo and then coat it in some creamy chemical based gunk; in return, my hair goes into overdrive trying to replace what should be there and gives me dandruff. Fun, cycle huh?


Our parents and grandparents (my generation at least) only washed their hair as often as once a week. Some only did it once a month (that’s a little much for me). My grandmother lived with my mom, brother and me when I was a child. I remember every Friday she would wash her hair. I used to think she was gross because society told me I needed to use shampoo and conditioner every day in order to have clean hair. Her hair was always healthy looking. I never made the connection.


So what was used for thousands of years before shampoo and conditioner? Baking soda, herbal infusions, and even yucca root (aka soapweed) in some cultures for shampoo and apple cider vinegar, coconut oil and herbal infusions for conditioners…..just to name a few.


I quit shampoo more than a week ago. I’ve washed my hair twice and I did use some corn starch mixed with cocoa powder (which I spent much time brushing through)for dry shampoo in between washes to control the oil. My hair is used to being washed squeaky clean every four days. I have flakes galore, my hair feels coated and it’s a bit on the frizzy side, but it’s going through a transition not to mention I live in VA (high humidity). Everything I’ve read online suggests that it’ll take 2-4 weeks for my hair to understand what’s going on. I’ve been force cleaning it for 38 years. I can understand the tantrum it’s throwing.  Thank God for hair ties.


Did you ever hear that women used to brush their hair 100 strokes a day? There’s a reason for that. It’s to pull the oils through the hair and loosen up any dirt that might be chillin’ out on your scalp.  It’s not just an old wives tale. So I’ve been brushing my hair before I wash. I made a bottle of baking soda “shampoo” (for lack of a better term) with 1 tbsp baking soda dissolved in 8 oz. of warm water which I apply to my scalp and work through my hair (I might switch to distilled water due to our severely hard water and might cut back just a tad on the baking soda. The recipe is not set in stone). I made sure to rinse well. Both times I’ve used a conditioner of 1 Tbsp of apple cider vinegar mixed with an herbal concoction I will refer to as “hair tea” (the herbs I used were sage, stinging nettle and  rosemary which I steeped in boiling water for about an hour first. Those are herbs for dark hair and dandruff). I might delete the vinegar (which by the way does NOT make your hair smell like vinegar) until my hair stops throwing a flaky fit. A blog I read suggested that I might be over conditioning too quickly.


We’ll see how things are in a few weeks or so.  By the way….no pics of me til I get my coif under control. I’ll show you what it looks like when it learns how to be hair again.


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