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How to Stop Using Shampoo and Start Having Better Hair

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Shampoo, the root of all evil...

Protocol for hair-washing was once pretty standard: lather up your head with shampoo, rinse, and follow up with conditioner to moisturize and detangle. But shampoo, that old standby in the shower—and a market worth $27.7 billion worldwide, according to Euromonitor—may be on its way out.

Turns out that sulfates, the foaming, grease-cutting detergents in shampoo, strip hair of its natural oils and even healthy bacteria. They can be over-drying, which is why hairdressers often suggest only washing hair a few times a week, rather than daily. Problem is, then your hair’s roots can get greasy.


Try a cleansing conditioner

Cleansing conditioners are sulfate-free, non-foaming creams that you apply in the shower, and an easy way to quit washing your hair without really quitting—the e-cigarette of haircare, according to one beauty blogger. 


Quit Cold Turkey

This movement has a rather disturbing name: no-poo. It involves quitting shampoo entirely and replacing it with a weekly regimen of washing and conditioning with kitchen products: specifically, baking soda and apple cider vinegar. I haven’t tried it, but this woman has, and she swears her hair is softer, fluffier, and easier to manage (and oddly blonder) for it.

As one would imagine, there is a greasy hump to get over in the beginning, but soon after, hair apparently magically (or scientifically) re-calibrates its natural oil production. Here’s a comprehensive step-by-step, including an old-fashioned solution for that moment when you reach peak grease: wear a hat

I had no idea shampoo is so bad.

I will have to look for something with no sulfates.

Baking soda and vinegar sounds... Messy.

my hairdresser told me the exact same thing (right after shampooing my hair).

Does your hairdresser offer an alternative?

she says conditioner only.  she said that all conditioners have cleaning powers and that they are sufficient.  but why then, did she shampoo my hair with a thick lather from a foaming agent?

Yes, why? Did you ask her why she did that?

no, i didn't!  i just figured it was some sort of protocol for the salon.

and now we're left here wondering... :)

Well next time you go you HAVE to ask her! I look forward to hearing her answer. :)

okay, i will.  and then i'll come back here and share!

I'm looking forward to it. In the meantime I'm thinking about phasing out shampoo. 

I want to start a cult.

i haven't washed since reading this and so far so good!  i should take pictures and document it.

Document the lack of washing? Oh so you can show people what it's like?

well, i thought it would go through a terrible greasy stage, but it hasn't!  it looks and behaves like it does when i wash with shampoo first.  so far, this conditioning-only thing is a piece of cake!

Ok so conditioner is good? I was unclear on that too.

yes, because it doesn't have sodium laurel sulfate or any of its close cousins (foaming agents).

Okay, then what IS conditioner? Just softeners and moisturizers?

as far as i can see, yes, just moisturizers and detanglers.  all articles i have found say it's important to use silicone-free conditioner to avoid build-up and they all also recommend using cheap conditioner because you'll be using much more of it.

i dunno... today i'm less thrilled about the conditioner-only approach.  i'm a week in on this experiment and i'm itchy and my hair is not looking so good!!  this might be a short-hair-only sort of thing!

It very well might be a short hair only thing. We need to learn more.

But those Wen infomercials show long, luxuriant locks!

yesterday must have been my hump day because today my locks are back to luxurious!  woohoo!  no more shampoo for me!  (this is great, because i swim in the sea every day, so my hair gets lots of salt and sun abuse!)

So conditioner helps with the salt and sun abuse?

Wow, shampoo really IS unnecessary.

i'm on day 9 of this experiment and i must say: it is proving shampoo to be unnecessary!

Makes me wonder what else in our lives is unnecessary. 

nail polish.

We don't need nail polish?!?!

I last used shampoo about 10 years ago. Instead I just use plain old hand soap (I prefer Dove). It took a few days for the greasy look to dissipate after switching but since then my hair has looked and felt great. I wash it daily for the most part.

Thanks for the tip, Mark!

I shampoo twice a week.  The other days, I just rinse with water.  It's a lot better for the scalp, and easier than going cold turkey.

I'm still trying to internalize that shampoo is bad for our hair. Why does it still sell so well?

Do people just not realize they can reduce or eliminate shampoo?

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