In January of 2014, I declared my intention to quit shampoo for a month. It was an experiment in the practice of no-‘poo hair care (using non-shampoo means of cleaning your hair) .
If you’ve been a long-time reader, you might remember the updates that I posted a few times throughout the year. Here they are again:
How 9 months of no-‘poo success came to a crashing end
Everything was going great for the longest time, until it all came to a screeching halt in November last year.
I had been using the baking soda + ACV method exclusively for over nine months, and was 100% thrilled with it. I even got a trim at the hairdresser somewhere around the six or seven month mark, and the hairdresser commented that I didn’t have a single split end!
Then in November, we accompanied the hubs on a work trip and spent 2 days in Niagara Falls at a hotel with an indoor waterpark. It was a whirlwind of a trip, and I was going 4 days between washes anyway… so I waited to wash my hair until we got home. My hair was a total mess of smelly chlorine, so I decided to wash my hair once with the natural shampoo that I had kept from before my no-poo adventure.
For whatever reason, that weekend was a turning point in my no-‘poo method.
I went back to baking soda and ACV briefly, but from that point onward I began to notice split ends everywhere. My hair went from shiny and healthy to broken and frizzy. I could hold up a section of hair and see literally dozens of broken, split ends. It was so disheartening!
It appeared to be so healthy and strong for that entire first nine months – I had absolutely zero indication that anything was wrong. But after that weekend, it was game over.
The only thing that I could figure was that the chlorine had really done a number on it, and had damaged it beyond repair. After thinking about it some more, I now think that it’s most likely that the baking soda and ACV routine had been gradually weakening my hair over time, and the weekend of chlorine was just the straw that broke the camel’s back.
I stopped using the baking soda and AVC right away, but the damage just continued like a chain reaction. After a few months I went to the hair dresser and had about 4 inches cut off. That was in January, and I’ve been using a “low-‘poo” (low-poo = shampoo product without certain harmful ingredients) shampoo ever since, and the damage seems to have stopped.
Why I’m actually not all that surprised
I knew before going in that some people experienced damage to their hair with the baking soda method. I read the posts like this one from Empowered Sustenance that talked about the lack of PH balance in the method, and how bad it is. I heard plenty of others saying how it had damaged their hair.
And yet I also knew that some people had used this method for years successfully, and since I’m not a fan of generalizing when it comes to our health and our bodies, I figured there was no way to find out if it worked for me other than to try it for myself.
I don’t regret trying it. Not at all. Obviously, the baking soda and vinegar method is too harsh for my hair, but I don’t regret detoxing from shampoo (conventional or natural) for a period of time. And I don’t regret not having to buy shampoo for almost a year – that part was pretty awesome.
Where I’m going from here
As I mentioned in this post, there are plenty of middle ground options when it comes to alternate methods of cleaning your hair. I am now using a ‘low-poo’ shampoo and conditioner, but want to continue to experiment with some more frugal options.
The main ingredients that I avoid are:
I will be publishing a post soon about how to decipher the back of your shampoo bottle, but for now – those ingredients are relatively easy to tuck away in your mind for when you’re standing in the aisle at the store in front of the eleventy-billion shampoo and conditioner options. These all equal an automatic no for me.
If nothing else, this whole experiment has taught me to be bold in trying new things, even if you’ve always done it a certain way. It’s just hair. Greasy transition periods as you adjust to new methods or split ends as you realize a method fail are par for the course… and besides – those things are much less detrimental to your health than the toxic chemicals found in conventional shampoos.
There are so many options out there for cleaning your hair without resorting to toxic shampoos. Embrace the ride and get crackin’ on finding out what works for you!