No ‘Poo for You

Arm & Hammer

Arm & Hammer (Photo credit: Usonian)

And by ‘poo of course I’m talking in trend-speak and mean shampoo and not poop. So if by some chance you are looking for a post on constipation, you should know that you’re not going to find it here. Nope, this is a post about shampoo. Or a lack thereof.

For the past couple weeks things have been a bit unsettled–we recently moved and we’ve been trying to settle in. In the 7-10 days prior to our move, I fell out of love with the shampoo I was using and started stealing Nat’s Head & Shoulders. Glamorous, right? But for the past week or so I’ve been noticing that my hair feels weird. Sticky or something. And ironically, my scalp really itches.

I have to say, this isn’t really new. I go from one shampoo brand to the next, never really liking what I find. Some brands make my hair dry, others make it frizzy, and others give me weird greasy patches. I find it all sufficiently bothersome that I’ve been playing around with the idea of hopping on the no-shampoo bandwagon for a while now. And since I don’t have any shampoo right now, this seems like a good time to start.

I’ve done a lot of research on the no-shampoo thing, and I’ll admit it: I’ve been completely drawn in by the explanations of why it’s a healthy choice for your hair, scalp, and skin. It goes like this: shampoos contain harsh ingredients that strip your hair and scalp of its natural oils. Without these oils, your hair kind of goes crazy and doesn’t know what to do. But the oils your hair produces are much healthier and better for your hair than the stuff in shampoo. In fact, if you have problems with your hair getting oily if you go a couple days without washing it, that’s because of shampoo. Your scalp’s oil production is out of balance, and now it overcompensates. By getting rid of shampoo, you’re allowing your scalp to get back to a balanced amount of oil, which means healthier, happier hair. It makes sense! The people who have done it seem to swear by it! For all I know, it’s a cult! But since I’ve always had a hard time with my hair (and I also like the ideas of 1) no longer using harsh, unnecessary chemicals; 2) saving money; 3) producing less plastic bottle waste), I figure I might as well sign myself up.

From now on, I’ll be using a blend of baking soda and water to “shampoo” my hair, and apple cider vinegar to “condition” it every few days. For more information on why these products work, you can check out this post–it’s one of the best I found while looking into this whole crazy thing. There’s a period of a couple weeks where your hair apparently goes kind of crazy as it adjusts to the new routine and starts to reset, oil-wise. I’m pretty sure I’ll be able to ride that out. What I’m actually far more concerned about is how this whole thing will work with my activity level.

I have thick hair, and like all hair, it acts like a sponge. But since I have so much of it, it can retain a lot of moisture. It’s not unusual for me to finish a run in the summer with my hair dripping. Is that gross? Whatever. But is the sweat doing anything to my hair? I don’t know. And will my new regimen work with the sweating, or will my head become some sort of gross, funky nest? I’m not even sure what it is I’m afraid of–I’m just nervous about it. There’s a lot of information on the Internet about how to not wash your hair, but there’s very little when it comes to not washing your sweaty hair. Maybe that’s because there’s nothing additional to know? Again, I don’t know. But I’ll be finding out!

If I’d done some planning ahead, or had a functioning camera somewhere other than an as-yet unpacked box, I’d take a before picture. Maybe I’ll take one for tomorrow. Day 2 still counts as before, right?



  1. One of my good friends in NYC shampoos her hair about once a week, and she’s also done a few marathons – if you want to ask her any questions about what to expect with sweat.

  2. I don’t think sweat will impact it much. Seriously, the baking soda cleans just as well as shampoo. Probably over time you will figure out a good baking soda schedule for your activity level.

    Doing this is the first time in my memory that I could wash my hair every other day without having a disgusting head of oil-hair. Hoping to spread the washes farther apart over time.

    The downside to this is that the baking soda and vinegar treatment is time consuming. it helps being able to shower without washing hair every other day or more because that cuts your shower time back down… also, unless you find a huge bag of baking soda (which i did) it isn’t super cheap.

    keep me updated on how it works for you!!!


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