Hairy Monday


January 28, 2013 by Kriscinda Lee Everitt

There are worse things to smell like than Newman's Own. Besides, it doesn't last long.

There are worse things to smell like than Newman’s Own. Besides, it doesn’t last long.

So, around December of 2011—a little over a year ago—we decided to experiment with ditching our shampoo and conditioner. I remember being a little worried that terrible things would happen that would prevent me from leaving the house for weeks. You know, if I was going to stick to it.

My hair was as such that it needed to be washed every day, or else solve our nation’s “foreign oil dependency” problem. As such, I expected to become a walking oil slick within three days. Surprisingly, that did not happen. And, in fact, a year later seems like a good length of time to assess the results.

Obviously, we stuck to it. We had shampoo/conditioner lapses, but those weren’t because we wanted to, or were somehow craving the flowery-stinky-foaminess of consumer hair products, like an ex-smoker and a Camel menthol light. Our shampoo/conditioner use occurred on our honeymoon, when we’d planned for just about everything—except how to wash our hair. I’m sure traveling with the new set up is easy; we’d just forgotten about it. So, we had a few weeks with a couple of bottle from Tescos. And even that was useful, actually, but I’m getting ahead of myself.

We use baking soda and apple cider vinegar, a perfectly good and workable recipe/instruction can be found here. At this point, we don’t measure anything—we just sort of eyeball it and it works. Granted, we smell like a salad when we first exit the shower, but as the hair dries, the vinegar smell disappears completely, so no worries there.

My hair did not become unmanageably greasy, as I’d feared. They say it can take a few weeks or so for your scalp and hair to acclimate themselves to the new, chemical-free treatment, but I don’t know that I even noticed a screwy adjustment period. All I know is this:

  • before I stopped using shampoo/conditioner, I had to wash my hair every day or it would be gross; after I stopped using shampoo/conditioner, I can now go two or three days without having to wash it.
  • before I stopped using shampoo/conditioner, even with the conditioner, my hair would be tangled and knot up pretty easily; after I stopped using shampoo/conditioner, I rarely have to fight with knots in my hair.
  • before I stopped using shampoo/conditioner, my ends would split within a month of having them trimmed; after I stopped using shampoo/conditioner, I haven’t had split ends in almost a year (I think that’s the last time I had a trim).
  • before I stopped using shampoo/conditioner, no matter how much I rinsed, my hair never quite felt free of the cleaning agents; after I stopped using shampoo/conditioner, my hair feels clean and not coated with crap with a fair minimum of rinsing.

I’m actually surprised at how successful the whole endeavor has been, considering my hair has been doing weird things in the last year or so. Having been on and off certain medications, the most obvious side effect has been what it’s done to my hair. My hair used to be relatively straight, with just a bit of a wave (probably like most peoples’ hair), but now, it’s got curl. If I wanted it straight-ish again, I only need to brush it out while it’s wet, or maybe use the hair dryer (which I never do), but if I just towel it dry and shake it out, it just curls right up and I don’t have to do anything to it—which is exactly how I like it. That is the plus side. The downside is that the ends can get pretty dry. In fact, that’s the only reason I’m considering a trim, not for split ends.

I’m assuming these things are the result of the meds and not the new washing strategy because, 1) I just don’t think baking soda and apple cider vinegar is going to make your hair curl like this, and 2) Big A’s been doing the same for as long and his hair isn’t any more curly than it was, and his ends aren’t all dry. His hair is lovely.

So, all in all, I’d call the experiment a success, and frankly, I don’t ever see myself going back to consumer shampoo and conditioner. I mean, really, the only thing you’re paying for with that is the fruity-flowery smell, which, considering the better performance of the all-natural option, just isn’t worth it. And I’m not even talking about the health benefits of subtracting one more conditioned toxic practice from your life, or the benefits for the environment, but those are certainly something to consider. If you’re thinking about trying this out, I highly recommend it.

And now, three chicks from Russia! Sargatanas with “Hair Fever.”



9 thoughts on “Hairy Monday

  1. Wow, kudos Kris. That’s amazing. I don’t know if I could give up my shampoo, even though I’m only a twice-a-week washer. I know what you mean about chemicals though. I do, at least, use some nice hippie stuff from whole foods which, if I look at what’s in it, I could probably replicate at home and, considering how expensive it is, maybe I should…
    I don’t know if I will, but you give me inspiration as usual. And heck, I already have vinegar and baking soda since I use them for a lot of household chores already.

  2. Sandy (trappmountain) says:

    Well that was timely since I had decided that when my shampoo bottle was empty (about 2 or 3 more hair washes) that I was going to try that. \m/

  3. Moonwaves says:

    I gave up shampoo and conditioner a few years ago and can’t imagine ever going back. Unfortunately, I haven’t managed to find a hairdresser who’ll cut my hair without washing it the ‘normal’ way so once a year (or less) I get to remember why I’m so glad I gave it up. My hair does feel kind of slinky soft coming from the hairdressers and it’s funny to get the scent when you move. But within a few hours the itching will start and it takes a few days before it calms down. Glad I came across this post, it reminds me that I promised to write a similar update about, oh, two years ago.

    • Kriscinda says:

      Hairdressers hate me (and I’m not too keen on them, either). When I go in (which is rarely) I just tell them I don’t want a wash and if they want it wet (and they do) to just give it a spritz with the water bottle. If they say they have to do it because it’s part of the company schtick, I’m gone.

      Now, get on that update. ;) And thanks for stopping by!

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