Why I Stopped Washing My Hair (or: I swear it’s not gross)

It’s well documented that I have a weird relationship with my hair’s colour. But how do I care for it? I usually wash my hair about three or four times a week using a variety of shampoos. I’ve never had a “favourite” shampoo or conditioner. I tended to use Tea Tree Oil shampoos because I have really dry skin in the winter especially, which produces some lovely dandruff-esque flakes. Nice, huh? I’ve paid for and used incredibly high end products, and also used some pretty low end cheap crap too. My hair behaves as it will. I’ve long wondered if the sulphates in most shampoos are the cause for my dry hair. And it bugs me that I pay ridiculous sums of money for a product that restores the oil the shampoo strips out. After having had Kale, and also having cut it all off for cancer (note: the pictures on that post are all mucked up and I don’t really know or care why)  I’ve noticed my hair does it’s own thing anyway. In addition to going considerably gray (or “silver” as a friend nicely put it recently), it’s curlier in weird places, it hangs differently, and it generally just does different stuff. Whatever. I am not my hair, you know?

But about a month ago, I went out shopping and for lunch with some good friends, and they helped me pick out some business-y type clothes. Over lunch , one of my friends told us she had stopped washing her hair a few weeks before that and we all exclaimed about how nice her hair looked. It didn’t smell, it didn’t look greasy, it looked like…well, it looked like hair. Nice hair.

I decided to give it a try. There’s a lot out there on the internets about going shampoo-free. A lot of it talks about the chemicals we put into and on our bodies. I rarely wear cosmetics (and when I do it’s generally lipstick and mascara and maybe eyeshadow if I’m feeling particularly fancypants), I have stopped using conventional menstrual products in favour of a Divacup, and I generally only use soap free or handmade small batch olive oil soaps in the shower  (PS: I am currently LOVING the Pacific Tea variety from Olive Life, and they are local and awesome). I wash my face with pure honey and nothing else. I live somewhat of a crunchy granola type life so it seems pretty, well, natural for me to go No Poo.

So, here’s how it’s gone down. I haven’t really taken many pictures because well, it’s basically shots of the exact same thing over and over.

The first week was easy. Anytime in the shower, I spent some time rinsing and massaging my scalp. By the end of the week, it was pretty oily looking, so I did a baking soda and apple cider vinegar rinse, as many people recommend. Overall it was noticeably softer, it had nicer curls, and generally was pretty healthy. I washed it the following week with baking soda and apple cider vinegar and it was way too dry. It felt positively breakable. So the following week I skipped it. This week, I just did the baking soda and skipped the apple cider vinegar and that seems to have solved the problem. It’s my understanding my head will eventually figure out how much oil to regulate and I will be able to skip the baking soda altogether.

My scalp is less itchy (although there still remains a number of dry patches around my face – maybe that’s just how winter will always be for me – and my hair is actually curlier than normal. I regularly flat iron my hair and it seems to hold the flattening more. It doesn’t stink – which is something I was really worried about. The smell of dirty hair grosses me out a whole lot.

On the whole, I’m happy with going without shampoo, and recommend that if you decide to try it, stick with it for at least two weeks, if not more.

So instead of a bunch of photos of my hair, which is kind of a boring mouse-y brown with some gray shot through it, here’s one head shot and then a pretty sunshine-y picture of Kale and I because really, my cute kid is why most of you come here.

11 years ago


  1. Nice hair! I love the idea of ‘No Poo’ but I’m too chicken to actually try it. I don’t leave the house until I wash my hair, which I do every single day. Otherwise my hair just looks dirty and oily.

  2. I am entirely too chicken to try this. My hair gets so greasy after about 3 days with no shampoo, I’d feel like I needed a week off work before I could regulate.
    But your hair looks so pretty, it’s really tempting!

  3. I went no-poo for a really long time before Moira was born and then I just started washing it because of spit-up. I found, for me, that I had to wet it down more when I wasn’t using conditioner. Having curly hair I feel like I still need conditioner and need to put something in my hair to tame the frizzies which makes me want to wash it to wash what I am putting in out – nice cycle, eh? My hair is getting really *silver* too these days. I actually bought hair dye today but I’m not sure I’m going to use it for a while (I will put it in the closer with the other hair dye.) I worry that I will look too old with lots of silver hair – or too tired. I figure if I want to go grey I have to become a triathlete or something so I can have a super fit body to offset the old lady hair (you know, with all my time). But mostly I don’t want to colour it because it is all falling out again – my hair horns are going to be extra silver this time.

    Sorry that this became a whole post about my hair – I guess I have been thinking about it a lot lately. I think your hair looks great and I think I might give it a try again. BTW, what kind of honey are you using to wash your face with?

    1. I’m using honey from a farmers market vendor – it’s the liquid kind and appears to be “hay meadow”.

  4. Well, I tried it a couple weeks ago, but gave up after a few days because my hair got way too oily.

    I want to try it again, but it’s hard. My hair starts to look greasy the first day I don’t shampoo it, and by the second day it is just gross. Oily and smelly.

    Maybe if I do the baking soda and ACV every third day eventually I can stretch the amount of time between “washings” and then eventually won’t need it at all?

    I might give it another try. Oh, and I did honey today for my face. I loved it, but I was surprised at how dry my skin felt afterwards. And I didn’t know what to do about a moisturizer because I didn’t want to put any chemicals on my face.

    This is all so confusing, but I’m trying!

  5. I like the idea of “no poo” but as it is, my hair only gets washed once maybe twice a week if I use product.

    You hair looks great and the silver suites you well.

    1. Oh, and the Oil Cleaning Method might work for you too, Gillian. Apparently it works brilliantly as a make up remover.

  6. Totally should try it! I have a friend who swears by Anointment’s Baby Oil for makeup remover. Okay! Next time I’m at the grocery store, I’m going to get some liquid honey and give it a go. 🙂 Thanks for the info!

    1. I did discover Monday night something I wasn’t expecting – I went to swimming class and my hair felt AWFUL afterward. But otherwise, I feel like my hair is sorting itself out and it feels good.

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