Disclaimer: I don’t sell products here. I’m not paid to review them. I’m not sponsored by companies / industries / organizations. I don’t receive free products which I then snap scripted photographs of. Any ads on this blog are neither paid for nor requested by the author and are simply the result of not purchasing the site (cos I’m #cheaplikethat). Please enjoy this completely honest opinion / description of one woman’s beauty related decisions, brought to you by herself because she hates advertisements, too. Feel free to share your own ideas in the comments at the end.
I stopped washing my hair, but it’s not dirty.
Several months back I got to thinking about my hair care routine — and the truth is, I’d become so frustrated with it!
- I can’t afford to pay $8-10 monthly for products.
- Anytime my flat iron would break or stop working, I had a serious internal meltdown because my hair simply wouldn’t look “good” without it.
- I’d had the same blow-dryer since I was 14… excellent product life (I was 29 when I gave it up) but something about the super short life of many modern products had me nervously questioning the blow-dryer…
“What’s that smell? No, seriously, why do you smell funky?! Are you going to blow up?! That’s it, you’re unplugged. I don’t want to die by diy blowtorch today!”
In February, I set aside my flat iron forever. As much as I love putting time into my hair, the iron just wasn’t adding value to the experience anymore. In late May, I read an article by Rebecca Vipond Brink about how she stopped washing her hair. Intrigued and fueled by the knowledge that many others are doing the same, I decided to give it a shot. Nothing to lose but hair and I’m pretty sure I could rock accidental baldness with a cocky grin and a few hours toying with eyeliner and lipstick art techniques.
While you won’t find me tied to a tree, singing hippie songs loudly at an offending logger, I gotta say, I’m bored with my current bathroom reading selection with tedious, longwinded attempts at sounding out the names of chemicals in various health and beauty products. In the elementary grades, I was taught if I don’t understand something I read to cross-reference it in a dictionary. So, naturally, I’ve Googled phrases like, “potassium hydroxide”, “behentrimonium chloride” and “methylisothiazolinone” (best of luck pronouncing that one). I’ve giggled over the fact that a certain men’s product lists the final ingredient as “caramel” (now we know what the women are really after)… But science and chemistry were never very interesting to me beyond an artist’s wonderment at life. And why can’t the bottle just SAY ‘caustic potash’ instead of potassium hydroxide? Even more frightful is the fact that one Google search rendered a listing which claims it is for “liquid soap making and demanding biodiesel manufacture. High quality, food grade.” In what world does one want the word ‘biodiesel’ so closely related to a food product? [I don’t know that KOH is actually bad… I’m just saying this particular description doesn’t inspire confidence.]
Drew and I quit washing our hair in May 2016. At first, it was a little yucky feeling. As Brink’s article explains, the chemicals in hair care products are designed to strip the hair of it’s natural oils in the cleansing process. So for about 3 weeks (this timeframe is different for everyone), our hair was greasy, oily, and a bit sticky to the touch. Plus the dandruff kept brushing out as a nasty white goo from mixing with the oils. This was due to it over-oiling from having been stripped of it’s naturals for so long. I combatted the oilyness with a daily rinse. Every morning, I rinsed my hair out, scrubbing my scalp as vigorously as I dared. It didn’t stink at all — in fact, any time I was afraid it had started to, I squeezed a tad of conditioner into my hands and rubbed in through. Worked like a charm.
In June, after a lot of thought, I decided to try making my own conditioner. I read where others trying this would condition their hair once or twice weekly depending on their lifestyle. They used nourishing conditioners, often made from organic products. I had Apple Cider Vinegar, limes, coconut oil and of course water at my disposal. So I blended it together, barely mindful of measurements. This didn’t go so well… we ended up with goop that won’t come out of the dispenser unless we heat it for a few minutes in the shower before shaking it. Even then, it’s too goopy (I like that word…) to give us much to work with. I also took note of the fact that most proven recipes are going to run up a bill of at least 30-40 some odd dollars — particularly if the ingredients are going to stretch to double as food.
Finally, in a recent trip to Wal*Mart, I decided to look for essential oils to see what they had available and price them. Instead, I found the organic shampoos and conditioners. In fact, we found a coconut oil conditioner for less than half the price of what we normally pay for shampoo and conditioner together. It’s still money, but I’ll be using this conditioner much less and see it lasting me a bit longer than my old conditioner. I’ve use it sparingly, one every 4-5 days. My hair stays soft, no grease. It still smells like coconut, though I water-rinse it every morning following a conditioning. Usually, I have to re-condition my hair every 2-3 days… this has already broken records. If you’d like to try it, it’s Palmer’s Coconut Oil Repairing Conditioner. No sulfates, parabens, phthalates, mineral oil, gluten or dyes. The bottle claims it’s made from ‘ethically sourced’ ingredients. So far, my only real disappointment has been that it still uses a lot of things I don’t readily recognize.
To sum up:
- I don’t see myself ever using shampoo again.
- I couldn’t quite go completely ‘product’ free. I’m not too broken up over it because I love to love my hair. The point of my experiment was to prove that I honestly didn’t need as much product as I’d been using — I feel I succeeded.
- I did find a much cheaper alternative to what I had been using.
- I’m mildly upset I wasn’t able to find an inexpensive product that is a completely all natural conditioner, but I’ll live.
If you’re looking for a way to cut costs, or maybe just looking for the ‘permission’ to stop washing your hair, here it is. I encourage everyone to at least try it out. It’s been a lot of fun for Drew and I to share this experience. I would even recommend this for kids and especially moms — I was a rough-and-tumble tomboy with wind-whipped strings for hair. I hated when brushes were applied which did little to detangle it without hurting. When I was a teen, I was asked if I didn’t care how I looked, what people thought of me. And that is how I began learning never to be satisfied with anything but perfectly coiffed strands. Becoming ‘okay’ with not washing it every 2 days has granted me more beauty relaxation than I’ve had in awhile. I can accept that my hair looks great as is and not be too emotional if I didn’t have time to put it up. I still LOVE LOVE LOVE braiding my hair and putting it up in more complicated styles, but now I can do it for fun instead of for looks.
I welcome your questions (keep ’em civil) and discussion. You may also find my favorite hair tools and toys on this Pinterest board. I’ll be adding to it as I find more. I also enjoy beading my own hairpins, so if you or your little girl would like reasonably priced, simple, elegant or funky hairpins, let me know :).