Thursday, October 13, 2011
Grand Conclusion: No-Shampoo
I've been getting a number of questions lately about the final results of my Hair Warrior experiment, which, for those of you not inclined to such grandiosity, consists of not washing your hair. As background: I went nine months without washing my hair, beginning with several weeks of not wetting it at all and eventually wetting it once every ten days or so, plus using rinse-out conditioner. The unfortunately named "no-poo" theory is that frequent shampooing strips your hair of its natural oils and that quitting altogether (at least for a while) restores your sebum production to a place of blissful balance. A scalp rebirth, if you will. And while I don't think my hair looked squeaky-clean during the experiment, neither did it look nasty (well, not after the first few weeks, anyway, when the scalp is still churning out large amounts of oils).
But after getting a STEALTH SHAMPOO during a body scrub, I had an opportunity to see if the whole "rebalancing" thing worked or if I was back at ground zero, scalpwise. Since June I've been washing my hair about once every 10 days or so, using either regular shampoo or baking soda. People sing the praises of baking soda as shampoo, and the best I can say for it is that it works just fine. It's not harsh, but neither does my hair look or feel any better after washing with a baking soda paste than it does after shampoo. The main advantage is that it's cheaper, but it's also more of a pain because you've got to mix the baking soda with water to create a paste, and I find it more difficult to distribute evenly when doing the washing part.
In any case, I'm officially declaring the no-shampoo experiment a success in the long term. My hair, left to its own devices, doesn't start to look oily until three days after shampooing; before, it would look dirty the very next morning. I use a dry shampoo when I need to and leave it alone the rest of the time. (Of course, I wear my hair up a lot, so if you always prefer it down you may have a different experience.) As for the dry shampoo, the Bumble & Bumble Hair Powder is the best I've found because it adds texture and body; plain old cornstarch works if I just want to absorb a little oil, but it doesn't add body. (Excepting the awesome ad above, I'm not a fan of Pssssst dry shampoo, as a bottle lasted just a couple of weeks and it leaves a bit of a residue, which cornstarch doesn't, even on my dark brown hair. Just rub it out and it's fine.) It's never given me less trouble; it's more predictable. Yes, I think you should try it.
The buried lede here is that I literally have not washed my face for more than a year and see no reason to do so ever again. I splash it with water at night, and sometimes in the morning if I feel particularly greasy, and that's the entirety of my face cleansing routine. I use a baking soda scrub on my face a couple of times a week, and occasionally use coconut oil to remove makeup if my face is feeling particularly dry. Facial skin is more temperamental than our scalp, I think, and the results are more noticeable if the no-wash thing doesn't work for you. All I'll say is that while I have normal skin, it does lean toward oily, and I've noticed utterly no change in how shiny I look between now and when I was washing every day. Do with this information what you will!