Friday, March 30, 2012

To (sham)poo or not to (sham)poo?

Perhaps it's just the sites and blogs that I read, but lately it feels like everyone's going crazy over the no shampooing (otherwise called "no-'poo") trend. People are ditching shampoo like they suddenly found out it kills puppies. (No, that's not a link to a site saying that shampoo kills puppies. Just an article saying what's really in shampoo.)
Well. Over the last six months or so I've tried out a variety of no-'poo (baking soda, vinegar, regular bar soap) options and I have hated every one of them. Most of the people who've loved going without shampoo, it turns out, have curly or at least wavy hair. I do not. My hair is as straight as can be, and fine. Not only that, but I have a lot of it. Oh, it's not terribly long, only down to about my shoulders. But it's super thick, which is both a blessing and a curse. So I haven't managed to stick with any non-shampoo solution for more than a week and a half. I know they say you're supposed to give it at least a month, but when you're hair both looks and feels like you dipped your head in canola oil, it's not fun.
It also hasn't seemed that urgent because we've been running on the same shampoo for about two years now--free shampoo. Our old roommate, when he left, left a lot of his junk. Some of his shirts, some old sheets, crap that I don't know what to do with...we're even still getting his mail over two years after he moved out. Among the things he left, though, were several new bottles of shampoo. We told him he'd left them and he answered, "Whatever." So that's what we've been using. And since neither of us washes our hair every day (the only times I wash more than every other day is if I've been working out) and since we don't tend to use much shampoo when we do wash, these bottles have lasted a loooong time.
We finally ran out, though, and I fulfilled a promise to myself. If I'm not going no-'poo, at least I can choose a better brand. While I know there are all sorts of problems with the company (like the fact that it's actually owned by a multinational conglomerate and blah blah blah) I chose a Burt's Bees shampoo. (It was by far the cheapest "natural" shampoo.) I noticed a difference right away. For one thing, I can tell that this shampoo doesn't use the industrial solvents that are in regular shampoo (some of which are used to clean up motor oil). My hair felt a little greasier than it normally does after being washed, but not as bad as any of the no-'poo options had left it. So I've kept trying it, and noticed more changes to my hair. I no longer seem to have that icky layer of product build-up on my scalp, and my hair looks a bit shinier. After about a week, the slightly greasy feeling is mostly gone, so I'm hoping that perhaps this is one step toward actually going no-'poo. Maybe my hair just needs more of a gradual change. (I really don't want to spend at least $8 per bottle of shampoo for the rest of my life!)
I should say here that I also haven't been using conditioner, earth-friendly or otherwise. In general, the only reason for conditioner is because normal shampoo is so harsh on your hair that you then need to add more chemicals to keep it from looking like you've just dumped a load of toxic, harsh chemicals on your head. And since my hair has been shinier since making this switch, I don't think I'll ever buy conditioner again.
Overall, I'm really glad that I'm starting to make a switch. Maybe toward the end of this bottle I'll start working in some of the no-'poo options a few days a week and see how that goes.
In the interest of full confession, Shane has not been using this shampoo. He tried it only one night and said it left him feeling like a grease-ball. So he bought his own shampoo. At some point, maybe I'll get him to switch. But maybe not. He can be rather stubborn.

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