Could Going No 'Poo Solve Your Hair Problems?

Lather, rinse, repeat. And repeat. And repeat. At the slightest appearance of oil, we reach for the shampoo bottle and scrub away at our hair and scalps. The majority of Americans wash their hair either every day or every other day, hoping for clean, healthy hair. But is constant shampooing actually causing more harm than good? Some people have ditched lathering up for the “no ‘poo” method, using natural cleansing alternatives or simply rinsing instead.

woman with wet hair drying off after shower

Until the blow-dryer made everyday styling quick and easy, it was common for women to shampoo and style their hair only once a week. (Think mom's or grandma’s weekly beauty shop appointment… Ever wonder why she never skipped it?) Since styling was a longer process, beauticians used heavy products that were meant to set hair in place for several days with no home haircare was required. In the last few decades, though, shampooing, drying and styling has become part of the daily routine for many.

women at beauty shop
(Photo: Stylist)

No ‘poo supporters claim that shampoo strips away naturally produced oils from your scalp and causes your glands to go into overdrive, giving you that “grease ball” feel less than a day after washing. Once you stop using shampoo regularly, the oil production slows down and your body will naturally produce less. In the days or weeks following your last wash, shampoo shunners say you may experience a greasy “transition period,” though this should subside as your glands cut back on oil production. Still, some doctors and cosmetologists aren’t convinced that this is a valid claim, stating that scientific evidence suggests oil production is affected by genetics, hormones and diet, not by products.

Supporters cite a number of reasons for saying, “poo,” to shampoo. Going without it means less waste from plastic bottles, less money spent on shampoo and conditioner each month and less time spent lathering up every day. It also protects your hair from being damaged by harsh sulfates found in many popular shampoos, reduces your exposure to hormone-disrupting parabens and can relieve itchy, uncomfortable scalp dryness. In an Australian no-shampoo challenge, over 500 participants went six weeks without lathering up. As a result, 86 percent of people reported that their hair was either better or the same. One challenger blamed shampoo for her former itchy scalp issue and said, "There's no way I will ever let a drop of shampoo anywhere near my head again." (via New York Times)

>> Instead of lathering up, try these household hacks with shampoo!

You probably turn up your nose at the thought of flat, greasy hair, but cutting back on shampoo doesn’t mean that you can’t (or shouldn’t) shower or wash your hair. People who wash their hair daily may decide to cut back by skipping one day between washes, then increasing the time between them gradually. Others quit lathering up altogether and opt for rinsing with water and scrubbing their scalp with their fingers in the shower. Some choose to wash with natural ingredients like apple cider vinegar or baking soda, not normally found in the hair care aisle. If you have trouble handling your hair’s “transition period,” using baby powder or dry shampoo can help absorb oil and mask the appearance of greasy hair.

baking soda vinegar
(Photo: Brit & Co)

If you aren’t ready to give up shampoo completely, there are ways to make a wash last longer, says celebrity stylist Sarah Potempa. She suggests spending extra time on your hair on days you shampoo and using root-lifting products to give it maximum volume. On the days that follow, she says experimenting with ponytails, buns or braids is the way to go. You should also be aware of how you use your hair products to keep them from running out quickly. Shampoo only at the roots and condition only from mid-shaft to the ends of your hair to use less shampoo during each wash!

While this shampooing alternative may seem enticing, it’s not for everyone. Dependent upon your scalp’s natural oil production and the type of hair you have, shampoo may be essential for the health of your hair and scalp. No matter how you clean it, it’s important that your hair make you look and feel your most beautiful.