Before I begin, I just want to assure you that this isn’t some crazy rant. About being a hippy, being green/eco friendly, saving loads of money, or the grooming / beauty product industry, it is just something I’ve done. I can only peak of my own experience
I haven’t washed my hair with shampoo or conditioner since the 1st of January 2010.
New years eve, I was sitting at home being boring, babysitting my ex’s kids & came across this article : I Like No Soap; No Shampoo and as Sean Bonner from Boingboing so eloquently put it a year later: The TL;DR version: Your body is designed to regulate itself. Smearing chemicals all over it wrecks its own built-in processes, and screws with naturally balanced pH levels. this made sense to me and I thought I’d give it a shot.
When i was 17 i was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease, and after leaving hospital I was taking in excess of 20+ pills a day to get it under control. For nearly 5 years I was taking corticosteroid steroids – fortunately I didn’t experience any of the more unfortunate side effects of long term steroid use. But the one I did experience (aside from burning horribly the instant I walked out into any strong sun) resulted in dry skin patches all up my arms, across my upper back & forehead. My skin before this had never been particularly sensitive.
But I remember after about 18 months of taking the tablets, I was in the shower in my flat at university washing my hair. Quite suddenly my skin began to burn, it went red and looked VERY unhappy with me… even after I had got out the shower I felt like i was on fire.
After some experimentation, I quickly realised that I had become super sensitive to almost all kinds of soap, shampoo, conditioners, and body washes. My doctor basically told me to suck it up and prescribed me E45 cream. It was obvious to me I couldn’t continue using ‘normal’ products most people used.
For the years after; my product selection was based solely around seeking out the most natural, simple, gentle products I could find. believe me: i tried ALL the things. a little later my housemate in 2006 was a manager of a LUSH (still is infact). I can positively report I experimented with almost their entire range.
So sticking to the natural simple products cleared up my skin pretty well. Some worked better than others, and the last of the small patches of dry skin that did remain were something i could live with – i wholeheartedly recommend the Simple Skincare range to anyone who suffers from aggro skin; and also LUSHs’ dream cream was also a product I would totally recommend (and it smells frickin amaze too!). The good news is eventually in 2008 I came off steroids. The bad news was the bad skin didn’t go away.
Considering i had never managed to stick to a new years resolution and this was a relatively simple lifestyle change: I decided to go soap/shampoo free and gave it a go.
The first week was the worst. My hair was greasy by lunchtime but I resisted the urge to shower in the evenings and powered on through. by the end of the second week things had started to settle in a bit, and my head was less of a disaster area. i have to admit i was always really conscious of my greasy hair and was definitely paranoid at work that people were noticing it. but apparently they weren’t.
By the end of the first 6 weeks my hair was was looking healthy, soft and in better condition than it had ever been! the results were quite remarkable.
in the beginning i was combing my hair with a normal hair comb in the shower. but as the my hair degreased the level of dandruff created by my head didn’t decrease at the same rate. so i thought the best way to get rid of it was to just comb it out, so i went out a bought a bad assed nit comb.
Just using a nit comb and water in the shower does a good job of removing any loose hairs that might be ‘stray’ (thanks dad :C) and any dandruff that’s lurking about – as you physically scrape it off your head with the comb.
Now…some of you reading this may be embarrassed by the presence of a nit comb in your bathroom. but when I look at it, i know that its my only grooming er ‘instrument’ and i’m cool with that. PLUS its super useful/efficient and space saving if you go away traveling!
I would say that my hair is pretty short and has been varying lengths of short – shaggy since i started this whole thing. here’s a recent picture of me with post party hair
Lastly, not that I want to go too deeply into the subject BUT Ladies & Gents incase your wondering.. hygiene in the nether regions has neither been a problem or an issue. NO weird smells or odours and honestly I think the lack of soaps and other foreign chemical has actually had a positive effect. i think i smell great! women certainly don’t need to ever purchase ‘femfresh’ vaginal wipes or what ever the shit. that’s for sure.
So there we are. post done. after over two and a half years (30 months) of not using shampoo or conditioner i can honestly say i would never go back. I have found, that i simply do not need soap or shampoo in my life.