Cutting out shampoo and conditioner could be the best thing for your hair
When it comes to my hair I'm definitely a low-maintenance girl. If there's one thing I'd cut out of my routine, to make it even less time-consuming, it would be the whole shampoo/conditioner palaver. My hair is long, there's lots of it and it takes forever to wash, condition, comb through and dry. I'm happy to ditch the hairdryer but going without washing for more than a couple of days leaves me feeling grotty.
So I was interested to read about lifestyle blogger Kayleigh Conway of Blue Jeans White Tee and her ongoing haircare experiment. Surrey-born Kayleigh, 28, has gone without "normal" shampoo and conditioner for almost an entire year, as part of her commitment to greener living.
And guess what? Her hair looks gorgeous.
Former journalist Kayleigh decided to go "no 'poo" in March 2015 after reading an article about no 'poo blogger Lucy Aitken Read, who hadn't used shampoo for over two years. "I thought her hair looked absolutely gorgeous," Kayleigh told SheKnows. "I started reading more about it and decided that if all these other women could do it, then so could I."
Since then Kayleigh has been washing her hair with natural alternatives to shampoo, including eggs, baking soda, clay, aloe vera juice, coconut oil and vinegar, experimenting with different combinations to determine what worked best for her.
Kayleigh admits that the process was difficult in the early stages. "It's what I now affectionately call 'The Gunk,'" she said. "My hair went beyond greasy and started producing this thick, waxy substance at the roots which made it difficult to style my hair [sic] — even ponytails couldn't disguise it at one point!"
"I wore my hair in ponytails and buns every time I left the house, and I actually bought a fashion turban to hide my roots!" Kayleigh added. "I didn't have the confidence to wear it out though so I just let my hair down and put the turban on the second I got home to give my aching scalp a rest."
Advocates of a no 'poo life believe that regular shampooing with "normal" products leads to a vicious cycle: shampoo strips the hair of its natural oils (sebum), the scalp produces more sebum to replace this and shampoo is required to compensate.
No 'poo devotees believe that a gradual reduction in shampoo will slow down the production of sebum and that, by breaking the cycle, the hair will be less greasy and therefore need less shampoo.
Eight weeks into the process, after investing in some pricey raw, vegan, paleo, gluten-free and wild-crafted Morrocco Method products, Kayleigh felt she was finally coming through the initial detox process, which she partly attributes to Rhassoul clay.
"It was brilliant, I gave my hair a quick scrub in the shower with it and managed to go to a Christening with it," she wrote on her blog. "I also finally plucked up the courage to post a Facebook status announcing my wavy, fluffy hair was shampoo-free."
While Kayleigh is still experimenting with different hair-washing methods (she admits the "research never stops" and that her "hair needs are constantly changing"), she's definitely a no 'poo convert. Since giving up "normal" shampoo and conditioner, she's noticed numerous benefits: patches of dry skin behind her ears have cleared up, she can leave her hair longer between washes (and it still looks and feels fresh) and her hair is much more manageable, meaning less need for heated appliances.
Kayleigh's no 'poo hair styling routine is quick and easy: "I towel dry my hair, comb any tangles out and let it air dry, and if I have a special occasion I might straighten the ends, so now styling takes up about five minutes of my time if that.
"Now I can feel what my hair feels like — it’s thicker and just as shiny as before, and without all the silicones coating my strands I can now do whatever I want with my freshly washed hair."