One of the all-time most popular posts here on Simple Mom is about my hair. In that I don’t wash it. Almost two years old, and this post still gets at least one comment per day, it still makes its way around Twitter, and people in real life still ask me all sorts of questions.
I wonder sometimes if those people are closely inspecting my hair, wondering if I hide spider webs underneath, or if it would smell like — I dunno, something gross if they came too close.
Reader Sandra recently wrote and asked:
“I have been reading your blog and found the no shampoo post interesting. I see it was posted a while back — are still doing it, and if so, how your hair is today? I started to do this last week and I am finding my hair very dry and tangled. I am wondering if this is part of the process, or if I am doing something wrong.”
I suppose it’s time for a hair update. Because I know you’re all on the edge of your seats, wondering if I haven’t washed it in 24 months.
Yep, I still don’t wash my hair… in the traditional sense, that is. I still do what I shared in that post two summers ago — I use a simple mix of baking soda and water to cut the typical grime, and I follow it with apple cider vinegar to keep it smooth and shiny.
No shampoo, no conditioner.
Now, in my last trimester with Finn, I did use a gentle, natural shampoo because my hormones were out of control and it showed in my hair. I didn’t have the patience to tweak the right baking soda-water ratio. No conditioner was necessary though; good ol’ vinegar was still fine.
And a few weeks after his birth, I was back to baking soda.
What about the rest of your family?
Kyle tried baking soda for awhile, but he just didn’t like it, so he uses either a natural shampoo or castile soap, which we also use on our skin. Either of these work well for him, and it still saves us boatloads of money each year.
I hardly wash my kids’ hair at all. Honestly, they just don’t need it very much because they don’t have the hormones activated that cause the grease. The only time they really need a cleaning is when their hair is caked with yogurt, oatmeal, and who-knows-what. It also gets washed a bit more often in the summer with the pool chlorine.
Don’t mind the goofy face. If you’ve ever had a three-year-old boy, you know what it’s like to take photos.
Just because it’s easy, I use whatever natural soap on their hair that I’m already using on their skin. After her shower, Tate also uses a natural detangler to tame her otherwise nest.
This works perfectly for them.
I don’t think it’s a major deal if you choose to use shampoo, conditioner, and other hair products — this method is simply what I’ve chosen for my family. But I do think it’s important that you make an educated choice.
My original poo-free post shares my reasons for skipping the shampoo, so you can decide for yourself and sleep well at night, knowing you’ve made a thoughtful choice. I simply want you to know that there are alternatives to “traditional” hair care.
When the weather is drier (like in the winter, or in less humid environments like our new home in Oregon), I also like to finish my clean hair with a tiny dab of hair butter — oh my goodness, this stuff is heavenly.
1. Doesn’t the vinegar smell?
Not at all. Sure, it does when you pour it on, but as soon as you rinse it off, it’s gone. Unless you put essential oils in either of these mixes, your hair will smell like… nothing.
2. What amounts do you use?
For me, one tablespoon baking soda to one cup water works well. If I do more, my hair feels strawlike; less, and my hair doesn’t feel clean. This amount will last me about two cleanings.
I use about a quarter cup of apple cider vinegar to one cup water, and I use this very sparingly. It lasts a really long time.
My mother-in-law brilliantly mixed a large batch of both and keeps them under her bathroom sink, making it easy to refill the bottles in her shower.
3. How often do you clean your hair?
Depends on the season (both the year’s and my body’s). On average, I’d say I do this about every four or five days. My hair doesn’t create needless, extra oil because I’m not stripping it with shampoo, so it doesn’t require cleaning more often than this.
4. What do you put the stuff in?
Simple squeeze water bottles with a drinking valve. But I don’t drink it.
5. I tried this, and my hair is too crunchy/oily/dry/icky feeling. What did I do wrong?
Probably nothing; you just need to tweak your recipe. I’m not an expert, so I can’t dispense too much wisdom on the matter. I know some people prefer honey over vinegar, or making a simple paste of baking soda with a few drops of water. Play around, Sandra.
6. What’s the benefit, really? Shampoo isn’t the evil or evils.
No, it’s not. But it’s one small thing my family does, and we reap the benefits. It saves us gobs of money in haircare products, we feel like our hair (and therefore our bodies) is healthier, and we’re not contributing to the environmental impact it takes to make traditional shampoo.
Plus, it just makes things… simple. It works for us.
I know a number of you are shampoo-free. What’s your experience?