Ever since I stopped using conditioner and only washing my hair once a week, my hair has started looking nearer to a normal person’s hair, that is to say: more like hair. My friend Annie suggested I join her in her unholy quest to banish shampoo from her life. I came across Antigone XXI’s blog post (it’s in French) which has an incredible 2,695 responses. And I told myself:
If a beautiful, successful French chick is doing this and is happy with the outcome, it’s time to jump in with both feet! Annie! AntigoneXXI! Wait for me!
There are literally hundreds of blog posts out there effectively describing life without shampoo, but I liked AntigoneXXIs best because she’s a genuinely funny woman – and that’s beautiful. So for those of you who were perhaps not paying full attention in French lessons, roughly translated here is Antigone XXI‘s ideology and method:
According to her, shampoos – no matter how organic they are labeled as – are not natural: they actually damage your hair (greasy roots and dry ends… you know the story), are bad for the environment, are often tested on animals and are darn expensive.
So here is the how-to:
- Progressively lengthen the time between shampoos. So if you wash your hair every day – in some cases, twice a day – go to every two days. At the time of writing I wash my hair every Sunday.
- Brush your hair every day, for a couple of minutes each time. You do not need any posh brushes, good old synthetic will do, but you know, whatever floats your boat.
- Only use her tried and tested hair washing formula – see below.
- In between shampoos, use starch, such as potato or maize flour, or green clay in your hair. Apply a tablespoon to your scalp and massage through to the ends. Then brush and bingo – clean-smelling hair, apparently.
- Eventually, space out the hair washing more and more, until you only ever use water.
So then, this is how you actually wash your hair with her hair washing formula:
Before you get in the bath or shower, or wherever it is you wash your hair (a waterfall?) get the following ready:
- A large bowl with a couple of tablespoons of baking soda (bicarbonate of soda) – if yours in in crystals, put it in a blender or a mill till you have a fine powder. Add a little water – mix it to a paste that looks like shampoo. UPDATE: Use 3 tablespoons of bicarb, as I found that 2 weren’t enough.
- A glass of cold water with a couple of tablespoons either of lemon juice or cider vinegar, added to which is a few drops of Ylang Ylang essential oil. Actually, there are a whole host of essential oils you could use – ginger for falling hair or sea buckthorn CO2 for sensitive and itchy scalps, for example.
Once in the bath / shower / waterfall, soak your hair thoroughly first.
Now massage your scalp and roots with the creamy bicarb paste, working through to the ends of your hair. Do not leave any section out – you will certainly notice any patches you left out later on. She says that the best is to let your head hang over the bowl as you work. There will be no suds or foam, okay?
Rinse your hair thoroughly. Then pour over the contents of the glass of vinegar / water / ylang ylang, letting it soak into all areas of your hair. Remember that vinegar foams up like a devil when in contact with bicarb so don’t let the two touch.
Apparently the vinegar smell disappears almost instantly, and the effect is to restore the acid balance of your hair, leaving it soft, silky and manageable – what does that claim remind you of?
OK so as of today 21 December 2014 I am TAKING THE CHALLENGE, PEOPLE! I’ll post again in a few weeks to let you know how it goes.
Are you ready to jump in with me? Let me know how it goes. Do you already live a full, beautiful and silkily manageable life with no shampoo? Testify! And if you think that this blog post would help someone jump right in with me, Annie and the rest, feel free to spread the love.
I have washed my hair with the bicarbonate paste and rinsed it with the lemon juice / ylang ylang solution (just run out of cider vinegar) and wow, my hair smells great and it’s soft and clean. Who’s up for joining the challenge?
It’s now just over one month into my no shampoo challenge. I now wash my hair every 8. My hair is softer, easier to take care of, and just all-round nicer. So, what’s keeping you?