General Question

anonyjelly16's avatar

Stop Using Shampoo?

Asked by anonyjelly16 (747points) August 18th, 2008

I read this story which had the following comment on it:

“The simple answer to these problems is to leave your hair to look after itself.It does`nt need all these shampoos,conditioners etc.,they just destroy the natural balance that has taken millions of years to perfect.Cats,rabbits mink and all the other animals with the fur that we humans envy dont use these chemicals to keep clean.The lesson is just wash your hair in warm water,it will take a few weeks to settle down and restore the natural balance of oils but it works and the only losers will be the people who sell this junk.”

Is there any merit to this statement? What would happen if one stopped using shampoo? I asked someone about this and they said that a majority of shampoos have Sulfates which are alkaline and damage hair. This is why we have to follow up with conditioner to restore the natural balance of our hair.

So that makes me tend to believe that the comment was based on sound reasoning.

What do you think?

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59 Answers

richardhenry's avatar

I would like to give this a go, but I often use product in my hair, which is not something I would like to simply build up. Hah. I pay a fair bit for a good, very mild botanical shampoo and conditioner though – I think it’s worth it. Plus it smells great.

I know guys with very short hair that don’t bother to use a shampoo or conditioner, and they’re just fine. I’m not sure about longer hair.

shrubbery's avatar

I think it’s probably right, but I dunno about having absolutely manky hair for the few weeks in between just to see haha… Though I often use shampoo without following up with conditioner and besides being a bit knottier it isn’t too worse for the wear. Maybe I’ll try going without both in the holidays and let you know.

Skyrail's avatar

I’ve possibly tried washing my hair a few times without shampoo/conditioner just because we didn’t have any in the house to use, but taht was some time ago and I couldn’t give an accurate answer about what my hair was like.

I used to use conditioner a lot but I stopped and I did notice that my hair is not as soft anymore and it does get tangled quite quickly. My hair is quite long and thick and I do use shampoo, just because using water alone just causes it to become really matted and a complete nightmare to comb (which it is anyway).

Actually I’m just rambling, again, and I’ve forgotten the question, oh…er, I guess if I could go without shampoo/conditioner it’d be much cheaper for me in the future, but for now I’ll just continue to use shampoo. I’m not terribly bothered about it really. I’m more worried about pulling all my hair out with a comb haha.

Randy's avatar

I have very, very short hair. I usually use just the soap I use to wash my body with on my hair, but from time to time, I use the shampoo just to make sure that it gets clean.

(ps, I wish my hair was long)

cyndyh's avatar

If you’ve ever lived in a place that has very soft water you have to use very little shampoo or you’ll never be able to wash it all out. I got used to this for a few years, and your head and hair do adjust. But not using shampoo at all? I don’t know about that.

Lightlyseared's avatar

When I was at school a friend actually tried this and it does work. The only downside is that he spent 3 months with really really bad hair. If you have your hair in a short style and don’t use “product” then it might be worth the effort. But it will get worse before it gets better.

Seesul's avatar

I don’t think the animal argument has merit because spit contains enzymes, which is a natural cleaning solution. Animals also get hairballs and have to ralph them up regularly if they don’t pass through their systems. I’m not ready to start licking my hair or have the problem of eliminating hairballs. Soap was discovered for a reason and I think we’re better off for it, the purer the better.

I have very long hair, and shampoo it every day, but only once. I use conditioners as well for my hair and scalp. I’ve been told my hair is my best feature.

Judi's avatar

I’m going to watch this thread and see if any of you are brave enough to experiment. I did here once that a “Model Beauty Secret” was to NOT wash their hair the day of a big shoot.

generalspecific's avatar

that’s actually really interesting and i’d love to try it but not sure if i’m down with the whole nappy hair deal. i’ll consider it though. i’d just be afraid to, because after about 3 days my hair gets pretty greasy looking. but i dunno. i really don’t think i’m brave enough to do it. haha

heysupnm's avatar

I am a guy with short hair. I simply use a bar of carbolic soap for everything. I wash my hair everyday with that soap and I can confidently say that my hair looks and feels very healthy.

robmandu's avatar

With short hair, I think this is reasonable. Even with the use of product, assuming you’re using something very water soluble, it shouldn’t be a problem.

I rarely use shampoo/conditioner with my short hair… the exception being lots of dusty/dirty work outside, or after swimming in chlorinated pools.

I have wondered on occasion if I’ll ever try Miracle Soap… but have yet to pull the trigger.

gailcalled's avatar

@ath; Only one way to find out. Please report back.(When my hair fell out after chemo, myy scalp looked really nice without shampoo or conditioner.)

There are plants called soapwort that can be substituted for shampoo. It has been used for centuries…common name is “Bouncing Bet.”

Snoopy's avatar

I agree w/ others…..reasonable w/ short hair….but long hair? I think it would get nasty. Ick.

I can tell you that I don’t follow the wash, rinse repeat on the shampoo label. I firmly believe THAT is meant to make you use more so you buy more to help make the yacht payment for the CEO of the Co. that owns the shampoo line.

maybe that is a bit over the top. but not much

Snoopy's avatar

@Judi For my wedding, my stylist told me to not wash my hair the day of the wedding for my up-do or whatever it was called. Apparently if it is a little nappy, it is less slick and gums in place better.

I don’t think I was brave enough to do it though, as I recall

La_chica_gomela's avatar

Skipping shampooing one day, and skipping everyday are very different things. I never wash my hair twice in a row. Snoopy is right, if it’s been freshly shampooed, it does not stay in place as well. I’ve also been told not to wash my hair the day of my photo shoot. That’s completely unrelated to not washing your hair ever again.

There is a name for what happens when you have long hair and don’t wash it: dreadlocks.

It seems to me that black people (and other with similar hair texture) can have dreadlocks and wash them, and that works out fine, but whenever I meet white people with dreads, they say they don’t shampoo or condition, because it’ll take the dreads out. I don’t know how “clean” it is compared to animals, but I do know that it looks greasy and smells absolutely horrible.

cyndyh's avatar

Not washing and not combing or brushing are two very different things.

Judi's avatar

You can get dreads in blonde fine hair and still wash them. I had extensions in my hair and finally took them out when I started feeling little dreads at the roots in places. The reason they grew was because when you have extensions you have to use a special brush that doesn’t pull your hair and doesn’t de-tangle the hair as well from the scalp. I still washed it although it was every 3rd day instead of every other.

gooch's avatar

Cats, minks and dogs stink if you dont wash them. I will continue to use my shampoo from Whole Foods Market it is enviromentally safe and smells great!

gailcalled's avatar

You wash your cats? Method, please.

Judi's avatar

My daughter washes her cats. It’s crazy. She keeps her babies and her pets clean but her house is a mess!

gailcalled's avatar

Milo seems to spend half his waking hours in O/C grooming There is also the occasional bum slide across a rough bath mat, using front paws to propel himself. Altho I laugh, I assume he is scratching a little itch or removing some debris.

How could a cat get any cleaner?

robmandu's avatar

How to wash a cat.

- worthy of a second post, I think, even though gail‘s already seen it – ;-)

gailcalled's avatar

@Rob: after you, Ms. Rob and the Roblettes have tried this method, report back (unless the hospital doesn’t let you turn on cell phone.)

robmandu's avatar

heh… you got it… just visited my folks… they took in a couple of stray cats… and now have FIFTEEN!

They’ve managed to get ‘em all fixed and are now officially foster parents… but still. They’re the crazy cat people on the street now.

My mother sagely explains that, when she washes a cat, she’s found that they’re much more likely to relax if their feet are in firm contact with the sink during the process (although how else it would be done mystifies me… suspending the kitty (or dog or person even) some way above the wash area would freak anyone out).

gailcalled's avatar

Does your mother manage the bath alone or does she have a platoon of assistants?

robmandu's avatar

All by herself. The cat only spits and rowrs for a few minutes. I saw no bandages applied afterwards, but then she’s a nurse and probably has tricks of the trade to hide them.

gailcalled's avatar

OK. Where does she live and does she make housecalls?

beccalynnx's avatar

i started boycotting shampoo about a month ago. i have very very oily hair, so it got pretty gross after a week and a half. and then i kinda cheated. i grabbed a half-empty bottle of natural herb creamy shampoo and filled the rest up with plain water. i use this sparingly when my hair feels like it’s just plain dirty. (like after i go hiking or swimming in a lake.) amazingly, it’s a month later and my hair feels great. it’s not gross or greasy, and it’s curling more than every before.

it makes perfect sense to me. if we need to use conditioner after shampooing, why not just skip the shampoo in the first place? our body is able too keeps itself clean on it’s own.

but also, i must admit, i’ve been becoming quite a hippie. i stay away from chemicals as best i can.

generalspecific's avatar

@becca.. how long is your hair?

beccalynnx's avatar

it’s layered, hitting just below my shoulders.

generalspecific's avatar

well i found this really interesting product that seems to prove that theory right:

ita_vero's avatar

I don’t use shampoo so I find this whole thread kind of humorous. I use conditioner occasionally, whenever it strikes me, really – maybe once a week. I’m 24 yr. male and I’ve had long and short hair – either is fine. Long is great b/c your hair is thicker and it looks glossier w/o shampoo. Oil isn’t a problem after the initial grease phase. Abandoning shampoo was one of the best things I’ve done. I shower at least once a day, often twice, and I run 4 times a week. If smell becomes an issue, you can use the vinegar/baking soda/lavender approach; otherwise, I find it unnecessary. I’m not an expert but I’m also a very clean-cut guy, and I bet not a single peer would ever guess I ditched shampoo. give it a shot on vacation and just don’t look back.

gailcalled's avatar

@ita; Rx or proportions for the vinegar/baking soda/lavender approach. Lavender oil, sprigs, flowers? In shower or as a dry rub. This idea is news to me.

(Your scalp obviously never gets itchy after the first 6 days?)

generalspecific's avatar

@ita: how long was your “grease phase”?
my only problem is getting past that.. I just don’t know if I have the strength!

thatswhatshesaid's avatar

they did a study about this somewhere; my teacher told me about it in health class a long time ago. apparently the people’s hair got really rank and then after like, a month, it looked better than it ever had before. it’s a pretty interesting concept and i would love to try this, were it not for the…grossness of that month. i have places to go and people to meet, after all.

gailcalled's avatar

Check out the hair on the homeless – the ones sleeping in doorways or in cardboard boxes. Ever seen lustrous, beautiful tresses?

beccalynnx's avatar

ah. but they rarely have access to a comb or clean water.

gailcalled's avatar

beccalynnx: good point.

TaoSan's avatar

Not to forget, most animals that are so nicely fluffy and what not expend huge amounts of time grooming themselves. e.g cats. Their saliva serves as shampoo!

desiree333's avatar

wow this is all so interesting, im in school so i have to see tons of judgemental people everyday. I can just imagine the reputation my peers would develop for me. I would love to try this, lately I’ve become quite the hippie, buying natural things, staying away from chemicals etc. Im not sure i could last throughout the whole “grease phase” though, sounds pretty nasty, whoever is brave enough though to try this, i salute you!

generalspecific's avatar

chanel ≠ hippie
haha sorry, couldnt help myself

gailcalled's avatar

@general; how did you make the “is-not-equal-to sign”?

I have a Mac.

gailcalled's avatar

@general; Never mind. I found it. ≠

desiree333's avatar

@ generalspecific yeah i do like chanel because its a nice brand, and yeah other than buying natural shampoos and makeup etc. i do like the more glamorous things so im not saying i dress like a hippie or anything what i mean is i like using natural things when it comes to my health/beauty products. believe me i do realize that chanel is definetly not equal to hippie.

generalspecific's avatar

it’s all good, i just found it amusing

mrsgodzilla's avatar

Naw! One of the pleasures of washing with shampoo is the fragrant lather! I just bought my husband a name brand shampoo which has TeaTree Oil and Peppermint. It tingles. He says it is the best shampoo he has ever used and for him to even notice, much less comment on it shows how preferences in shampoos is so subjective. If you leave your hair to the elements, it is not going to be comfortable. The oils can have a strong odor, depending on your diet and body chemistry. Plus, when people get hot, their scalp sweats. Then, if your non shampooed hair is thick and on the dry side, you might see and feel mats starting to form. Oh no!!!! Give me soap and shampoo and lots of it. I want to feel sqeaky clean after I bathe or shower.

mamabeverley's avatar

@generalspecific I have seen the Wen system on t.v. and have considered trying it, but I have long thick hair and I am going through the “change” so I get night sweats really bad and have to shower all the time and I am really nervous about it. Have you tried it??

Piper_Brianmind's avatar

Yeah okay. The thing is, hair in guys has a different rooting than hair in women, and excess sebum (the oil that makes your hair look…..well…oily) can lead to balding. If guys don’t wash their hair at least twice a week, that sebum is gonna build up and they have a prrrrrrettty high chance of being a bald man in the future. Do read.

evegrimm's avatar

@gailcalled, if you’re still interested in the baking soda/vinegar technique, here’s a link. (That website has some great info about other things, too. Or you can just type ‘no-poo’ in a search engine for more takes on it.)

I no longer use commercial shampoo on my hair and have noticed that I can go a lot longer between showers without the grease-ball effect. It used to be, every other day was pushing it. Now I shower maybe twice a week? (Less, if I can get away with it. I’m like a cat and hate to get wet.)

Although the no-poo method works well for some people, I found that my hair started complaining after a while, probably because of the aforementioned greasiness or due to the fact that I have a lot of hair, and it’s growing longer. (If you have shoulder-length or shorter hair, and/or it’s fine or thin, the no-poo method would probably work well for you.)

Dr Bronner’s bar soap, however, works great on my hair and is super cheap (~$4, less if on sale, and it’s a hard cold-cast soap, so it lasts a long time). I also do a vinegar rinse to close the cuticle and help cut any remaining grease. (I also missed lathering up. ...what?)

gailcalled's avatar

@evegrimm: I used lemon juice as a child. thereby not smelling like salad dressing.

Pandora's avatar

This is interesting. When my daughter was in swim team her hair was always a mess. A beautician told me that the clorine was stripping her hair and the best thing to do was not wash it with shampoo because it only made it worse. She claimed the same thing and told me that shampooing wasn’t necessary. All we should do was rinse it out with cool water afterwards and before going to the pool and after to apply sun screen lotion to protect it from the pool and in the summer it would protect it as well. She said people also forget that cold winds, hats , and summer sun an heat destroy your hair and that wearing sunscreen will protect it. I tried what she said and it saved her hair. It was becoming really brittle. Now and days she only applies it in the summer when its too sunny or humid. Its great for frizzies and helps prevent them.

El_Cadejo's avatar

Im gonna go ahead and resurrect a dead question here. My girlfriend trance24 convinced me to stop washing my hair after she had stopped washing hers. Its been about 3 months for her and just over a month for me. I gotta say both her and my hair feels great. It actually seems like it takes longer for it to get dirty. She used to have some dandruff and since stopping with the shampoo it has stopped.

So I have to go ahead and say its a great idea to give up the whole shampoo conditioner thing.

arnbev959's avatar

Last month I didn’t have access to shampoo or conditioner or any of that sort of thing, so I washed my hair using only water. When I got back to civilization, my hair seemed healthier than it did before I left, so I continued using only water. Before this I almost needed those chemicals every time I showered in order to make my hair feel normal. It’s nice not having to think about whether the shampoo bottle is almost empty.

Sooo, I agree with uber. Great idea to give it up.

verycole's avatar

You know this might actually be correct, shampoo usually contains all sorts of weird stuff that do more harm rather than making your hair healthier.

Definitely should switch to using some organic or more natural shampoos, most of these have less chemicals in them.

This is actually a good idea, I should give it a try myself.

PetLoverHi's avatar

Plant some Awapuhi and use it for both shampoo and conditioner . It really does work wonders.
Check out this link:

murphy56's avatar

ok, I have decided to try the no poo and so far so good. my hair is fairly normal to dry.. mid length and I went the first 7 days then caved for a social event. the next 7 days were not to bad, I did shampoo on the 14th day. I am on my 4th week and my hair feels good and I don’t think it ever really got gross. I shower almost every day and give my scalp a good scrub with warm water. before my hair was dry and the color didn’t last. I was obsessed with shampooing every day and now I feel better about my hair.

El_Cadejo's avatar

@murphy56 It’s been 3 years for me now without shampoo my hair has never been healthier than when I decided to give up using it. It’s kinda funny, people often comment on my hair and how nice and soft/healthy it looks and then I tell them that I don’t use shampoo or conditioner at all and then they just kinda look at me like I’m crazy :P

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