Not too long ago a friend of mine told me that he had stopped using shampoo to wash his hair, instead electing to just use clean, warm water and conditioning every 1-2 days. Somewhat baffled by this statement (and the fact that his hair didn’t look greasy or dry, it looked great) I went away with hundreds of questions about the idea and what the benefits were. The biggest question was: can I improve the health of my hair and scalp by removing shampoo from my grooming routine?
A Little Background
I suffer from a very minor scalp condition and have done for the last 2 years or so. The condition itself is a mild case of Folliculitis and causes a few spots to grow on my scalp, they aren’t visible or obvious but they are irritating and can become painful.
I’ve tried a variety of treatments including tea-tree shampoos (because of the oil’s anti-bacterial property), scalp masks and even a course of mild antibiotics which were prescribed after a doctor had examined my scalp. None of these provided a long-term solution to the problem and I found myself losing hope in ever finding a cure.
I began asking questions online, searching for case studies, similar experiences and advice that would give me some perspective on this theory and whether it would be a feasible suggestion. It turned out there was a fair amount of substance to the idea that shampoos can do more damage than good. In a piece written by Healthy Hair Resources I found that many of the sulfates used in shampoos that produce a lot of lather are actually incredibly harsh chemicals that can actively damage or agitate your scalp. Quartz published a similar article discussing the harshness of modern shampoos and how they affect the health of our scalp and hair.
What the majority of research boiled down to was the idea that the more you use shampoo, the more your body tries to compensate for its effects. By continuously cleansing your scalp and hair your body feels the need to produce more oils, which in turn can result in agitated follicles and more oily hair.
Stopping The Shampoo
After all of this research and time spent reviewing case studies and blogs, I decided to stop washing my hair with shampoo and rely instead of warm water. At first my hair did become a little greasier though not noticeably so and by the time I was 5 days in my body had acclimatised to the new routine. However, it then went a little too far and my hair began to feel a little dry, I remedied this by using a very mild conditioner every 2 days to help give it some moisture.
The conditioning became less-and-less regular and now I only condition once or twice a week. My hair feels healthy and strong while my scalp condition has all but disappeared. The irritation and painful spots have gone and my scalp is smooth. I am by no means saying that this is a certainty for everyone, but there is some element of confidence in knowing that your body isn’t relying on products.
Considering Trying It Yourself?
If you wish to try this for yourself, there are some things you can do to help the transition:
- Use a cleansing conditioner if you’re concerned with the cleanliness of your hair.
- Ensure the shower water you’re using is not too hot as this can agitate the skin on the scalp.
- Try to use natural hairstyling products that are water soluble to prevent buildup on the hair.
So that’s how I gave up washing my hair with shampoo and the benefits associated. Make sure to check out the individual channels for more advice and tips. Let us know what you think in the comment section below and if you’ve enjoyed the article then feel free to comment, like and/or share it with your friends/followers.
By Adam Walker