I was brought up thinking that unless I washed my hair daily, it would become a dreaded, greasy mess. So when I first learned about the ‘no poo’ movement I was extremely skeptical about its effects on my, what I thought to be, ‘healthy’ mane. What I learned and experienced, however, drastically changed my perception of healthy hair care and has changed my washing routine like fire did life.
Shampoo was initially created to remove sebum, a natural oil produced by the body, from the hair. Sebum, while beneficial, tends to collect oils, dirt, excess skin particles and other contaminants over time, all of which cause damage to your hair. It deserves to be stated that shampoo was rightfully created to solve one of society’s biggest problems at that time.
That said, from what started as a monthly luxury quickly became a dangerous dependency, exhibiting adverse effects and wreaking havoc on our luscious locks. This is so as modern, industrial shampoos are manufactured with a vast array of harmful chemicals. The combination of sulfates like dioxin, endocrine disruptors like phthalates, and the various harmful silicones and cheap oils used in most modern day industrial shampoos can cause itchy and dry scalp, thinning hair and clogged pores. To boot, as sebum is secreted by the hair’s sebaceous glands when dryness is detected, too much sebum is being produced to overcompensate for what’s lost in washing. This makes us feel like our hair is overly greasy and prompts us to wash it again as soon as possible.
It’s truly a vicious cycle, am I right?
Many of the aforementioned chemicals found in industrial shampoos serve as environmental hazards as well, oftentimes sneaking past very wastewater treatment plants that are designed to filter them out. Because of this, these harmful chemicals leach into our environment and are ingested by animals and ultimately by us.
We are headed in the right direction though. More and more people are coming to terms with the negative effects of over-washing and industrial shampoo, as can be seen with the plummet of shampoo sales in 2016. It’s evident that many of us are seeking a natural, simple and environmentally friendly solution to hair care. Banding together to form what’s known as the ‘no poo’ movement, we’re saying no to the chemicals and yes to the natural solutions. Whether that be all natural shampoo bars, baking soda, apple cider vinegar, or even water alone, there is a multitude of ways to have a clean, healthy head of hair using nothing but common household products or the very essentials that nature provides for us.
I’ve tried a few of these methods, most notably washing my hair with nothing but water for a few months. I really enjoyed this experience, and after going through the initial discomfort of allowing my sebaceous glands to recalibrate, I really felt the benefits of having clean, healthy and dandruff free hair after just two weeks. My wallet wasn’t complaining either! I unfortunately had to change my routine a few months back as I’m now living in an area with very hard water, which leaves a lot of buildup in my hair. Currently, I’m washing my hair with an all-natural and organic shampoo bar once a week, which is working very well!
I’ve found that the key to finding an effective ‘no poo’ solution is to test out the different methods before setting your heart on one in particular. There are many factors that play into finding your optimal ‘no poo’ solution such as water hardness, hair type and extracurricular activities. Your preference and frequency of use might differ from others based on these circumstances, so make sure to keep it in mind.
It’s oftentimes noted that living a healthy lifestyle means living a simple one. Going ‘no poo’ encompasses this notion entirely and even takes it a step further by working towards keeping our environment toxic free.
I wish you healthy and adventurous hair filled travels ahead!
Until next time, The Sustainable Guy out.
Photo credit goes to https://www.flickr.com/photos/bortescristian/.