Photos courtesy of ELLE
Let me just start by saying this: My hair is ridiculously thick, coarse and curly. I've been at war with my locks for years; wearing it natural was never an option, since no matter how much product I used, it would end up frizzy and massive. Straightening was always a lengthy process, and any kind of humidity meant it'd frizz right back up and once again become unmanageable. It felt like a battle I could never win.
But today, the majority of my aforementioned hair woes are a thing of the past. While I still don't roll out of bed with flawless locks, thanks to a change in my hair care routine, my hair is now the healthiest (and prettiest) it's ever been.
How did I change my hair so radically? By giving up - wait for it - shampoo. I know it sounds a little crazy, but I swear it works, and if you can handle it, you'll likely get amazing results like mine.
Ready to undergo your own hair transformation? Read on to learn more about the "No Shampoo" method!
The "No 'Poo" Method
1. Either eliminate or seriously limit the use of shampoos with sulfates.
2. Use a clear gel to help keep frizz away.
3. Handle the hair in a very gentle manner.
Why no shampoo or sulfates? NaturallyCurly also explains the three main theories behind the method:
1. Most commercial shampoos contain surfactants that are too harsh for [curly] hair and tend to rob hair of moisture.
2. [Curly] hair tends to be more porous than straight hair, which makes totally rinsing out all traces of shampoo virtually impossible, and that residue causes frizz.
3. Most conditioners contain mild surfactants that, paired up with a little manual friction, are capable of lifting off dirt, debris and excess oil from the scalp and hair.
After hearing about the method from my friend, I figured I might as well give it a go, since I'd tried everything else, even though the idea of cutting out shampoo seemed odd to me. After all, though my ends were always very dry, my scalp had a tendency to get oily if I didn't wash my hair every single day, and I figured that foregoing shampoo would make this even worse. Plus, wouldn't no shampoo mean that I would have dirty hair?!
My Experience with the "No Shampoo" Method
So despite my skepticism, I decided I had nothing to lose, and jumped headfirst (ha) into the "no shampoo" world. My friend warned that there would be a "transition period" in which my hair wouldn't look so hot, but told me to tough it out because the end result would be so worth it.
And, of course, my friend was right - for the first few days, my hair did look a little more dull and greasy than normal, but by the second week, I noticed a definite improvement.
Now that the transition period has passed, I can officially say that my hair is the healthiest it's ever been, and it's never looked better! I never thought my hair would consistently look this shiny and soft and be so easy to manage, but following this method has definitely given me amazing results. (And, I promise, my hair is clean!)
My Current Hair Routine
To keep my hair looking great, I now wash my hair with a sulfate-free shampoo about once every ten days, condition about 4-5 times a week, and use an oil treatment on my ends such as Moroccan Oil. (Tip: A much cheaper alternative that gives similar results is One 'n Only Argan Oil - just be sure that you're not using too much; a little bit truly goes a long way, and using too much will make your hair greasy!)
Photo courtesy of Elle
Advanced: Extra Hair Care Tips for Curly Girls
If you're ready to take the plunge into the "no shampoo" method, for best results, I recommend following the rules below, which are a little more detailed than the basic rules listed above. I follow these tips myself, and they work great for me.
- Either cut out shampoo all together, or sporadically use a sulfate-free shampoo. Not sure if your shampoo contains sulfates? Read the ingredients! Common sulfates found in shampoos include sodium lauryl sulfate and sodium laureth sulfate, among others. These chemicals will dry out your hair, which will make your curls even frizzier and harder to manage. Harsh shampoos also strip your hair of its natural oils, which makes your scalp start secreting even more oils, leaving you with greasy hair.
- Instead of shampooing, massage a light conditioner onto your scalp as you would shampoo. Alternatively, you can try doing an apple cider vinegar rinse. Cleansing with a sulfate-free shampoo or with a light conditioner will still adequately clean your hair, so don't worry about your hair being dirty!
- Use a silicone-free conditioner to moisturize your hair. This website has a great list of some 'cone-free conditioners, ranging from drugstore to organic to high-end - there's something for every budget and lifestyle!
- Always rinse your hair with cold water to lock in moisture and shine - hot water can damage fragile hair even further.
- If your hair is curly, stop brushing - it causes frizz! Instead, de-tangle your hair in the shower with your fingers or a wide-toothed comb.
- Don't towel dry! Instead, use an old t-shirt, paper towels, or a microfiber towel to gently remove the excess water from your hair. You may also want to try a technique known as "plopping."
- If at all possible, stop using hair dryers. Your hair becomes damaged from the heat, and hair dryer + curls = frizz. If you cannot live without your hair dryer, use a diffuser. However, air drying is the best and most gentle way to dry your hair. Remember: Don't touch your curls while they're drying - doing so will cause more frizz.
- Be sure to visit a hairdresser a few times a year to remove any dead ends.
Try the Method Yourself!
Of course, just because this method worked so well for my hair type doesn't necessarily mean everyone will get the same results. Everyone's hair is different, and, accordingly, everyone's hair will respond differently to the regime.
But if you feel like you're fighting a losing battle with your wavy or curly hair, or think ditching the harsh chemicals will be more environmentally friendly and healthier for your hair, you may as well give it a try! Just remember, there will be a short period in which your hair needs to get used to this new method (how long depends on the individual), but give it time: Your hair isn't going to magically become healthy overnight, so results won't be immediate - don't let this discourage you!
What Do You Think?
Do any of you follow this hair care routine? Do you have a success story, or was your experience more like a horror story? Anyone thinking of trying it out? Have any unconventional hair care tips to share? Let us know!