No Poo (Shampoo That Is)

You may or may not have heard of a new trend not to use shampoo.  For those of you who have taken Pilates with me for a while or who regularly read this blog, you know that a few months ago, inspired by Joseph Pilates, I went one month without using soap.  I don’t know Joseph Pilates’ opinion on shampoo, but I assume he might have agreed with the no-poo trend.

I’ve been wanting to try is, but I’m quite nervous given that I have a lot of curly hair (see my blog picture if you doubt me).  I really don’t like when my hair gets the least bit oily or greasy and even though everyone says your body will find a proper balance, I find it hard to believe. 
I have not yet taken the no-poo challenge, but I know people who have.  My boyfriend, Matt, has not used shampoo in months.  You’d never know it.  His hair is nice.  It’s not greasy.  The first week he stopped using (as if shampoo is addictive) his hair was a little greasy, but his scalp quickly found an appropriate balance.  All he does is rinse his hair every day in the shower and scrub his scalp with a bristled brush.  Yeah, right.  I can’t imagine how long it would take me to get all the snarls out of my hair after brushing.  I can’t help but feel that it’s easier for a guy.
When I read about people who go poo-free it sounds like they have straight hair.  They talk about brushing their hair daily to spread the natural oils throughout the hair.  I just can’t do that–my hair doesn’t get brushed.  And I’m not sure where conditioner falls on the no-poo agenda, but I don’t think it is appreciated.  I can’t pick my hair without conditioner.  Matt has a theory: perhaps if I stop using shampoo my hair won’t get snarled and I won’t need conditioner. (Given that he still keeps my hair in a ponytail in a plastic bag in the closet from the last time I got it cut and he was sad, I don’t think he wants to see the day I have to chop my locks off because dreads developed after a month of no shampoo and no conditioner.)
So I’m still undecided.  Part of me says today is your last day with shampoo for at least a month.  Part of me says wait until this bottle runs out.  Part of me says I must be crazy, but the other part really believes in the many benefits of not using products.  So, if you see me in the very near future and my hair isn’t looking it’s best, please know I’m not being dirty.  I’m experimenting.  Experimenting with the body and what it can do is something I preach in Pilates.  I think it’s getting near time I get a little more brave and stop pooing my hair. Thoughts?
For anyone who is interested in going without shampoo (assuming my words are that inspirational) here are a couple links to people who have done it (I didn’t notice any photos though):

About the Author:

Maggie Downie
Thank you for giving your time to stop and read my blog. I hope it encourages you to keep moving. Move and the body will be happier. And when you're moving you can hike, run, swim in Jell-O, race over non-Newtonian fluids, travel the world or build igloos--if that's your thing. If not, you can watch me do it. This is just a spot to try and feel good about life.


  1. Anonymous November 5, 2008 at 3:21 pm - Reply

    Wow, This is nice article. its very useful tips for hair maintaining in everywhere. this is very important style look for woman’s. your advice is quietly nice to me. thanks……..

    Anna- Designer PetLine Cat Shampoo

  2. Megan B January 23, 2009 at 6:06 pm - Reply

    Hey Maggie,

    1. I did this a few summers ago (well, more than a few), when I lived on an island with no plumbing. My hair was probably about shoulder-length, and while I did have the ease of straight hair, I also had the greasy-shows-a-lot-and-fast of straight hair. It took about 3 weeks to adjust. We went swimming in the ocean about once a week, and that seemed to be almost necessary to keep anyone with straight and thin hair from looking too greasy, even after the adjustment period. The curly-haired, thick-haired and short-haired folks didn’t seem to show if they missed swimming.

    2. Then there’s my husband. He has waist-length hair, the consistency of Stidfole’s. Seriously. Biggest white-man-fro you’ve ever seen when he leaves it down. He keeps it braided nearly always, and washes it without product about once a month to month-point-five. He needs either conditioner or about 3 hours to untangle it enough to braid, but he’s been doing this for years, and his hair is gorgeous, and not dread-y.

    3. My best buddy does water testing, and as she progressed through grad school, she gradually became more and more conviced that, after caffeine and synthetic estrogen, some of the things that make conditioners work are the most detrimental and hardest to remove from the groundwater. Between that, frustration with sensitive skin, and just not being that girly, I’m sure trying to get away from product. Sometimes hair needs a little fat-molecule-based help, though. Olive oil works great. I imagine other oil would too. If you find the right temperature to set the shower to, you can rinse it out enough to not have it cakey and gross, but not so much as to negate having used it.

    If you do go without, I’d be curious to hear how it goes, and what tricks, etc, you learn.

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