Are there benefits to skipping shampoo?

By Mina Radman • Published: August 21st, 2012
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

It turns out there could be a hidden secret for healthy hair … but you’re going to have to get dirty first if you want to give it a try.

In recent years, a shampoo-free lifestyle has become an underground trend, inspired by penny-pinchers, eco-friendly people looking to use fewer products and beauty enthusiasts angling for untapped beauty secrets.

The “no poo” movement encourages people to ditch the shampoo bottle in favor of homemade cleaning solutions and conditioner-only washing. Some dermatologists and hair stylists say ditching shampoo or going a few days between washes can actually improve the health of your hair.

So why the turning tide against shampoos? Many commercial shampoos contain harsh detergents and chemicals, including sodium laureth sulfate and sodium lauryl sulfate, which strip hair of natural oils. This causes the scalp to produce even more oil to stay healthy. This vicious cycle of stripping and greasing makes it seem impossible to go a day without washing.

Want to try life without shampoo? There are several methods.

Some people use only hot water to rinse the hair, while others use gentle conditioners the same way they would use shampoo. Most alternative shampoos use two products in your pantry: baking soda and apple cider vinegar. Mix one tablespoon of baking soda with one cup of water, shake, and spray on in the shower.

Be prepared for a two- to six-week transition as your scalp learns to scale back oil production. Hair may look greasy during that time, but will be healthier, more voluminous and less frizzy afterward.

Dermatologists say there’s nothing wrong with daily shampooing … but there’s nothing gross about waiting a few days between washes, either. And who knows? Your hair and wallet might both end up a little thicker.