It’s been over a year since I put shampoo on my hair. I made it through a whole season of backpacking without using the stuff, which was, in my mind, the true test of whether this would be viable for me long term. I was concerned that the level of dirt acquired on a long trip might require shampoo to clear out, but that turned out not to be the case. 

Now, to be fair, after one trip I did use a bit of bodywash on my hair to try and get the dirt out. But no shampoo, and very little soap, has touched my hair over the last 13 months. For the most part, I’ve been using baking soda 1 to 3 times per week, as I felt my hair needed a bit of degreasing. Otherwise, it’s just water and finger scrubbing. 

I have discovered that I can no longer use my hair to clean my nails like I did when I used shampoo. But I solved that one by moving my nail brush from its place next to the bathroom sink to a new home in the shower. I do have very short hair, which may contribute to this working as well as it is for me. I’m not sure if it would work nearly as well with longer hair – I’m growing mine out on top a little bit this winter, so I’ll see if that makes a difference. 

The thing that amazed me so much I had to share it with my husband the other day is that hair care products are kind of a racket. 

I used to shampoo and condition my hair on a daily basis (at least doing the hair routine every time I showered, if I wasn’t showering every day). And then I’d get frustrated because I couldn’t style it. Nothing I could do to my hair would make it do anything other than flop down flat unless I used a lot of product on it. And I do NOT like the smell of most hair products, so I avoided them and ended up keeping my hair up a lot when it was long. 

Now that I’m not using shampoo and conditioner, I can shower, and then brush my hair into a style – and it stays! Not perfectly, but well enough to amaze me. I don’t even have to use a blow dryer – though using one will help the style stay in place better. Or maybe I just like the warm air. 

At any rate, I’m glad to have figured out, however late, that my hair isn’t unstylable – it just needed me not to cleanse it. 

I don’t anticipate going back to using shampoo and conditioner now that I’ve tried living without it. It’s an added expense that doesn’t have any real benefits as far as I’m concerned. And it comes with one major drawback – that I need to shampoo every 4 days or I get headaches, even while backpacking. Until I find a benefit that outweighs that drawback, I’ll be sticking with my current hair routine. 

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