I have joined a movement. Though I didn’t realize that’s what I was doing when I made the decision to stop shampooing my hair. 

It wasn’t a decision that I made lightly; I have, for years, known that when I go too long between shampoos, I get a headache. Not a little headache, a big, draining, all-consuming headache that WILL NOT go away until I shampoo my hair (and I usually need a good night’s sleep in addition to that before it totally goes away). 

Last week, I was on vacation. I washed my hair on Monday evening, but then I didn’t have another chance to shower until Thursday. And I thought, I should try just rinsing my hair with water and see if I can defer the headache. Why not? I’m on vacation – worst case scenario is I start getting a headache and cave into the need to shampoo.

I made it through Thursday and Friday and Saturday without getting a headache. I showered each day and combed my hair in the shower to try to get any dirt out. On Sunday, I decided to do a baking soda wash, which I’d read was a substitute that “no poo” people use. 

No Poo is the name of the movement. I didn’t make it up, I swear. There’s a website and everything! 

It’s been over a week now. I’m trying to give the whole experiment at least 6 weeks, to give my hair plenty of time to decide how to behave without shampoo after decades of near-daily shampooing and conditioning. My hair doesn’t smell bad, though it does smell like hair. No dandruff or dirt build up or oil build up yet. More important – no headache yet. 

I’m glad that my hair is as short as it is, since I’ve read that folks with longer hair can have a harder time doing this. But I think I need a haircut anyway – the big question on my mind is: what will my stylist think??

The biggest reason for stopping the shampoo is that it clearly has physical effects on me. I know that shampoo is safe enough to be sold as a consumer product, but that doesn’t mean that my particular body likes those chemicals to be applied constantly. If I can get “addicted” to shampoo, if shampoo withdrawal causes real and consistent symptoms, then I want to see what happens when I quit that addiction. 

And there might be a smidge of me thumbing my nose at the systems of the world. Next up: bra burning 😉

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