For most people washing your hair is a daily or weekly routine depending on how often you want to clean it or are advised to. But do we really need to wash our hair this often or at all?
Sometimes hair care can become a boring task and can end up costing an arm and a leg! Throughout history, think back to prehistoric times, would humans have worried about washing their hair? Most likely not, so why do we see it as being so important now?
We’re going to take a look at what would happen if we ditched the shampoo for a while.
Where did shampoo come from?
Shampoo or various forms of hair cleaning products have been used since the 1800s and at that time you were recommended to wash your hair once a month.
In 1927 a German inventor Hans Schwarzkopf created the world’s first-ever liquid soap. Then in the 1930s, a company based in Ohio called Procter & Gamble launched the first synthetic shampoo.
Since then the market for shampoo has only continued to grow. By the 1970s many ad campaigns were created to encourage people to wash their hair once a day, and since then it has become the norm.
Is shampoo bad for your hair?
You may think that using shampoo is great for your hair because it makes it clean, but in fact, it can be quite damaging. There is an underground movement in support of this, and their theory is called the “No Poo” method.
The theory of the no-poo method is that our hair contains natural oils and by using shampoos with harsh chemicals inside can strip away these natural oils. This leaves your hair in a bad condition and creates a dependency on the use of shampoo to treat your hair.
By not using shampoo you are saving your hair from this man-made disaster and will have healthier hair. It can be difficult to just cut out the shampoo, so alternatives are sometimes used, things like apple cider vinegar, baking soda or just water can be used as a gentle cleanser for your hair.
Why does breaking the cycle lead to healthier hair?
The key to having fresh-looking hair and not washing it is simple, but it is a long process. You simply stop washing it and break the routine!
On our scalp, we have sebaceous oil glands that naturally produce and release oil when the hair is starting to get dry.
Every time we wash our hair it dries it out and although you can use hair conditioner to smoothen hair, the gland will still produce oil.
If you wash your hair every day, then the glands will be overproducing to compensate for the dry hair and in turn, this will lead to greasy-looking roots.
This can lead to over washing hair and can result in your wanting to wash it again and hence you become stuck in a vicious cycle.
Depending on the hair type, products used previously, and how often you used to shampoo, it can take around 2-6 weeks for the glands to return to a normal healthy routine of producing oil.
So during this time your hair might not look great and might feel greasy because of the excess oil, but it is on its way to recovery.
There are many tips and tricks for making the transition easier, like brushing your hair more regularly to distribute oil through the hair.
Sometimes the best approach is to cut down the number of times you wash your hair per week, and gradually make it less and less.
Benefits of NOT washing your hair with chemicals.
By choosing to use alternative natural products or even just using water, you are already benefiting. Not just for the health of your hair but for your lifestyle.
Shampoos and some hair products can contain highly toxic chemicals, whilst it’s questionably okay to use on our hair and skin once it gets washed down the drain it can be really damaging to the environment if it is not filtered out properly.
The chemicals used can be harmful to wildlife and waterways. These products can also end up costing quite a lot each month or whenever you need to restock.
There are products in your home that double up as being a great hair cleanser.
As mentioned before kitchen items like vinegar and baking soda can be used to clean your hair, which will save you money over time.
There are also a variety of essential oil based products or even recipes to make your own cleansing mixtures that will leave your hair smelling and feeling wonderful.
This means you can cut down on your waste too. By using water or chemical-free products or not washing it at all, you will allow your hair to restore its natural oils and return to a healthier state.
Plus it means you will have more free time!
Are there any benefits of using shampoo?
There can be benefits to washing hair with shampoos, even synthetic ones that contain chemicals. By shampooing, you are removing dirt and dust from your hair which will in turn help reduce odors.
If you buy perfumed soaps or shampoos, this will leave your hair smelling fresh and fruity. If having greasy hair gets you down then shampooing is a quick fix to give you a little confidence.
A common misunderstanding is that head lice prefer dirty hair. This is however a myth as they don’t care about hair cleanliness, they are after any hair so they can feed on blood.
Washing your hair repeatedly will also not get rid of them as they can withstand being submerged in water for hours on end!
After looking into the research carried out by both medical and health professionals to enthusiasts in the hair and beauty industry, hair care really is a personal choice.
In most cases, there are few medical reasons as to why you should wash your hair or use certain shampoos.
So unless you have a pre-existing medical condition that may be affected by this, why not give it a try and see how long you can go without shampooing.