Tuesday, 9 March 2010


Did I mention that I haven't used shampoo for more than seven months?

At the beginning of August last year, I stopped using shampoo. I get fed up with the advertising claims made by all the different sorts of shampoo, and basically I just don't like the strong detergents that they all have, specifically SLS (sodium lauryl sulphate and sodium laureth sulphate), and over the months it has become clear that my hair is much, much better off without them.

The other side of the coin here, is that if I'm not going to use detergents on my hair, then I have to be careful not to put anything on it that is going to need detergents to remove it. This means no silicones - or rather, no silicones that are not water-soluble.

Looking at the product ingredients on the side of the bottle can be very confusing when you are not a chemist - and that certainly includes me. I did a bit of research, and from what I have gathered (at the very simplest level, because that's what I need) it seems that silicones come in two types, one of which needs detergent to remove it, and one that doesn't.

Silicones usually end in -cone, -conol, or -xane. Like dimethicone, dimethiconol, simethicone, cyclopentasiloxane. These I am careful to avoid.

Silicones that are removable using water alone have 'copolyol' or 'PEG -something' in front of them or after them. Like PEG-10 dimethicone, or dimethicone copolyol, or copolyol dimethicone. These I find are ok.

But please don't think that not using shampoo means not washing my hair! I wash my hair maybe two or three times a week, and I can promise you my hair and scalp are just as clean and nice and pleasant smelling as they ever were when I used shampoo - and in much better condition.

I soak my hair thoroughly in the shower. You know how sometimes it doesn't easily get wet all the way through to the scalp? Well, it has to be soaked through. Then I add conditioner - plenty of it.

I take care to use a conditioner with no 'bad' silicones - this usually means a cheap conditioner. Morrison's Value conditioner at 24p for 500 ml is just fine. Currently I'm using Boots Essentials Conditioner for Dry Hair - 54p for 500ml. And there are many others.

Then I scrub my scalp with my fingertips - really scrub, I mean. This is key. I scrub for a couple of minutes. I spread the conditioner through my hair, I comb through with my fingers, and then I use one of those detangler combs. And then I rinse thoroughly, scrubbing the scalp some more.


It works for me.


tinebeest said...

Delurking here: You're not the first one I heard this sort of story from. Personally, I am a Lush fan (just a happy customer, not paid for advertising!) . The shampoos still have SLS in them I believe, but I love the little bars: handy to take everywhere, no plastic bottles, and they last for ever and a day.

Lush also makes my favourite conditioner: Jungle. It is solid, smells heavenly, tamed my long fine hair before it got chopped, and leaves every hairdresser I have come across wondering how I keep my hair in such great condition. A bit tricky to use at first, Jungle is worth the initial trouble :-)

Fiona said...

I know where you're coming from here! I used to love Lush - Seanik and Jungle were my preference, so convenient for travel, and they lasted ages! And they smelled so gorgeous, too. But every last one of the solid shampoos has SLS, and so - much to my surprise - so does Jungle. :(

I do miss it, and I very much wish that they'd make a solid shampoo and a solid conditioner without SLS....

Anonymous said...

So, you don't use ANY shampoo at all. Just water and conditioner? That's it? Or have you replaced shampoo. It's early morning, so I may have missed the point...

Fiona said...

That's right, no shampoo at all. Just water and conditioner - and scrubbing!