True Life: I tried the “No Shampoo” Experiment

Yep, it’s true. This Armenian girl with greasy, oily skin, even greasier hair is going all-in on the “no shampoo” experiment that’s circulating around the internet. I’m bordering on serious hippy-territory here, I know, Mom.

Since I’m newly taking responsibility of updating this blog, we’re going to keep this post as one that’s on-going, since today is only day one.

For those who know me, my hair has gone through phases: Curly as a child, pin straight through middle school, moderately wavy in high school and since becoming a bottle blonde (and a brunette, a sort-of red head, and a blonde again, with a few bleaching disasters the last three years) with adult-level hormones an absolute, complete and total curly, frizzy mess. No biggie.

This idea seemed OK, since there is baking soda involved, and baking soda helps soak up grease. There’s also apple cider vinegar, which has about 95,000 different uses (I’ve gargled it before singing, in case you were wondering) and coconut oil, which is basically my favorite product to hit the market of all-time. (One of my favorite athletes and all-around good guys, Gape Kapler, has an excellent piece on the many uses of coconut oil on his blog.)

Since my most recent hair disaster (sometime last year) I’ve bottle-dyed my roots a few times (OK, more like 10 times) and gotten two recent sets of highlights, the most recent taking me into full blonde-bombshell territory, thanks to one of my best friends and amazing hair stylist/colorist Liz at Euro Coiffure in Springfield, Mass. (Go see her!) Because of my multiple hair dye disasters, I do have some significant breakage to go along with the curls that make my hair moderately frizzy, especially if I air dry it and I thought this experiment might help.

Why? No. 1: This experiment claims to help tame my unruly hair. No. 2: Most color-safe shampoos (with the exception of Pureology which I know is actually is sulfate-free) contain SLS (sodium lauryl sulfate) which makes your shampoo lather and bubble. Not only this terrible for curly hair, it’s terrible for people with frizzy hair, and it strips out the beautiful color you just paid big bucks for at the salon in no time. No. 3: Nearly every single shampoo and conditioner, color-safe or not, contains alcohol and why would I want drying alcohol on my already fried hair? I get that it helps degrease, but…

So: I brought two tablespoons of baking soda (Arm & Hammer) and the entire bottle of apple cider vinegar (Trader Joe’s) into the shower this morning, along with a mason jar to mix it in.

The baking soda mixture is gritty but my hair felt clean when I rinsed it out, so that was the good part. Then I doused my head with an ACV/water mixture and let it sit for awhile. ACV is a long-proclaimed natural beauty item that helps make your hair shiny, so I figured that aside from smelling like I was making some salad dressing, there was probably no harm in leaving it on.

Well….I still smell like salad dressing and my hair is now dry. Maybe I went overboard on the amount of ACV in the mixture, so I’ll try again tomorrow. Luckily, a few finger-fuls of coconut oil has significantly cut the vinegar smell, but even my dog spent an extra minute sniffing my head when I went to give her a kiss. (Sorry, Izzie.)

Izzie sniffed my hair a little longer after the ACV rinse.

Izzie sniffed my hair a little longer after the ACV rinse.

Day one result? Not terrible. My hair is definitely still a little unruly, but my curls dried nicely into beachy-waves and I have a sort of Carrie Bradshaw-ish thing going on.

Day 1's results after the

Day 3: I’ve gone to the gym twice now, and washed twice more. Still frizzy. Also discovered when I sweat, I smell like salad dressing.


Day 5: I have to go to dinner tonight and sit next to people. I yearned for my coconut smelling delicious moisturizing shampoo and conditioner back.

I caved.

So, no shampoo wasn’t for me. I didn’t even last a whole week. I did, however, notice that the clarifying effects seemed to help a lot once I switched back to my regular routine, so I may do this as a treatment to clarify every couple of weeks.

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