No-Poo Experiment: Update
It's 6 weeks out from The No-Poo Experiment, so I thought I'd share with you the aftermath -- what happened, and what I've learned. Sadly, No-Poo just didn't work for me. I have medium length, thick, wavy, dry-ish hair, and it always looked and felt greasy and stringy while I was No-Poo-ing. I really gave it an honest try, because it really would have been great to get rid of shampoo, both from an environmental standpoint and from the budget. Since then, though, I've been very aware of how and when I use shampoo and conditioner.
First, I have been shampoo-ing my hair less and less. I routinely go 5-7 days between washes. Since I'm washing my hair less, I'm using less product, so less sodium laryl sulfate (and other irritating surfactants) is going into the septic system and onto my skin. I'm also using less water when I shower, since it takes less time on a daily basis. Less is always more when it comes to chemicals and water usage.
Next, since I'm using less shampoo and conditioner, a bottle of shampoo takes about 6-7 weeks to use -- that is 8 bottles a year. Based on that figure, I have enough shampoo and conditioner in my stockpile (from buying with coupons at under $1 per bottle) to last at least a year and a half. That's just good "cents" (sorry, I had to go there.)
Finally, on a note of pure vanity, I think my hair looks better when I shampoo it less frequently. Maybe it's because I have dry hair to begin with, but it's really true that your hair does adjust to how often you wash it. When I used to wash it every day, it felt greasier after 2 or 3 days. Now, it doesn't start feeling greasy until at least day 5. And even then sometimes I wash it just because I feel like it would be gross if I didn't. It is gross, right?
I spoke to a hairstylist about this who had this anecdote to share: at her former place of employment, there was a girl who went a whopping 13 days (!!!) in between washes. This frugal soul was ridiculed, however, because her fellow employees said that whenever she walked by, there was an unpleasant odor wafting through the air.
I can deal with being called a dirty hippy. But smelly hippy? That's where I draw the line.