That’s one way to put it, right? Rage? I guess once Robert Pattinson is doing something it’s fair to say it’s reached a kind of critical mass, but that doesn’t mean the no-shampoo trend has been getting any love from women’s magazines, the pages of which are usually filled with ads for and articles about, well, shampoo. I should say upfront that I do wash my hair still. I wash it all the time. But regular readers will know Alexandra doesn’t, and we’re both advocates of less is more beauty in any form it takes—which is why I was delighted when I was flipping through the new W the other night before bed and came across a story called…The Great Unwashed! Never mind that that’s the same headline the New York Times used for their story on the same(ish) topic—this two-page featurette by Christa D’Souza was absolutely charming and chronicled her funny six-week adventure with dirty hair.
Alexandra and I have noticed—and we’re generalizing here—that when most magazines tackle naturals, one of two things happens:
1) They hawk greenwashed products that have leaves on the bottle or something, and then mix those in with truly natural or organic lines, which confuses readers; or
2) They take a snide this-stuff-is-for-hippies-and-conspiracy-theorists-only approach. We are neither (OK maybe we’re hippies), and so we don’t love this.
But this piece didn’t fall into those traps. Let’s take a look:
The theory is this: Shampoo strips hair of sebum, the oily substance secreted by our scalps to ward off bacteria and wetness. To compensate, we produce too much of the stuff, leading to the dreaded greasy look. In an attempt to remedy that problem, we lather even more frequently, and soon our ends are dry and frizzy, necessitating the use of conditioner and other expensive and time-consuming unguents. We are all, in other words, hamsters on the chemical-products wheel, and if we want to get off we must cut out, or at least curtail, their use.
Right? Right! There’s more:
Modern shampoo as we know it was first widely available in the 1930s, and although formulations have fluctuated, its basic components remain the same: salt; a lathering agent; and surfactant, a chemical that allows oil and water molecules to mix. And, of course, there’s the added fragrance. If you like the smell of clean hair, don’t be fooled: It’s not the clean you’re smelling.
Love that she points out the cycle of overuse that some products create, the relatively new invention of shampoo, and the fragrance thing. From there she funnily describes the next six weeks of her hair life, and while she decides this most certainly isn’t for her—the piece ends with “after six long weeks, I’m back on the bottle—and it feels marvelous”—we like that she gave it a shot, and we like W for giving it a shot, too. Now here’s hoping whatever bottle she went back to was from our friends Alaffia or John Masters or Aubrey.
So what about you. Do you wash your hair?
Yesterday I made the (possibly ill-advised) decision to take two yoga classes in a row, because I had some kinks I needed to work out, as it were, and because Jupiter just entered my sixth house (kidding! sort of!). It was therapeutic and surprisingly energizing, but I woke up this morning feeling like I’d been hit by a truck. Plus, my apartment was an icebox. Getting out of bed was going to be a toughie.
What saved me was the simple knowledge that, thanks to dry shampoo, I could lay there under the duvet lazily hitting snooze and still make it to work on time. After I showered with a towel on my head, I went looking for the Lulu Organics dry shampoo Spirit Demerson gave me as a book-launch present in July. Curveball? The bottle was empty.
With no time to wash my hair and a job that requires me to look presentable every day, I had to improvise. In my medicine cabinet I found a bottle of Dr. Hauschka Body Silk, a powder. I googled the ingredients and found that the first ingredient was rice starch. Perfect! I thought. I’ve sprinkled that gluten-free-girl’s staple in my hair more times than I can count, with great results. But I’m out of that too. No matter, because the Dr. H formula not only worked great, it also smells like roses (literally).
Dry shampoo is one of man’s greatest contributions to womankind. It’s a powdery solution you can spray or sprinkle onto your hair on days when you don’t feel like washing it. It can extend the life of a blowout, save you from looking like a greaseball, and add a really amazing texture to your tresses. It also gives a little volume at the roots.
The problem, as with many beauty products, is that some of the conventionals can be really toxic. It may just look like powder, and it may have names that look (or even explicitly claim to be) natural, but many of them contain BHT, aluminum starch octenylsuccinate, butane, coumarin and synthetic fragrance, to name just a few. And you’re at risk of inhaling the stuff.
So we think it’s best to simple, natural and cheap. You don’t need propellant gasses pushing it out of a spray can any more than you need aluminum. All you need is something starchy and dry that can absorb your oils and stick to the hair.
I’ve tried rice starch, Lulu Organics and Dr. H’s body powder—all of which work great for me. I’ve also tried baking soda, which worked less well.
Your turn. Do you use dry shampoo? If so what do you use? And when?
Every time someone new comes over, I wonder if they’ll be alarmed by the magnum of apple cider vinegar that sits next to my tub. The salad-dressing staple, most of us know, is amazing for use on our hair, in part because its pH is similar to that of most conditioners—making it an easy nontoxic way to get smooth strands without forking over the big bucks for a fancy conditioner.
What’s fun about ACV is that there seems to be no end to the different ways people will use it. I’ve tried it as a stand-alone conditioner, and as a treatment—heck I also used to drink the stuff every night before bed—but here’s what works best for me:
About once a week, after I shampoo (with shampoo, not ACV), I pour a little of the stuff on the top of my head. Then I put conditioner on my ends, and wait a few minutes. Maybe I shave my legs, or exfoliate with a washcloth or something. After a few minutes, I rinse it all off, and voila! Silky shiny tresses. Mmmmm. Well, sort of.
There’s a slight issue of smell.
A couple of months ago, Virginia from Beauty Schooled and I met for a glass of wine at Eataly and she relayed a very funny story about going for a hair cut and having her stylist catch a whiff of vinegar on her still-damp hair. (Read her laugh-out-loud post about it here.) I’ve had this problem too, and I’m big on smell, so it bugs me.
So the other day, when Tricia from Yourjoyologist.com tweeted at us about using ACV as her shampoo, I had to ask her: What do you do about the smell??
Well, Tricia wrote us a letter:
I have been washing my hair with just the water and Apple Cider Vinegar for almost a month now and loving it. I was wary at first, but since none of the shampoos I have been trying lately have been to my liking I figured why not?
I am quite active and sweat a lot. I did notice that in some of the hot yoga classes I take I can smell vinegar, but its not too bad. One time, my sweat went into my eyes, and stung a bit, but that only happened once.
I have been putting Argan oil on the ends while it is still damp and that is it. I have not needed any styling products at all.
Two days ago out of laziness, I used my Kiss my Face shampoo and conditioner, which I bought because Alicia Silverstone and her site recommended it, and I had to seriously load on the products after and it still didn’t look as good as it has been with just the ACV and argan oil. Also, I have always battled dry scalp dandruff and using the ACV I have not had any scalp issues. The day I washed with shampoo last week my scalp Immediately started to itch like crazy.
Quite the endorsement! So we want to know: Have you used ACV on your hair? If so, how? Conditioner? Shampoo? And what on earth do you do (or think about) the smell?
It’s true. It’s not that I went all that often, but going to get your nails or hair done with a girlfriend is nothing short of heaven, am I right? If you’ve read the book you probably know that that’s what got Siobhan and me in trouble in the first place.
Last time we were together in New York we went with our friend Anna, a real green beauty, for supposedly nontoxic manis. Well, the whole experience was a huge letdown. Not only were they not clean—they carried Essie and Chanel, and the polish remover was certainly not Suncoat—they were terrible! In Los Angeles I sometimes treat myself to a manicure at Recess, a luxey green nail spa on Beverly. The prices leave me gasping for air (but at least it’s not fumes I’m choking on).
Anyway, I was rather excited to discover via NPR that there’s a new clean hair and nail salon in Los Feliz, my usual stomping ground. I’ll have to report back once I’ve gone, but not only are Primrose Organics’ prices reasonable, it looks like they use John Masters products for the hair care. Hello!
I know we’ve asked you ladies a lot this week but if you love a clean salon in your area, please share. We only have each other for guidance!
Image via Life Magazine