• Wednesday, September 28, 2022


Hair washing conundrum


EARLIER this year, I wrote about wardrobe sustainability and pledged to not buy clothes for a year to reduce my carbon footprint. Seven months on, I’m thrilled to have pretty much stuck to it apart from the odd essential purchase like socks.

But what else can we do to help the planet? Apparently washing your hair less is good for your locks and the environment. Celebrities have been ditching their shampoo bottle and using brushes, talcum powder or dry shampoo instead.

Chemical-free fans include Adele who doesn’t shampoo her hair for two months, Gwyneth Paltrow and exsupermodel Cyndi Crawford who claims to wash her locks every three weeks. Even Gary Barlow of Take That is a fan of no-shampooing and didn’t wash his hair for 14 years! For many of us, hair-washing can be a chore, but equally, no one wants to walk around with oily whiffy locks. I was curious (and sceptical) about how going no-shampoo would work for someone who washes their hair two to three times weekly, depending on how matted and sweaty it gets from running with a cap on.

After the first run, surprisingly it was still grease and whiff-free. Two days later, I blitzed it with dry shampoo for a fresher feel which made no washing slightly more bearable. As per expert opinions, I brushed it nightly to distribute oils to the ends and put my hair up in a bun to tame it and aid the self-cleaning process. But grease struck on day five. Not the drenched in coconut oil look, but the flat and wet as a swimming cap look, which desperately urged me to sprint to the shower and scrub my scalp, but I didn’t. Turning my head upside down and brushing it at the roots followed by dry shampoo totally took the edge off that grim feeling.

One week later, post three runs, my hair was shockingly smell-free but started to lose its shine and felt dirty. On days 10 and 13, unbelievably, I received a few compliments on how shiny, full-bodied, and healthy it looked. All-in-all, currently on day 26 of no-washing, my hair is notably healthier (and still whiff-free), and I even went out on a date night in public with zero strange looks. Let’s see how many days it takes to crack.

Going no-shampoo isn’t easy, but if you’re willing to try it, it can revitalise your hair plus there are added benefits of binning it. You avoid chemicals such as diethyl phthalate and parabens, which are scientifically linked to certain cancers and hormone disruption. Using less water helps the planet and your hair, especially if you colour it as water contributes to 80 per cent colour fade. Let’s face it, washing and styling hair can take time which can be saved to do more interesting stuff such as exercising or reading. Since scalp oils are nature’s amazing conditioner, they are naturally protective so leaving them to do their job is certainly beneficial.

If you’re curious to try no-shampooing when you do wash, clean your scalp thoroughly to remove oils which increases the time between washes and brush your hair at night to distribute oils. Using a dry shampoo keeps that greasy look under control and if things get really desperate, there’s always baking soda mixed with water into a paste, which you can rinse with diluted vinegar (I didn’t try this). Going no-shampoo is low-risk and you might be pleasantly surprised with the results.

www.mitamistry.co.uk and Twitter: @MitaMistry

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