Trial and Error: Ditching Shampoo

Seeing as I’ve received a fair share of comments on my hair the past two days, I thought it as good a time as any to recap what’s happened since I went to the hairdresser’s last (in October).

Going completely no-poo seemed a bit too extreme, so I settled for some sort of low-poo. The three months gone by have seen a wide range of hairdos, all from the perfect chignon to the untidiest of buns, from hair refusing to curl to hair refusing to stay sleek… the list could go on forever.

Here’s what I’ve learnt so far. Please note that this applies for my hair, no rules are written in stone.

  1. I get an itch from normal shampoo if I use it twice in a row. Seems to be okay to use it every now and then, with the exception for some labels, TreSemmé for instance has proven to be a complete disaster.
  2. Only rinsing with water is useless. If my hair wasn’t dirty before, I will sure as hell be it after.
  3. Finnish baking powder is crap.
  4. Finnish baking soda is crap. (and yes, there’s a difference)
  5. Finnish vinegar is crap.
  6. Organic shampoo is okay only if it contains rosewater, coconut oil and shea butter. Otherwise the hair will just feel dry the next day, and dirty as soon as you touch it.

Doesn’t seem all good now does it…

However. I’m down to washing my hair about every fourth day, tops. The sixth day is usually no fun any more, I’ve noticed.. Every second time I wash it with whatever shampoo I still have left from my pre-low-poo-era, and every second time have I been testing different natural ways of washing it.

Let’s go back to those comments I’ve received. All of them have been good. It started with one colleague remarking on what nice curls I have. After a few “I like what you’ve done with your hair”s, another colleague remarked that I really have red hair today. A deep mahogany, she said, and asked if I’ve found a new toner.

The perfect mixture for my red curls is apparently washing it with a mixture of a spoonful of 50/50 baking powder and baking soda mixed together in a third of a glass of water. Of course this mixture won’t lather like shampoo, so mechanical scrubbing of the scalp is needed. After finishing the shower in general I will do a last rinse with liquid honey and organic cider vinegar (something that is really hard to come by in Finland, the promised land of valkoviinietikka) mixed together in a litre of water. About two teaspoons worth of honey and two soup spoons of vinegar, in case you were wondering. Note that this rinse is to be left in the hair. And no, honey will not make it sticky, only soft. Then I just simply sometimes sleep with two braids or with it rolled up with a sock bun, hence the curls. In the morning, I rub my hands with a few drops of Argan oil, before gently combing out the braids using my fingers only. Or then, if I want a sleek do, I skip the oil and turn to my flat iron instead. Even though I know it’s not good for the hair, I cannot part with it..

After being washed like this, my hair will feel a bit dirty after three days. But here’s the weird part that I’ve noticed: this is not real dirt. It’s only your hair’s own oil, and by brushing your hair, it will be distributed evenly as a natural conditioner.

As said earlier, this goes for my hair. No two hairs are alike, so you have to test different options yourself. But two truths can be stated; the shampoo most of us use, is bad for both you and nature. And the more you wash your hair, the more you will need to wash your hair.

(And do remember shampoo as we know it wasn’t introduced until the 1930’s. It’s not something we’ve always used…)




  1. I just don’t feel clean if I don’t wash my hair in the shower every morning, but then my hair is straight and short. BUT, what I discovered thanks to my cousin Wendy is the mineral whatsit something or other deodorant. Really good and doesn’t make you smell (as someone once said) like a cross between a tart’s windowbox and Henry Cooper’s (please look up on Wikipedia) armpits…

    1. I’m still to test that! I’ve been extremely happy with the lemon & coriander deo from London that I haven’t seen a reason to get myself a mineral thingy yet. Even though it would be much easier to travel with a stone than a huge spray bottle (have had to show it specifically a few times already, last time at Heathrow when the bloke wouldn’t believe it was only a 100ml bottle)…

  2. I was really surprised. My cousin travels a lot (and very light) and these mineral rock thingies last for ages and ages, they’re relatively small and all you have to do is wet them under a tap and hey presto.

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