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To shampoo or not to shampoo?

I was wondering how many do not use shampoo?

I am at 5 weeks no shampoo and my hair is slowly “detoxing” out and normalizing from all those years of shampooing and conditioning every day. It still has some waxy and greasiness to it but it is getting better and cleaner as time goes on.

I still have “white fuzz” on my comb and brush when I comb or brush. I used to be a hairdresser so in my experience this is product build-up coming out since the fuzz is waxy feeling (I don’t see any dandruff on my scalp).

I hear that one to two months can be a normal time for your scalp and hair to go back to its natural state – (guess it is going to take two months for me!).

Right now, I am doing water only rinses and a few sea salt water rinses when I feel I need them.

Any other experiences with this? Tips for me? :)



  • Om – I used to use Kiss my Face hair care products also. There was nothing “wrong” with my hair when I was shampooing it – it was clean and full and in good shape -“normal”.

    The reason you don’t have “build-up” or “oils” in your hair is because you shampoo it. Shampoo unnaturally takes all that way. Even the “natural” shampoo’s have some chemicals in them. To get “suds”, you have to have some chemicals.

    Remember too that shampoo is something that has only been around since the 1930’s before that people used soap (no conditioner) before there was soap people used clays, oils and water to clean their hair and skin. Definatley something to think about. You can always make natural shampoos and conditioner at home – so much cheaper than buying the stuff.

    But everyone is on their own “progress” level of course – it took me a while to get to using all the natural products myself and, after years of using them, now I am progressing to this.

    For myself, I see other advantages to this: saving a lot of money on products, no plastic bottles to waste, no polluting the water, no energy wasted in making the products, returning my hair and scalp to its natural state, saving me tons of time in the shower!

  • I seldom shampoo my hair. I was in a few plays and I had to get some stuff out of it but besides that I have not washed in it 2 years. The longest period of time I’ve gone without washing was 8 months. My hair is not as clean as most peoples but it doesn’t smell and is way easier to brush. And i don’t need to use conditioner becuase the oils in my hair keep it smooth.


  • Spiritedmama, I think Texas has a lot more humidity than Arizona, I remember my grandpa used to leave my grandma every summer and go to AZ to escape the humidity. He said Arizona had dry heat and that was good for his joints and other body parts. Not being divisive, just sayin’:) Queenfluff, I’m not “there” yet, don’t know if I’ll ever be. I have a profession where personal appearance is a part of my annual evaluation. Hair is really key to the overall impression.

  • I had never heard of not washing your hair, I guess I’m not as green as I thought. Om, I’m with you, I don’t think I’ll ever be there but I applaud all of you who are.

  • spiritedmamaspiritedmama Raw Newbie

    Good point Om, I forgot about the humidity. I was just thinking heat.

  • Well, I think my hair is finally getting there. It doesn’t feel so oily and heavy today. I didn’t rinse yesterday as I was too buys. Weird thing is that my hair feels dry and a bit stiff today (maybe that product buildup is making its way down my hair)- also to me it seems thinner and I think I may be shedding more hair. I don’t see how the no shampoo would have anything to do with this though. This happened the last time I was almost 100% raw for two months (what it is with two months?) – that my hair seemed to get dryer and it shed a bit more.

    Nagev – when you don’t shampoo your hair what do you do? Just rinse with water?

  • Wow, I wish I had read about this sooner! The whole process that I used to do every day….shampoo, condition, apply 2+ product, blow-dry, curling iron…drove me so crazy but I couldn’t get my hair to look good without it. After reading this thread and doing some research, I jumped right in, no baking soda/ACV washes or anything. Just some ocean and fresh water rinses. I am on day 11 and already feeling great about it. Days 4-9 were probably the worst but with my hair up you couldn’t tell. Lots of white waxy fuzz on my brush as mentioned earlier but already getting better. Maybe I’m being optimistic too early….we’ll see!

  • queenfluff,

    ya I just rinse it with water and give my scalp a scrub. When I first started doing it my hair went crazy for a few weeks. It as really oily and gross. But if you stick it out, the natural oil cycle will sort out and you will be left with better hair; It is way easier to brush and feels better. Now if I wash my hair with shampoo, my head is itchy for literally 3 or 4 days and my hair feels really “dead”, there is no volume. By the way I have long hair, its about 24” long.


  • kauaigirl – That is great! Keep posting your progress! I am glad I am not the only one doing it right now – helps to know that others maybe be having the same transition as me (white fuzz etc) so I know I am not having any “abnormal” things going on! I was an everyday shampooer myself. My ‘white fuzz’ has died down a lot. I still have some but it doesn’t bother me as much. I just keep washing my brushes and combs in Dr. Bronners to keep them clean. I am at 7 weeks as of today. My hair actually feels more on the drier side than the oily esp the ends. I still have a few areas that still get the waxy oily feeling a bit – “crown area” – but the rest of my hair is fluffy and clean – almost too fluffy – I got some BIG hair going on which if fine by me because I was afraid of losing the fluff when I stopped shampoo. Yeah, the first week is pretty bad. What I hear is it can take up to 4 to 6 months to totally normalize on water only (depending on your volume of product usage before that too) that your hair will go through a few stages of feeling really clean to getting oily a bit again to being clean again and than it will be fine. I figure I am already at almost two months so why should I turn back. I keep reading some of the links I posted here and looking at success pictures to keep me motivated.Hang in there!

    Nagev – Thanks for the advice! My hair was easy to comb and brush the first week I started doing it. Right now I feel a bit like ‘bush woman’ so it is fluffy and my hair was normally (when on shampoo) fine and straight. My hair is long too (haven’t measured it – almost mid back). I hear that about people who shampoo after not shampooing for a while – their hair goes totally dead. I am so happy to hear that others have success with this. Mine looks so much healthier and thicker already – I am just waiting for it to calm down a bit and lose the last of the oily bits. :)

  • Wow !! This is great !! I’ve heard Elaine Love talking about honey and lemon on her hair,but just water? Never. Very interesting.I’m going to try it.Thanks Queenfluff.My only problem and question is about drying the hair with the blow dryer.I’ve always had ear ache since a child and I’m always afraid of letting my hair dry by itself.Could you help me with this problem?

  • Hi Lucy – I have ear problems myself not really ear ache but hearing loss and tinnitus (alot better since I have been on raw AND I notice a difference since stopping shampoo too!).

    One thing I notice that is weird is that since I stopped shampooing the skin inside my ears (and some outside) is drier! In way since makes sense because when you shampoo, the shampoo can definately get inside your ears and maybe, just like with your scalp, alter the oil production inside your ears. Maybe my ears are detoxing out too? :) That was one of the additional reasons I actually stopped shampooing – having ear problems and such – I wondered about the effects of the shampoo entering my ears! Something most people probably never think about. I feel better about my ear health knowing that nothing chemical or unnatural is entering them now. I have enough problems with them already!

    Other than being drying to your hair and maybe causing some damage, I don’t see how blowdrying would interfer with the water only method of cleaning your hair. The heat might make your scalp produce a little more oil. The point of doing water only is to let your body (scalp in this case) return to its natural ‘cleaning’ state which was altered by using shampoos. The blow drying might increase oil production on your scalp it might not – if you use the cool setting on your blow dryer than you might be fine. Or perhaps keep your hair up in a towel until any excess moisture is gone from it than once it is just damp let it air dry and no water should drip into your ears.

    I have been letting my hair air dry for eons. I don’t even own a blow dryer anymore (this was before my ear problems started too). If I have go out and it is cold and my hair is still wet, I put a hat on that covers my ears. Oh! Your hair will dry faster on water only washing – odd but it is true – i think it is the natural oils that help that. I think also because it isn’t coated with conditioners anymore which unnaturally seal moisture in the hair shaft and weigh hair down.

    The other thing I would suggest (which is something I should be doing but I don’t) is to wear some ear plugs when you rinse your hair so your ear don’t get wet.

    I found another link where someone very nicely summarizing some water only facts: http://forums.longhaircommunity.com/showthread….

  • I did this when I was at summer camp growing up. It’s amazing that it actually works- but it does. We were swimming a lot and in the sunshine all day so that may have helped speed up the process. I have always wondered about chemicals going down the eustacian tubes of the ears (which drain right down the throat to the stomach). So natural, edible shampoos should be used- Dr. Bronners is a good biodegradable soap that can be used for anything like shampoo. Also yucca is a traditional soap.

  • Hi Queenfluff. Thank you so much. I’ve never thought that the shampoo is getting inside of my ears and making all the oil problems.It’s so right!! It’s so simple.I’m brushing my skin for 4 months now,before shower,and I”m not using skin cream,I’ve stopped using too much soap,or none,and my body smells so good,my skin is so soft,and it’s the same with the hair. Massaging the sculp is the same as skin brushing.You are right,I’m doing that from now on.Think about the freedom of not having to buy any shampoo anymore.And about the blowdrying,I’ll try the cool setting at the beginning.It would be amazing if one day I could dry my hair air dry,but like you said, it will dry faster on water only.Umbelievable!!! Thanks again.

  • writeeternity – You are correct about the sun and swimming. I have talking to one girl on another raw forum who hasn’t washed her hair in years – she spends alot of time in the outdoors and sun and get her hair wet very often (either in fresh water or ocean) and her is is so beautiful. She said the sun and and water help keep her hair clean. Another thing to consider is that your scalp is part of your skin too and your skin aborbs so many things you come in contact with – think about all those chemicals geting absorbed in your scalp. Also into your nose too – what problems might they be causing that you don’t think about? Eyes too. I used to be a hairdresser many eons ago and I can’t tell you how many products I used on myself as I was always trying out new colors and products. I shudder to think! Natural is the best way to go!

    Lucy – I have stopped using any products on my skin also. Same time I went with the water method. No soaps – I just use a pink salt soap on my underarms if I have some smell at all. I don’t really have dry skin so I only use MSM lotion on my face (for scars) and I use coconut oil if I have some dryness. I don’t smell and neither does my hair. Massaging the scalp actually helps with the transition phase when you go to water only method – it will help distribute the oils and remove any dead skin from your scalp (help with hair growth too).I love all the money I am saving on not buying prodcuts too! I sold a bunch of my old stuff on Ebay – my dresser top is so uncluttered now!

  • Queenfluff -

    I haven’t used shampoo or conditioner in nearly 6 months. I only use water in the shower and scrub my scalp with my fingers. I blow dry it once or twice a week, and I shower once every other day. I also don’t use soap, except to wash my hands. I had the inital greasier stage for about a week of not washing, but it has totally normalized itself, and nobody even thinks twice about my hair. I love the looks I get when people ask about my routine/products and I tell them what I’m doing (and not doing) to my hair. Good luck, it’s worth it to stick with it!

  • Salad_Loving_Violinist,

    That is so great! More inspiration for all of us! It only took you a week! Wow! Lucky you! I don’t care how long it takes me – I am sticking with it as I like it this way! I figure that 2 months or so is nothing to wait in comparsion to the years and years I have been shampooing my hair. Thanks!

  • This is an incredibly awesome/informative topic.

    I know this might be far fetched- but what about natural hair bleaching? I assume just use lemon juice.

    This is probably going to be the hardest transition for me. I don’t know if I could ever give up coloring my hair :[

  • Queenfluff,I water- washed my hair yesterday and it had some oil on it.I had to wear a pony tail to go out.This morning I did my skin brushing,and my hair-skin massage in the morning and washed it again.It came out beautiful,no oil,much more thick then before(my hair is very fine)and very black color.Interesting because I have a dark brown hair,at least I had it.Let’s see what is going to happen.

  • ecclecticchameleon – Lemon juice would probably be your best bet. BUT there is also a food grade hydrogen peroxide and hydrogen peroxide can also bleach your hair although it is alot weaker than bleach. You can get some at rawfood.com. I haven’t tried the food grade stuff in my hair before but maybe it will work. Of course, if your hair is super dark – it is going to take a lot of time to get it super light (like in your picture). With either lemon juice or hydrogen peroxide you need to get heat on your head for it to work – With the hydrogen peroxide, you might be able to use a hair dryer to get it lighter (it won’t be the same effect as bleach – believe me I have tried it before with regular peroxide!) and the lemon juice will give you highlight but it only works with sun as the heat source – doesn’t work with a blow dryer.

    It seems that some water only people do still color their hair but it is mostly henna users. Of course, henna doesn’t bleach hair – it only coats it – you can rinse it out pretty well with just water though. Obviously, bleach isn’t natural for the hair and your scalp would still absorb the chemicals thereby, sort of cancelling out some of the purposes of water only (dries up the natural oils on your scalp and hair) but if you only bleach once a month or less – perhaps your scalp and hair could handle it. On the other hand, it is very difficult to rinse out all the bleach with just water – you would definatley be rinsing for a long time. And with bleach, it seems like some sort of shampoo is necessary to “stop” the processing of it. Maybe you could do a natural shampoo just for those times – like a flax shampoo (made from soaked flax seeds). It’s a tough call.

    Lucy – That is so great! Glad it is working! You will probably go up and down with the oilyness – my hair did that too at the beginning. My hair was looking darker too – probably because of the oil. I got 3 hours of sunning in at the beach today and some fresh water soaking on my hair so that helped. The sun and the fresh water really helped to make my hair feel clean. I kept dunking my head so I could get in as much fresh water as possible since I don’t get to the beach that much. :)

    Another great thing I noticed was that now, my hair doesn’t tangle up as much when it is windy – I can leave the car window down and let my hair go wild and it doesn’t knot up as much and I can get any tangles out very easily! Nornally, it would take forever to get the knots out of my hair.

  • Queenfluff, my hair still nice and soft and it’s not so oily.It’s great because I couldn’t stay a day without washing it. I noted that it was the shampoo that was making my hair oily (and it was an oily and fine hair shampoo).It’s good news that your hair doesn’t have knots anymore.Since a child that was a problem for me.My hair had many knots and I never could leave the car window open because of that. Ah! Seems that from now on I wont habe ear problems,oily hair,and many knots to deal with.Thank you for open this door for me.

  • Lucy, that is so great! I am so glad it is working for you! I noticed that lots of people are interested in trying this since I have been posting on here and on a few other sites. I would say almost 10 people so far are saying they are trying this now. :) We are all on the road to better health and hair!

  • JoescJoesc Raw Master

    I shampoo my hair usually once a week or two. I use the natural product shampoo also but I know it still has chemicals.

    The longest I went without washing my hair was 1 month maybe a little longer and it was from sheer laziness. I put conditioner in it, which consisted of coconut oil, shea butter, or honey. I used vinegar to rinse out the flakes here and there. I don’t think I could go forever without using Shampoo. The only difference was my hair wasn’t as dry.

    I can live with using the coconut oil for my hair but sometimes I like the creamy conditioner that detangles. With very curly hair that helps. I am actually going to cut it all off this weekend. I am going very close to bald.

  • Day 17 for me…oilier since my last post on day 11 but it is starting to move down to the ends which is GREAT since at first it was oily at the scalp and dry/frizzy on the ends. My hair is MUCH curlier and not itchy at all which was my biggest concern.

    Also, my hair doesn’t seem to be falling out as much which was getting to be a HUGE concern for me since it seemed to be half it’s size since starting to fall out over a year ago. (Went off pill/went vegan…not sure which or if it was both) Maybe it was just poisoning my head with all those nasty chemicals.

    Still lots of white waxyness on brush and BIG, full hair. This is FUN! I may do another clay mask next week on my day off.

    Thanks for your inspiration, queenfluff!

  • kauaigirl – Sounds like your going to stick with it then? So great! I did notice an increased shedding for about a week (I think it was in my 5th week) and I was freaking about a bit but than it stopped – but my hair didn’t seem any thinner. I think that was just my head and not something everyone gets in their 5th week since everyone hair goes through shedding cycles. But yes, overuse of chemicals on your head sometimes can cause hair loss.

    I am almost at 2 months! My hair is actually wavy! If you can tell from my picture (which is old), how straight my hair was on shampoo. Now, it has this cool ‘tousled’ look (if I don’t comb it right away after it dry) and has thickness and body and fluff. It isn’t the same sort of clean feeling as I had with shampoo but it feels so nice and thick there is no way I am going back to the shampooed thin feeling hair. I feel like one of those hair advertisement models (HA! HA!).

    My oils still have not made it down to the ends yet but I admit I haven’t really been brushing like I should. I am not too worried about it. I am trying to rinse as much as possible. I still have some oilness/heaviness in certain areas (still the crown/back area) but nothing near like what I had. I still have some white waxy on my brushes and a bit in my comb but nothing bad.

    Certain areas of my hair which were not growing much before are now getting longer! Yeah!

    I still haven’t done the clay mask yet. Can you let me know how you did yours? I want to do one just haven’t had the time and I wasn’t sure how I should mix mine as I reading conficting info on what to mix it with. Thanks! Glad it is going so well for you!

  • Yes, I am definitely sticking with it…esp. since I’m in Hawaii, I can let my hair air-dry everyday and put it up for work. That ‘tousled’ look is what I’ve been trying to get with all those products… who knew we could get it naturally! For the clay mask, I just used Bentonite Detox Clay, mixed with some water. I layed out in the sun until it was mostly dry, then rinsed off. Can’t say I really noticed a difference, but I figure it can’t hurt to speed up the removal of chemicals.

  • kauaigirl – Thanks for the clay recipe! I have some of the Bentonite clay but it says to mix with ACV. The ACV dried out my hair so I didn’t really want to use that. I am plannning on doing my detox bath tonight which is mostly Bentonite Clay so I am just going to get my hair soaked in it anyhow.

  • Hi Queenfluff, in Brasil we use dry clay in a wet hair.Cover up and stay for 1/2 hour,then take a shower. Today is my 5th day on a WO and my hair is very oily.Yesterday it was dry.I’ve never had a dry hair before,it was an experience ! It still dark,black,...very weird.Let see when the original color dark brown will come back.

  • I am sitting here with the clay on my head right now. I just did the mix with water and put it on dry hair. I think next time I’ll wet my hair first and than put it on – just because it gets so tangily with the dry hair. I am going to wait 1/2 hour and than try to get it out. It was like putting Henna on – I hope this stuff comes out. :) I am sure it will be alot of rinsing. :)

    Lucy – the first week is one of the worst. My hair was dry some days and very oily the next. Now, my skin is mostly dry. I think I might do an avocado mask next week maybe it will add some moisture back in because I think this clay is going to make my hair dry. My scalp is tingling a bit though.

  • Queenfluff, clay makes the hair very dry.It takes all the oil of it,but it’s great to suck all the toxics of it.I might do it too.I drink water with clay though.I hope this week my hair gets drier.Today is very oily and soooo black collor.Looks like in my blackn’white picture. About my face skin I’m putting aloe vera. We have an aloe vera plant here,and every day I cut a piece of it and put it on my face.My face skin is glowing.Just amazing !!!Maybe you could do it with your hair.Aloe vera will make your hair less dry,I believe.

  • Ugh, yes, my hair is super dry – not sure i like it. It is still air drying and I am afraid to comb it right now. Lucy, have you done the clay before than? I am hoping I didn’t ruin my 2 months of no shampoo. I guess I won’t be doing anything to my hair for many days and wait for some oils to come back! I wonder if the clay alters your scalps natural balancing. I am thinking it can’t be that bad since it is more of the detox thing and not a chemical.

    I concentrated on the scalp especially the parts where it was still has oiliness. I had put some on my length and I am thinking I should have skipped my lengths and just did the areas that were still oily. I heard about using the aloe vera too but I can’t remember if it was for conditioning.

    I might actually put some coconut oil in my hair if I can’t comb it. I hope the oily areas are less oily now. But the rest is so dry – almost matted! Esp on the top – probably should have avoided that area because it was actually balanced really well but I figured do the whole thing. I kind of rinsed it weird – I could tell in the shower that my hair was feeling dry when rinsing it.

    I am sure it will be nice again in a day or two. Well, at least, that isn’t something I will have to do that often. I have read that people who use the clay only do it on their hair a few times a year.

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