21 days: No Shampoo

The ‘No Shampoo’ world has felt like a bit of a minefield to me, with advice and suggestions from one way to the opposite, and bloggers preaching “There’s a transition phase” – What does that even mean?!

My aim here is to try and explain my disastrous ‘transition’ so that hopefully you can learn from my mistakes. I’m going to jump straight in and do this like a diary…


THURS – 2nd June: My last hair wash with Shampoo & Conditioner
Over the next few days I carried on as normal, until I would normally wash my hair again. It got progressively greasier, and itchier (as normal). Time for a hair wash.

TUES – 7th June: Baking Soda & Vinegar (5 days no shampoo – NP)
My first NP wash was using the Baking Soda and Vinegar method. Everyone online suggested different quantities so I just picked a recipe and went with it.

I scrubbed away with the BCS and followed up with ACV. Both mixtures were very watery and thin. They slid off my hair, into my eyes and stung. “But…It’s good for you right?” I said to myself as I struggled to see.

My hair felt good, it felt clean. I was prepared to put up with temporary blindness all in the name of ‘natural’, until…

THURS – 9th June: Bicarbonate of Soda is bad for your hair (1 week NP)
I was loving shampoo free life, and cockily thinking “This transition is EASY”, “Everyones worried about greasiness, there is none”, “Everyone should do it”

Over the next few days this changed. Shortly after my first post on this my painful scalp was back, and my hair felt dry…and greasy?! I started digging around online and it turns out Bicarbonate of Soda can actually damage your hair.

There are several articles and posts about this method, and the effects. Take a read:

In short: Over time it weakens your hair, causing it to become dry, brittle and break away. That wasn’t really what I was going for with this whole ‘no shampoo’ thing.

SAT – 11th June: Water only (9 days NP)
Over the weekend I washed my hair with just water whilst I decided what to do. I scrubbed it lots, hoping for the best. I got through the weekend, but my hair was getting more oily (greasy) and starting to smell (Yes.Gross). It didn’t feel clean..or probably look clean.

MON – 12th June: Vinegar & Lavendar Essential Oil (10 days NP)
I had my first day in the office of a new production (I work in film). Trying to get my work done whilst sitting and worrying about my hair is NOT the one.

IMG_1674 (1)
My hair at 10 days

Now I should note, I don’t consider myself the most image conscious person, but I HATE greasy hair, and the only thing I hate more, is smelly hair. If I have either it distracts me, makes me feel self conscious and ultimately spend the day worrying about that instead of doing my job.

My hair smelt. I was filming the next day with a load of new people I hadn’t worked with. Shampoo was looking VERY tempting.

BUT I stuck true to my word (hurrah) and didn’t cave. Through more google searches I discovered others had stopped using BCS and were just using the vinegar with essential oils instead.

That night I did a vinegar with Lavender wash. As you all probably know, oil and vinegar don’t mix that well so I ended up with a burst off the oils at the end, and thus greasier hair. But it masked the smell enough to get me through the next day.

FRI – 17th June: Vinegar & Chamomile (15 days NP)
By this point my hair was unpleasant. Maybe it was the essential oils, maybe just the infamous ‘transition phase’ but I wascommitted now. No poo was my thing and I was going to stick it through….no matter what…?!?Hair MemeI went for vinegar and chamomile next. A little change up. I thought my hair was actually getting a little better…
…then it started to smell like vinegar.

MON – 20th June: Boar Bristle Brush Discovery (18 days NP)
Over the weekend the vinegar smell did not improve. It got worse. I have no idea what I did wrong, maybe too much, or perhaps others out there are deluding themselves. Who knows!

IMG_1708 (1)
My hair at 18 days

I decided more vinegar would not be a wise idea at this point and so opted for water only.

Despite all the scrubbing, my hair felt exceptionally unclean and unpleasant. On reflection I think it WAS unclean. More google searches and enter the mighty boar bristle brush!

I never realised the importance of this for natural shampooing. It’s an essential to the process and made such a massive difference to me. The brushing evened out the oils (grease) in my hair, and made it feel and look more smooth and less disgusting.

I’m really selling this aren’t I?

TUES – 21st June: Haircut & Rye Flour Revolution (19 days NP)

My haircut rolled around, and I was so very close to washing my hair. I didn’t. I told Steph (My hairdresser) that I was going no shampoo, so she wet down my hair instead.

After the cut she put some styling product in, to help me see the new look I had. I kept thinking ‘how am I going to get this out without shampoo’, but I was having a bad time anyway, so the worst way I would just shampoo, and start again.

My hair was greasy, unclean, and now full of product. Back to the internet I trotted.google

I wanted to lighten up my hair, I have naturally highlighted hair in the sun anyway, and lemon has always been great for me. I also read online that lemon is great for a real deep clean. I guess because it pretty much strips your hair. With all the build up from the last 2.5 weeks and the chemical product now in my hair I figured this was probably my last hurrah.

I squeezed a couple of fresh lemons, diluted with water, decanted into a spray bottle, and coated my hair. I massaged it in, then sat outside working in the garden whilst it dried. For the first time in nearly 3 weeks it felt clean, and clear of all the ‘gunk’ which had built up. I knew lemon was harsh, and I was going to need a boost of nourishment afterwards so decided to give the ‘Rye Flour’ method a go.

Wasteland Rebel. What an amazing blogger. She’s my new hero! Her post on Rye Flour encouraged me to use it, and thank god I did. It took seconds to mix up the paste and it was finally a natural shampoo that felt like shampoo (apart from the foam).

Rye Flour has the same PH as your hair, contains tonnes of vitamins and minerals, and actually works making your hair feel clean and soft. I used coconut oil after to style my hair and I have to say it’s worked beautifully.

Mixture of Rye Flour and water

THURS – 23rd June: Happy head (21 days no shampoo)

It’s been two days and my hair feels soft, and healthy. I’m not going to go ahead and say ‘this is amazing’ yet, as it’s only been two days (and look what happened last time)

But for now it seems to be working…i’m rooting for you Rye Flour…do me proud!


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