THE SECRET ABOUT MY HAIR
WHY I HAVEN’T USED SHAMPOO IN 7 YEARS!
After a great number of compliments about my curls in the past year or so, I finally decided to unravel some of my haircare secrets. The question I get asked the most- how I keep my hair so curly and defined.
Those of you who have been with me a while, already know my biggest secret – I don’t use shampoo! As a mater of fact, I stopped using it about 7 years ago. Yes, no shampoo at all. No cleansers, no soap. How’s that possible? – you’re probably wondering. Well, it’s quite simple – if you have really curly or wavy hair, shampoo is your enemy. Technically, you hair doesn’t need to be stripped of the oils your scalp produces, which is exactly what shampoo does. The oils get self regulated. However, before we get into details, let’s start from the very beginning.
All my life I’ve had long wavy hair with some curls cascading down on my shoulders on special days, when it felt more wild. At times I was totally in love with my hair, and other times quite on the contrary. Curls tend to be messy and can be moody. Waves are easier to take care of, but it was at times a chore. I loved my hair, but I wore it up most of the time.
About 7-8 years ago my super curly friend (after repeatedly being complimented by me on her rich, thick curls), recommended I try a NY hair salon called Devachan on Prince Street/ West Broadway. She swore I’d change my perspective on curls and the way I take care of them. Her red hair looked amazing, with well defined curls, tons of volume and Disney-princess-like definition.
At that time Devachan was the only place in NY specializing in curls. So I took my friend’s advice, as I believe you should try new things at least once, especially when you’re guaranteed a good outcome with such passion. I had nothing to lose and everything to gain. So booked time and I started my journey toward better looking hair.
And so the day came. After a two-hour session and a long detailed lecture by my male hair stylist (who had if I’m not mistaken, 7 sisters, all curly goddesses), I left Devachan with truly the best curls of my life. It turned out that I had REALLY curly hair! I’d never had such an amazing mane before. I stopped and looked in every mirror and in every mirror reflection on the way home. I loved my hair!
During the cut/styling my stylist told me some amazing facts about curls and it’s behaviors. At the time I knew almost nothing about the specific nature of curly hair, as no-shampoo movement was still in it’s early stages and almost considered underground.
So I was told to never use shampoos, hair irons and dryers, NO pony-tails, buns, tight plaits, NO towels wrapped on the head after a shower and NO combs! Pretty much everything I knew about my hair had to be changed.
The thing is that curls is a delicate and serious art, and if you treat them wrong you’ll have a dry, unruly, bushy sponge bush instead of gorgeous curls. Our hair is genetically programmed, same way our bodies are. Any deviation from that plan will lead to a strike on behalf of your body. If you act against a natural state of your hair, it will fight for it’s right to be free. 🙂 A kind of rebellion on your head!
The hair itself is dead, it has no nerve endings, you don’t feel it, everything happens in a hair root where its growth is stimulated. The longer the hair grows, the weaker it becomes, as its ends don’t get enough nourishment anymore, it becomes dry faster, starts to split, but (pay attention!) it never gets greasy! Reason being- all the grease is produced by your scalp! As a result – your head needs to be shampooed as much, as your face does!
You wouldn’t’ use shampoo to wash your face, so why use it 3″ above, on the same skin?
Regular shampoo formula consists of the same components as regular soap, so if you don’t want to dry out your hair, avoid it altogether! Your body produces oil to naturally condition your hair and keep it healthy. Using shampoo daily upsets the natural balance and causes you to produce more oil than necessary to compensate.
Hair conditioner and water can clean the scalp as well as any soap! I use Yes to Carrots and like it the best (see below).
If you stop to using shampoo, your scalp will adjust to producing less oil, witch in turn will start a reversal process back to the hair you had as a kid, soft and shiny, not over-treated and dry. In about 4-6 weeks your scalp will switch to a new mode and you are in for quite a surprise. However, when you stop using shampoo, you will experience a transitional period while your body gradually adjusts to produce just enough oil to keep your hair healthy. During this time, which can range from a few weeks to a few months, you’ll probably have some extra oil and grease that you may want to take care of to look presentable. So in the beginning I used shampoo once a week, then once every 2 weeks, until I gradually faded it out completely.
As you eliminate shampoo from your daily routine your hair gets more gentle, easier to style, split ends vanish!
I should also mention that hair does not start to smell differently when you stop using shampoo. I know this might be a question that comes to mind. 🙂
This technique, however, is not unique for curly hair only. No-poo technique, as it’s also called, can be used for any hair, any gender, even on kids.
So to sum it up, here is a list of rules and tips for curly hair:
1. Curls always curl in the same direction! They try to swirl into the same locks even after washing, so if you don’t break them with combs or brushes, the curls will be more defined. You should comb your hair only with fingers and only while it’s wet after a shower. Repeat after me- combs are evil! Throw away your brush and observe the huge difference after only a few washes! It will no longer get spongy, curl structure will become stronger and less influenced by external factors, hair will no longer get fluffy in the wind, rain or high humidity. Yes, it’s a miracle. (See picture above!)
2. You should wash your hair with hair conditioner and as though it was alive! Imagine you’re standing under a waterfall (don’t laugh, that’s how they explained it to me!), squeezing curls from the bottom up, massaging your head skin with finger tips. In the very beginning when you stop using shampoo you’ll probably have to clean your hair almost every day, but the longer you will postpone each washing, the faster your hair and skin will get used to this new mode. As for me, I continued to use a shampoo once a week for the first month, but then I realized I no longer needed it.
3. Regular hair dryer dries out curls and makes them frizzy, that’s why you should use it very rarely and only when must. The best way to dry your curls is to let is air dry! But if you can’t say no to hair dryers, buy a good diffuser and use it only on the very low temperature or even on cool setting.
4. Towel wrapped around the head after a shower breaks curl structure! Repeat after me- towel is for body only! You should dry your hair with a towel only by squeezing it bottom to top, no round massaging and definitely no rubbing! treat it as though it was alive. I also recommend removing extra moisture with a dry paper towel, it’s the most effective way. I use it after removing most of the moisture with a regular towel to take off remaining water from the ends.
5. Constricting your hair with elastic bands, hairpins and even braids damages curl structure! At Devachan I was told to give up pony tails and braids altogether but I can’t stay away from it completely, especially in the summer or when working out.
6. Buy masks, soft gels and other hair styling products for your type of hair or better yet- use natural remedies to revive your hair! Stay away from products with silicon, it dries out the hair even more, and since curly hair is initially more thirsty than straight hair, you should ban that ingredient from your life altogether! Since my hair grew longer and curlier after 5 years of short styles, I now use only Be Curly by Aveda products and I highly recommend them. Below are my favorites.