A new trend is sweeping across America: scores of people are ditching shampoo for more earth and hair-friendly alternatives – including nothing at all. But would this work in the Middle East? Would the lovely ladies of Lebanon ever give up their luscious shiny locks? Turns out, they wouldn’t have to. Check out five reasons to embrace “No poo.”
Before I proceed, full disclosure: I use shampoo (though I only buy the organic, paraben and sulfate-free variety), and probably to my own detriment. I have to wash my hair every second day or it looks like an oil rag. So the reasons I’m listing here come from other sources rather than from any personal experience.
Alternative methods for going “no poo” include dissolved baking soda with diluted vinegar, or honey with various oils like coconut oil.
That said, here are five most common arguments listed for ditching shampoo:
1. Shampoo strips hair of natural oils: we haven’t always had commercial shampoo products, but now we think we can’t live without it. But we can, and if we did, our sebaceous glands that control how much oil our scalp produces would be a lot happier. Most shampoos are said to stunt natural oil production, which dries out our hair. Then our glands produce too much oil to compensate. Most people believe it takes anywhere from two to six weeks to break this cycle without shampoo.
2. Many shampoos contain nasty chemicals: last year the Environmental Working Group released a report that showed that 98 popular shampoo and cosmetic brands contain chemicals that are known carcinogens or neurotoxins. They claim that the concentrations present are insufficient to cause real harm, but is it really worth the risk?
3. Many shampoos contain silicone derivatives: Dimethicone is used to coat the hair, which is supposedly designed to make hair more manageable. Instead it contributes to further damage since it prevents moisture from reaching the hair, which then dries out. Also, Triclosan, an antibacterial agent, is said to affect hormone levels.
4. Plastic shampoo bottles pollute our environment: we don’t know about you, but we are so sick and tired of seeing plastic destroy our wild and beautiful places, killing both land and marine based animals. As people shampoo their hair more frequently than we ever have needed to in human history, we produce an extraordinary amount of waste that is particularly poorly treated in the MENA region. Not to mention chemical pollution, which most waste water management facilities are poorly equipped to handle.
5. Shampooing hair costs a lot of money: shampoos, especially the more decent brands, costs a lot of money. Considering that most proponents of No Poo recommend washing with baking soda and then rinsing with vinegar to restore the hair’s pH, keeping hair shiny and healthy need not eat into your monthly budget.
If you decide to experiment with a shampoo-free life, most people recommend washing your hair with baking soda, but there are other alternatives that may be more effective depending on hair types. Let us know how it goes.