No shampoo, week 5: Success!

I can’t believe it’s been 5 weeks since I quit using shampoo!  To recap, I used to shampoo religiously every 23.5 hours.  My hair was so oily that even after 24 hours it was looking bad.  I also had dandruff that was only barely kept at bay by ever more frequent shampoo.

The first 2 weeks without shampoo were definitely the worst.  I used baking soda and vinegar every 2 or 3 days at first, then every day.  By the middle of the second week my dandruff was gone but my hair was so oily it looked damp all the way to the ends.  After 3 weeks it began to seem not quite so incredibly oily, and last week I was pretty sure it was getting better.

Now, amazingly, my hair feels very nearly normal.  I don’t quite understand how this can be, but it’s true.  I spent the day grocery shopping, yard saling and at a party – all with my hair down, not hidden in a clip.  I flipped it, swirled it, ran my fingers through it.  I wasn’t trying to show off.  It was more like running your tongue over your teeth after a cleaning at the dentist, when your teeth suddenly feel so smooth.   After 5 long weeks,  I have my hair back almost overnight, but I’m no longer tied to daily shampoo.

In the shower, my hair feels different.  If I try to use conditioner, I can feel the natural oils “blocking” it from my hair.  It doesn’t penetrate, and it rinses right off.  When my hair is damp, it feels a little “off.”  But ince it’s dry, it’s sleek and shiny, not a bit greasy, with lots of body and movement.  The only difference I notice is that it has more body than usual and is a little more…obedient?  The short little bits of new growth seem much easier to train.  They don’t stubbornly stand straight up if I try to smooth them down.

I’m pleasantly surprised that this only took 5 weeks.  I really didn’t expect to see such a change, and certainly not so soon after the way the first 2 weeks went!  At this point, I plan to keep using baking soda and vinegar every 2 or 3 days and an egg/lemon juice mixture every 7-10 days, unless my hair continues to change.

Among my daughters who have followed me in this experiment, we have several hair types:

The one with fine, straight hair says her hair feels very silky and smooth, not a bit greasy after a short minor adjustment period.  She loves her hair this way.

The one with very thick straight hair says her hair still feels a bit oily, though not extremely so.  It did look rather oily for the first 2 weeks or so, but not nearly so much as mine – only a couple of inches near her scalp.  Now hers, like mine, feels more trainable but otherwise very much like it did before she gave up shampoo.

The  2 curly girls are alternating between baking & vinegar, and occasionally washing with conditioner only.  Their hair used to be very dry and prone to tangle, but is now extremely soft and luscious.  I see the greatest difference in appearance with those two.  They had no oily adjustment period since their hair was so dry by nature.

Thanks for all your encouragement along the way!  For those of you who have watched and wondered how it would turn out, are you ready to take the plunge yet?

What other new thing did you try in the month of March?  Did it work for you?  What will you try in April?


  1. I’m excited about trying this out now…
    I’ve been reading all sorts of blogs about no-poo and have been tossing the idea around for weeks. I’ve actually weened myself off using shampoo very often (only about twice a week) and so hopefully my transition period won’t be very long anyways.
    Another really cool hair tip that I read today: clean your hairbrushes every day! If you think about it, whatever’s in your brush is going to make it’s way into your hair, including those excess oils. If you clean them once a day the maintenance really isn’t all that much, especially compared to cleaning them say once per week, where the buildup would be much harder to clean.
    Anyways, thanks for all the posts!
    Ps. found your blog by reading this blog:

  2. Is it manageable? I tried shampoo BARS, but even with a vinegar rinse, it was kind of straw-like and hard to work with. I’ve thought about trying baking soda instead, but I’m a little afraid to take the plunge. I can deal with oily for a while, but I’m not sure I want to deal with weeks of can’t-drag-a-brush-through-it.

    BTW, am I seeing correctly in your header photo that you have EIGHT girls and one boy? He must get lots of pampering!

  3. Pictures? Can we see a “After” picture? Please?!

    • Lois,
      Well…as it turns out, I spoke a little hastily. There *will* be a part 6. I guess I forgot just how good that egg shampoo was. I had just done it 3 days earlier, and that was more of a factor than I realized.

  4. This is so very intriguing!! Maybe I can experiment on my girls. 🙂

  5. Hey Kim,
    Just wanted to say that I enjoyed your interview at Feelin Feminine!
    Nice job. 🙂

  6. So excited for you about your hair…hopefully we get to see pics? I have a question about your daughters’ curly hair. My hair is naturally curly, but I use mousse to keep it from getting frizzy. Would you be able to use styling products if you couldn’t wash them out or do you think the need for the styling product would go away?

  7. congrats Kim! I have completed week 2. I still have this huge dry spot on the back of my head, but I think it is finally starting to get better. I purchased a boar bristle brush and that is helping to distribute the oils. Just one day with the baking soda/acv rinse and my hair was worse that day than day other day this week. I have also just been rinsing my hair with water to knock off any dust (our area of tx is really dusty) Anyway, I am glad to hear encouraging words that at week 5 it started to work out for you.

  8. Did you keep a photographic record through the experiment? I would be fascinated to see the results.

  9. Cherish says:

    Yay! I’m so glad it worked out!

    P.S. My husband is reading over my shoulder and after my explanation, his comment is, “Vinegar, eww!” I guess he won’t appreciate it if I try it. 😛

  10. Thank you for sharing this experiment. I have often wondered how pioneer women managed to go long periods of time without shampoo or washing their hair at all. It seems we have brought on our own curse requiring this daily routine. Now I see their hair adapted to the circumstances and I’m sure they were creative, as you were, in managing their tresses!

  11. As a professional hairstylist of over 30+ years, and specializing in curly hair care and more… this is the advice I have given to so many people. They look at me like I am am from another planet!

    Maybe I am??? lol, it works! glad you did this experiment and posted for all to see!
    The natural distribution of your natural scalp oils is the best conditioner ever!

    In fact, hair naturally cleanses itself! The only reason we do it and do it so often is because we feel it is “cleaner” plus our parents have been shampooing our hair since we were born!

    shampooing hair to often can cause all kinds of scalp, and hair conditions which are negative. We are often creating more damage to our hair, simply by shampooing!

    I like the fact that you say “sometimes washing with just conditioner” that to is awesome advice…

    good for you for doing and sharing your results!

    All the best,


  12. After my 3rd baby I’ve finally converted to cloth diapering and loving it….but I don’t think you’ll get me to change my shampooing ways *smile* I’m so glad it is working for you!!

  13. Well, I’m impressed! I tried this for a couple of weeks a couple of years ago. I think I may not have stayed with it long enough. One question, are you still having to change the pillowcases often?
    I’m proud of you- and thankful for you sharing your experience with us!

    • Tracy,
      Pillowcases: no. My extremely oily hair is no longer oily. That stage passed fairly quickly. Now I have new hair. 🙂

  14. any chance of getting a pic or two?

  15. After two shampooless weeks I used a small amount of shampoo on my hair, but not on my scalp yesterday. (I just couldn’t handle the oil. I’m not nearly as brave as you are.) I’m sorry I did. I have curly hair and my curl is gone and frizz is back. My husband on the other hand is happy, my hair actually looks clean.

    Thanks Kim, for the encouragement. I’m going to try again, but try using the egg wash.

    I’m probably going to start posting a little about my shampoo adventures next week. 🙂 If I’m brave enough.


    • Kimberly,
      If your husband is happy, then why are you sorry? 🙂
      But just for the record, the egg wash really, really works. It leaves your hair looking and feeling entirely clean, though it won’t smell like perfumed shampoo and won’t set you back to square one. If you only used a dab of shampoo on your hair and avoided your scalp, you’re probably not back on square one anyway.
      Let us know if you post about it!

  16. I have loved following your hair saga, but had not considered doing it my self seriously until just now. Your comments about your curly girls gave me pause. My hair is fine, but curly, and seems to get drier by the year. Hmmmm… maybe I will take the plunge.

  17. Wow! I’m completely impressed. I cut way back on my shampoo use a while back after first hearing about doing without shampoo, but I ended up going back to shampoo, mostly because I wasn’t brave enough to take the plunge. What did your husband say about all this strangeness??

    • Ritsumei,
      My husband was a big part of the reason I persevered. He was wholeheartedly behind the experiment, or I probably wouldn’t have tried it in the first place.

  18. Hurray! Success!

  19. This is a great testimony! I must admit that it sounds really gross to see the tweet “No Shampoo: Week 5”! 🙂 lol

    I don’t wash my hair very often. I can’t imagine washing it everyday. My hair is apparently not near as oily as yours was, because I can just about go 4 days before it even looks like it needs it.
    I have started using a vinegar rinse though.

    Glad it has worked out so well for you! Yay! Must feel great!



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