This week, as California sits in a 100 percent state-wide drought situation, I’m reminded about the many ways we can (and should) conserve water. One I’ve been doing for a long time now is less frequent shampooing and conditioning of my hair. Before you say “ew,” consider why you might want to do this too.
One hundred years ago, pretty much nobody in the U.S. was washing their hair daily. It was just common practice. Women went to salons every month to have their hair “done.” Men used copious amounts of pomade and other greases on their hair in lieu of washings.
By 1908, it was recommended that women wash their hair twice a month. By the 1970s we were washing it at least once a day. This wasn’t because our hair got dirtier (although we did suffer through the dirty, grimy air of the industrial revolution). It was because shampoo companies wanted to sell more product. That’s reason enough for quitting the shampoo mania! But there are actually some other, more compelling reasons for doing this too.
Here’s why I quit shampooing my hair daily:
1. Shampoo strips the hair and scalp’s natural oils. This can actually cause dandruff-not prevent it. By stripping away the oils, the glands have to become overactive just to get back to normal. It’s a vicious cycle.
2. Hair products are expensive! I have really long, thick hair. I’m not going to pour gobs of crappy shampoo and conditioners on it. But good quality products can be $20 or more per bottle. Daily washing would put me at more than $100 per month at least in hair care products.
3. Even some of those expensive organic shampoos aren’t always made of the cleanest ingredients. While many organic haircare products are free from artificial ingredients, it is really hard to get sudsing action or a shampoo or conditioner that doesn’t separate without the addition of some sketchy ingredients being added to make it congeal. Do your research and double check the EWG’s Skin Deep list if you see ingredients you’re not sure about–even in organic products.
4. Hair looks better. While it may take a few days or weeks for your hair to “balance out” after you quit washing it, the long-term result is awesomesauce. Your natural oils make your hair shinier, and with regular combing and brushing, you get nice volume and shape without expensive hair treatments or products.
5. You do save water. You don’t have to live in drought-stricken California to be concerned about your water usage. It’s a finite resource we need to be more judicious about using. And if you have a choice between drinking clean water, or slathering it on your head, which would you choose?