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All you need to know about shampoo free hair care

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Sonali Pimputkar gives an in-depth understanding of the new trend called the ‘No Poo Movement’.

Would you give up washing your hair forever (or for few years or at least few months)? Rather give up shampoo? Not possible? Well, this movement called ‘No Poo Movement’ has become a trend in the West with several celebrities going crazy about it. You’ve probably nodded your head as you have already read Kim Kardashian, Adele, Gwyneth Paltrow, Prince Harry and Robert Pattinson, among others, joining the ‘No Poo’ bandwagon.

Well, these no poo-ers are taking tremendous steps to get rid of harsh chemicals from their lives. But before you chuck all your hair care products and giving your hair washes a miss, let’s get an in-depth understanding about the No Poo Movement.


What is the No Poo Movement?

As the name suggests, it’s the tradition of not washing your hair with commercial shampoo. If you wash away the natural oils from your hair and scalp, the sebaceous oil glands will fabricate more sebum to compensate. And if you wash your hair less, you produce less oil hence saving your hair from damage. But during initial days of adopting this movement, your system needs to regulate because there will be a phase of oiliness while your biome rebalances. And if you wait patiently during these phase, you’ll discover that the sebum fabrication slows and your hair ultimately becomes shinier, healthier and long.

Dr Ishani Chakravarty, Dermatologist at Aviva Skin Clinic says, “Regular shampooing makes your hair dry and upsets the acid-alkaline balance of the scalp, which leads to hair loss. The no poo movement is a great option to maintain the natural oil of your hair but in a city like Mumbai it is quite difficult to stop shampooing completely. Instead I would suggest people to get a hair wash once or twice a week with a mild shampoo or with amla-reetha powder.”

Salman Khan, a media professional is following the no poo movement since six months and he is deeply in love with it. He says, “It has been six months since I stopped using shampoo. It all started as a short experiment. I never dreamed I’d still be doing it, but here I am, a staunch convert to the ‘no poo’ method with no intentions of going back. There are so many things I love about it. My hair is getting healthier and there is even less hair on my brush.”

The outcome of the movement is subjective, depending on your hair and scalp type and allergies, if any. Missing hair washes doesn’t inevitably mean that your hair care routines are simplified. In fact you need to be more careful in terms of cleanliness. Also the sebum needs to be circulated properly and for this a soft bristle brush needs to be used. Brushing with soft bristle helps to circulate the natural oil and proteins from the hair.

Ritwika Gupta, a Fashion Blogger, feels going ‘No Poo’ is a great concept and should be tried. She says, “I think going ‘no poo’ is great because yes, shampoos do contain chemicals that could harm your scalp and hair. Also in the olden times, people didn’t have chemical based shampoos; they made their own using amla and other herbs. A natural alternative that doesn’t strip the hair off its oils is definitely a better alternative and should be encouraged.”

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Natural ways to wash your hair:

All you have to do is not shampoo your hair. Many people have reduced the number of hair washes they take while several others have completely given up shampoo for other natural ingredients.

For normal hair:

Use only water. This method is best-suited for people with normal scalp – neither too oily nor too dry. This means you only need to wash your hair with water – plain or lukewarm. It is productive when you do it regularly, as it helps to maintain the natural oil in the hair.

For oily hair:

Baking soda is a natural hair cleanser which is effective to remove oil, dirt and unpleasant smell. All you need to do is take 1-2 table spoon of soda in a bowl and mix it with water making it a paste. Apply the mixture gently on your scalp, gently massage for few minutes and rinse it with plain water. It will make your hair smooth and shiny.

For dry hair:

Mix Apple Cider Vinegar with water and rinse your hair with it. Again, rinse your hair with plain water. It helps to add shine and lessen the dryness of the hair.

It is also seen that people with dry and curly hair find no poo effective while those with oily and straight hair find it difficult to manage.

DIY Herbal Shampoo:

If the idea of going shampoo-free cringes you then go for the ‘DIY Herbal Shampoo’ method.

Shampoo has been around for less than a century, after all, and only in the last few decades it has become a daily essential. You might know that women’s in olden times relied on home-made shampoos to keep their hair strong and long. To make this shampoo you just need three herbs – amla (Indian Gooseberry), reetha (Soapnut) and shikakai (Acacia concinna). You just need to crush these herbs into powder and preserve it dry in a container. While washing your hair take the required amount of the powder and make it a thick paste. Apply the paste on your scalp and hair and rinse it after 15 minutes.

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Amla, Reetha & Shikakai

 Reetha is a cleansing agent and is a bit drying; shikakai removes dirt and access oil while amla helps to maintain your hair dark and shiny.   

Drawbacks of the No Poo Movement:

If you are in Mumbai or any other major city, you will understand that there is always dirt, dust, pollution and construction debris waiting to coat you. And then the question of whether or not to adopt the no poo movement arises.

Dr Rohit Shah of Alopecia Treatment Centre is not a follower of the no poo movement. He says, “Though no shampoo is 100% safe even the leading brands who claim to be herbal has about 70% Sodium Lauryl Sulfate. Going no poo is never a solution. Today’s lifestyle doesn’t permit waiting for weeks or even days to get rid of dead skin as the dirt from your scalp is going to harm more that the harmful chemicals in shampoos or other hair care products. In fact, going dirty will only lead to fungal infection, breakouts and getting lice. It is advisable to have a hair wash at least twice a week with standard shampoo.”

Sometimes it takes days and even months to bring out the results. Merely stopping the use of shampoos, conditioners and other healthcare products will not tackle the damage already suffered by the hair. You only need to wait for the replacement of new growth.

We believe truly gorgeous hair is always the result of healthy lifestyle and you should always take care of the system nature gave you.