A journey in words...

Welcome to my journey in words! A story about health, exercise, weight loss, food addiction, humor, size discrimination, sarcasm, social commentary and all the rest that’s rattling around inside my head...

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Monday, February 4, 2013

Quitting Shampoo

I don’t often give fashion and beauty advice because they’re not exactly my area of expertise.  I’m about as fashionable as your average frumpy soccer mom and my nice skin is mostly genetic dumb luck.  I’m also fortunate enough to have hair that looks reasonably decent with only a blowout for styling – convenient since I have zero ability to style hair.  This may be because during that phase when little girls are practicing how to “do” each others hair I was too busy playing with my Voltron toys.  I’m not a tomboy, I just couldn’t get into hair – makeup I adore, and could go into at length, but that’s a whole other post.

With regards to a basic beauty regimen, there are a few things that I have learned and believe to be true.

Regarding skin: wear sunscreen, don’t go to bed with your makeup on, and moisturize.

Moisturize a lot.

The second I get out of a shower, even if my next stop is bed I’m putting some kind of cream on my skin to keep it pliable.  I don’t even use crazy expensive ones, I just pick whatever smells nice and stay diligent.

With regards to hair, I’ve had something of a similar revelation.  About six months ago I quit shampoo cold turkey.

I know what you’re thinking; no bubbles?  No squeaky clean strands between my fingers?  Ew.

Turns out those two things are incredibly bad for hair.  Let’s face it, hair is dead material.  It’s still attached but it can’t heal after it has left your scalp no matter what nifty graphics in hair product commercials try to tell you.  Once your hair is split and damaged the only future for it is growing out and falling off.

Shampoo strips all of the natural oil that your hair needs in order to not look like the dry, limp, lifeless dead thing it actually is.

The cleaning and care technique I use is generally referred to as “co-washing” or “condition-washing”.  It’s pretty simple; you load up a sizable palm full (two or three ounces depending on length) of whatever conditioner you like.  Can be cheap, doesn’t matter, if you like the fragrance then you’re good to go.  Work the conditioner very thoroughly through your hair, gently scrubbing your scalp with your fingertips and distributing the product evenly through the length.  I rub for a few minutes to make sure I’ve got a really thorough coat.  Leave it on for a couple of minutes while you do whatever else you do in the shower, and then very thoroughly rinse.  The conditioner seems to carry away dirt as it rinses and hair is left feeling surprisingly clean without the squeaky strands that indicate complete follicle strippage.

And that’s it.

My hair is shiny, it smells good, and it feels soft.  Much to my surprise it’s never limp or greasy either.  I have splurged and purchased certain brands of extremely expensive “cleansing conditioner” now and again.  I like it, but I’ve realized that if you do this the right way that really isn’t necessary.  Every six weeks I use a sparse amount sulfate-free shampoo as a clarifier the night before I touch up my dye job and other than that I skip soap altogether and I’m happy with the result.  I don’t even use styling product anymore, I just blow it dry and go.

So there’s my best beauty advice, take or leave: moisturize, rinse, repeat.


  1. Co-washing is amazing. And if you can find one without silicone, even better. And Suave has some that are like that, so inexpensive!


    I thought dimethcone was okay for hair, but it is apparently just waxy. I should have known that since it is in so many lotions. LOL.

    I love all your advice. I wish I had worn sunscreen on my hands and forearms too, when I was younger.

    1. Thank you for the tip about silicone - I found a good color locking conditioner for after I dye my hair that's silicone free!