Crazy Challenge: I Stopped Using Shampoo, Part 2

Nearly a month ago I decided to ditch my daily shampoo and conditioner routine in an attempt to get my thicker hair back (thank kids, stress.) To recap my previous post: On the suggestion of friends and bloggers before me who have also gone "no 'poo" and seen good results, I started shampooing only with baking soda (1 tablespoon mixed with 1 cup of warm water) and occasionally vinegar (same ratio as the soda) as conditioner. The baking soda worked well -- I used it a couple of times a week for nearly three weeks. My hair got a bit greasy, sure. But it never got as bad as I feared. I could still wear it down to work every day and my fellow editors at Parents swore to me that it looked good. In fact, it was shiny and started to feel thicker.

Crazy Challenge: I Stopped Using Shampoo, Part 2 33851

Most folks who go no 'poo suggest that you start with the baking soda/vinegar routine (see my own product line, at right!) for the first 3 weeks and then go completely cold turkey ... for good. After a couple of weeks of no 'poo at all, the theory goes that your hair finds its perfect natural balance, and your scalp will no longer overproduce all that oil and therefore you don't need to shampoo again (my husband does it and I swear he's not a stinky grease monster). Anyway. I never quite made it there.

On Day 19 I had an appointment with a big-name hair stylist here in the city: Eva Scrivo. It's an appointment I made after reading Parents October Mom Makeovers story. Eva worked major magic on one of the mom's previously thin, lifeless hair. I thought, Hey! I want hair like that!

Immediately upon meeting Eva and telling her about my problem with thinning hair, she asked me a barrage of questions: Do you dye your own hair? (Busted. Was it that obvious?) Do you dye just the roots or the ends too? (Um, all of it.) Do you brush your hair every day? (Um, no.) Do you eat a lot of protein? Veggies? (Yes. Whew. Got those right.) Basically, I wasn't taking good care of my hair. She suggested I stop dying my hair myself (it was weakening my hair -- especially the bottom part which was getting a hit every 8 weeks -- and at-home dye is especially harsh), and that I brush my hair every night (it helps bring the oils through your strands); and that I take the dietary supplement biotin to encourage hair growth. She wasn't against my no 'poo movement -- in fact, she suggested only shampooing every couple of days and with a super gentle shampoo (and super expensive at $32 a bottle): Leonor Greyl. She also said I should lay off the hair products; she's right: after skipping all products during this challenge I realize that they didn't help me; just weighed my hair down. And go easy on the heat tools (last week on vacation I didn't blow dry my hair once in 8 days!!!).

It's been 12 days since I had my salon appointment and more than a month since I first started this experiment. I haven't used one hair product other than the fancy pants shampoo every three days. And I can honestly say that my hair has never felt or looked better. It's shinier and feels much thicker -- whether it actually is thicker, I don't know (I think I'm just cool with the extra oil when I wasn't before). If you're having hair issues, I encourage you to try some version of what I have ... even just take a product vacation for a week or so. I was so stuck in my product routine for so long I never stopped to see if it was helping or hurting -- and now I know.

Eager to hear what you have done to restore your hair post-baby! Please share.

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