In the shower, most of us do some version of the following:
Wet your hair
Smush some shampoo around your scalp
Stand still for much longer than necessary because it’s warm and feels nice
Putz around while it absorbs
Continue not moving except for an occasional lazy, rotisserie-chicken-like turn when your back gets too cold
Hair-washing is one of the last things you should be overthinking, so this is simply an introduction to the new, different, and possibly better ways you could be doing it. Because that’s what beauty’s all about, isn’t it?
Caring about stuff you’ve never cared about before Experimenting with alternative techniques that might sound weird but sticking with it anyway because it might just end up changing your life.
Also known colloquially as, ugh, “no-poo” or “poo-free.” Now a full-fledged movement against the sebum-stripping qualities of commercial cleaning agents, AKA the stuff that makes bubbles, NP is based on the philosophy of “suffer for a few weeks, emerge a stronger person with shinier hair.” There are three recommended methods:
Rub your scalp as you would normally but without any products.
Dissolve one tablespoon of baking soda in one cup of water. Stir until dissolved and pour on head (but not into eyes). Rub into scalp and rinse.
Apple cider vinegar as conditioner
Follow all steps for baking soda. Dilute vinegar with water and use as rinse. Rinse with water.
It’s similar to no-shampoo in its emphasis on sebum preservation, except you’re allowed a cleansing conditioner. Directions: Separate hair into four equal sections. Take a few pumps of a product like Carol’s Daughter Hair Milk Co-Wash Cleansing Conditioner and rub into your scalp, section by section. Massage entire scalp, then rinse. Repeat every three to five days for coarse or curly hair and try alternating with regular, old-fashioned shampoos for fine hair.
This one’s for curly girls who need extra moisture, definition, and/or softness. In the shower, take argan, olive, castor, jojoba, or any other oil your hair responds well to, and distribute evenly. Leave on while you shave/ponder the meaning of life. Turn the water temperature down, and rinse until you’ve removed 90 percent of the oil. (You want to leave a fine layer.)
Oh, look! It’s another traditional practice we’ve only now caught on to. This one involves shikakai, a fun-to-say powder made from a climbing shrub native to Asia. In India, women massage their scalps with oil, allowing it to soak in for anywhere from an hour to a day. Shikakai is then made into a paste with water and worked into the hair to clean off the oil. Bonus: The bark contains high levels of saponins, which are natural foaming agents. Frothy!
Dream. Come. True. (Too bad it doesn’t seem to be available outside nursing homes and hospitals.)