My Journey to No ‘Poo, or Why the Heck Would Anyone Do This Anyway?

The first time I ever heard of anyone going without shampoo, it was a friend of mine back in high school.  My response, as most people’s would be, was something along the lines of, “That’s really weird.”  I didn’t exactly judge her for it — if anything, I respected her desire not to pay for unnecessary and overpriced beauty products (I was a thrifty type even back then) — but the idea that going without shampoo could work seemed utterly ridiculous.

Fast forward several years.  In college I was very much a Humanities Person.  I did not like math or science or anything involving numbers or dissections or too much quantitative thinking.  I didn’t even like the social sciences.  My one diversion from that was my love of Anthropology, but I considered that a fluke and therefore decided I was a Humanist once and for all.  But then there was that pesky science requirement that I had to take in order to graduate, and I decided the least horrible option was probably going to be Intro to Environmental Science.  I liked planet earth well enough, y’know, living on it and all, and if I had to take science…

Let me just say: OH. MY. GOODNESS.  Everyone should take that class.  Seriously.  If I had to pick one class in my entire college career that had the greatest impact on my life and how I saw the world, that was it.  (A close second is Cultural Anthropology, but that’s a discussion for another time.)  Not only did it make me enjoy that pesky science credit, it opened my eyes to many things I hadn’t considered before.

These issues ranged from the Gulf of Mexico Dead Zone to the presence of pharmaceutical products and cosmetics in our water supply.  Put simply, I came out of that class convinced that the only thing I really wanted to be putting into our water supply was, well, water.

Around that same time, another friend of mine announced that she was giving up shampoo after reading this wonderful post over at Lulastic.  (It’s worth a read if you’re considering giving this a try.)  From there, it was a pretty short time until I said, “What the heck?” and gave it a try.

It was somewhat of a whim to begin with — I don’t think I expected that I would keep it up as long as I did.  But for that first day, I rinsed my hair with nothing but water and I didn’t die.  Heck, I wasn’t even greasy, though I did start with fairly dry hair to begin with.  Then somewhere in that process it occurred to me — people haven’t had shampoo since the dawn of time. Presumably we didn’t need to dump tons of random chemicals in our hair just to get it clean.  So who is to say we still need that now?

That, my friends, was the beginning.  For next time, look forward to a discussion of the water only method.


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