Hmmm… it’s now been 26 days since I last used shampoo on my hair, and still I’m persevering with my water-only hair washing experiment. I almost gave up last weekend, my hair just felt so greasy and lank even when freshly water-washed and it really got me down, to the point where I sat and cried at the pointlessness of it all, but I somehow got through it without reaching for the (shampoo) bottle and I promised myself I’d be patient, leave it yet another week, and see how it goes…
So here I am, not quite one week on from there, still struggling with myriad emotions on what feels like a never-ending roller-coaster cycle of determination and despair. I’m still quite clearly in the no-shampoo transitional period (which tends to last between six to eight weeks), where my understandably confused scalp is learning to adjust its natural sebum production from a lifetime of being chemically stripped daily to a new routine of being managed manually.
And it is definitely a hands-on job, an infinitely intensive labour of love to coax my shell-shocked hair into some kind of manageable state using only water, my fingers, a wooden comb and a boar-bristle brush. But there’s also something surprisingly sensual about the whole manual process – it feels so good to finger-massage my scalp, patiently pull the oils down through each hair shaft, and brush out the daily build-up of dirt. It has a repetitive rhythm all of its own that I find soothing to my soul.
I keep telling myself this is a monumental shift for me, to be moving from a daily wet shampoo to (hopefully) a less limiting and far more rewarding hair-care regime once this transitional phase has passed. And I do have to keep reminding myself constantly that this excessively greasy stage is only temporary – it will pass, it won’t always be this way. Already it’s not quite as bad as it was, my hair is slowly becoming a little less surface oily so there is some improvement to show for my efforts, but it takes it own good time and cannot be rushed.
So I can’t judge the success or failure of my experiment because as yet it is still incomplete, and I have to see it through to the end. Only once everything is rebalanced naturally can I decide on whether or not to continue with water-only washing, or find another alternative. But the more I get used to the feeling of having heavier, healthier hair, the more I like it. Rather than feeling frizzy and flyaway, frequently frazzled and parched, my hair does look and feel softer and shinier; it sits flatter but fuller with far more internal volume.
I know it will look very different once it settles down – different from how it was, and different from how it looks now. I’m trying to imagine this phase as similar to being in a chrysalis – one day soon I will emerge, shake free my naturally conditioned hair, and be a beautiful butterfly at last. But until that time arrives, I must continue to be patient, and simply wait and see… 🙂