Over the past year or two I have heard more and more about the “no poo” movement. Just a few months ago I was at Target buying, among other things, shampoo, and the cashier asked me if I had heard of the no poo phenomenon, I said I had, and she then proceeded to tell me about how much she loved it and how great it was. I found it odd that she bring this up with a me, a stranger, but I listened and nodded my head, and then I went home and thoroughly shampoo’d my hair out of spite, but I digress. This interaction got me thinking about no poo, and I thought it would be an interesting topic to blog about. Basically, this movement is where people stop using shampoo all together. The exact way to practice no poo is a bit unclear, some people forgo all substances in their hair and “wash” their hair with water alone. Others will use types of natural or organic conditioners on their hair, but the main theme remains clear, no shampoo.
This movement is rooted in the belief that shampoo is unhealthy for your hair and damages it over time. This belief actually does has some merit to it, the way shampoo works is that it traps oils and dirt in your hair and then they are rinsed out of your hair. But your body produces these oils for a reason, it helps to strengthen and moisturize the hair and scalp. And depending on how much oil your body produces, constantly shampooing your hair can leave it dried out and prone to damage. In fact many experts including professional hair stylists and doctors say that the majority of people don’t need to wash their hair everyday.
Ok so too much shampoo can be bad and maybe we shouldn’t use it everyday, but isn’t going full on no poo an overreaction, and isn’t it bad for you? In my opinion yes it is an overreaction, but my opinion isn’t scientifically valid, and I don’t know enough hair and the scalp to know if no poo is actually unhealthy. Because of this I set out to find scientific studies to answer my questions. But unfortunately there seem to be no studies regarding the health of no poo or comparing the results of no poo and shampoo. This is likely because a good study would take around a year to set up and the no poo movement has only become mainstream in the last year or two. Perhaps in the future there will be studies that can answer this question. But for now all there is to rely on to answer this question is anecdotes. Many people have gone no poo and posted their experience on line. And just from searching the internet it seems the vast majority of people who posted there stories online had a positive experience. However, this could be a result of the file drawer problem. If people don’t like no poo they could be less likely to blog about it because its not as fun to talk about. So, sadly this question can not be answered at this time. But, if there were to be a study on this, the way to do it would be to first get a good sample size, maybe about 500 or so participants. Then randomly allocate them to a group, either no poo or shampoo, one group would do no poo and the other group would use shampoo. The health of their hair would be measured before the study, and then monthly for the duration of the study, preferably a year or longer. Then the health of the hair from the two groups would be compared to determine if one groups hair is healthier than another. This would answer the question scientifically. But until a study like this is conducted, ill stick to shampooing my hair.