No shampoo no poo natural health beauty paleo-min

No Shampoo?

The one Paleo area I've been completely avoiding has been the whole No Shampoo & No Soap issue.  I recently had my hair done for my Birthday and I was quite shocked by the number of products I was smothered in (my hair didn't look that amazing after either):

  • Shampoo
  • Colours for highlights
  • Shampoo
  • Toner
  • Shampoo
  • Conditioner
  • Leave in conditioner
  • Spray to make my hair soft
  • Spray to give my hair volume
  • Wax to give my hair texture, and
  • Hairspray

No shampoo no poo natural health beauty paleo-min

This trip to the hairdressers has forced me to think about the other chemicals I expose myself too.  It’s all well and good being strict with my nutrition, but surely reducing exposure to chemicals like this, is of great importance too.

The ingredients list in a typical bottle of shampoo or shower gel often reads like a chemistry text book.  Given that skin is our largest organ, it’s a reasonable assumption that chemicals are going to be able to transfer from the products to your blood stream.


I just looked up the ingredients of a Pantene shampoo I often use.  I can't even pronounce some of these chemicals: –

Water, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Fragrance, Sodium Citrate, Sodium Xylenesulfonate, Citric Acid, Hydroxypropyl Methylcellulose, Sodium Chloride, Sodium Benzoate, Tetrasodium Edta, Panthenol, Panthenyl Ethyl Ether, Methylchloroisothiazolinone/Methylisothiazolinone

When researching the ingredients used in commercial shampoos and soaps all sorts less than favourable articles came up.  Many of the chemicals are irritants and have many properties I just don’t want in my system.

A lot of Paleo people go entirely without shampoo and soap, but I just don’t think I'm ready to go this far, yet.  My main problem with camping is not being able to wash my hair every morning; the thought of voluntarily doing this from the comfort of my home isn't a terribly attractive proposition!

The harsh chemicals in shampoo seem to strip away the scalps natural sebum, drying it out – and greasy hair appears to be the scalps compensation for this overly dried out scalp!  From what I’ve read and from speaking to Paleo friends who've gone no ‘poo, it seems like the first week or two is not a good look – but then your hair is supposed to become soft, shiny and wonderful!

A lot of people use natural products such as eggs, apple cider vinegar and baking soda, so perhaps that would be a good place to start.

What are your thoughts on giving up shampoo?  Or perhaps you have some top tips for conquering my shampoo habit?

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9 replies
  1. Cassiel
    Cassiel says:

    I was interested in alternative hair care concepts way before I got into paleo! My flatmate has been a member of an online long hair community for years and years, and they’re happy to try a lot of alternative methods to take better care of their hair. It was thanks to all her research there that I discovered that I’m allergic to sodium lauryl sulfate and sodium laureth sulfate. These products are in about 95% of shampoos (and soaps, and toothpastes!) but they’re irritants to a LOT of people!! When I cut out SLS products, my dandruff and eczema cleared up a lot, and my teeth stopped bleeding all the time from brushing! I will never, ever use a shampoo, soap or toothpaste with SLS in it again. There really are SO many chemical and artificial things in the body products that we use and our bodies just aren’t designed to deal with them.

    I’ve tried the no-shampoo method for about half a year, and I found it to be quite comfortable. I agree with what you’ve heard — at first you look pretty lank, but after a few weeks it gets a lot better! However due to my skin conditions (dermatitis etc) it wasn’t something I could consider doing all the time, especially not while working. My skin conditions have improved greatly since going paleo, but they’re still there, so I’m hesitant to try it again. That said, I’m not a daily shampoo person — I wash my hair maybe once every 3-4 weeks. (When I was using SLS products it had to be at least once a week due to the dandruff and itching they caused, and even SLS-free it was once every 1-2 weeks. It wasn’t till I went paleo that I was able to put it off to what I do now.)

    However, even though I do shampoo, I really prefer to just use products that are as natural as possible! I prefer shampoo bars from Chagrin Valley:
    I cannot recommend these enough! They are all-natural, and so much fun to use, and feel really nice on my hair. There is no need for conditioner.
    That said, I do recommend rinsing with an apple cider vinegar wash after shampooing with one of these bars — 1 part vinegar to 4 parts water, and run it over your hair after you wash the shampoo out. Very natural, and makes your hair feel absolutely lovely!
    I also use coconut oil on my hair quite regularly. It’s a great treatment for dandruff/scalp dermatitis — massage a generous amount into your scalp, leave it for about an hour, then wash normally. I also put it on my hair after I’ve washed it, and after it’s dried a little, because it soaks in and gives it a lovely shine. For that usage, less is more — it’s very easy to put too much on! If you do though, don’t worry, as it’ll soak it up over the next few days. I’ve also heard it said that coconut butter is great for the scalp and hair as well, which makes sense since it’s pretty similar. 😉

    I also sometimes use the Chagrin Valley soaps on my skin, and sometimes her body butters and face washes and such as well. But for body products, I mostly use a company called Villainess:
    She’s very much into being as natural as possible with her products, while still being “cool”. My favourite body product, the “Smooch”, doesn’t have any preservatives at all. The downside is you have to use them up within a few weeks of opening them, but trust me, that’s very easy to do. 😉 Her oil face cleanser is one of the few cleansers in the world that makes my sensitive facial skin better instead of worse, and I swear by her Mud range.

    I very much like the idea of paleo being a lifestyle choice and not just a nutritional choice. That said, I’m a girly girl and I like to pamper myself. 🙂 I just prefer to choose alternates to the mainstream crap!

    I’m also a huge fan of body scents, for example, but instead of those icky perfumes and colognes full of alcohol and goodness knows what else, I use natural perfume oils. I swear by the crew at Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab:
    Their perfume oils are hand blended, all natural, and smell freaking fantastic. <3

    Anyway, this is a bit rambly, but you've hit on a topic I like to talk about, apparently! 😉 I hope my thoughts are somehow helpful, and good luck with the shampoo fight!

    • Suz
      Suz says:

      Thanks for your comment Cassiel! It’s a subject I like to talk about too!

      SLS certainly sounds like a chemical I need to avoid. I really like the idea of natural products – whilst I could make my own, I just don’t have the time at the moment, so will definitely be looking into Chagrin Valley & Villainess. Very interested in the natural fragrances too – I’m excited to have a look at the perfume oils you mentioned!

      • Cassiel
        Cassiel says:

        SLS is something I definitely recommend avoiding, even if you aren’t sensitive to it. It’s made from petroleum and is often used in industrial grade floor cleansers, engine degreasers, and the like. XD And its only purpose in body products is to give them more lather. I don’t care about lather, which only gives a fake sense of “clean” anyway!

        I swear by all the companies I recommended, as a long term customer of all of them. It’s really felt great for me to get away from all the chemicals in conventional products but without feeling like I’ve cut on corners on my love of pampering!

        I don’t think I have any Chagrin Valley or Villainess samples lying around at the moment, but I always have a lot of spare BPAL (the perfume oils) so if I can make it to a future Sydney Paleo meet, I’d be happy to gift you with a few. 😀

  2. Jen
    Jen says:

    This I feel is a step to far! Surely there are shampoo’s made with more ‘friendly ingredients’.
    I love the smell & feel of freshly washed hair. Do you think baby shampoo would be any good?

  3. tera beth
    tera beth says:

    i would emphatically not recommend ever using baby shampoo….not in yourself, and especially not on a baby. ‘tear free’ not only doesn’t mean chemical free but MORE chemicals in order to mask the eye irritants! that being said, i haven’t quite gotten myself out of the shampoo cycle, though i make sure to use all natural sls free…

  4. Angie
    Angie says:

    Great post. I stopped using commercial shampoos about a year ago. I started using a natural product but found it stripped my hair of natural oils. I’ve since had all my hair cut off and I’m sporting a crop (which doesn’t need shampooing at all…) It’s good to know that one day, when I grow my hair again, there are other natural products out there to try. Thank you 🙂

  5. Leonie
    Leonie says:

    I went shampoo free for 6 months. A little greasy for a month, but then soft and shiny. The only problem is when you get dirt or chicken dusting powder in your hair, how do you wash it out. My solution is to occasionally use Nutrimetics OLC. Which has a neutral ph. And is made from coconut and yakka plants. Can’t remember the other ingredients. It was originally made to wash pesticides off fruit and veg.

  6. Dawn
    Dawn says:

    I make my own shampoo and soap. I even make my own laundry detergent, dish soap and cleaning spray. This way I know exactly what is in my cleaning products.

    Most natural soap makers use only non-GMO, organic products, and essential oils. These soaps are made with lye, a combination of oils and/or butters depending on the properties they want the soap to have like, lather, moisturizing, hardness, cleansing, etc (coconut, olive oil, safflower, almond, avocado, sunflower, tallow, lard, Shea butter, coco butter, etc), essential oils, and depending on what the soap or shampoo is for, could have different clays/minerals (bentonite or French clay etc). If they want a certain color to the soap or an added property to the soap then they will use different spices.

    There are vegan soaps made without tallow or lard. I don’t sell at all, but there are many wonderful people who do sell their lovely all natural soaps.


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