A new trend in beauty is based on the idea that less is more — at least when it comes to shampooing your hair.
Some people have stopped shampooing their hair regularly, or even altogether, based on the belief that the detergents in shampoo strip hair of its healthy natural oils. This form of hair care has even been dubbed “no-poo.”
According to Healthline, the potential benefits of skipping shampoo include:
- healthier hair and scalp that produces a balanced amount of oil
- more voluminous hair
- better textured hair and less need for styling products
- less exposure to potentially irritating chemicals
- less plastic packaging waste
- breaking an artificial cycle of shampooing, which dries out the hair, causing you to use products to add moisture back, and then shampoo again to remove product
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Is this truly healthy for your hair and scalp?
That largely depends on the type of head you have, according to skin and hair experts.
“It’s not a one-size-fits-all situation,” says Dr. Angela Lamb, director of Westside Mount Sinai Dermatology in New York City. “It all depends on your hair type. There are some hair types that would tolerate it better than others.”
“No-poo” proponents clean their hair and scalp with products that contain no detergent, Lamb shares. Alternatives run the gamut from a home-brewed concoction containing baking soda and apple cider vinegar to a variety of new manufactured products offered through salons that contain natural oils and non-detergent cleansers.
“There are a couple of salons in New York that are pushing it,” Lamb shares. “Once I start hearing about it in my office, I know it has some type of following.”
Hair is made of protein, and at the root of every hair is an oil gland, according to Lamb. The oil produced by this gland coats the hair and protects it from becoming brittle.
The thought behind the “no-poo” movement is that “by leaving the natural oils on the hair, the hair doesn’t need any styling products,” says Dr. Lisa Donofrio, an associate clinical professor of dermatology at Yale University School of Medicine. “If you don’t apply any styling products, then there is no need to wash your hair. No products, no need to wash them out.”
Hair products like gel, mousse or hair spray are one reason why people need to wash their hair regularly, Lamb adds. “You don’t want to leave products in for a month,” she says. “Those are things you want to wash out, or the hair can become brittle and break.”
However, there are other reasons why people need to use a detergent shampoo on a regular basis, some health care experts contend.
For example, the scalp beneath the hair needs to be regularly cleaned of