Or to be more exact, my scalp doesn’t like shampoo, so I have been experimenting with less hair washing and alternative methods of keeping my hair clean and my scalp healthy….
We have all seen the adverts, billboards and glossy pages in magazines, telling us to use x brand of shampoo, or conditioner, to make our hair shiny, healthy looking, glossy, lustrous, stronger, in better condition… I could go on. Not to mention all the other hair products out there, claiming to work miracles on what is essentially dead cells growing out of our scalp. Of course, how healthy our hair is, and how good it looks, is a lot dependent on what we eat, and drink, and what we expose our hair to, in terms of colourants, dyes, products, and if you have health issues, your hair can suffer too.
I have spent a fortune on hair products over the years. Mainly because I suffer from a mild form of psoriasitic arthritis, and struggle with outbreaks of psoriasis on my scalp. I have used various prescribed and non prescribed shampoos, treatments and lotions to try and keep in under control, and stop it being itchy, sore and irritating. I don’t colour my hair (I used to, it has been many shades over the years) because hair dye can often cause my skin to flare up and break out in a patch of particularity bad psoriasis. I can’t use normal, scented, commercial “beauty” shampoos, some of them make my scalp react so badly, it becomes raw and sore.
I also used to wash my hair very frequently. My hair, like my skin, can tend towards oily, I run around a lot, I get hot and sweaty. My hair used to “need” washing often. It’s very thick and currently quite long, so hair washing is a pain, but because I liked my hair to feel “clean” I washed it often. I also used a tar based shampoo, to help keep my scalp calm and under control. However, it is not safe to use whilst breastfeeding or pregnant, so I went for periods of time of not using it, and struggling with a very sore and itchy scalp and days when if I brushed or scratched, chunks of my scalp would flake away. Sorry, I know that sounds revolting. It is. My hair is also quite thick, and somewhat frizzy, thanks to the hormones of pregnancy, that changed it’s texture so I do need to keep the ends from getting too dry.
I have heard of people going “no poo” and not using any products on their hair, and minimal washing, or using baking soda and vinegar. I tried that, for about a month. It made my scalp worse. My dermatologist wasn’t surprised, and said that he rarely sees people with psoriasis see an improvement using this method. I stopped. It wasn’t working for me. He did suggest, that less washing, might help. His argument being that washing and stripping the hair of it’s oils makes the scalp produce more, and because psoriasis is basically the skin over producing cells, faster than normal, so although washing it does removed the excess cells and flakes, it also makes them dry out faster and shed more quickly. I was a bit sceptical, but I thought I would give it a try. If it didn’t work, I could always just start washing my hair more often.
So, for 3 months, I have been only washing my hair every ten days or so, and in the last few weeks, it has started to “come right” and my scalp condition is under control, without using the medicated shampoo.
Here’s my routine
- in the morning – if I am working, I don’t brush it. I use a very fine dry shampoo, through the roots, and then comb my hair through with my fingers then tie it back. I don’t like my hair down, at work, it annoys me, and is pretty wild, so I prefer it up. If the ends are very dry I will rub a bit of oil through before I put it up.
- in the evening, I brush it thoroughly and use a hair tonic, by Weleda, through the roots. I was worried this would be oily, and make my hair more greasy, but it doesn’t, and it smells nice, and contains rosemary, which is a herb that is thought to soothe itchy, dry scalps. I then plait it, to prevent even more wildness overnight, and leave it be
Every 10 days or so
- Wash with cool water and a very mild liquid soap. I use Dr Bronners liquid soap, which doesn’t froth, like normal shampoo, but it gets my hair “clean” and isn’t harsh.
- I then use some henna based conditioner, all over, or a coconut oil based scalp conditioner which I leave on for 25 minutes or so, rinse, then let my hair air dry. I hate hair dryers and using tools on my hair, so I don’t ever bother. My children have no idea what a hair dryer even looks like 🙂
So technically I do still wash my hair, just very less often than before, but it’s definitely helping.
Before you ask, my hair doesn’t smell bad, or feel bad, it took a few weeks to adjust oil level wise, but it now feels fine. It feels less frizzy and my scalp is certainly improved in terms of it’s condition. I know not washing hair often is not everyone’s cup of tea, but like all things, what works for me, may not work for someone else. This was mainly a personal experiment, and I am happy with the results. I am also taking a higher dose of vitamin D, as prescribed by my doctor, as it has been known to help mild cases of psoriasis.
*Like with all medical conditions, please consult with a qualified medical practitioner, before you make decisions about your health or products you want to try.
Rosemary as a herb is also not suitable for topical use during pregnancy.