Shampoo-free for a Year

The “no-poo” movement has been going on for a while. I wasn’t particularly against using shampoo, but if going shampoo-free means less products to buy and to carry when I travel, and shorter grooming time, I am surely up for it!

So from Mar 2015 I officially started my shampoo-free experiment. Before that I have been using vegan and organic shampoo products for a while. After a year, I can say I am more or less used to it now and now, so I can finally share some tips that I learned.

Waning from shampoo:
First of all, it takes a while for your scalp to adjust the serum level. Once you wane from shampoo, you should expect a terrible period, ranging from two to six weeks of feeling greasy and heavy. I know, that sounds horrible, but I guess no pain no gain, lol. What I can assume you is that it doesn’t look that bad from the surface, it’s only your “feeling”.

Secondly, you still have to wash your hair with hot water every day if you work out every day and sweat a lot, or at least every other day if you don’t sweat too much.

Thirdly, it’s important to buy a nice comb to comb through your hair every day, especially massage your scalp to distribute the natural grease along your hair, think it as a natural hair conditioner. I prefer the stainless steel pin hairbrush.

During the waning period you might feel a bit uncomfortable, so you might choose a vacation time or a period you don’t need to meet the social requirement of fresh and clean hair, or consider wearing a hat. After you go through this period, your hair should be less greasy. I definitely went through a solid six weeks (and endured the horrible greasy “feeling”) before I started to use any other shampoo alternatives such as baking soda.

The New hair care routine:
Now I basically wash my hair every other day with hot water, unless my workout makes me sweat a lot. And once a week, I use 1 tsp baking soda mixed a bit water to make a paste, and apply to my scalp and massage well to remove the dead skin and grease, then rinse well.

For hair conditioner, blend 1-2 tbsp apple cider vinegar into 250 ml water, shake well, rinse it over cleaned hair and massage into scalp and hair, especially the ends. If you’re lazy you might as well avoid this step. But it does make your hair a bit smoother and shiny after you do that. Note you might smell like vinegar for a little while, but once it dries, the smell is gone. If you’re really worried about that, make the hair washing day on a day you don’t have to rush.

Your new shampoo-free hair will not look and feel exactly like when you use shampoo, I don’t know how to describe it. It’s clean but just feels different. Perhaps it’s also different for every one since we all have different skin types.

So after all, I still need something to help wash my hair once a week, however, after going shampoo-free, I did find my hair less greasy than before, and it is easier to wash and maintain.

Water Only No Soap Shower

water only shower

Due to my sensitive skin, I have been using neutral ph-value shower gel since puberty. After I became vegan, I gradually switched to vegan and organic shower gel. Since I started to work out more often, especially making it my daily morning habit, I found that I basically shower twice a day. It’s totally ok in Asian’s humid weather, but when I moved to Sweden, my skin just couldn’t take it any more. My first Nordic winter was really a torture, as my skin became itchy and dry all over. That made me start to think whether I should adopt a water only way of washing myself (as I must shower after workout and before going to bed).

So the experiment started from Jan 2015 and continued up to today. It has been a year that I take shower only with water. Once a week or every two weeks, I use a home made sugar scrub to help peel away some dead skin. This greatly benefited my skin, which healed and returned to its former smooth state and the itchiness stopped as well. Not to mention it also shortens the shower time. 😛

Although I don’t think this is the path for everybody, if you are wondering and want to give it a try, here are some tips I could share:

  • shower with warm or lukewarm, but not too hot water
  • rub your skin under water and rinse quickly
  • shower as soon as you can after workout
  • once in a while, use a body scrub product or bathing salt to help peel away dead skin

You might wonder if I end up smell a bit? Absolutely not! There are a few reasons for references:

  • being far eastern Asian, I generally don’t have strong body smell
  • I eat a plant-based diet which helps with reducing body odor
  • I eat spices, garlic or onion in moderation
  • I do use a mineral salt based deodorant after shower

I have read other white folks wrote about their water only shower experiences, and it seems to work for them as well. So if you don’t have an issue with strong body odor due to your genes, maybe water only shower won’t be that terrible as you imagine. Your body adapts amazingly well once you go more natural. Things will be restored to its natural state. I am so glad that I made the decision and now there is one less bottle to carry when I travel! 😀

What’s in Your Bag?

Lately there is a trend among some of my online friends who are interested in minimalism to show what they bring in the bag when they go out. So here is mine:

What's in my bag

from left to right, top to bottom

  • a small cloth bag with zipper containing girly sanitary stuff and a few band-aids (once an old granny fell on the bus and her finger got cut, my aid-band really helped! I never got the chance to use it myself and hope I will never need it, but not too bad to carry as caution hehe)
  • wet wipes (useful when you can’t find a bathroom)
  • tissues
  • a buff (this can be used as hair band, cap, mini scarf, dust mask…)
  • a nylon bag if you happen to buy something extra
  • a pen
  • business card packet (I use the bottom as a mirror sometimes too)
  • a small bottle of olive oil as moisturizer
  • a small bottle of sunscreen oil
  • a lip balm
  • a elastic wrist pouch (very useful if you want to put transportation card in it and wear it on your wrist and just put your wrist over the beeper. It can be used to contain your phone and key as well, if you go out for a short trip and wish to bring as few as possible and don’t want to lose them accidentally in pockets)
  • Mini wallet containing ID card, bank cards, membership cards and a little cash
  • a phone
  • a key
  • a folded umbrella (when it’s rainy, not shown in pic)
  • a pair of sun glasses (when it’s very sunny and bright, not shown in pic)
  • a trail mix box or 1-2 energy bars as snack (not shown in pic)

All those little stuff can get easily lost in a big bag, so I usually put all of them in a small linen bag as that in the left picture. And I also have the habit of bringing my kindle with me just anywhere, so I can read a little if I need to wait a bit. Sometimes I might bring a magazine to read.

My journey to minimalism

I seriously started to think about minimalism from 5 years ago. I just moved from a big city to another, dragging tons of kitchen gears, books, clothes and an electronic piano. Within half a year I have moved from place to place four times. The money that I spent on moving was probably more than what I owned by the time I finally settled down. Sitting on the floor with cartons spreading around in my final apartment, I suddenly thought of the guests who rent out Forrest Gump’s mamma’s rooms, they are living out of their suitcases. I envied them.

From then on, I started my slow journey to gradually declutter my home and to reduce unnecessary consumption. It’s full of trials and errors. It takes some time for one to find a certain style, not to mention to find certain things that fit into this style, especially when I am also a vegan and petite.

For quite a while my understanding of minimalism was a bit extreme. I thought it simply meant owning less and spending less. However, I ignored one of the most important things: the quality. The quality can refer to something that is not only well designed, practical and durable, but also liked and use often, and you feel happy with it. I remember I used to purchase some cheap clothes or second hands that don’t suit my style or shape, but ended up not liking them and didn’t use them often. Or owning two pairs of sporty shoes only and feeling a bit weird as certain clothes just don’t match well with them.

Now I realize that minimalism doesn’t really mean that. It’s not a number that defines your life. It’s about quality. It is supposed to make you light and happy, and improves your feeling and life over all. It’s also about balance, where you just own the right amount of things that you love and use often until they are at the end of their own life circle.

After redefining it, I started a new journey of searching a style that suits me, which agrees to my ethic concerns, flatters my figure, comes within my budget and that I would use often. I am excited! So my dear readers, I really appreciate any tips and advice from you to help me learn and grow!