I heard about the idea of going without shampoo quite awhile ago and never really managed to. The transition period is rough, and when I first read about it I had a newborn, so daily showers were a pipe dream.
My partner has been conditioner-only, no shampoo, for as long as I’ve known them. They have thin, curly hair that gets dried out easily. I have thick, curly hair that goes greasy easily- so switching to just conditioner wasn’t really working for me, either. Kiddo is (at least for now) conditioner-only as well, at least since finally finding a baby conditioner. It’s more for moisturizing the scalp, their hair doesn’t need it but their scalp gets dry and flaky. Shampoo was, of course, a disaster- the pediatrician recommended some prescription cream (then forgot to write the prescription), but just dropping shampoo and switching to conditioner did the trick. Kiddo can go weeks without conditioner and be fine.
About a month ago, we came to my MIL’s to visit. While we made sure to pack everything we needed for the baby- we completely forgot a lot of things we’d need for the adults. Like the special comb my partner needs to detangle their long, curly hair. Or a jacket. Or socks. Or shampoo. Or conditioner.
We were doing awesome.
Finding the right shampoo/conditioner for my and my partner’s hair is a challenge, and the brands aren’t the same here. Now that kiddo is older, it’s also a lot easier to get daily showers. So……. I just didn’t bother getting shampoo or conditioner.
The transition period was actually a little easier with not using shampoo or conditioner than to just using conditioner. My hair did get greasier, but it only looked like there was some product in my hair. I needed to brush my hair a lot. My scalp tends to get itchy, and I had to figure out how to knock off the dirt/grease/etc from it. Normally, I just use the pads of my fingers to massage the scalp, but I’ve found sometimes I need to actually use my fingernails- which doesn’t hurt or feel like I’m doing damage. And I’ve got fibro, so I can generally tell if there is a problem.
Generally, going shampoo free involves replacing it with baking soda on the scalp and vinegar on the length of the hair, at least at the start. So going totally “water only” probably led to a harder transition period than I needed, but it actually eventually settled down and it’s only been a month. My partner is not shy about telling me when my hair looks like it needs a wash, and they haven’t had any complaints. I didn’t tell them that I was doing this, so I doubt that they’re just being polite/waiting for it to get better.
I did an epsom salt bath and it really dried out my hair (probably not supposed to soak it but whatever) so, for the first time in a month, I used conditioner on my hair. I’m not sure if it was just the wrong conditioner- again, not interested in spending the money trying to find the right one here- but I wasn’t really happy with it. I don’t think my hair can handle just conditioner. My partner’s hair is very fine and dry, so the conditioner is helpful and shampoo kills it, same as our baby’s right now, while mine is thick and oily.
I’m not sure if I’ll go soap free as well (aside from washing hands, of course). I actually tend to be soap free on most of my body, but there are a few spots that I still feel inclined to use soap on, especially at certain times of the month. I’m still using normal deodorant, so I definitely want to prevent that building up, if I switched to a natural one I’m not sure if I’d feel better about trying soap free- although I’ve heard of people having success with it.