I think that the most important thing a woman can have- next to talent, of course – is her hairdresser.Joan Crawford
A few years ago, I was fed up with my long hair being so oily. I washed my hair every other day yet my scalp was constantly dry and itchy.
Frankly, it made no sense to me. How could I have a dry scalp and oily hair?
And why did my hair look manky the day after I washed it? It couldn’t possibly be dirty, but it was certainly dull and lank.
I suspected my hair products were part of the problem. I rotated brands of shampoo and conditioner and my hair would look and feel great for a week or two.
Then it was back to the same.
On top of this, I had been dying my hair for over a decade to try and cover my grey hair. I never had regular hair appointments. In addition to having an unhealthy diet, it is fair to say my hair was not looking it’s best!
So when I discovered a natural way to clean your hair on Pinterest, I wanted to give it a try.
ShamPhree: The Basics
Going ShamPhree or “no-poo” method requires a level of commitment. It’s an entirely different way to wash and it takes some getting used to.
I found that my long hair took longer to transition, my shorter hairstyle is much easier to manage ShamPhree. I should note that I have a short, wash and wear style haircut, I don’t blow dry, use curling irons or styling products on my hair.
There are a few ways to go ShamPhree, but almost all include a
Once you have the basic process and ingredients established, then you can personalise your routine by adding your preferred herbs and essential oils.
As in all things, it helps if you are prepared!
You will need
- Plastic* sauce bottle (this will be your bicarb applicator)
- Plastic* spray bottle (this will be your Apple Cider Vinegar applicator)
- Bicarbonate of Soda
- Apple Cider Vinegar (with mother)
- Optional: wide tooth comb
*Yes, I’m encouraging you to please use plastic! Glass is too slippery to use in the shower and can be dangerous. Be assured you will use much less plastic with the ShamPhree method, and will refill these containers many times over.
Step 1: Before stepping into your shower, prepare your ingredients. Mix two tablespoons of bicarbonate of soda into your sauce bottle and top with 500mls of warm water. Shake to dissolve the bicarbonate of soda. Blend 1:1 ratio of water and Apple Cider Vinegar in your spray bottle.
Step 2: Wet your hair and apply the bicarb solution directly to your scalp. Use the entire mix, you may find you need less over time. Massage the mixture through your hair and rinse with water.
Step 3: Apply the Apple Cider Mix to your hair, spraying directly to your scalp and massaging the mix into your hair roots. Rinse with water.
Step 4: If your hair feels knotty, tease wet hair with your fingers or a wide tooth comb to untangle.
Step 5: Towel dry your hair. You can either leave it to air dry or gently blow dry, whichever is your preference. As your hair dries, the vinegar smell will dissipate, I promise!
Step 6: When your hair is dry, you may wish to add a hair oil or leave in conditioner. Brush and style as normal.
At first, I did this process every other day the same as my regular hair routine. Over time, that frequency was able to be cut down to every 3rd or 4th day as my hair condition improved.
On the days you do not wash your hair, brush gently with a good quality brush to distribute the natural oils your scalp produces through your hair.
Personalise your ShamPhree experience!
Many people resist the ShamPhree process because they have a hard time with the transition, or with the vinegary smell.
While the transition is an individual tolerance, much can be done to improve the smell!
Herb Infused Apple Cider Vinegar
Making herbal vinegars to use on your hair is simple. Fill a jar with your choice of dried or fresh herb and pour the Apple Cider Vinegar over to cover. Store in a dark cupboard for 2-4 weeks and strain. Then mix 1:1 with water and use as usual.
You may also wish to add a few drops of essential oil to your vinegar mix. This is partly to scent the vinegar, and to add some extra therapudic benefit to the vinegar rinse.
The menthol in peppermint is reputed to be stimulating to the scalp and beneficial for people who may be suffering from dandruff and itchy scalps.
Lavender is my preferred choice for my hair, it’s anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties help with my itchy and flaky scalp. It also seems that lavender helps keep my oily hair in check too.
Rosemary infusion will darken your hair so keep this in mind if you have fair hair. Rosemary is reputed to aid in preventing hair loss and stimulating new hair growth.
Lemongrass is an excellent choice for people with lighter hair and is reputed to be an overall tonic for hair growth and health. It’s strong scent lingers helps to mask the vinegar smell and leaves your hair smelling clean and fresh.
Do not use lemongrass if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
Natural Hair Conditioners
There are two schools of thought about using oils in your hair.
Some hair specialists claim that applied oils can stop moisture from getting into the hair and make it look lank and lifeless.
Others claim hair oils are a nourishing way to protect dry and brittle hair from further environmental damage.
So it is best to experiment and see what suits you!
I have found coconut oil to be far to greasy for my hair, yet it has an almost cult-like following with enthusiasts!
Apply a few drops of oil to the palm of your hand and rub your hands together before applying the oil to the ends of your hair and distribute with your fingers or hairbrush.
Do not apply plant based oils before blow drying your hair!
Aloe Vera Gel
Aloe vera gel can be used neat on your hair or diluted with water to create a gentle, leave in conditioner. It is especially good to use for fine curly hair, to condition, without the weight of an oil.
I find it best to use on damp hair, and only at the ends, “scrunching” it through with my fingers. Use too much and your hair will feel unpleasantly sticky.
Spray-on, Leave-in Hair Conditioner
There will be times, perhaps in the summer, when you feel your hair needs more conditioning or protection than usual. This spray-on, leave-in conditioner moisturises your hair without coating it in oil and weighing it down.
- 75ml boiled water
- 10ml Aloe vera Gel
- 10ml macadamia oil
- 5ml vegetable glycerine
- 5g of emulsifying wax
- 5 drops of Lavender essential oil
Combine the water, aloe vera gel and vegetable glycerine into a small bowl and stir until incorporated. Add the essential oil and blend.
In a larger glass bowl, combine the emulsifying wax and oil and heat until the emulsifying wax has melted into the oil.
Gently and slowly, add the water mix to the oil mix and whisk to incorporate.
Decant into a spray bottle and apply to your hair. Work through your hair with a wide tooth comb or with your fingers.
Keep in the fridge for two weeks.
My ShamPhree Experience
At first, I did not enjoy switching to Shamphree. My hair was too long and damaged, the transition seemed to take forever and my hair seemed to be too dry or too oily.
And yes, I missed the suds and frothy bubbles!
But then, at around the 3-4 week mark, it changed. I had a haircut! My hair began to feel soft, without being fly-away whispy. My scalp cleared. I could get away with “washing” it twice a week, instead of every other day.
I use lavender and comfrey infused in my Apple Cider Vinegar with a dash of lavender essential oil. I also use the leave-in conditioner when my hair needs it.
I have also noticed that my skin is much improved overall since using ShamPhree.
So if you are wondering if ShamPhree is worth a go, I would encourage you to certainly give it a try! But go in knowing that it is a process and you may need to be patient for a few weeks!
Have you ever tried ShamPhree? How did it work for you? I would love to hear from you, please leave a message below.