Andrew W. K.

Andrew W. K. on his “No Poo” lifestyle

Speaking on a reddit AMA, Andrew W. K. revealed that he hadn’t used shampoo in over a decade. As he explains:

“I stopped using shampoo back in high school. I read an interview in Big Brother magazine with Ed Templeton, and he talked about how bad it was to wash your hair all the time. That had a big impact on me. Plus, I really like Toy Machine, so I listened to what he was saying.”

“The rich natural oils in your head deserve to saturate your hair fibers. Let that oil soak in. Don’t rinse it out. Don’t feel the need to constantly be stripping your hair down. Let it revel in its own grease.”

“If you’ve washed your hair every day for a long time, your hair will take a bit of time to adjust. It’s probably been over-producing oil to compensate for being stripped by all the soap. Once you stop using shampoo, it’ll take a week or two for your body to re-adjust. Be patient and don’t give in.”

“Party and let the oil flow.”

Andrew W. K. joins a long list of celebrities (including Stephen Fry and Gary Barlow) who revealed they don’t use shampoo. If you would like to learn more about going shampoo free, click here!

Personal Hygiene Products

Shampoo Sales Have Slumped During Lockdown

Sales of haircare, skincare, and shaving products have slumped during the coronavirus lockdown. Almost a quarter of personal care products are related to people going to school or work, and these have hit according to Unilever’s recent sales report.

Graeme Pitkethly, Unilever’s chief financial officer, expects this trend to continue past the pandemic. As he explains, “people are likely to spend more time at home, more time cooking — which is good for us — and maybe less personal care occasions, this nesting idea”.

The decline in daily shampooing has been an on-going trend. As BusinessWire reports:

“Consumers are likely to wash their hair less often and cut down on salon visit due to increased concern about the harmful effect of chemicals on hair. Despite declining, hair care market in countries such as the UK, shampoos, and conditioners were least affected comparatively. Shampoo market in the UK is witnessing a volume CAGR of 0.1% during the forecast period. About 40% of the women in the UK wash their hair less in 2017 compared to the previous year.”

“Moreover, women likely to keep their hair unwashed for up to 4 days with one in 20 women leave it unwashed for ten days. About 86% of the British women wash their hair weekly which affected the shampoo market size. The increased fashion for long hair in France helped to maintain the shampoo consumption volume in the country.”

The decline in shampoo sales has not been uniform, however. Shampoo-bars and natural haircare alternatives have grown massively in recent years. One Yorkshire based company specialising in eco-friendly shampoo bars has seen a 300% increase in sales during the pandemic. Sulfate-free products have also also seen an increase in popularly, as consumers turn away from palm-oil based SLS.

What is Hard Water?

Simply put, “hard water” is water that has a lot of minerals dissolved in it. Think of a cave with water dripping off the ceiling… If it’s hard water, the drips eventually form stalactites and stalagmites. This is really cool after a long time in a cave, but you don’t want that happening to your pipes in your house or your appliances. It can also wreak havoc with your hair and skin:

“Each hair shaft is made up of little scales, like shingles on a roof. Hard water tends to make the scales stand up, which makes your hair feel rough and tangly. Since your hair is tangled and rough, it is more difficult to rinse out all of the soap.”

“Soap is less effective in very hard water because it reacts with the excess minerals to form calcium or magnesium salts. These are not easily soluble in water and can result in soap film. Washing hair in soft water will have a different result because it leaves fewer insoluble deposits on the hair.”

There are some inexpensive options you can use to soften your water. For hair washing, the two common solutions are to use distilled water (or boil your own water to remove some of the impurities – instructions here), or to install a shower head filter. Many people in this community have had success with AquaBliss shower filters which are easy to install.

Stephen Fry

Stephen Fry reveals that he hasn’t used shampoo in “seven or eight years”

Speaking on the Homo Sapiens Podcast, he reveals that “It’s been about seven or eight years now, I just don’t use shampoo. I simply stand under the shower and use water. It’s the best way”.

He goes on to explain that “all you people who use shampoo and conditioner, all you do is strip all the oils out and make it ridiculously flyaway with shampoo.”

“And skin is a similar thing. This obsession with micro/bio gut, there’s also the skin as well.”

“I haven’t been one for chemicals on me — skin creams and grooming and after shave, never been one for it.

He also explained his love for Castile soap:

“And I think it does make your skin very good, but soap occasionally, and Castile soap, it’s a more natural soap, that doesn’t lather as much.”

Fry joins the likes of Gary Barlow as celebrities who shy away from the use of shampoo.

If you would to find out more about going shampoo free, click here!


Scalp issues miracle worker – Rosemary!

Hi All,

I have been reading a lot if posts about dandruff/flakes/dry and itchy scalp/ Seborrheic dermatitis and even hearing IRL from friends and family. I decided to make this post so it could help others too.

Backstory: I was diagnosed with Seborrheic dermatitis 4-5 years ago and it was BAD! I tried everything – prescription strength shampoo, drugstore shampoo, natural remedies like ACV, lemon juice etc, monistat anti-fungal cream, 8-9 kinds of oils, washing hair daily, washing hair weekly, shampoo bars etc. You get get the idea. 90% of these remedies did nothing, the other 10% worked but either left my hair as dry as a straw or stopped working after a few weeks.

I was utterly desperate and mentioned my problem to my massage therapist in Jan 2018. I have TMJ and get medical massage for head/neck/jaw area and I was super embarrassed to go to my therapist and have her rub her hands all over my nasty scalp. I told her about my problem and requested that she use gloves. She then mentioned that she studied Rosemary in her natural healing class and people swore by it.

Being desperate, I tried it as instructed by her and voila! It worked! Instructions below.

  1. Buy dried rosemary (online or whole foods).
  2. Bring 3 cups of filtered water to a boil.
  3. Add 2-3 tsp rosemary, preferably in a teabag/stainless steel tea ball thingy and reduce to the heat to a simmer.
  4. Simmer the tea/rinse for 20-30 min.
  5. Turn off the stove and let the rosemary steep, covered, for a few hours (optional for max efficacy).
  6. Remove the rosemary and transfer the liquid to a spray bottle for easy application. Please use an amber/dark blue glass bottle (cheap on Amazon) to safely store the volatile oils/compounds in the rinse.

How to use: Use it all the time until you get rid of the flakes.

  1. I use as a pre-wash treatment – spray all over scalp and hair liberally. It should saturate the scalp especially. I wait 30-60 min or even overnight depending oh how well I plan my day.
  2. I also use it as a post-wash rinse – pour the rinse all over the hair in the shower post-wash as the final step. Rinse with water.
  3. I also use it as leave-in – spray the scalp liberally and lightly on the hair after you get out of the shower on damp hair.
  4. I use as needed on dry hair if I feel itchy. Simply spray on scalp and leave in.

FYI – I double the recipe and store in the fridge with a couple spoons of vodka in the rinse as a mild preservative. It usually keeps for 2 weeks.

I have been doing this for a year and my scalp is so healthy and flake-free. I did a very intensive daily treatment for 2 weeks to get my scalp under control and now I am at maintenance – usually a weekly application. The other great thing is the side-effects have been all positive – less frizz, skin looks fab because I usually also spritz my face with it.

I bought a large 1 LB bag of organic Rosemary from Mountain Rose Herbs a year ago (no affiliation) and I still have a ton left. I am thrilled. This solution is so cheap, easy and safe.

Variations: After telling everyone about this, my friends and family have reported back with their own recipes and all of them have worked well. See below:

  1. Using fresh rosemary also works great. My friend lives in a warm climate and grows rosemary all year round in her yard.
  2. Not simmering or steeping – my cousin lives in a dorm at college and doesn’t have a stove to do this. She simply microwaves water in large mug, adds the rosemary and tosses the tea bag 10-15 min later. She doesn’t transfer it to a bottle either, she just dumps the entire mug on her head in the shower.
  3. The quantity is very forgiving – some use less/more. Still works.

Anyway, I hope this helps someone. Buy a small packet and try it. As mentioned above, I got a proper diagnosis for SD from a dermatologist, who funnily enough, laughed at this cure when I asked her before trying. Oh well, just happy it worked for me.


​Thank you to /u/mrsprosecutor for this contribution.

Guide To Determining Hair Type

Andre Walker system

The Andre Walker Hair Typing System is the most widely used system to classify hair. The system was created by the hairstylist of Oprah Winfrey, Andre Walker. According to this system there are four types of hair: straight, wavy, curly, kinky.

  • Type 1 is straight hair, which reflects the most sheen and also the most resilient hair of all of the hair types. It is hard to damage and immensely difficult to curl this hair texture. Because the sebum easily spreads from the scalp to the ends without curls or kinks to interrupt its path, it is the most oily hair texture of all.
  • Type 2 is wavy hair, whose texture and sheen ranges somewhere between straight and curly hair. Wavy hair is also more likely to become frizzy than straight hair. While type A waves can easily alternate between straight and curly styles, type B and C Wavy hair is resistant to styling.
  • Type 3 is curly hair known to have an S-shape. The curl pattern may resemble a lowercase “s”, uppercase “S”, or sometimes an uppercase “Z” or lowercase “z”. This hair type is usually voluminous, “climate dependent (humidity = frizz), and damage-prone. Lack of proper care causes less defined curls.
  • Type 4 is kinky hair, which features a tightly coiled curl pattern (or no discernible curl pattern at all) that is often fragile with a very high density. This type of hair shrinks when wet and because it has fewer cuticle layers than other hair types it is more susceptible to damage.
Type 1: Straight
1aStraight (Fine/Thin) Hair tends to be very soft, thin, shiny, oily, poor at holding curls, difficult to damage.
1bStraight (Medium)Hair characterized by volume and body.
1cStraight (Coarse)Hair tends to be bone-straight, coarse, difficult to curl.
Type 2: Wavy
2aWavy (Fine/Thin)Hair has definite “S” pattern, can easily be straightened or curled, usually receptive to a variety of styles.
2bWavy (Medium)Can tend to be frizzy and a little resistant to styling.
2cWavy (Coarse)Fairly coarse, frizzy or very frizzy with thicker waves, often more resistant to styling.
Type 3: Curly
3aCurly (Loose)Presents a definite “S” pattern, tends to combine thickness, volume, and/or frizziness.
3bCurly (Tight)Presents a definite “S” pattern, curls ranging from spirals to spiral-shaped corkscrew
Type 4: Kinky
4aKinky (Soft)Hair tends to be very wiry and fragile, tightly coiled and can feature curly patterning.
4bKinky (Wiry)As 4a but with less defined pattern of curls, looks more like a “Z” with sharp angles


If you’ve been wanting to try No Poo but have been afraid of the transition period, now’s the perfect time!

If your city/country is undergoing self-quarantine and work from home, you have 30 days of transitioning where no one will see you. You also get to save up on shampoo!

Going shampoo free is easier on your hair’s health, your wallet, and your time. When done correctly, your hair won’t smell, feel oily or dry, and be healthier and happier than when you were using shampoo. It will be easier to manage and stay clean for much longer.

We have a number of resources on our website for people just getting started. Remember to also visit the reddit forum for tips and advice!


Is anti-bacterial soap worth it?

You might assume that products listed as “antibacterial soap” offer a better job of killing microbes than standard soap. However, research suggest otherwise.

In 2019 the FDA (Food & Drug Administration) announced that “there isn’t enough science to show that over-the-counter (OTC) antibacterial soaps are better at preventing illness than washing with plain soap and water. To date, the benefits of using antibacterial hand soap haven’t been proven. In addition, the wide use of these products over a long time has raised the question of potential negative effects on your health.”

But before we go on, what exactly is “antibacterial soap”?

Well, it’s regular soap (a mixture of fat or oil, water, and an alkali) with added chemicals. The main one of these being triclosan. Triclosan is an anti-bacterial which is used in many consumer products — including clothing, kitchenware, furniture, and toys — to prevent contamination.

Yet the effectiveness of using triclosan alongside regular soap has long been questioned, and the downsides may out-weight the benefits. Triclosan has been linked with increased food and environmental allergies in children. It is also suspected to have lead to a growing bacteria resistant to antibiotics.

Patrick McNamara, an associate professor of environmental engineering at Marquette University explains: “I think soap companies pretty much know you don’t need this stuff, but they keep making them because they know there’s a market for it,” he says. “People would be better off using regular soap.”

The FDA’s advice is clear: “Wash your hands with plain soap and water. That’s still one of the most important steps you can take to avoid getting sick and to prevent spreading germs.”

Why Is Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) In So Many Products Despite Its Bad Reputation?

Producing liquid soap is actually a fairly drawn out process requiring many different steps. Most soap companies from designer brands to artisan soap makers don’t have the equipment, capacity or know-how to make liquid soap on a scale that will make it cheap enough to distribute and sell for profit.

Instead, they make products their own by creating a unique scent which is then added to a mass produced liquid like SLS, SLES or a more natural alternative before bottling. SLS is one of the more common liquid soaps used because it is clear and odourless so more easily coloured and scented to make a new “unique” liquid soap. It is usually derived from palm oil which adds to its cost-effectiveness.

Whilst SLS is an effective detergent, it can also be a skin irritant. As HealthLine reports:

“SLS and SLES can irritate eyes, skin, and lungs, especially with long-term use. SLES may also be contaminated with a substance called 1,4-dioxane, which is known to cause cancer in laboratory animals. This contamination occurs during the manufacturing process.”

SLS is also often added to toothpaste to act as a foaming agent. A Norwegian study in 1994 revealed that this almost tripled the rate of mouth ulcers for those susceptible. A systematic review in 2019 concluded that “SLS‐free dentifrice, when compared to SLS‐containing statistically significantly, reduced the number of ulcers, duration of ulcer, number of episodes, and ulcer pain”. So if you’re experiencing an increase in mouth ulcers, make sure to check the ingredients list of your toothpaste!

To answer the original question, SLS is so common for a number reasons:

  • It is clear and odourless, so can be added to many different types of products.
  • It can be derived from palm oil and petroleum, making it one of the most cost effective surfactants.
  • Its foaming properties make it popular with consumers, who often associate this with premium products.

I hope this article has been helpful! If you would like to see sulfate-free product recommendations, click here.

The History of NoPoo

A history of No-Poo is a history of the world! Commercial shampoo wasn’t invented until the twentieth century, so for the vast majority of human history people used either local concoctions or didn’t wash at all. The word for shampoo is derived from the from the Hindi chāmpo (चाँपो) and was brought into the English language during the colonial era.

Interesting note: The Hindi word chāmpo (चाँपो) is itself derived from the Sanskrit root chapati (चपति). So shampoo shares the same etymological origin as unleavened flatbread!

As for our ancestors, they had a number of different approaches to haircare. Ancient Egyptians found the very idea of hair unhygienic and shaved it all off! In the Indian subcontinent a very effective early shampoo was made by boiling Sapindus with dried Indian gooseberry (amla) and a selection of other herbs, using the strained extract.

Beginning in 1914 shampoo began to be commercialised. First by Kasey Hebert and then more famously under Hans Schwarzkopf. Originally, soap and shampoo were very similar products; both containing the same naturally derived surfactants, a type of detergent. These early commercialised shampoos were incredibly damaging, leading to the quip “I can’t go out; I’m washing my hair!”. As such, shampooing was limited to once a week.  

Starting in the 1970’s several ad campaigns began to push the idea that it was necessary to shampoo daily. Commercials featuring hair icons Farrah Fawcett and Christie Brinkley confidently asserted that frequent shampooing was the future.

Frosted, Sprayed and Feathered: 20 Hair Product Ads from the 1970s ...

This coincided with an increased use of sulfates in shampoos. Sulfates are found in a variety of products, from shampoo to dish liquid and laundry detergent. When used in shampoo, ingredients like sodium lauryl sulfate essentially amplify the effects of the shampoo, allowing it to more effectively strip away the oil in your hair.

Sulfates are closely linked with damage to hair protein. In fact, one study from 2005 shows that hair immersed in a sodium dodecyl sulfate solution loses two times as much protein as hair immersed in water. This can lead to split ends, breakage and hair that is difficult to manage.

The 2020 coronavirus pandemic has led to surge of interest on google as to how to transition away from shampoo. Numerous forums exist discussing life without shampoo, with a reddit forum hosting over 40,000 members. A related movement called “low-poo” has also encouraged to move towards less damaging shampoos and more infrequent washing.

It is unlikely we’ll be seeing the end to commercial shampoo anytime soon. But the market for homemade formulas and more ethical cleaning products has grown massively. And that has to be a positive!