Me: “I haven’t used shampoo in 10 days.”
Hairdresser: “I didn’t think you’d actually go through with it.”
So, if there’s one key lesson I would share from my no-shampoo journey so far it would be this: start straight after a visit to the hairdressers. That way, you buy yourself eight weeks (or however long you wait between visits) to see how you get on and to figure out what you want them to do.
This is not what I did. No, I started the transition just ten days before my next hair dye and cut. And I was worried about this. Probably disproportionately so because, if I’m honest, I’m a little bit afraid of hairdressers. I’ve never enjoyed going and as I’ve gotten older I’ve found that there’s something about this social interaction that makes me feel anomalous. I don’t watch the tv shows that litter hair salon conversation, I don’t have strong opinions about the cut, and I don’t want my hair blow-dried. Where many try to keep their styled hair for days, I usually ram a hat on my head as soon as I’m out the door. This is not an environment in which I thrive.
In the past, I’ve gone to friends who are trained hairdressers, which has assuaged all these concerns. Since moving to a new city, that hasn’t been an option. I did, however, manage to find a hairdresser who put me at the most possible ease, for which I am very grateful.
But I was still concerned. I had dropped the no-shampoo idea into conversation on my last visit, and had sensed the scepticism from him. I washed my hair with bicarb and cider vinegar that morning because it seemed only fair to go with it being as clean as possible. I sat in the chair, and I wondered – would he notice the difference?
And the answer was ‘no’. Which in some ways was encouraging. And in others, made it more tricky. I was going to have to volunteer this information. Because, I didn’t want him to use shampoo and conditioner, which would interfere with all the progress I had made.
So, with the hair dye on my head and him mid-flow about a new hair product I should try, I nervously reminded him of our conversation on the last visit. And his response was, well, as written above.
Followed by: “You know I need to use shampoo on your hair today.”
And, after a brief discussion, I conceded to this. Maybe I could have pushed back more. Lucy’s advice in the book is that, if you do get your hair dyed at a hairdressers, to ask them not to use shampoo or conditioner. This seems to have worked for other people but I wavered, figuring that that I was only ten days into this journey – and it hadn’t been too painful up until this point – so it wouldn’t take too long to get back on track. And, it would buy me those eight weeks to come up with a new plan (which seems likely to be dying my hair myself using henna).
So he shampooed my hair. And made fun of me a little about it (which I didn’t mind) and about the fact that we don’t have a tv (which I also didn’t mind). Because I’m actually pretty fortunate that, anomalous as I am, I get on very well with this hairdresser. And as we discussed it further, he was both sceptical and supportive. He spoke in anticipation of me giving up this experiment, but also promised to ask others in the sector about other natural alternatives that I could try.
So I survived my first trip to the hairdressers in this no-shampoo era. And next time, I’ll be further on the journey and ready to say ‘no’.
Today’s soundtrack: Imogen Heap // Speak for Yourself