my minimalist hair care secrets

As you well know, this is not a beauty blog. It’s a whatever-is-in-my-head blog! And I just made my 6-weekly visit to the hairdresser and at the end of the cut he remarked on how lovely my hair feels and said “and we both know why that is!” with a laugh. So I thought I’d let you in on the inside joke.

Here are my top hair care secrets for keeping my hair manageable, healthy and shiny.

the electrocuted rooster

the electrocuted rooster

Shampoo: none. I weaned myself off it gradually several years ago. Even before I cut my hair short, I was only shampooing my hair about twice a month and I used very little.

Conditioner: none used, none needed. Conditioner is the odd mixture of chemicals you put on your hair to mimic the natural oils you just stripped off your hair with shampoo. Does that make sense?

Washing method: when I take a shower I run my head under the lovely hot water for way too long and drag my fingers through my hair a number of times.

Drying & styling: towel dry, finger comb to avoid the electrocuted-rooster look. More often than not followed by a hat being stuck on my head.

Products used: you guessed it – none. I used some kind of goop for a while when my hair was first cut short. And later, but still back when I was still guilting myself into shampooing before my haircut (using Dr. Bronner’s, once a month, just before I headed to the salon) or letting the hairdresser wash it, I used coconut oil to try to bring some of the natural oils back to my hair and settle it down. It would go into shock after a shampoo and cut, so even with the coconut oil and a simple short style it would take my hair a few days to look right again.

Hair products owned: somewhere I think I might still have a comb… maybe. No ties, no clips, no bobby pins, no headbands, no brush, nothing…

Have you thought about giving up shampoo?

If you have the kind of hair that looks better a day or two after a wash, that goes all soft and flyaway after a shampoo, that needs some product or something in it to weigh it down when it’s clean, you would probably find going “no ‘poo” pretty easy. Just go a little longer between shampoos and use less shampoo and over a fairly short period of time you can probably quit shampoo altogether. If you have a different kind of hair it might be harder. I don’t know. I only know my hair. But in theory, once you stop stripping your hair so harshly every day or two, your scalp will stop going crazy trying to fix it and your hair will find a natural balance of oils. Probably. You might need to use a baking soda dry shampoo, or a coconut oil conditioner, or some other simple solution. Experiment!

A minimalist haircut is whatever style works with your hair with a minimum of fuss. If you love long hair and ponytails, you’ll probably fuss a bit more than I do. That’s cool if you love it. If you love to do things with your hair, don’t cut back on that part of your life. Everyone has a few parts of their life where they go a bit crazy, even if they keep everything else really simple. If I had my dream hair I might happily spend ages tying it into crazy braided crowns and babying it with special treatments. (well, you know, if I was also a slightly different person!)

The thing I don’t want to do is fight against what my hair really is. I can’t grow thick gorgeous hair that looks amazing flowing down around my shoulders. I can’t grow curls. I’m not a blonde. It would be awesome to have hair like Emma Swan on Once Upon a Time, but I don’t. Better to make the best of the hair I have than try to make it everything it’s not. Looking like Snow is more realistic goal for me.

So that’s what I recommend if you want to streamline your hair routine. Ask your hairdresser about a wash and wear style that works with your natural hair. Experiment with using less of everything. Give your hair some time to adjust. See what you think.

And think, what might you do with your time if you don’t have to fuss and fight with your hair every morning? What might you do with the money you were spending on hair color and changing the texture of your hair?

Just a thought.


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5 Responses to my minimalist hair care secrets

  1. Joanna says:

    How hard did you find it to ask the hairdresser not to use shampoo/conditioner/other gloops on your hair? Mine is quite long and I’m trying to use natural shampoo only and cut down on how often I use it, so I think that the hairdresser using conventional shampoo would mess that up.

    • Both of my recent hairdressers had no problem with it because they both did some kind of no ‘poo or minimal washing of their own hair. It does help that my hair cuts better when it’d damp but not wet, so I skip the shampoo chair altogether. But if you explain that you don’t want them to use any of their products on your hair it shouldn’t be a problem – you’re paying them to give you a service after all! I know my inner Britishness balks at the idea of that, but sometimes you have to be more American about things. The part of me that doesn’t like to be direct has shown up to the salon with still-wet hair and said “oh, I just shampooed, so I don’t really need another wash” but that doesn’t deal with the problem long term. It’s easier just to discuss it honestly, and you’ll almost certainly find that they don’t care. But you might have to remind them every time you visit, especially if they have shampoo girls.
      As for styling products – a little more tricky with some of the hairdressers – it’s a habit with a lot of them. If they cut your hair dry/damp they’re less likely to feel the need to style it. Or if you tell them you’re sensitive to the smell of the product. (I would always go home and have to wash it right out). Once they know they can’t sell me product they feel less need to promote it to me.
      Good luck! I was actually thinking about your hair care post when I published this :)

      • Joanna says:

        So sorry for taking a while to respond. Thanks for your advice! I agree that showing up with wet hair might not be the answer. I’ve just moved, so I’m going to investigate new hairdressers soon and see what they say!
        Yes, I find the styling products hard to get away from. I find they just make my hair feel very greasy! But I do tend to just have a wash and cut (because it’s cheaper) so that’s a good way of avoiding products.
        Thanks! :)

  2. DeltaSierra says:

    Hi! I got to read this last night, but didn’t get around to commenting. This is Devon, from the writing thing and Coffee and Lollipops, BTW. :)

    I went “low ‘poo” awhile back, then tried “no ‘poo” with baking soda and vinegar, but had trouble being patient enough to take the step all the way to water-only. My hair’s so oily that I balked. I do still use shampoo (and conditioner) with no sulfates or silicones, and very little of it (currently “Yes to Carrots” scalp therapy), and my hair is so nice to me compared to what it was when I used traditional shampoo and conditioner! I would still love to experiment with conditioner-only (even homemade) or water-only again sometime.

    When I was experimenting with BS/Vinegar, I did go to a salon for a haircut – fortunately with a lady I knew – and told her I was “doing an experiment” (which I was), and we had a fun discussion about it. She was really understanding. :)

    • Hey Devon!
      Sounds like low ‘poo/natural stuff works well for you. I like the idea of saying “I’m doing an experiment” as a way to start the discussion. I think a lot of hairdressers know about alternatives and are open to them – except the ones who make most of their money selling product.

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