If you’re reading this article, then I commend you for thinking about going completely product free. It’s a challenge that many men and women are taking after looking at the long list of ingredients on the back of their shampoo bottles. The fact is, no matter how amazing those celebrities look in commercials, store bought shampoos are full of processed ingredients that are doing more harm to your hair than good.
Why go product free?
Unless you’re a chemistry nerd, the ingredients on the back of the shampoo and conditioner bottle mean nothing to you. They are gibberish. Then why do we buy them if we don’t understand them?
The top ingredient in most shampoos is “sodium laureth sulfate.” Take a look at the back of your dishwashing detergent. More than likely, they share the same ingredient.
Sodium laureth sulfate cleans your dishes so well because it cuts the grease. Apply that to your hair and you’re losing valuable, natural oil that your hair needs. Especially curly hair.
What does it mean to go “product free?”
Going product free is different from following the Curly Girl (CG) method. The CG method eliminates sulfates and silicones from the hair regimen and is a preferred method by many curlies around the world. You can still use products, but you are limited on products.
This method eliminates all hair products and instead relies on natural cleansing. You’re essentially cutting out the shampoo, conditioner, hair gel, mousse, pomade, serum — anything and everything.
What CAN you use?
You can do one of two things:
Wash your hair with nothing but water. Use a comb and your fingers to distribute your hair’s natural oils.
Which is right for me?
This depends entirely on your personality and your hair type. Those with low maintenance hair might find that the first option works well for them. But for most of us, especially with waves and curls, H2O won’t be enough to cleanse our hair.
If you are the impatient type, the first method will definitely be a trying experience. It will take some time for your hair to adjust to a new type of regimen. On average, it takes about 2-3 weeks for your scalp to get used to being sulfate-free and reach a normal oil production level.
What to expect
Going completely product free does have its drawbacks. Many people who decide to cut the products entirely will notice very greasy hair within the first two weeks. This is normal.
Remember, sulfates strip your hair of natural oils, so when you get rid of the sulfates, you are going to have very oily hair…for a while. After about 2-3 weeks, your hair oil production will return to normal and the grease will cease.
Will it smell?
Some people are concerned about smell. “If I stop using those peachy coconut lavender shampoos my hair won’t smell nice!” That is somewhat true. Your hair won’t smell like peaches and lavender. However, it won’t smell bad either.
This blog post by Vlad Dolezal describes an experiment that involved cutting both shampoo and soap. He answers the question about bad odors…you won’t smell bad but you won’t smell like roses either. If you have a method for cutting products but still achieving nice smelling hair, I would love to hear about it in the comments.