6 weeks without shampoo was an interesting experiment with interesting and mostly part negative results. What they failed to mention (or didn´t know) is that if you give up shampooing you need to clean the hair and take care of it in other ways. Like using a natural bristle brush to distribute the oils from scalp to ends. You can´t just stop shampooing and hope for the best.
No ´poo (shampoo-free) and CO (conditioner only) are only two of the many alternatives to conventional shampoo. Washnuts or baking soda are popular substitutes to shampoo. But remember, all these methods require a bit of research (so that you know what you´re doing) as well as a grace period (hair needs a couple of weeks to adjust to new things).
So what´s the problem with shampoo anyway ? Why would anyone not want to shampoo their hair ?
The way I see it a lot of shampoos are just too harsh. Whenever I hear of someone complaining how they need to wash their hair every other day (or even every day), I want to yell to them "It´s your shampoo ! It´s aggravating the oiliness, itchiness and dandruff !" A lot of shampoos don´t fix problems like dandruff or oily hair, they just clean it away. (If you go off your anti-dandruff shampoo, you still have dandruff, right ? That means the shampoo didn´t actually solve the problem.) The harsh cleansing agents aggravate the skin and make it produce more oil and dandruff. These harsh detergents are needed to clean off the silicones that come form most of the conventional conditioners and styling products.
You´re not supposed to be sentenced to using anti-dandruff shampoo for the rest of your life. I personally believe that shampoos can aggravate dandruff and an oily scalp, but the can´t really solve those problems, because.... these problems are actually symptoms. Of other problems. The real cause of dandruff & co is sometimes hormonal, but more often than that it´s simply food. Coffee is the number 1 culprit when it comes to dandruff. Stress, junk food and dairy allergies could also be causes. So, get a shampoo that won´t aggravate your hair problems, but don´t expect it to work wonders if what you feed yourself is a mess.
I´m not just talking theory here. I´ve battled with dandruff for years, and neither Pantele nor L´Oreal nor Head&Shoulders nor anything else helped. Not even the tons of homemade treatments (like Cider Vinegar) helped, because I always ended every treatment with shampoo full of SLS. And I rinsed and repeated, and sometimes rinsed and repeated once more. Then I met my guy, and he introduced me to Hobbythek, and we began to concoct our own shampoo. After some moths of using the anti-dandruff shampoo, I realised I didn´t have dandruff anymore. I switched to the shampoo meant for oily hair, till I realised my hair hasn´t been oily anymore since a long time. I also replaced coffee with herbal teas, and started eating healthier. I still get dandruff now and then, usually during a stressful patch, or as an immediate result of indulging in junk food. But the dandruff goes away in a couple of days.
So, how to make the switch ?
Ok, I have been badmouthing shampoos in general here. What I mean is the typical products with the harsh and irritating SLS (Sodium Laurel Sulphate), and silicones that coat the hair, pretending to moisturise it. But if you do take a while to search and test, you´ll find shampoos with gentler ingredients that will actually do something for your hair, and not just cheat with special effects.
When switching to a gentler brand, remember that your hair will probably need a couple of weeks to adapt. At first it might be limp and oily (since it´s used to protecting itself in this way against aggressive ingredients), till it realises that it´s not being attacked anymore and can stop with the crazy oil production. I think that is the reason natural shampoos get a bad rep: most people don´t wait out the adjustment period. (To survive it, use this as a chance to try out braid, up-dos, hats scarves...)
You might need to try several things till you find your thing. Different brands, or different alternatives to shampoo. Also remember that gentler shampoo means you need to stay away from those silicons that are stubbornly sticky. There´s a whole SLS-silicone cycle that you need to break.
Finding the right shampoo might take a while, but it´s totally worth it. I used to dislike my hair before: it was on the top of my list of things-that-I-dislikie-about-my-body and I always wore it in a tight ponytail. Now I really like my hair, and don´t wear it in a ponytail any more