Once people get into the swing of eating paleo, they often start exploring aspects of living primally that go beyond simple diet. In doing so, it is common to encounter the Poo-less challenge. What is the Poo-less challenge? The Poo-less challenge is a grand edifice– an obelisk in the primal sphere– a rite of passage for the truly daring! (*or bored, cheap, or moderately intelligent). I heard the call. And I rose to it. I emerged from the experience a transcendent being.
The general idea behind eschewing shampoo is elegant in its simplicity. Just like with food, humans today spend far too many resources trying to fix things that aren’t broken. We don’t need soap or toothpaste the same way that we don’t need to take calcium supplements. Honestly I’m at a bit of a loss in the shower these days. I spend 80 percent of my time there with water running through my eyes, staring blankly at shelves where all of my products used to be. If we run a tight, smooth ship, then everything in our body takes, in theory, good enough care of itself.
So if you stop washing your hair, and if you eat a good diet, will you find yourself suddenly overwhelmed by gloriously voluminous locks? Hell no. First, you have to undergo a greasy transition period, in which your scalp adjusts to producing less sebum, which varies in severity and length depending on how poorly you treated your scalp in the first place. For example, I used to have to wash my hair every 18 hours to maintain a decent consistency. That’s pretty rough. So it took me several weeks to coax my scalp back to normalcy. Today, I wash about once every four days. For this rinse, I use a baking soda mix (1 tbsp baking soda to 1 tbsp water) to draw down the oil. This procedure is well-established in the world of Poo-less champions.
But I’ve got to be honest: baking soda isn’t the best product I’ve ever put in my hair. The scientists who design shampoos have a pretty complicated business, and they aren’t successful for nothing. Let’s be real. So even while I achieved adequately shiny, full, and manageable hair while using just baking soda, it was still not ideal. It is worth noting that I tried adding in vinegar rinses, but found they did little but make my hair congeal in this funny, waxy fashion.
In enters my savior, the book Natural Beauty at Home by Janice Cox. I really love this book, and I have a number of dog-eared pages in it. The book is a set of recipes, in essence, for beauty products that you can make at home, using ingredients as simple as avocado oil and beeswax. Now, I am as thrilled as the next girl to accept my body exactly as is, but something that makes me feel soft and luxurious and natural once in a while really is quite nice. I recommend it highly.
Anyway. Janice writes a number of different shampoo recipes, but she highly recommends one particular recipe. It contains:
That’s it. The recommendation is to reduce one bottle of beer in a saucepan to about 1/4 its volume, and then add it to a base shampoo mix, whatever that may be (Suave, for example, works just fine). Sounds simple enough. But I’m a shade too lazy to turn on the stove. This is my method, instead: Do a baking soda rinse. Pour half a can of beer on my head. Exit.
Wait. Isn’t a Shower Beer intended for drinking the alcohol? Not pouring it all over your head? Sure, if you’re a traditionalist. Go ahead and drink your beer in the shower. But don’t forget to take your League of Nations and Model T with you.
Beer seems to work for me. And wonderfully. I have received unequivocally better results with beer than I ever did with high end conditioning products. My hair is soft and tangle-free and there’s not a lick of grease for at least a couple days. So this is my solution, and I love it. I’ve done a fair bit of searching online to see why beer has this effect on hair, but everyone insists it is a mystery. Something having to do with proteins or starches, maybe some hydrophobic ligands. Who knows.
There you have it. I don’t consider this to be the most compelling or important habit in the world, but it IS a fun one, and, unsurprisingly, one of the few things people like to ask me about. So ask, comment away.Tweet