The New Shampoo

6 years ago by

Here’s a fun fact about me: I hate washing my hair. I would rather get a Brazilian and some hardcore microdermabrasion – simultaneously – than lather up. It’s just so boring, and my arms get sore, and then there’s the whole blow-drying thing afterwards which makes the process about ten years long. Just writing about it makes me want to take a nap.

But! I’m also a complete sucker for new beauty products, especially when they can get me closer to my lifelong dream of better hair. See, I’ve been “blessed” with the kind of strands that will never get a starring role in a TV commercial. It’s sparse, fine, sort-of straight but also not really, like it was on its way to being wavy and then just gave up. It’s also highlighted blonde so a little on the dry side – all round a real winner of a mop. For 30 years now I’ve been teasing, curling, poufing and dry-shampooing trying to encourage some life (and volume) into it. Which is how I ended up here, testing four new ways to wash your hair, despite the fact that I loathe the act. It was tough but I trudged on for the sake of good beauty and better hair. Here’s what I found:

shampoo atelier dore

Hair exfoliants

I’m really into this idea because it makes sense to my beauty brain. We exfoliate our skin to get rid of the dead skin cells and makeup build up, so it’s logical that exfoliating our scalp would lead to a healthier, fresher head with much happier hair follicles. Now, I don’t use a lot of hair products, but since I’m a lazy hair washer I’m definitely prone to product build up. I tried a detoxifying scrub from Davines, which was rather delightful-smelling and gentle, and also just a tiny bit zingy on my scalp. I just subbed it in for my usual shampoo, applied on super wet hair and massaged it well into my scalp in circular motions (just like a face scrub). My head felt fresh afterwards, and didn’t have its usual limp lifelessness. Just like with face exfoliating I’d vote incorporating this into your routine at least once a week. Also, I don’t have issues with dry, itchy scalps but my boyfriend does, so I forced him to try it, and I can report back that it was excellent for this situation too.

No poo and low poo

Ok, first of all, who approved the use of the word “poo” in relation to beauty? It has no right to be there and frankly, it grosses me out. Alas, the theory behind “no poo” is that you don’t use shampoo at all because the traditional varieties strip your hair of all their natural oils, especially if they contain Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Ammonium Lauryl sulfate or Sodium Laureth Sulfate (or SLS, ALS and SLES as they’re known on the street). These strong, often harsh cleansers are added to (some) shampoos to get that “squeaky-clean” feeling we grew up thinking was a good thing – and they’re also responsible for all the bubbles too. Anyway, in the no-poo world you use a gentler alternative, which for the hardcore is just water or a combo of apple cider vinegar and bi carb soda. Now, since I use that to clean my bathroom it wasn’t going near my hair, so I went for the “low-poo” option which is more like a conditioner with a tiny bit of cleansing agent (I used SachaJuan Hair Cleansing Cream). This was exciting because it’s only one step (yay!), but I have to admit it feels kind of naughty to be skipping shampoo. Also, you need really good technique. You apply the cream on wet hair, massage into your roots for at least a minute then rinse out – but rinse really, really well. The first time I tried this (surprise!) I didn’t do a good rinse job so my hair kind of stuck to my face for a day. Apparently your hair needs a week to get used to it so I took this time to improve my rinsing skills. And I have to say; my hair was delightfully child-like-soft that week. Again, I felt like maybe this was a little too heavy for my hair type but I doubt someone with thicker hair would have this problem. Overall though, it really did give lovely softness and shine, and absolutely zero frizz, which is great for curly girls.

The New Shampoo

Pre-cleanse or pre-shampoo

This concept is literally my worst nightmare because IT ADDS ANOTHER STEP before you even make it to the shower. It’s kind of like a hair mask, which is another thing I can’t get behind (unless there’s a salon and a massage chair involved) because what are you supposed to do for the eons it’s supposed to be on for? Anyway, the concept is clever because it’s designed to lock in the moisture and keep your hair super hydrated. Just like a mask you slather your pre-cleanser (I used Burt’s Bees Avocado Butter Pre-Shampoo) on wet hair, massage in, then comb it through the ends. Then, you wait for a few centuries to pass (around 15 minutes) and hop in the shower to rinse and shampoo/ condition as normal. And it works! Just like with masks, your hair feels especially commercial-worthy-silky afterwards. For me the only downside was it probably too heavy for my fine strands, so the limp life was real. So, I’d recommend this for people with curly, thick, coarse, damaged or dry hair instead.


Clay shampoo

I saved this one for last because it promised me the volume of my dreams. Also, because I got to trial Christophe Robin’s Cleansing Volumizing Paste, which I’ve been wanting to try for ages. Anyway. Clay is amazing; it’s detoxifying and is great for both drawing out impurities and excess oil. Which is precisely why it’s perfect for oily scalps and fine hair prone to limpness (hi! It me!). The experience with this is deeply strange. First, it’s brown (because, clay) and it’s also a kind of granule-y paste. But then you start massaging it into your scalp and by some sorcery it turns into a delicious creamy foam. Post-rinse I did find that my hair felt a little dry, but that was quickly fixed with some good conditioner. When it dried, my hair was like my hair, but better. And, with more oomph. Not like, Dallas standards, but it just had a bit more pep in its step and because it had a little texture it was easier to style too. But, the best part for this hair-wash hater was definitely the long lastingness. I got a good three days out of this wash because my hair wasn’t oily at all. And I consider that a win for womankind.

The New Shampoo


Add yours
  • I love this article! I am always looking for the best program for my hair (by now i call it a program because there tend to be a lot of bottles in my shower which i all need. Of course…) and recently finally started using Christophe Robin. I have fine, somewhat limp, hair ans the volume line works wonders. I loooove the volumizing paste! For styling I use Living Proof wax and a bit of volume spray.

  • Finally a post on No Poo!
    I have stopped using shampoo for a year and a half now and was waiting for this topic to appear on Atelier Doré!!

    Nevertheless bi carb soda really is too agressive to be used on a regular basis and you should avoid using it more than once a month. Try using Ghassoul clay instead, mixed with Aloe Vera gel or honey to make sure your hair doesn’t get dehydrated by the clay.

    First weeks (or months) getting rid of shampoo and its components can be very challenging but as the time goes by your hair and scalp get easier and easier to clean with natural, clean ingredients and i really dont regret the whole experiment!

  • Great article. I’ve been using the Water Only method for a year now with great results. (I brush daily and water rinse often, but use absolutely no products…)
    I had to chuckle when I read you wouldn’t let baking soda and vinegar near your hair (me either!!) as you would clean the bathroom with it. Here’s a test for your current shampoo if you’re curious:
    try using your shampoo on a sponge to clean out your bathroom and see how squeaky clean it gets! Very scary!! It can totally strip your hair of all oils.
    Something to think about as you choose options. :)

  • Veronica March, 22 2018, 3:01

    oh wow — that’s such a smart thing to think about re: scrubbing your bathroom with your shampoo!

  • One of the best shampoo for fine hair is Leonor Greyl shampoing au miel.
    Try it !

  • Michelle March, 23 2018, 6:20 / Reply

    Great article! My hair is thick and wavy and in the last year I started using low/ no “poo” shampoos and silicone free conditioners and what a difference they have made to my hair. It took a couple of weeks for my hair to adjust, but its so happy and healthy now! Much shinier. I love Jessie’s curls and Curl Junkie. Whenever I go back to the regular salon shampoos and conditioners my hair is dry and frizzy. I still wear my hair straight some days (I straighten it), but won’t go back to regular shampoos and conditioners.

  • Michelle March, 23 2018, 6:23 / Reply

    I started using low/ no poos in the last year along with silicone free etc conditioners, and what a wonderful difference they have made to my thick wavy hair. Its less dry and frizzy now. It takes a few weeks for your hair to adjust.

  • I always like trying to hair products, I recently started using Maple Holistics and I really like it.

  • I thought I was alone in not wanting to shampoo my hair. I wash my hair every other day (it’s fine and wavy/curly).. and bribe myself to shower by saying I can’t have my yummy smoothie until I’ve showered. I use sulfate free products (OGX Coconut Milk shampoo and conditioner) but some days I don’t want to shampoo so I use some conditioner as a first step and scrub my scalp with it then rinse it well.. (learned the hard way to rinse well!)… then I take some conditioner and apply it to my hair (I make a ponytail and smooth the conditioner down the ponytail – not getting too much on my scalp).. I let that set while I scrub my body.. then I rinse the conditioner and apply a bit of hair product. My hair is so smooth and soft those days! Guess it’s my version of no-shampoo. (I agree with you – who thought “poo” was a good use of a word to apply to hair?!)

    I do want to try the pre-shampoo you mentioned. Sounds helpful!!!

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