I have been following this thread since Plaidcat opened the topic two years ago. I have read all of the comments, positive and negative, an have made several changes to my routine based on what has been shared by the people who posted comments.
My first change was to go to a pure ingredient shampoo and conditioner from the health food store. These bottles were a bit high in the price range but not as much as some sold by higher end hair salons. These two bottles of product lasted me the first year as I normally only wash my hair once a week. Washing my hair once a week was part of the routine from my childhood; bath water was heated on the stove and with three children and two adults in the house, bath day was a time consuming chore. In the warmer months when children are more apt to get, dirty, muddy etc, we were sent to the lake to swim or the river to rinse off. Of course, this was what I call "clean dirt", we weren't exposed to chemicals or other "dirty" products.
I began my experiment by decreasing the amount of shampoo and rinse that I used each time I washed my hair and by increasing the amount of time between washes.
After the shampoo and conditioning rinse bottles were empty, I made several attempts to go product free over the next year but usually only made it for two or three weeks before feeling that I needed a proper 'sudsing'.
I have previously posted my concerns about being able to wash off the chemical products that I am exposed to at work and continue to look for ways to do so effectively. I have lessened my exposure by wearing clothing that covers me, long pants and long-sleeved shirts to work which also lessens my need for sunscreen (another chemical soup that I am leery of). I braid my hair and pin it under my hat to lessen the amount of dirt and debris that will come home in it. During the work week I shower rather than bath to rinse any residue off of my skin instead of soaking in it.
I have had several false starts, the last being when I attended a blacksmith event at a friend's house. Finishing the day wearing quite a bit of soot and metal debris and the like, I was facing the prospect of sleeping in my host's guest bed with white sheets. Sigh. I borrowed the shower and used the generic shampoo and rinse that my host provided for me. And spent the next week trying to get past the burning and itching caused by the products.
Since then, I have discovered that if necessary, a quick soak and massage with a small amount of baking soda (1/4 cup added to a full bath tub of water) and adding a bit of apple cider vinegar to the final rinse will get my hair clean and oil free without the nasty chemical burn
I've only resorted to the baking soda and vinegar twice in the last two months and am enjoying my no-shampoo hair.
Although my scalp tends to produce a bit more oil during certain times during my menstrual cycle, I have noticed several improvements in the health of my hair; less split ends, less frizz, less breakage (I have always had super-fine hair that broke easily), and my hair looks and feels thicker (probably because it's not stripped by chemicals}.
And the only comments I get on my hair is on how nice it looks
Thank you Plaidcat for starting this thread and for everyone who has posted their comments and experiences to it!