I haven’t washed my hair in over a month.

My hair is wonky.

(wait-let me back up here and say this is a post mainly for women. Men might find this a boring subject. But if you are a man who loves the beauty chat and hair care intrigues you deeply? It’s okay. read on. I don’t judge.)

If I use a blow dryer, and then use a straightening iron, and then spray enough to open up a fresh hole in the ozone? my hair can go almost-but-not-quite straight. (and if a mist comes up, all that hard work is wasted, as it curls up in horror.)

John has always liked my hair best when it’s long and curly.

I like John, liking my hair. 

Thus, the current ‘do. But! it has a short-term contract. It’s my personal opinion that hair past the shoulders rarely looks attractive on older women, (but my definition of older keeps climbing up, as I grow older)  I look forward to getting some chic, modern hairstyle when I give up the auburn and go 100% gray and am busy rocking grandbabies! But for now… 

 I SO love this man, that I do silly things like wear mascara and occasionally high heels, and everyday I mess with a wild mane of hair, all because it gets him to grin at me in that cute little way he does. But it’s no picnic.

Humidity makes my wavy hair frizz, and Oregon is 87% of the time humid (I made that fact up. It is probably higher.) The blowdryer damages the ends terribly, but I have to use it everyday, or it will stay wet. The hypothyroid problem causes coarseness and hair loss. The well water has high iron that builds up on the hairshaft and weighs my hair down. I have to strategically apply chemical pigment (doesn’t that sound better than  I dye my roots?) more frequently now that I am careening towards my 40s. All that to say, it is not easy to get, or keep, my hair strong and healthy! I want you to know that I found something that works GREAT, costs very little, and has really helped…


yuck, right? But I testify that it works GREAT. I no longer shell out for my favorite (expensive!) sulfate-free shampoo, and bought cheap conditioner (that I wouldn’t even have bought for my BOYS, before) and my hair has never been healthier. My favorite side effect? My natural curl has really increased with this method. I think all that detergent and product was weighing it down, before! Here is how it looks, with this method:

(and apparently? teenage boys think taking a photo of their Moms hair hinges on the RIDICULOUS.)

I read about this on the Internet, bastion of weird ideas that occasionally make perfect sense. I copied and pasted all of the below, but I don’t recall where I got it from, originally (I am clarifying that all the words below are not mine, just the guideline I used!)


Also known as CO, (conditioner only)

Am I crazy? No, not about this anyway. There are lots of longhaired ladies using conditioner only to clean their hair and keep it in good condition.

Why? One reason is that shampoos are very harsh on hair. Anyone trying to grow their hair long needs all the help they can get. According to one consumer guide, Sodium lauryl sulfate a high volume synthetic chemical used in consumer products and regulated as a pesticide. A suspected gastrointestinal or liver toxicant, sodium lauryl sulfate can be drying and harsh for the hair and cause eye irritation, allergic reactions, and hair loss.

We all know people with long hair who use shampoo everyday, so is this a good enough reason? Whether or not some healthy hair can withstand such strong chemicals, the truth is clear- sodium lauryl sulfate is hard on hair.

Reason #2: Coarse, frizzy and curly hair may benefit the most from CO washing. Shampoo roughs up the cuticle even more than it already is on these types of hair. CO doesn’t rough it up at all, leaving it smooth, soft and with well behaved curls. But how does it clean the hair? Conditioners do contain a very small amount of the same detergent. Not enough to dry your hair out, but enough to clean it gently.

Let’s move onto HOW. Not all conditioners are suited for CO. You need cheap, 99-cent conditioners. The cult favorite is White Rain Classic Extra Body conditioner. I found mine at the dollar store. Another favorite is Suave flavor, like coconut, and aloe vera. I’ve always used VO5 because they smelled the yummiest-blueberry, apple, jasmine and my favorite-extra body. Pick one and lets get to the details.

First of all, you don’t use this conditioner like a conditioner. We are going to use it like a shampoo, with a twist. Wet your hair, and start shampooing with the conditioner. Use gobs of it. Don’t worry about using too much. You almost cant. Use about a quarter size in the front, the top and on each side and the back. Concentrate on rubbing it into your scalp. Do not rub it into the lengths of your hair. You can apply it to the long hair like normal conditioner, but don’t rub. You scalp should be slick and entirely covered with conditioner. Put your hair up into a shower cap or something to keep it out of the way. Your hair has to sit for a few minutes with the conditioner on it to do its work. Go on about your shower business and rinse your hair last. RINSE VERY WELL! Rinse longer than you think you should. If you feel its necessary, add your regular conditioner to your ends and rinse again.

That’s it!

So what’s different? Your hair will feel really soft, even when it’s wet. You may worry that your hair will be limp. If you didn’t rinse well enough, it may be. But if you have thick or coarse hair, you might be really happy about this. Try not using the second conditioner if it’s too limp on the ends. If it’s too limp on top, you didn’t rinse good enough.

Eventually your hair will be just as clean as with shampoo but will be so much healthier and softer!

Too good to be true? Let’s do some troubleshooting. First of all, there is an adjustment period your hair goes through before your scalp becomes accustomed to this. It may take up to 6 weeks. My hair only took about 2 weeks. Hang in there! I used one of those bottles with a pointed tip on it to apply the conditioner to my scalp. You can get them at beauty supply stores or even use a picnic condiment bottle for this. (um, make sure its clean first)

Reasons why CO didn’t work for you: The conditioner you used isn’t light enough for CO, it was too moisturizing. Look for really cheap conditioners that say “volumizing” or “clarifying”.

You didn’t leave it on long enough. The longer you leave it the better. Try for 5-10 minutes. Do CO as soon as you get in the shower and make rinsing out your last step.

You didn’t rinse well enough. Rinse longer until it feels like there is no slickness left in your hair. Try rinsing with cooler water. Mix half apple cider vinegar with half water and use that as your final rinse.

You didn’t use enough conditioner. Use A LOT. That’s one plus of using the cheapy conditioners, you can stock up! Girls with really long hair will probably end up using tons. Like maybe only 3-4 applications from a bottle.



About sparrowjourney

Christian homeschooling mom to three boys, married to my best friend, John, for over 20 years. I love gardening without gloves, learning history with my kids, cooking with lots of butter, serving others, great books, rich coffee, studying the Bible, camping outdoors, scrapbooking, vintage home decor, the smell of rain and cut grass, authentic people, poetry, laughing until your sides hurt, and babies. oh and black licorice is pretty awesome.
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6 Responses to I haven’t washed my hair in over a month.

  1. kelli says:

    i dont use shampoo either… just conditioner and now that it is short instead of styling products i use a dime size amount of conditioner as my styler as well. I also use it in my boys hair when they “have to look all fancy” 🙂 so there you have it folks.. were disgusting but we have gorgeous hair! 🙂

  2. Susan says:

    That is very interesting. Now i don’t have much body at all so I wonder if this would not be good technique for me?

  3. Heather Fisher says:

    I’ve been doing this for about a year and love how much healthier my hair feels! I also sometimes use homemade flax seed gel to help hold the curls and style … it’s extremely cheap, I can make it in six minutes and it’s good for my hair.

  4. Chris says:

    Interesting. You know, I am most curious about the middle of the 6 weeks process to get thru it all- the “induction” 😉 part of it 🙂 Since I am going to school and I am in clinical I don’t want to gross people out or anything. My current style needs to be straightened because it looks odd all wavy, but to tell the truth I’ve been going almost 5 days without doing anything but rinsing it for a long time because it is easier on the hair dye. To at least rinse it with conditioner would be an improvement! But I hate it when hair feels or looks greasy.

    I think I might try it though after we move so that I can at least see how it goes 🙂 Over Christmas vacation would be a good time!

  5. H0MEFree says:

    I have never JUST used conditioner, but I think I may try this.
    Like you, I also need to be SLS free or my skin freaks out.
    I reda a few places about using baking soda to wash my hair and it was terrible! My skin got so sore from the exposure to it. (Not from me scrubbing, believe me!) Any way I tried that a few times and gave up when I saw it was not going anywhere good.
    But I like the idea of using conditioner. Afterall, conditioner has soaps in it to help it rinse out. Thanks!

  6. Ok…I’ll try it…Kinda feel like you may be setting me up though ;0

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