This september I'm celebrating my third full year of no shampoo or
conditioner. It's been nearly a year since my hair was even
thoroughly wet. I was changing from once a week washing, so the
change was not as severe. Instead I brush my hair, and brush it some
more, clean my brush and brush it again.
I must say that I find this method works better FOR ME than the rather
unsatisfactory oily (and itchy after 3 days) scalp. Benefits- less
oily scalp, more oil in ends, an extra 10-15cm growth (had stopped
lengthening prior to haircare change), no more waiting for 10+ hours
for hair to dry. Limitations: no swimming (salt or chlorine bad),
hair always plaited except for special occasions (after which extra
brushing - tangles), best to cover hair when doing messy tasks, and
takes up to 6 months to settle into new haircare method.
And no my hair never gets excessively greasy, just occasionally the
scalp - the ends are always on the dry side, the only problem is
transporting those oils from the scalp to the ends. A hot rinse will
lower oil levels, but brushing has the added benefit of moisturising
During transition from washing to brushing, I did rinse my hair,
washing herbal tissanes through it. Be cautious of using too much
fresh (dried or smaller quantities might be ok) rosemary or lemonbalm
- can leave the hair sticky and difficult to comb. I quite like
cloves and cinamon as a rinse, and doesn't need to be washed out.
(although I never managed to make a strong enough infusion that my
hair smelt of them the next day). You can make a little cloth
"teabag" for your herbs or spices, making life easier.
I have absolutely no proof of periodicity. In fact there are a few
recepies for hair dyes, and I think even a few for shampoo
substitutes, so this argues that at least some women weren't using
this method. I don't know how well i would work if one was engaged in
dirtier jobs eg cook or field labourer.
The trouble is, I think this will be fairly difficult to find evidence
of. It's not evidence of a practise, but evidence of a lack of a
practise (frequent hair washing) that we need to prove. And It's the
sort of everyday thing people leave out of records. One though for me
is - a lot of bathing pictures show women in bathtubs with hair bound
up out of the water - suggesting that one might not wish to get the
hair wet when bathing. It would be even easier to keep the hair dry
when sponge bathing.
At the last camping event I was inspired to hire (bribe with clothing)
a maid to brush my hair twice daily, turning a chore instead into a
relaxing time each day. And despite the very dusty environment, my
hair kept quite clean thanks to this extra level of care.
A though on hairbrushes versus combs - combs would be more effective
at nit removal. I think combs may also be a bit easier to use on a
friend than yourself (the opposite of brushes) and a medieval
household of any kind would be likely to have more than one female in
Sorry for talking so long, I guess I just wanted to convey that this
haircare method does seem to make sense of period practises - keep
your hair braided most of the time (except maybe girls who are
courting), wear a veil, hat or hood frequently, tie up your hair when
bathing. But then so could other methods, especially this method in
combination with herbal rinses.
If anyone has any information on the period use (or lack thereof) of
this method PLEASE share. I'd love to know (and I know I'm not the
On 9/29/05, Maggie Forest <maggie@...> wrote:
> >But what about the hair? I distinctly recall that if you don't wash
> >your hair at all, but keep it regularly brushed, and when necessary
> >use things like corn meal or rye flour help brush/comb out excess
> >grease and dirt.
> you don't really need to add any dry stuff if you've gone the path of
> not using shampoo, just immersing your hair in warm water occasionally
> will take the worst out. a fine-tooth comb will keep VM out. I know
> this because I have an incredibly sensitive scalp (actually my skin in
> general) that hates all commercial cosmetics, so I have periods when I
> cannot use shampoo or soaps because they make my hair fall out and my
> skin bleed from the scratching.
> Soapwort is a european plant which I have used at events to wash my
> hair. I've prepared it in advance, but there's absolutely nothing
> stopping you having a haircare session at camp where you start by
> cooking up the soapwort and then washing your hair in the solution.
> It's very gentle, and it is one of my alternatives to commercial
> shampoos. you can add other types of herbs to the infusion for scent
> or in my case to calm the itching. a good scent is lemon balm or mints
> or even rosemary, if you can handle that on your skin.