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Do we really need shampoo?

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

WATCH: What's Good For You, every Wednesday 7.30pm, Channel Nine

Is shampoo good for our hair and is it really necessary? According to die-hard converts to the "no shampoo" challenge, it takes between six and eight weeks for our scalp and hair to naturally adjust their oil levels.

To test this theory, we put two volunteers up to the challenge. Justine and CJ have volunteered to stop washing their hair with any kind of cleaning product for two months.

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Will they end up with a filthy, greasy mess? Or will their hair find its own natural balance?

Results/outcome
Shampoo works by stripping your hair of a natural oil called sebum. Sebum collects dirt, hair products and other nasties, but on the flipside, it protects the protein structure of hair from damage.

So do we really want to wash away all that good oil?

According to David Salinger, director of the International Association of Trichologists, the best way to determine if the "no shampoo" theory is correct is to inspect Justine and CJ's scalps and hair follicles with a microscopic camera — at the beginning, middle and end of the experiment. And after doing just that, here are the results.

At week one, both Justine and CJ's scalp and hair follicles were nice and clean and looking very healthy, but was it was a different story at weeks four and eight?

Week four
Justine was struggling without being able to use shampoo. Her hair had become a greasy mess on the top of the scalp, and as dry as straw at the ends.

CJ on the other hand wasn't really fazed. He had experienced some slight itching, but otherwise was quite happy with the condition of his hair, especially the way the curls in his hair became tighter.

Week eight
By week eight, Justine had actually begun to embrace the "no shampoo" challenge.

"I'm kind of eating my words at the moment because it I think there is something in this experiment … I feel like my hair is starting to resolve itself to its natural state … I actually feel the natural oils coming back, and for someone that definitely wasn't a believer at all in this experiment, I think it might have worked,"Justine said.

CJ didn't really note any major change from week four to eight, and was still quite happy not using shampoo.

"At the moment the scalp feels good. At week four it was still a little bit itchy … but at the moment it feels fine … more or less the same as it did on the first day we did the experiment," CJ said.

So they both think the "no shampoo" challenge has some merit, but what does our expert David Salinger think?

David examined the before and after shots of both their scalps and found that both had general redness and follicle inflammation.

Justine had overall scaling on her scalp and CJ's scalp had some nasty patches of scale and small blood spots where he had scratched his head. Neither of their scalps looked healthy. With that in mind; is it a wise move to ditch shampoo forever?

According to David, the answer is a definite no. Although your hair might look and feel okay, it's your scalp that is suffering.

Important note
It is not intended that the information in this program or website be substituted for the benefits obtained from consultation with, and treatment by, a qualified health practitioner. Nor is it intended to directly or indirectly prescribe the use of various remedies without the consent of your health practitioner. If you are under medical care for any condition, seek the advice of your health care practitioner before acting on any suggestions in this program or website and do not make any adjustments to prescribed medication without their approval.

YOUR SAY: How often do you wash your hair?


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