Beauty Parlor: The Quest for Decent Hair

By Ann Shayne
February 4, 2020
Trying something new is what we do all day around here. As long as it involves knitting, that is.

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  • I never thought much about my thick wave hair. I joked I could carry 10lbs of weigh in my hair. When I watched friends loose their hair through chemo, I thought no big deal, I could part with mine. Well….recently I experienced significant hair loss. TRAUMA hit me. I felt a new understanding for my hair loss friends. Hair is everywhere except on my scalp; the carpet, brushes, clothes. I am trying everything to regain it. (Vitamins, collagen , massage, calories) new hair style. So enjoy your hair and use what makes you feel good. You never fully understand loss of any nature until you walk the same path.

    • I also had really thick hair – which i have currently lost due to chemo. The difference for me is that i know why it’s gone and it’s already growing back – if it had fallen out for less specific reasons it would be much more traumatic for me, not knowing when it would be back. Interestingly, the wispy in between stages of loss were awful but once I’d shaved it all off with an electric shaver i looked so much better, – i can promise you nobody is more surprised than me, but actually love my bald look (good earrings a necessity). Simple, clean, quite beautiful in its way and more time and money for knitting!!! (Lots of beanies).

    • I have lost my thick, curly hair both ways — from chemotherapy and 20 years later from alopecia universalis, which is medicalese for “you lose all your hair, yes all of it, even eyebrows, for no apparent reason.” Often it grows back, and mine did, only slightly diminished, after 18 months. Both forms of hair loss stink, but the second time around it was a powerful consolation to be able to tell myself, “at least you don’t have cancer.” Not having cancer wins.

      PS Years ago I tried a different non-shampoo after reading about it in wendyknits. Apparently, all my hair-care info comes from knit bloggers.

    • I am not a doctor (nor do I play one on television) but if you haven’t had your thyroid checked – you might want to talk to your doctor about it. Thinning hair can be a symptom of hypothyroidism which I learned this year. My lush, thick, wavy hair started to get thinner this fall and winter, and I just learned that it was falling out because of hypothyroidism.

      As far as hair care goes I am a minimalist. I wash my hair, let it air dry, and slap it into a messy bun. I would rather be knitting and reading!

      • I’ve also recently been diagnosed with hypothyroidism, and it’s amazing how rubbish the ineffective little gland can make you feel!! I’ve luckily been taking my tablets for a few months and feel a lot better. I hope you have also been feeling better!

    • Jill, I do sympathize and completely understand. I was, I fully admit, proud of my long, thick hair, my crowning glory. I started losing it in my early 40s after an early menopause, just as my mother had in her late 50s after her menopause. There’s a genetic link. By the time I was in my early 60s, I was virtually bald on top and nearly on the sides. I was very embarrassed about going out in public and very depressed. I, too, had tried everything to stop or at least slow down hair loss. Nothing helped. Finally, I went to a hair restoration salon where they were very understanding and caring. They fitted me for a hair system (it’s really a hair piece) which matches my own remaining hair. It is held in place with adhesive, and I wash and style it just as I would if it were “my own” but using special products. Each month at my appointment, my stylist removes the piece, shampoos my scalp and trims my remaining back hair. Then she attaches my other piece. Every six months, I get two new pieces, and these are worn alternately every other month. I have hair again! I’m thrilled, and, while there are some issues such as my scalp itching slightly after exercising and sweating, I couldn’t be happier! It really has changed my life and the way I feel about myself. Kindest regards, Thora Lee

    • I so agree, having once lost my thick mane to chemo. While it was gone and while it was coming back in, I rubbed jojoba oil into my scalp every day. I have good hair once again, and still use jojoba oil on my scalp now and then to combat an itchy, dry scalp.

      • I lost my terrific hair to chemo, but it grew back and I assume it will grow back again when chemo is over (3 more treatments!). This was a horrendous loss — my hair was my best feature, and I grieve it every day. Now my hair is wispy and thin, and I can see large patches of scalp where my hair used to be. Last course of chemo, my solution was a wig, which I thought screamed “SHE’S WEARING A WIG!” even though my friends all said it was fine. This time the wig stays on its stand and I’m wearing HATS (a bowler and a beret, not both at the same time, plus all those handknit hats). Very much looking forward to March 11, my last treatment, and the hair growing back in again. I keep it short and thick, with no care whatsoever except washing it and combing it.

        • Only 3 more treatments, hooray for you!

    • Before menopause, I used to say that I had enough hair for three people. At this time I have what I think is the regular amount. Though it still feels odd in some ways, I am actually glad that I can have longer hair, instead of the short and layered cuts I had to control the amount, wave, and volume in the past. It also used to be dark brown, but is now about 50% gray and what’s still brown is a considerably lighter shade of reddish-brown, which is more disconcerting to me than thinner hair! I watched my sister–also with luxurious hair–lose hers to pre-menopausal ovarian cancer chemo 20 years ago. Her hair grew back, but she lived only 14 months after diagnosis. She would have been 68 on Sunday. I’d rather that she was still here, with whatever amount of hair!

    • Hair Skin and Nails vitamins have worked for me. Longer eyelashes, thicker hair, better eyebrows.

  • I use a goat’s milk hair wash bar Mardelian Farm. It has a clean, not highly fragrant scent and gives my otherwise flat and unruly gray hair, body and shine. She makes all of her products on her farm and uses all natural ingredients. I also use her goat milk lotions and lip balms…love them all!

    • The Hair Shine bar is “from“ Mardelian Farm, it’s not called Mardelian Farm. Didn’t see the boo-boo until I hit the post button.

  • I have been using Komenuka Bijin shampoo for years and love it. It’s from Japan and is paraben and sulfate-free. Not cheap, though. I purchase through from Japanese sellers for the best price. It takes a while to get to me but I am always charmed when I open the package and there are tiny Japanese candies included and sometimes a wee origami creature. Once there was a note attached to one of the origami pieces that said “a gift from my child.” Gotta love the personal touch! Apart from all that, it is great shampoo that leaves my hair in excellent condition. I use Komenuka Bijin conditioner as well, around once a week.

    • The small gifts included is so charming! I’ll have to look into this. My sister has lived in Japan since the early ‘80’s…I’ll ask her about this product and if she has used it.

  • Another New Wash follower here. It’s amazing, isn’t it!
    I gave up on shampoo some years back, using various cleansing conditioners instead. New Wash is the best that I’ve found.

    • I have no shampoo loyalty whatsoever, I switch constantly ever since Halsa ginger shampoo went off the market. I’ve always wanted to try not using any cleaner other than water and letting my hair adjust to its natural oil level (what I’ve done with my face for 40+ years), but I just can’t get through the 3-4 months of flat oily hair that requires. I knew a woman who did that years ago and her hair was gorgeous.

  • Here’s my issue with all of this: New Wash wash and powder sells for $76 on Amazon. I’m no stranger to buying an occasional expensive face cream because it makes me feel pampered – but the effects appear no different from something I buy in the drugstore- but I continually wonder why we women put so much effort, money, and angst into our outside self to the enrichment of cosmetic companies with high paid marketing consultants. Whenever I ask this question, friends become defensive. I have yet to meet someone who actually just stops to think about it. But back to topic- I recently bought a bar shampoo/body wash in a minuscule effort to reduce my use of plastic. It does the job.

    • I’m with you although I love Ann’s account of this. When I look at all the bottles of stuff I’ve gotten, mostly plastic, in an attempt to make something different happen to my hair or skin, I wonder what the heck I was thinking. I’ve been playing around with the, “wash your hair with a slurry of baking soda and water followed by an apple cider vinegar rinse,” method. It works pretty well. I plan to alternate it with stuff in bottles and my expensive Lush shampoo bars until the latter is all gone and then see what happens.

      • I did the soda/vinegar thing to try and figure out what was breaking me out. My conclusion was that it worked in a fashion but it really dried out my hair. I now use Davines products and have been pretty happy with them. Much lighter than other products I’ve used for my thin, fine hair.

    • I’m with you Kate about all the cosmetic company hype though I’ve never questioned anyone else about their fascination with those products.

      I too am trying to cut down on plastics, and never before heard of shampoo bars. Has anyone tried a lowish-cost shampoo bar especially from a local store (Whole Foods? drugstore?) rather than online, which adds tremendous shipping costs. (Lush sounds great but only sold in malls.)

      • I vote for shampoo bars. I buy one sold with other pleasing plain vegetal soaps stamped with their plain name. There is a dark green one, “olive oil” amber for “bee pollen” yellow “evening primrose” and such. The shampoo bar especially can be slurries in a small basin to wash our knitting 🙂

        • …slurried…

      • I have fine-ish curly/frizzy hair (bunch of little anarchists) and love Lush’s Trichomania shampoo bar. Their Avocado Co-wash bar, not so much. I was excited to find a Shea Moisture shampoo bar at Marshall’s but didn’t like the build up which was similar to that of the Avocado Co-wash.

        Trader Joe’s Tea Tree Tingle Conditioner was a lovely co-wash when I wore a pixie and lived on the same continent as Trader Joe’s.

        You can also try a bar of non-triple milled Olive oil soap such as castile, Turkish, Syrian/Lebanese, Greek varieties that are brined. I used to make a 70% olive oil soap and loved to use it in my hair from time to time.

      • I started using a shampoo bar this summer while traveling. I use the Aspen Kay citrus/lemongrass flavor from Amazon. It is reasonably priced ($16.99) and one bar lasts about 5 months. I also use the matching conditioner bar, and even my hairstylist has remarked on how great my hair feels and smells.

        • And also – they come in metal tins that are great for storing stitch holders!

      • Maybe try Etsy?

      • I use shampoo and conditioner bars by Hibar, which I buy at the co-op. They are made in the city where I live so maybe not globally stocked but available online. They are made in a nifty shape that makes it easy to handle. I’m also working on reducing plastics (please ignore my daily Diet Coke addiction) and switching to bar soaps seemed like an easy move.

      • I just use a local soap made with honey and stout. It lathers up thanks to the beer. I refuse to have shampoo shipped from New Zealand across the ocean when there are many small businesses making exactly the same thing.

      • I’ve used shampoo bars for years but never found a conditioner bar I liked :/ they last so much longer than a bottle of shampoo that the price difference is worth it (including driving to the store to buy new shampoo).

    • I stopped wearing makeup, when I got older and had less time to screw with it. My skin looks better and my boyfriend likes it. I have saved a bundle. Every once in a while I’ll use lip gloss but that’s it.

    • I have a theory about this. I think we’re vulnerable to the idea that we’re not good enough, that we’ve got to do something to fix the problem that comes with being a human woman. I’ve often wondered how feminine sprays and douches are still available even though everyone knows they’re bad for you. Anyway, we learn really young from the women around us that we have to fix our “flaws” and it’s hard to unlearn it, especially if you’re not even aware of it. We convince ourselves (helped by media, of course) that we’re pampering ourselves when we buy ridiculous products to fix invented problems. When a product promises to make my life better, while making me prettier (less flawed), it’s hard to resist. I often need to feel like I’m fixing myself.
      It’s really hard for me to overcome all of this when I look it the mirror. I dye my hair bright colors because makeup hurts my eyes, or I would for sure wear it. All of it’s entertaining as well, and the idea of transformation is powerful.
      I believe the only way out of it is to think of the little girls in our lives, and what we want them to learn from us about how to care for themselves.

      • Amen, sister!

  • I’ve been using New Wash for a couple of years. I like it a lot!

  • Really intriguing …my grandmother had luxuriant hair and used soap of castile and a horsehair brush all her life. If you look at the New Wash ingredients, its basically a castile soap formula with conditioning agents and plant-based perfumes. Very clever – but it does make me want to try out castile soap again.

    • Trader Joe’s sells liquid Castile soap. It makes your hair “squeaky clean” as you used hear in ads.

  • But what is the almond flour for? Are you making body scubs or cookies?

  • I, too, have things arrive that I apparently ordered in a late-night semi-coma. The latest is a vegetarian cookbook called “a modern way to eat.” (The title is not capitalized, presumably because modern.) I never buy cookbooks and seldom cook. But now I have to. First recipe tried: really good.

  • Love Beauty and Planet solid shampoo bar ($4.99) that lasts a really long time. Silicone free, paraben free, sulfate free, cruelty free. Suds galore and leaves my hair soft and clean.

  • Chagrin Valley Soap & Salve Company in Ohio makes wonderful shampoo bars. I use the one made from soap nuts. Great results, pure ingredients and no plastic. Family-owned & operated company. Good prices too. I recommend all of their products!

    • Yup.

      • Thank you ladies!! I am coping with a new, and very vexing itching issue on the back of my head and neck. I have assumed it is product related? I look forward to trying some of the shampoo/bar/voodoo you’ve suggested!

        • So was I and it ended up being folliculitis!!

    • Love love love them! And their deodorant.

    • I’m a shampoo bar convert (Chagrin Valley to be exact). I have very dry hair so I only wash it once a week. Finally, I use oil on my hair for moisturizing and styling. Sometimes it’s a Chagrin Valley blend, sometimes it’s simply liquid coconut oil.

    • I used Chagrin Valley’s soap nut shampoo bar and it was amazing- my hair was so silky. But unfortunately my scalp did not love it. After using 4 times I had weeping hives for a month. However I love many of their other products. They have smaller less expensive bars to try out before getting the large size so I’d recommend starting with those just in case.
      Now I wash my hair with water most of the time and Castile soap once every month or two.

  • DD gave me a Lush shampoo bar in a scent called Jason and the Argan Oil for Xmas along with an identical massage brush. I can skip the conditioner and still have my soft, wavy thick hair, and less plastic. (I will be 57 this year and will admit to being vain about my hair.)

    • I am a Lush customer also! I use the shampoo bars (seanik and flyway)- they last for a long time! I have also tried their volume products (Big, I Love Juicy – I prefer how Big works on my thin, fine, graying and wavy hair) – I have also tried their Roots hair treatment. I have not used conditioner since using the Lush products. Lush will let you have a small sample to try a product before buying – always a nice touch. The less plastic the better!

  • I’ve been trying to stop using products that come in plastic bottles. So, I now use a bar shampoo from Maine Beer Soap. Unfortunately, I also use a purple conditioner to make my hair purple. That does come in a plastic bottle. I haven’t found a eco-friendly substitute for that, yet.

    • I use purple shampoo/conditioner & make my own. The commercial shampoos smell of chemicals (I’m allergic to most of them – break out my scalp) & of course, come in a plastic bottle. If you buy (Amazon) Butterfly Pea Vine flowers (dried), just put a generous pinch in a glass jar, add boiling water & let it steep. When it’s very dark it’s more bluish, so you can add apple cider vinegar to make it more purple (small amounts – I use 1/4 tsp at a time ’til the color suits me). Just mix with your shampoo or conditioner – the darker purple you can get the mix, the better. The trick is not to get the shampoo/conditioner consistency too thin, while still getting it as dark as possible – there’s a balance there. My hair is all silver gray & this purple mix keeps the yellow out (we have well water). If your hair is more brassy (orangish), leaving the steeped liquid more on the blue side might work better. There is a video someone did on YouTube about using Butterfly Pea Vine dried flowers for purple shampoo/conditioner which is where I lucked into this DIY idea.

      • So how does this work if you use a shampoo bar to eliminate plastic? Are you lathering up your in your hand and then adding the purple mix??

        • I occasionally will use an all body bar by Dr, Bronner, All In one Hemp Almond pure Castile fair trade bar soap for body and hair. I take this bar on trips also so I’m not dealing with all those little bottles for shampoo and then conditioner! I love it! I just put the bar on my head and lather up! A couple of swipes around your head and scalp covered with good, clean suds. Good for me and environment ! It comes in different scents. I get it both online at VitaCost or Luckys markets. Any great natural store locally.!

        • Gerri, you might be able to make liquid shampoo out of your bar, then add the blue tea. Basic guideline is 4 oz of grated soap to 4 cups of boiled water, mix then let cool and put into bottles.

      • Very cool! Maybe I’ll try it for my conditioner!

    • Now I’m googling conditioner to make hair purple. That sounds so much easier than dying it every 3 weeks. Thank you!

  • I have been using shampoo bars from I like the rosemary and lavender the best. I have short very thick hair and my hair stays clean for several days. I also don’t have the flyaway fuzz from my wavy hair without using conditioner.

  • Haven’t read this yet but wanted to immediately say the picture brought back such a strong memory – I swear I can SMELL hairspray right now. I can probably count on one hand the times my hair was coated with it, but wow, what a flashback. Is there a word for flashbacks of scent? There must be. I hope someone will post it in a reply.

    • Somatic memories is the umbrella category for all sensory flashbacks

      • Interesting – I’ll have to do some reading! I thought somatic (body) memory was something quite different. Thanks 🙂

  • I have thick, short gray hair. I wash it every morning with Finese Shampoo, towel dry it and give it a quick brush; twice a week I also massage in/rinse a palm full of apple cider vinegar. The only time it gets pampered is during my monthly hair cut!

  • I have very long, very thick hair and while I have not stopped shampooing completely, I never shampoo more than once a week. Sometimes I just go through the shampooing motions with water, then use a conditioner. I have been using an Renpure Coconut cleansing conditioner lately, but I don’t think the results are any better than when I just use my basic Garnier leave-in conditioner.

    • I’m another curly girl. No shampoo. For years. Just some water and conditioner every few days – rubbed into scalp to “clean” the skin. Dry hair gently with a microfiber towel, no rubbing or fluffing, and then put in styling cream. Air dry, no blow drying for me. I usually use Deva products, made especially for curly hair. They have no parabens, sulfates, or other drying agents. Not cheap, but a little goes a long way. And now, instead of frizz (my father used to affectionately(?)) call me “brillo head,” I have soft salt and pepper curls about which I get compliments on a regular basis.

  • I have been wondering about Hair Wash, as I’ve seen the ads a lot lately. I tried going “pooless” for over a year, washing my hair with Castile soap, with a vinegar rinse, etc. it was good, but left my hair a little sticky. The baking soda routing was awful! My hair felt like oily hay. I too have suffered from several hair losses. Once from my thyroid, once from having a fever for six weeks, once from losing a lot of weight. It has never gone back to its former glory, after all of those hair losses, but it is slowly getting a little fuller.

  • I have started to use the PROSE hair products…and I think my hair is better with these products!

  • I have been using Pantene Pro-V for years and years. Like 25. I have thick hair, on the coarse side, that wants to wave. The conditioner helps make it a bit softer, maybe. Like so many of you, I am on a quest to reduce the use of plastics (I reduce, reuse, recycle, and compost). I am now on my last bottle of Pantene and will be trying out various shampoo bars, especially those that are packaged in paper. I have made note of the suggested options in the comments.

  • 5 years ago my hair thinned. In my case due to ageing. My Thyroid is fine. None of the usual hair care products or styling tools worked. My hairdresser coaxed and dragged me to the product “Deva Curl No poo Shampoo”. Also no suds. Today I am happy with my hair (no small triumph). I shampoo and crunch and I am ready to go.

  • It’s so nice to know that other people do weird stuff in the middle of the night too !

  • Another New Wash fan here! I’ve been using it for two or three years. My hair is fine, and other shampoos and conditioners tended to weigh it down to a flat nothingness, which is not a problem with New Wash. My hair is really healthy now – would highly recommend it!

  • Hi Ann, hate to break it to you but good shampoo doesn’t lather. To appease us they add a little something more than yours, but I’ve been using non-lathering shampoo for decades.

    There’s a hair salon near Kay, that caters to curly tops which has it’s own brand of shampoo, it’s called Nopoo.

    My hair guy told me to stop using conditioner decades ago. Bec i have fine curly hair, it just weighted it down. BUT now that I’m gray, how much I don’t know since I dye it, my hair is much drier, so now I need to use conditioner again…

    Oh, and if u did that brush thing to your scalp w any shampoo you’d always feel great. Kinda how your hair always feels better after the salon washes it.


  • Ah, hair. After decades of hating my naturally curly hair (Frizzy! Dry and crunchy!), I finally learned what to do with it. It was a revelation to learn that there is a classification system for curls, and I am part 3A, part 3B (curls you can wrap around sidewalk chak/Sharpie marker).

    That was the beginning of a journey that has culminated in a 30 second hair routine that yields perfect corkscrews daily. Throw away comb and brush, fingers only. Shampoo only once a week. Leave in conditioner on rinsed, damp hair every morning. A dab of serum afterwards, air dry, do not touch. I went through all the salon products and now use plain old Garnier Fructis in the bright green packaging from Target. Life is good!

  • I’m trying to go with less plastic in my life. Meaning ditching the plastic shampoo and conditioner bottles. I have switched to a goats milk bar soap from Bend Soap Company and my hair has never looked healthier or shinier. It also cleared up the excema on my scalp within 4 days. For conditioner I now use Ethique conditioner bar. You can buy a little bamboo box for in shower storage so it doesn’t melt away. Again, works great and my grey hair is soft and manageable.

  • I am loving this topic, and reading about so many different brands of shampoo bars. I try to be as environmentally conscious as possible, so will convert to the shampoo bars. I too lost all of my hair due to chemo 6 years ago, but then when my previously lush hair grew back in I had bald spots. I go to a hair loss specialist and we have not had much luck with managing this. I have to take a drug daily to protect my body against more hormone related cancers developing, and that contributes to my hair loss. Sometimes it’s a difficult pill to swallow……pardon the attempt at humor here!

  • I have thick curly hair that I only learned how to care for in my 30s. I use the DevaCurl Decadence line, which is sulfate-free and all that. It’s not inexpensive but once you learn the best amounts for your hair, you’ll find that you use LESS product to maintain your locks. I’ve been on the same bottle of NoPoo for nearly a year! Plus, my hair has never looked better.

  • Shampoo (often with volumizer) and conditioner. When my hair began to thin out, I was in my mid 40’s. Freaked me out, as I did not expect that till I would be 80 or 90. I don’t know how I feel about it now; although, I am more used to it. However, the women here who have described their experiences with Chemo put into perspective for me as to what is truly important. I admire their courage and their strength.

    • Thank you, Diane. It’s no picnic.

  • I have wimpy hair and have always picked the bottles that say “volumizing”on them. No brand works better than the others. As I’ve gotten older, I think my hair has thinned. I worry more about hair styles than how I clean it. I’m always looking for the magic one.

    • I have thin hair too and the allegedly volumizing shampoos and conditioners did nothing for me. For me, the Bumble & Bumble Thickening Spray was a game changer. It gives me lots of volume (tons, in fact, if I want to go there) and an ever-so-subtle hold (not hair spray level though). It even calms my frizz down. I highly recommend it.

  • Really? You want to put all those additional chemicals on your body?

  • At 66, my extra-thick hair is thinning. I had it to spare, so …. meh. I have a Cruella de Ville white streak framing my face, the rest is salt n pepper. My white streak suddenly went brassy, so my routine is shampoo every 3 days using baby shampoo and twice a month, I switch out and use Matrix So Silver purple shampoo and conditioner. I got over-enthusiastic to start with and turned my streak lavender – fashionable but not what I was going for!!

  • I’ve tried a product similar to New Wash (not a shampoo). I used it when we travel in our Airstream, as it’s all in one bottle. It was okay.
    After a lifetime of trying expensive shampoos and conditioners, because I feel my hair is too thin and dry, I have started using a product line called Prose. I ordered the shampoo and conditioner on line one night when I was feeling bored and depressed (winter in the northwest), but the products really seem to work! My hair is long and growing well. I’m 79 and my hair is mostly white, but it looks full and really nice. Also, this fall I was having trouble with dandruff (and dandruff shampoos are murder on your hair), but that has disappeared. Not all Prose products are equally wonderful. I was not impressed with the pre-shampoo. But the shampoo and conditioner are wonderful! And they have a new product that I use as a dry hair conditioner (as they instruct) that is remarkable for giving my hair body and lift without any product buildup.
    Joanna Koss

  • If you want something that will help with frizz look into a silk pillow case (or a large scarf)! While on a trip I bought a big square silk scarf for $3 and wrapped my pillow with it. I haven’t had frizzy hair since. I have fine colour treated hair and oh man it looks nice after I washed it. However, after sleeping on a regular cotton pillow case the side I slept on basically looked back combed. This scarf has been a life saver for my hair.

  • i tried new wash when i first heard of it years ago and i found it too expensive to sustain. my daughter told me about soap nuts which i use once a week and let the natural oils condition in between. i have found that the less product i use on my hair, the better it behaves. just a spritz of water and scrunching it a bit to floof it in the mornings works for me.

  • Giving your man-friend, knitters and knitting blog readers a look-see if you aren’t rockin’ a Mr. Clean do, or the “monkey butt”. I started using Dr. Squatch shampoo and conditioner. It’s all natural and sulfate free, and all that blah-blah-blah. Their commercials on YouTube are hilarious, and they also make natural cold pressed soaps. Your conditioner bottle is huge, as you are only supposed to wash (shampoo) 2 or 3 times a week to keep your tresses healthy. Check it out fellas.

  • I use the soap/shampoo bars from LoLo Body Care, formerly Bar-Maids. You can see them at TNNA. Mostly I use the coconut oil bar —it’s a great face wash too—but sometimes I use some of the other formulas. It’s fabulous, comes in very minimal packaging, and since I use one product for three things I’ve really reduced the amount of paper and plastic. Win win win.

  • Wow! I learned SO MUCH from this post and comments. Does anyone know a good shampoo bar for volume for naturally straight thin hair?

    • I exclusively use (for the past 6 or more years) shampoo bars from Apple Valley Natural Soap. They’re an online small family business in Minnesota. I love everything I have tried from them so far and I am a pretty tough critic. You can shop for shampoo bars via your hair type to give you an idea of what is best for you. We only use the shampoo bars for my family of 5 as they double as all-over body bars as well.

  • Starter kit is $102 Canadian–hilarious. 😀 The “no-poo” thing has been around for years. There are other high-visibility brands such as Deva Curl. I tried cleansing with conditioner-only for a few months, it was okay. Back to regular shampoo and conditioner now. My daughter has used the Deva products for a couple of years, but lately they’re not working well for her anymore.

    • I’ve heard that Devacurl was sold and the new company has made “minor” changes to the formulas. There is a lot of anecdotal info on the internet about hair breakage with their current products.

  • OMG I just started using this too. My hair is fine so I thought it would be flat without the detergent, but it’s fluffy and soft. Scalp feels good too and I can go 2 days without washing for the first time in my life. Wow, this feels like an infomercial.

  • Thanks a lot people! I’m in Hawaii and missed the sunrise while “surfing” for hair products mentioned by y’all. Shampoo bars! Where have I been? My wife is going to be ecstatic if I get rid of all the bottles in the shower.

  • Only the best shampoo…allsoft by redken..amazing works great in city water…deb

  • I use a bar shampoo/conditioner called HiBar. It works so well, and I love that it is packaging free (well, it’s all recyclable packaging).

  • I noticed over the past year or so that my hair was really thinning and asked my doctor about it. I had both a thyroid test and my iron level checked in the fall and both were normal. Early in December I had my annual dermatology appointment and I asked her about my thinning hair. She ordered bloodwork to test my ferritin level.

    Ferritin is a blood protein that contains iron. A normal iron level test does not look at the ferritin level. If ferritin is low, you may be anemic. And, there is a correlation between low ferritin and hair loss.

    I started taking 65mg of iron daily in mid December. When I went yesterday to get my hair, ahem – colored – don’t tell anyone, my hairdresser was almost squealing about how much new hair growth I have all over my head. She kept taking pictures and showing them to me.

    I thought I had new growth, but it was hard for me to tell. And I didn’t say anything to my hairdresser; I wanted to see if, in fact, she saw it on her own.

    Ask for a simple blood test for ferritin!

  • I have a major frizz problem and my hair is baby fine. My routine is: (1) I only wash my hair 1-2 times a week; in the summer I use dry shampoo in between so it’s not so gross. (2) I use a salon-exclusive de-frizzing shampoo and conditioner and higher-end de-frizzing styling products. They are expensive but in my experience the drugstore equivalents don’t work. (4) Air dry only. (5) Once dry, I load up with hairspray. Like, the 80s are back in my bathroom. I think it is worth seeking out a stylist who has experience with your situation. If they can get you set up with the right cut, you’ll have less drama in your day to day. Mine even looks great as it grows out.

  • I’m in the hot flash period of life and have found my hair has suffered the transition the most. I used to wash every other day. Now I do a wash and conditioner once a week and a quick small wash in between. I let my hair dry naturally. I use a silk pillow case to reduce tangles. Embrace your natural hair I say.

    • In the South we call them “personal summers”.

  • When age changed my dead straight, easy to bob, fine hair into a swirly mess of wave that is totally unmanageable, I did what any normal person would do and cut it off. I did have a professional cut it off, but it’s basically all gone now. It doesn’t seem to matter what I use on it now, short hair isn’t there long enough for split ends. If I’m ambitious I blow dry, if not I comb and finger fluff when dry. Easy peasy lemonade squeezy as my favorite language student says.

  • I tried New Wash a couple years ago for about 4 months. I never got beyond feeling greasy. And it was just too expensive. Lately I’ve been using Prose and it’s been ok. I’m looking to switch to a shampoo bar to cut back on the plastic and all the cardboard of shipping. Some good suggestions here.

  • And a lovely morning to all. It has been interesting to read everyone’s comments…I long ago changed from washing my thick hair every 2-3 days and then conditioning (to prevent tangles) to simply rinsing it thoroughly with water once a week…it took about 2-3 weeks and my hair has been happy since. It helps, I think, that I do nothing other than brushing to my hair. One suggestion to help with hair was to use a Boar Bristle brush on my hair daily…helps with the dry scalp…
    As a comment to all who have problems with thinning hair…vs all the different shampoo or conditioner suggestions, may I suggest homeopathy…which will work with your body to help resolve those problems. A good article about it is with suggestions for both men and women suffering from thinning hair. And Joette Calabrese is an excellent homeopath who will teach you more about what homeopathy does…she has been helping a friend of mine with her hand issues for knitting as well (in addition to her improving her technique).

    • Thanks for sharing this! It was a very informative read.

  • haha, i wish you could see my hair right now. This past year I decided to stop coloring my hair (I’m 68, and it’s not that I don’t care per se. I just thought the gray might be a better match for my skin, since mother nature made it so). And the color really does look OK. But between growing out the gray, and growing out the pixie cut I got to hurry up the transition, and my normal bedhead, I look like Andy Warhol this morning. But to your point, sometimes I just condition my hair and only use shampoo once a week or so. I used NoPoo for a minute way back when, but refuse to spend the $$ on it now. Maybe I’ll re-think it. It seems no matter what I do, each hair has it’s own agenda.

  • I started loosing my hair due to a thyroid issue about 5 years ago. I panicked and switched any product that touches my body to a “natural” product. I won’t go back. I love Innersence hair wash and their whole hair line really. Small company from California that makes great stuff. My hair has since regrown. I started with Lush, but learned their products weren’t as green as their marketing claims. I learned that I no longer take my hair for granted as I once did.

  • I stopped using shampoo about 3 years ago. I “cowash”, which is washing with a conditioner. You have to get conditioners that don’t have any dimethicone or any of the “cones” in it so it doesn’t build up on your hair, but it makes your hair feel wonderful and the small amount of detergent in the conditioner is really enough to clean your hair and scalp. I love it. And to make it even better, it’s the less expensive conditioners like Suave and VO5 that you can use.

  • I was nuts all of my life for “good hair products” and as I got older, I bought organic shampoos/conditioners. A few years ago, when the perfume bases in even organics became more than I could stand, I bought a handmade “shampoo bar” from my favorite Etsy soap maker, Orchard Farm Soap. My short gray hair and scalp felt amazing! I was stunned. After a few weeks of using just that soap, I got rid of all of my hair products except for a good fragrance free pomade and haven’t looked back. Hindsight: I’d gotten hooked into the hair hype at a very young age and never realized I was “trapped.” Now I use whatever handmade soap bar that’s in my shower – they all work just fine for my hair and my hair feels great! The dream “feel” I was after in my teens 😉 (I’m 69)

    • A conversation in the bulk section of Rainbow Grocery in San Francisco led me to a nettle leaf and apple cider vinegar rinse. It is supposed to help with hair loss as well as overall improve health of hair. Find recipes online. I added lavender oil to counteract the vinegar smell and cool water to rinse out after massaging into hair and scalp. I’ve only done it twice so the jury is still out. Very inexpensive.

  • The older I get the thinner my hair is getting. I’ve always had fine, thin hair, but after I hit 50 it really thinned out, I could see my scalp when I blow dried my hair. It’s a hormonal thing, so I contemplated everything from hair plugs, to shaving my head! Then my daughter in law from Thailand told me about Bergamot. She even grows a Bergamot plant in her enclosed patio in Atlanta, Georgia, and she rubs the berries into her very thick, lovely hair to condition it. I bought Bergamot shampoo and conditioner online, and it was like magic. I did not shed any hair when I shampooed my hair, and my hair looked fuller. Normally I would shed a clump of hair after every shampoo, so this was a positive surprise. I couldn’t see my scalp after I styled my air. I did notice a itchy sensation on my scalp once in a while, but it’s not annoying enough to quit the Bergamot products. After trying all kinds of other expensive shampoos and conditioners for volume, which really didn’t do much, this is the first time I notice a real improvement in my hair volume.

  • I switched to shampoo/conditioners years ago… after seeing all the straight haired people RAVE about it i really didn’t think it would work for my thick/frizzy/curly hair… BUT after the very first time using it I was getting compliments and usually on day 3 after washing it is when I get the MOST compliments! WOW! Who knew you didn’t need to wash your hair that much when you use great non-toxic ingredients! Loved it so much I joined the company!

  • For over 5 yrs I’ve been using 1/4 C baking soda dissolved in 4C boiled filtered water. Rinsing with apple cider vinegar/filtered water/tea tree oil. Washing my hair once a week. The money I’ve saved for having healthier hair is a huge bonus.

  • Two things…1)Dr. Bronner’s Lavender Castile Soap 2)Diluted Apple Cider Vinegar rinse. It took a bit to go through the transition (greasier hair for a bit), but more of my natural curl showed up!

  • I started using JRLiggett’s bar shampoo four years ago and I love it. The reason for change was two fold; I wanted to reduce plastic waste; and most commercial shampoos irritated my scalp. (I have celiac, therefore my skin is a tad more sensitive.)
    Just for kicks, start a conversation on how people cleanse their faces. That would be just as interesting.

  • Please watch this 2020 Oscar winning short to the end. Hair Love

  • I use Herbal Essences Argan Oil on the days I spin (4x/Week) and Arrojo Co-wash on the days I don’t. Thanks for all of the great tips in the comments. I’m intrigued by the shampoo bars, since I would like to try something gentler on the days I work out (Co-Wash doesn’t cut it for those days when I’m a sweaty mess!)

  • Interesting. I use hair products in my hair (mousse, spray, putty, etc) and when I wash my hair the wash/shampoo has to clean the product from my hair. I don’t know if the hair wash would do that. Sticking to my shampoo.

  • My hair game has always been to get a really good hairdresser wherever I have lived and get it cut every 4 weeks. I don’t put anything in it except a very good organic shampoo and a little moisture weekly in the winter (to detangle and smooth). I by no means had perfect hair, but for some reason, as I aged it got better and better. Now it is just the way I have always wanted it.