Lather, rinse, repeat. Or don't.
The first synthetic shampoos were introduced in the 1930s but it wasn’t until the 70s that daily hair washing became the norm for many Americans. Some feel we’ve become obsessed with cleanliness whereas others feel they need to scrub up daily just to feel fresh and ready for the day.
However, more and more people have questioned the long-term effect of daily or near-daily shampooing. Some have taken it to the extreme and stopped using shampoo altogether. The ditching of commercial shampoo has become popular enough to gain the moniker "no poo."
People who practice the "no poo" method generally believe that shampoo strips the hair of natural oils produced by the scalp, which in turn causes the scalp to produce extra oil to compensate. This creates a "vicious cycle," perpetuating the problem rather than fixing it.
Some cleanse-free advocates say shampooing, even infrequently, makes hair dry, brittle and prone to breakage.
Others have stopped shampooing to save money or to spare the environment of the plastic bottles that the formula is packaged in. Plus, the products contain chemical pollutants which are not always processed by waste treatment.
Instead of shampoo, no-poo practitioners often cleanse their hair with apple cider vinegar, baking soda, honey and / or eggs.
Erin Kirkman has not used store-bought shampoo in two years. She says her hair is healthier and shinier than it's ever been.
"It took me a while to figure out how to care for my hair," says Kirkman. "It’s really frizzy, and regular shampoo just made it worse."
After trying lots of different regimes, Kirkman figured out that rinsing with hot water every day and washing once or twice a week with baking soda and water has worked well.
However, she recognizes the stigma attached with bailing on shampoo.
"I started out not telling people about this because I knew they would think it was gross. But now I’m kinda proud of it," she says. "I even encourage people to smell my hair to prove that it doesn’t stink. I mean, it doesn’t smell like flowers, but it doesn’t smell bad, either. It smells like hair."
Tara Schmidt has been experimenting with the no poo process for a few months. At one point she went three weeks without shampooing, but then eventually gave in and washed her hair with shampoo. She continues to take breaks from shampoo.
Schmidt says when she first stops shampooing her hair is definitely quicker to get greasy.
"My understanding is that there’s an adjustment period during which your hair is greasier as it’s trying to find its balance because it’s no longer fighting off whatever the shampoo does to it. This can vary from weeks to months," says Schmidt.
It wasn’t that Schmidt wasn’t happy with the health or appearance of her hair, but she decided to try going poo-free anyway.
"I figured why buy shampoo if I don't have to?" says Schmidt. "Most people go no poo to avoid the chemicals in shampoos and conditioners, which is good and all, but mostly I’m just cheap."
Al Oldham has been a stylist for 16 years. He currently owns Vivid, soon to be renamed Taylor & Burton, 3405 S. Kinnickinnic Ave.
"It’s definitely a trend and it makes sense from a stylist’s perspective – to a point," says Oldham.
Oldham agrees that over-shampooing can definitely damage or dry out hair – he only cleanses his hair ever other to every third day. But giving up shampoo altogether – no matter how "healthy" it can be for some hair types – isn't for everyone.
"You have to get past the ‘ick’ factor first. You're gonna deal with a few days or weeks of really yucky hair. It’s gonna get greasy. Like ‘bacon fingers’ greasy," he says. "The only people I would recommend it to are people with dreadlocks."
Molly Snyder started writing and publishing her work at the age 10, when her community newspaper printed her poem, "The Unicorn.” Since then, she's expanded beyond the subject of mythical creatures and written in many different mediums but, nearest and dearest to her heart, thousands of articles for OnMilwaukee.
Molly is a regular contributor to FOX6 News and numerous radio stations as well as the co-host of "Dandelions: A Podcast For Women.” She's received five Milwaukee Press Club Awards, served as the Pfister Narrator and is the Wisconsin State Fair’s Celebrity Cream Puff Eating Champion of 2019.