Tag Archives: conditioner

The Great Shampoo Debate

In the category of “we always want what we do not have”, I have spent most of my life dreaming of having big volume curly hair.

I loved the 80s!
I loved the 80s!

OK, so maybe not THAT big and messy. But definitely in the category of “the bigger the hair, the closer to God.”  My natural hair is very thin and flat, and I have just never been able to build volume without getting a perm.

You’re not seeing a photo of that.

OK, maybe you are.

Screen Shot 2014-09-18 at 11.38.13 AM

That’s me using my perm to full effect, dressed as “Magenta” from The Rocky Horror Picture Show.  I think it was for a school Halloween dance, but it could have been any random Tuesday.

It was still pretty curly in college.


It took a LONG time to grow out that perm.  I swore I would never get one again, but never stopped dreaming of big, luscious hair.

I’ve read a lot about people giving up shampoo, whether it is for a baking soda treatment or to just condition your hair without having shampooed it.  I was intrigued, and started going without shampoo and only using conditioner.  I never got my curls to last more than a few hours, but I certainly liked the way it looked while it lasted.  I definitely took the chance to hit DryBar whenever possible.

Me, with Sasha Grey, and two great blow-outs
Me, with Sasha Grey, and two great blow-outs

The above photo was during a trip to LA to work on Sasha’s book promo video.  I hit DryBar first thing and got the “Southern Comfort”.  Even though we were in LA where it’s not humid, the curls still didn’t really last.

Earlier this year, I attended Getting Gorgeous where Alberto Vo5 was the presenting sponsor.  I happened to get there early, so early that they were still setting up the room.  I saw that the Vo5 booth was offering hair consultations, and it seemed only right to take advantage of my early-bird arrival to get one of those makeovers.

Megan was the stylist.  She asked me what kind of a hair treatment I wanted – straightening, braids, curls, whatever.  I told her of my quest for the perfect head of cascading curls.  Agreeing that she could make that happen, she began to work while asking me about my hair care routine.  I told her about the no shampoo thing I had been doing, making do in-between with dry shampoo.  She said that was a great idea for someone with course, curly hair, but for me, I was better off shampooing not once but twice (the first time moves the oil and dirt around, the second removes it) and using a very light conditioner, or none at all.

I was flabbergasted.  How was that possible?  But as Megan went on, it made sense.  My hair was very thin, and hence light.  When I weighed it down with conditioner and even most products, it went flat instantly.

She said the best way to style my hair after washing it was to curl it with my usual iron and pin up the curls in clips for at least 20 minutes.  Right before removing the clips, spray it good with hair spray.

She gave me samples of two products from the Salon Secrets line.  First, the Simply Stunning Leave in Conditioner.  Rather than using a heavy conditioner in the shower, she said this was great to keep my hair untangled, but not weighed down.  Second was a hairspray designed for maximum hold – Perfect Hold Non Aerosol Hairspray.  I was quite happy with these products, as Alberto Vo5 is a very affordable product line and if I liked these products, I knew I wouldn’t experience sticker shock when I bought them.  But what about the results?

Screen Shot 2014-09-18 at 11.24.16 AM

Here’s the headshot that they took of me at the event.  This was such a fun hairstyle, and it lasted for 3 days, pretty much as you see it here.  I’m using Megan’s techniques whenever I want a special look for an occasion, and I remain a devote to shampoo, rinse, repeat and call it a day.