Giving up Shampoo for Plastic Free July: My Experience with the ‘No-Poo’ Method – Part One

Wait, what? You’re voluntarily giving up shampoo?

Happy July! You might be aware of a campaign taking place this month called Plastic Free July. We’ve written before about how we’ve been confronted by plastic waste on our journey and why travelling in an eco-friendly way is really important to us. So I’ve been thinking of an interesting way to take part in Plastic Free July. I will be giving up shampoo and conditioner as a trial run for the month!

What is Plastic Free July?

If you want to find out more about Plastic Free July and how it started, you can visit their website here. From a small initiative in Australia in 2011, it has now grown into a global movement. The aim is to reduce plastic use worldwide and promote more recycling. Their hope is that by encouraging people to take part in Plastic Free July, it will make us all more aware of how much plastic we use in our day-to-day lives. According to research it takes one month to make a new habit stick. By thinking more carefully about plastic use over the course of a month and exploring other options, we might be able to change our behaviour permanently.

If you are wondering how you can get involved, you can sign up to take the challenge on their website. There are loads of resources to help you. It’s an inclusive campaign, since it doesn’t insist on you giving up everything and going completely plastic free. It’s more like – every little helps! Not everyone is in a position to go plastic free. Some people need plastic straws for instance, or others might not have enough cash this week or this month to buy reusable bags, water bottles, lunchboxes etc. But this campaign is encouraging everyone to just take a look at their plastic use and see if they can commit to even one small change for a month. They’ve even got a handy tick-list to help you think about where you could cut down on your plastic use.

Giving Up Shampoo for Plastic Free July

OK, but why are you giving up shampoo?

Full disclosure – I’ve been interested in this for a little while anyway. But this seemed like a perfect time to take the plunge! If you haven’t come across the idea of giving up shampoo before, you can just Google the phrase ‘no-poo method’ and you’ll see that it’s a huge movement.

Our heads all produce oil. When we use shampoo, we are washing away the dirt and grime from the day, but we are also stripping these natural oils away too. Our bodies respond by ramping up the oil production. By using shampoo, many people believe that we are actually contributing to making our hair greasier. Advocates of the ‘no-poo’ method say that once they gave up shampoo their scalp’s oil production calmed down. This oil even acts as a natural conditioner, with many people claiming their hair is now shinier and healthier than ever.

I have a lot of hair. (For real – even after I shaved a whole load off the side, its still really thick and heavy!) I probably get through a bottle of shampoo every six weeks. And I guess a bottle of conditioner around every two months. If I cut these two products out, I could be saving 14 – 15 plastic bottles per year. Not to mention the chemicals and such that I would no longer be adding to the environment.

So, I could have better hair and help save the environment? Sign me up!

Charlotte from No Fixed Home


Aren’t you worried that it will be horrible?

Uh, yeah! By all accounts my hair will go through a transition period while the oil levels settle down. I’ve got visions of being gross and greasy, and David keeps asking if my hair will smell. But if done properly, this phase should pass, and if I listen to the no-poo evangelists I will be rewarded with ‘my best hair’.

It’s not a lazy, corner-cutting method. It’s not as simple as just stopping washing your hair! I’ll talk about some of the methods in my next post, but having done some research it does actually sound like a bit of an effort.

I am feeling generally positive about the challenge, but I have two big worries about giving up shampoo and conditioner. Firstly, here in our temporary home of Siem Reap, Cambodia, it reaches between 30 and 35°C most days. Plus we workout everyday. So, to put it bluntly, I am sweaty a lot of the time! Will I still be able to get my hair feeling clean?

Secondly, I have pretty unruly hair. As you can see in the photo above, it’s long and curly. It also tangles as soon as I look at it. Conditioner is my number one weapon in the daily fight to make my hair behave. I have visions of huge frizz and unbearable tangles. But the proponents of the no-poo method assure me that my hair’s natural oils will be better than any chemical conditioner ever could be.

Are you going to let us know how it goes?

Yes! I’ll be writing a post at the halfway point, when I will be two weeks into the challenge. I’ll even share with you some photos so you can laugh at how gross my hair looks! There will be a post at the end of the month too, so I will be able to give you my verdict at the end of the challenge. Will I continue after the month? Or will I be running back to my shampoo bottle with open arms?

In the meantime, let me know in the comments if you’ve come across the no-poo method before. Have you tried it? Have you got any top tips?

C xx

Have you been inspired to take part in Plastic Free July? Our favourite plastic-saving tip is our Water-to-Go bottles. We can fill them with water from any tap, or even a stream, and the filter makes it drinkable. And as well as saving the environment, they also help us save money – it’s a win-win! In fact, we calculated that our Water-to-Go bottles will save us a whopping £546 EACH over a whole year on the road… that’s a whole lot more cash in the travel fund! If you’d like to get your hands on one of these amazingly handy bottles, developed with technology from NASA, head over to where you can enter the code NOFIXEDHOME at the checkout for a 15% discount. Please note that this post may contain affiliate links. Click here for our policy.

6 thoughts on “Giving up Shampoo for Plastic Free July: My Experience with the ‘No-Poo’ Method – Part One

    • July 4, 2018 at 9:23 am

      Thanks! It’s day 4 and I’m well into the greasy stage, eww, but fingers crossed it’ll get better!

  • July 7, 2018 at 12:42 pm

    Good luck it’s worth it. 17 years and counting, though I have rather less to wash than you (on either side).


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