What Happened When I Stopped “Caring” for My Hair

Spoiler alert: it’s never looked better.

By: Laurel Pantin
Photography: Lucy Nystrom, Michael Gordon

By now, the whole “no shampoo” conversation is somewhat tired, right? It’s nothing entirely groundbreaking within the beauty sphere to look at conditioning cleansers, and the whole “no ’poo” movement. However, when you actually commit to it, the results, especially for curly hair, are actually kind of groundbreaking.

In my three decades on this earth, I estimate I’ve spent 12 years fussing with and caring for my hair. It’s soft and fine, insanely curly, and *abundant*. There’s a lot of it, but it’s floaty, like marabou feathers, and the curls don’t clump together in a satisfying way—nor do they frizz exactly. It’s just fluffy. It’s also highlighted within an inch of its life (though that stops now!), and generally dry and sad. And trust me when I say I’ve tried everything. I’ve done a Keratin treatment (albeit ages and ages ago when it first hit the market), I use masks and balms, deep conditioners, scalp massagers, taken supplements, sat on the couch with mayonnaise in my hair and my head wrapped in a plastic grocery bag for hours on end (seriously), and it was always just kind of puffy, weird, and not fun.

 

A few weeks ago, I went to Hairstory Studio seeking a makeover. I walked out brunette with short curly bangs, but also with the very best hair product I’ve ever tried in my life. The genius behind it is that it essentially commands that you stop caring for your hair.

When Wes Sharpton and Roxie Darling sat me down to tell me about the New Wash, the shock for me wasn’t that I had to stop shampooing (most girls with curly hair are cool with that), it was that I wouldn’t need conditioner, masks, supplements, or a Costco-sized vat of mayonnaise, nor endless hours worrying over the state of my hair. There is literally nothing more boring than worrying about your hair.

 

“I use masks and balms, deep conditioners, scalp massagers, taken supplements, sat on the couch with mayonnaise in my hair and my head wrapped in a plastic grocery bag for hours on end (seriously), and it was always just kind of puffy, weird, and not fun.”

 

So I went home, made puppy eyes at my Ultra Hydrating Deep Conditioning Power Explosion conditioner I usually apply by the fistful, and just used New Wash, followed by a single pump of their Hair Balm once I got out of the shower. And then, my hair dried all on its own into happy, springy ringlets that held together all day in a very satisfying way. My life = changed. New Wash is the most incredible blend of non-toxic, nourishing, but somehow also cleansing ingredients that acts as a very gentle cleanser, but also deeply moisturizes your hair. I don’t understand how it works, but I’m super into it.

 

“My hair dried all on its own into happy, springy ringlets that held together all day in a very satisfying way. My life = changed.”

 

In the three weeks since, it’s only gotten better. I was worried that not shampooing my brand-new bangs would make them limp and greasy, but somehow they’re just fine. I also worried that my ends would turn to straw and would be itchy and horrible, but miraculously, they’re not. There’s the line from that sunscreen song that says “Don’t mess too much with your hair, or by the time you’re 40 it will look 85.” That always stuck with me, and as it turns out, it’s true. I’m sure in two weeks I’ll get the itch to try or do something else with it, but for now I’m finding that beauty-wise, sometimes nothing is the very best thing you can do.

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