Over the break I decided, almost spontaneously, that I was going to get rid of all of my shampoo and never use it again. Like every other New Year’s resolution I’ve made throughout my twenty years on planet Earth, I figured that by the end of the week, I’d be back on my bullshit, lathering my hair the original way without a single shred of guilt.
January 1, 2020 was different. I woke up on the Upper West Side still recovering from a New Year’s eve night of lobster dinner, three-way kisses, Lime-A-Ritas, and street-peeing. I hadn’t showered in three days, and I likely wouldn’t shower for another two. For the first part of my trip, I stayed with a friend’s family in Yonkers, NY, where I knew I could easily take a shower but the need simply didn’t surface. I continued to ignore any hints from reality about my unshowered state, and by the time I reached Manhattan, where I was to stay for the second part of my trip, I don’t think I would have understood the word ‘shower’ if I was hit over the head with one. All of this is to say, of course, that Yonkers changed me forever.
So, on the very morning of the first day of the rest of my life, which coincidentally coincided with the first day of the rest of the decade, I decided to cast off the yoke. I cut shampoo out of my life. Upon my return home to St. Louis, my hair looked like it had been through a production of Grease, to say the least. I was going on almost a week unbathed, and it was time to shower. In my extremely minimal reading from the ‘ditch the shampoo’ internet movement, I found out that you can easily replace shampoo with household ingredients like vinegar and baking soda. I got right up to the point where I was putting on my chem goggles to make my secret little concoction, and then I realized — soap was an even better alternative.
Yes, yes, you must be laughing to yourself at this point, thinking isn’t that just the same thing as shampoo? Well, yes and no. Soap is made to clean things, and luckily, it will not expose me to the more extreme risks that making a little science fair volcano in my shower would. By this point, desperate for some sort of answer, my hair was begging to be cleaned. With soap in hand, I began my new labor of love.
It’s been about six weeks since I said farewell to shampoo, and my hair feels normal and healthy. It took about three weeks for everything to recalibrate, though I wonder if my initial shower embargo made that process longer than it needed to be. Often when I tell people I’ve quit shampoo, they get all concerned that I’ve stopped showering all together. I do want to reassure you, my dear readers, that this isn’t the case. I still shower at least every three days.
My feelings are bittersweet; sometimes I miss my shampoo, but I know I must move on. In truth, while you can see that I’ve titled this piece ‘Breaking Up with my Shampoo Bottle’, like most instances where I’m involved, my shampoo bottle did, in fact, break up with me.