It is as old as the one about eating crusts to make your hair curly, but the no-shampoo trend was given a bit of a boost recently when Blur bassist Alex James – a man clearly not troubled by hair loss – revealed that he hadn’t washed his hair in a decade.
James, talking to the Daily Mail, said he just wasn’t concerned about washing the famous mop-top that he became famous for during the band’s 90s heyday – and given that he still sports a similarly full head of hair (and hairdo) today, could it be that his aversion to shampoo has actually stopped him receding?
The answer is… no. At 47, James is a prime candidate for Male Pattern Baldness, the genetic hair loss condition that affects huge numbers of men in their 30s, 40s and beyond, with some men affected much earlier – even in their late teens.
But the rock star-turned-cheesemaker may not ever go thin if it is not pre-programmed into his DNA – or more specifically, if he is not genetically predisposed to be sensitive to a testosterone by-product called DHT, which ultimately leads to hair thinning in cases of Male Pattern Baldness. Devoid of this active gene, James could still be rocking out with a full head of hair when he’s 80.
Shampoo or ‘no-poo’?
The ‘no-poo’ trend for ditching shampoo has been around for a long time, and regularly resurfaces when a new celebrity becomes an advocate. The reasoning behind wanting to get rid of shampoo is pretty straightforward – doesn’t it, after all, stand to reason that avoiding chemicals can only be good for your hair?
Yes and no. While hair is self-cleaning to a degree, what shampoo does is help to get rid of all those nasty things that that can build up on your scalp, from sweat to dust to particles of things you may be allergic to. While some people believe that the extra layer of sebum that develops when people don’t use shampoo is “nature’s conditioner”, others – including the hair loss experts at Belgravia – believe it has to potential to actually lead to further shedding for people with hair loss as the extra sebum and dead skin left to pool around follicles can lead to bacterial growth.
Proof in the drain
People worried about hair loss can understandably be concerned about brushing or washing their hair. This is because when the hair is brushed or moved around as it is washed, hair fall becomes more noticeable so, as it is in the shower that they tend to see the most visible proof that their hair is falling out as it gathers in the drain, people can equate washing their hair with hair falling out. This does not cause hair loss, it simply helps hairs that have already been shed to drop to the floor. Opting for a no-shampoo regime – or avoiding washing or rinsing the hair at all – is definitely not the solution. Especially when freshly washed hair actually appears fuller.
A better plan is to choose a gentle shampoo suitable for frequent washing and wash the hair regularly – ideally daily or every other day – to keep the scalp healthy. Then, if there is still a worrying amount of hair fall or sudden hair loss, seek out expert help as for the majority of conditions, including male pattern baldness, effective hair loss treatment solutions are available.
Interestingly, cleansing agents in shampoos have been in the news recently after the lawyer representing plantiffs in a class action lawsuit against American hair care brand Wen by Chaz Dean suggested that their hair loss might have been caused because the Wen products contain “virtually no cleanser.” Attorney Amy Davis said: “It’s like using lotion to wash your hair. So instead of removing the product when you rinse it off, it just becomes impacted in your hair follicle.”
The Belgravia Centre is the leader in hair loss treatment in the UK, with two clinics based in Central London. If you are worried about hair loss you can arrange a free consultation with a hair loss expert or complete our Online Consultation Form from anywhere in the UK or the rest of the world. View our Hair Loss Success Stories, which are the largest collection of such success stories in the world and demonstrate the levels of success that so many of Belgravia’s patients achieve. You can also phone 020 7730 6666 any time for our hair loss helpline or to arrange a free consultation.