Sun. Jun 16th, 2024

No-shampoo trend popular with teen boys — despite the risks

Fashion & Beauty


This trend isn’t cuttin’ it.

The #nopoo and #noshampoo movement that’s been prevalent on social media in recent years appears to be gaining steam among teen boys and young men.

But experts are warning that flaking on shampoo could cause dandruff, irritate the scalp, stunt hair growth, and worsen scalp problems.

“Conditions that make the scalp itchy can mean that people scratch, breaking hair off at the roots,” Dr. Anastasia Therianou, a dermatologist and scalp specialist based in London, told the Daily Mail this week.

“But also, if sweat, oil and dirt block the follicles, you can find that the hairs don’t grow as efficiently as they could,” she added. 

Therianou said forgoing shampoo could lead to inflammation and flakiness that would need to be treated with an anti-fungal shampoo. 

“If you’re not cleansing your scalp properly, the microbiome, or the collection of bacteria and fungus that live on the scalp, can become unbalanced,” she explained. 

“That’s when a yeast called malassezia can proliferate,” Therianou continued. “Malassezia causes dandruff because the yeast feeds on the oil produced by your scalp and this process releases a by-product that irritates the scalp.”

A 2021 study published in the Skin Appendage Disorders journal found that people who wash their hair less face an increased risk of hair loss.

The #nopoo and #noshampoo movement appears to be gaining steam among teen boys and young men. But experts say that flaking on shampoo could stunt hair growth and worsen scalp issues. tiktok.com/@kainoalam

Still, several TikTokers claim that not using shampoo has improved their hair. 

Kainoa Lam, who goes by @kainoalam on TikTok, posted a video in the fall saying that his hair got thicker after he stopped using shampoo seven months prior.

“After I started doing no shampoo my hair became super wavy, it also got thicker, more textured and it started to smell a lot better,” he said.

But some TikTok commenters said they tried the no-shampoo method — and they don’t want to repeat it.

“I started losing hair and got dandruff,” one person claimed. 

“Bro i did it and almost got bald (i did no shampoo for 1year),” another shared.

“Been doing it since the start of January, got dandruff, hair thinning, and frizzy + dry. My hair is not made for it apparently,” a third lamented. 

The Post reached out to Lam for comment. 

Humza Islam, who goes by @humza.islam on TikTok, posted a video last year teaching his followers how to stop using shampoo. 

In the clip, he instructs people to use a clarifying shampoo to thoroughly clean the hair and scalp — before tossing it, along with their conditioner. 

He advises buying a board whistle brush, a wooden wide-tooth comb, and a shower filter.

One shampoo-free TikToker advises buying a board whistle brush, a wooden wide-tooth comb, and a shower filter. tiktok.com/@humza.islam

He said people who go this route should use water instead of shampoo and conditioner and should also spend a lot of time massaging their scalp.

In a video posted in 2022, Islam said the beginning of his no-shampoo journey was “a living hell,” but now his hair is much healthier. 

The Post reached out to Islam for comment.

His method is called “hair training.”

“The idea behind hair training is that you ‘train’ your hair and indeed your scalp to only need to be washed occasionally — for some this will mean a week, for other advocates of the practice it means a month,” Sam Carpenter, global educator at haircare company EIDEAL, told Healthline in November.

“It stems from the belief that chemicals such as sulfates (present in many haircare products) dry out the strands which causes an overproduction of natural oils and that by training the hair and scalp, it will return to its natural, healthy state,” he explained.

But Carpenter warned that not washing hair enough can lead to hair loss.

Docs say that shampoos are less harsh on hair than ever, and if you’re reacting negatively to shampoo — you’re using the wrong one.  TATIANA – stock.adobe.com

Dermatologists also advise against ditching shampoo from your routine. 

“This approach is based on the theory that if you just wash your hair with water, your scalp will adjust and produce exactly the right amount of oils to keep your hair in optimum condition. But I can’t find any evidence that this is the case,” Dr. Angela Tewari, a London-based dermatologist specializing in hair, told the Daily Mail. 

“Moreover, your scalp and hair collect dirt, oils and sweat — and in order to remove those effectively, you need surfactants [i.e. cleaning detergents]. Water alone won’t remove that dirt and oil,” she added. 

Docs say that shampoos are less harsh on hair than ever, and if you’re reacting negatively to shampoo — you’re using the wrong one. 




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