In a trend some have attributed to a growing interest in the use of products with “natural” ingredients, a niche market has developed around the belief that shampoo contains chemicals detrimental to both hair and the environment. New products have been introduced to meet the “no poo” community’s needs. Fast Company examines Purely Perfect, a “cleansing crème” made with aloe vera and various oils and without sulfates, parabens or surfactants—the ingredient that causes shampoo to foam. Purely Perfect Founder Michael Gordon also created hair-care company Bumble and Bumble, now an Estée Lauder Cos. brand. Colin Walsh, president of DevaCurl and seller of a similar product branded as No-Poo, reportedly said, “We like to say we took the ‘sham’ out of the ’poo.’”
The science supporting the movement is “shaky,” says Fast Company. The premise is that washing hair every day removes the sebum, and the scalp produces more oil to compensate, leaving hair oily. Dermatologists apparently dispute this concept; one reportedly compared it to the myth that shaving makes hair grow back more thickly. Some in the “no poo” movement have turned to a concoction of baking soda and apple cider vinegar, which caused one dermatologist to tell Fast Company that using something so caustic on the hair “makes commercial shampoo look like child’s play.”
Still, “no poo” companies have apparently been growing—DevaCurl claims that sales of No-Poo have nearly doubled in the last three years and that 2014 will be its best year yet. Walsh reportedly attributes the product’s success to media attention and the expansion of the grassroots movement that pays attention to the ingredients in beauty products. Fast Company compares the quick growth in “no poo” popularity to the rise in sulfate-free shampoos, which it says Pureology created as a category a decade ago and are now available through retailers everywhere. See Fast Company, October 8, 2014; The Atlantic, October 21, 2014.