In America, fans of the "no poo" movement have been advocating washing hair without shampoo for quite some time, but the trend has been catching fire in the hair trend capital of the world: Japan.

A compiler on Naver Matome recently created a thread to establish the claim that not using shampoo, known as the 'no poo' movement, has recently become popular in Japan. Naver Matome, a platform with over 41 million users and over 1.2 billion page views per month according to SD Japan, launched in 2009 and is now operated by NHN Japan, an internet content service operator headquartered in South Korea.

Listing a variety of Japanese sources from the Internet, including one site that has a single line of cryptically translated English text "Dermatology of Contact Hypersensitive Syndrome," the thread which was created by a Naver Matome curator says that simply "water-shampooing" your hair effectively helps with baldness, dandruff, thinning hair, sensitive scalp, and itching. Collectively, the sources also promise that your hair will stay clean and healthy even if the 'poo' of choice is only warm water.

Although this particular compilation reportedly received a lot of visitors, comments remain mixed. Some claimed "Baldies are gullible." Meanwhile, other responders positively supported the claim as in this example: "Seems like if you just wash your hair with warm water you won't remove any of the oil at the roots."

On the Naver Matome site, users, generally people under the age of 29 according to SD Japan which notes that the 20 to 29 demographic contributes 34 percent of visitors, create pages that bundle links, images, videos on topics of their choice. In fact, the total number of Matome pages currently exceeds half a million, quite possibly a direct result of the November of 2010 incentive program, which promised payment to compilers with the most page views per month.

Is the no poo movement in Japan a real trend or just more fun on the part of a Naver Matome curator?

How Often Should You Wash Your Hair?

According to Procter & Gamble, Americans shampoo on average 4.59 times a week. This is twice as much as Italians and Spaniards, according to NPR. In a study commissioned by Nephria beauty brand and reported in Marie Claire, women typically spend 23 minutes drying and styling their hair before a big night out, while getting ready for work every morning takes women 40 minutes. Meanwhile, Women's Health magazine reports that nearly 40 percent of women shampoo on a daily basis and in so doing are washing away the precious natural oils that moisturize and waterproof their hair.

Sebum, which is secreted from the sebaceous glands within the skin's dermal layer, is the oily waxy matter excreted into the shaft of the hair follicle. The sebaceous glands absorb fats from the body and disintegrate there, later to be secreted. Although an excess of sebum is not healthy and may result in odor, oily hair, or even acne, a moderate amount is necessary and even beneficial to your scalp and hair. Dermatologists disagree as to the exact number of times per week — or month — that is recommended for washing hair, though most will advise that it is an individual matter depending on how oily your particular scalp is. The goal is for your hair to remain healthy, which essentially translates into hair that is strong, without brittleness, dryness or dirt.

No Poo Recipes

A casual survey of the web indicates that baking soda and water rubbed into the scalp and apple cider vinegar applied to the length of hair is the most popular no poo solution that may be used instead of a strict water-only regimen. Second place would probably result in a tie between a simple solution of egg yolks only and lemon juice mixed with water. Fans of no poo or substitute shampoo recipe frequently report that although it is a shock to their hair at first, eventually their hair responds nicely and is neither greasy nor dirty.

The three recipes below are from Wordpress blogger Alex Raye, who has a lot more to say on the subject and provides additional ideas and ingredients for no pooing. You can read more about her no poo ideas on her blog.

Hibiscus Shampoo

  1. Place either 2 fresh or 2 dried hibiscus flower petals and leaves into small blender.
  2. Add 1/2 cup water.
  3. Blend into paste.
  4. Apply and rinse just like regular shampoo.

Courtesy of Alex Raye

Powdered Shikakai Shampoo (for sensitive scalps, hair growth, and hair root strengthening)

  1. In a sauce pan, mix 1 tbsp shikakai powder, 1 tbsp amla powder and 1 tbsp reetha powder into 1 1/2 cups water.
  2. Heat until almost boiling, and turn the heat to low.
  3. Let simmer for 10-15 minutes.
  4. Strain and use the liquid as shampoo.

Courtesy of Alex Raye

Soapwort Shampoo

  1. Chop 1 1/2 tbsp dried soapwort.
  2. Bring 2 cups water to a boil.
  3. Add soapwort to boiling water, and stir a couple minutes.
  4. cover and let simmer for a 1/2 hour.
  5. Strain, put in container, and use as regular shampoo.

Courtesy of Alex Raye