I Tried Hairstory Nontoxic Shampoo—and I No Longer Need Conditioner
A nontoxic shampoo helps remove oil and grease while moisturizing. I've been using the Hairstory New Wash for six months—here's what I discovered.
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An easy hair-care solution for healthier locks
For years, I lightened my naturally dark blond hair to a bright platinum blond. And while I loved the look, I didn’t love what the bleach and toner did to my hair health. I was dealing with dry hair, split ends, and a matte finish without shine.
I went into the salon for a trim, and my stylist gently told me I was in danger of breaking my hair. It was time to put down the bleach and embrace remedies for damaged hair.
But growing out the bleached hair means greasy roots and super dry ends. My stylist said to wash my hair less to avoid stripping the natural oils.
I used a gentle shampoo twice a week, followed by loads of moisturizing conditioner and a hair mask once a week. Dry shampoo combatted grease between washes, but left a noticeable white residue and product buildup.
I needed a hair-care routine with fewer products that was more sustainable and better for my hair health.
When I heard about an all-natural shampoo replacement product, I was skeptical—but also willing to try anything touted as a miracle hair product.
Hairstory New Wash is less of a shampoo and more of a washing tool to clean hair and eliminate conditioner. Yep, it both cleans and moisturizes.
I’ve been using it once or twice a week for six months, and it has dramatically changed my hair health. Here’s how it went.
What is Hairstory nontoxic shampoo?
Two-in-one hair products aren’t exactly impressive.
Like I said, my dry hair tangled so easily I needed a separate conditioner, a hair mask, detangling spray, and a Wet Brush to comb through it after washing. But Hairstory New Wash is different. Michael Gordon, maker of salon-level Bumble & Bumble products, created the wash.
The formula contains no silicones and is filled with nourishing oils and ingredients, including aloe leaf juice, jojoba seed oil, evening primrose oil, sunflower seed oil, and peppermint oil. Instead of using harsh detergents to strip oil, New Wash cleans using essential oils and fatty alcohols.
Over time, the scalp stops overproducing oil to combat dryness, and you’re left with shiny, manageable hair that looks and feels healthy.
My first wash with Hairstory New Wash
Before I put anything on my hair or body, I have to smell it first. I’ll admit some of my beauty purchases have been made based on fragrance alone. So, if Hairstory didn’t smell good, I wouldn’t use it.
Luckily, New Wash has a light floral fragrance with notes of rose and ylang-ylang. There’s also a hint of clove to spice things up.
And let’s talk about the packaging. Hairstory New Wash comes in a pouch to reduce plastic consumption and waste.
The most surprising element of New Wash is that it doesn’t lather. It feels similar to a liquid-based gel.
I squirted a quarter-size amount onto my roots and used the included scalp brush (you can also use your fingers, but the scalp brush feels really good) to work the product in from roots to ends. Since it has conditioning properties, it goes on the entire hair shaft—unlike traditional shampoo, which only goes on the roots.
It felt incredibly strange to simply rinse the product out and skip my usual conditioner step. But I loved that I didn’t have to spend three minutes waiting for the conditioner to soak in. Let’s get real; I often left the conditioner in for a full hour and got back in the shower again to rinse. Talk about a waste of time.
I didn’t use a detangler with my first use of New Wash and simply combed through my towel-dried hair. It was amazing how manageable my hair felt. There were a few areas where I had to comb extra gently, but my hair felt like I had conditioned it.
When fully air-dried, my hair felt soft, looked clean, and had a bit of bounce and shine I didn’t usually see.
Some users have reported a few weeks of transition while their hair and scalp adjust to the new product, but I didn’t experience that.
What a dermatologist says about Hairstory
Elyse Love, MD, a board-certified dermatologist in New York, explains how Hairstory can even affect scalp health.
“Traditional shampoo contains detergent,” Dr. Love says. “It effectively cleans the hair and scalp, but it can strip away our natural oils and interfere with our scalps microbiome, resulting in issues such as seborrheic dermatitis.”
People have the highest concentration of hair follicles on the scalp, according to Dr. Love. Each follicle is associated with a sebaceous gland (the glands that produce sebum).
“Sebaceous glands are present on a scalp and are what lubricates the scalp and the hair,” she says.
“When we’re thinking about scalp health, we think about what’s happening with the gland as well as the follicle; the sebum produced is what feeds our scalp’s microbiome.”
The sebum on the scalp feeds naturally occurring bacteria, yeast, fungi, all of which are there for good reason, according to Dr. Love, who says to keep this in mind when you’re choosing products.
The pros and cons of Hairstory nontoxic shampoo
- It saves time and money because it eliminates the need for hair conditioner and styling products.
- It gently removes oil and grease from roots while moisturizing the scalp and ends.
- It’s free of sulfates, detergents, and harsh chemicals.
- It smells pleasant.
- At $40 for 8 ounces, it’s about the same cost as salon-quality shampoo. (And you save on conditioner.)
- Environmentally conscious packaging reduces plastic consumption and waste.
- Some users experience a transition period of dryness or oiliness when starting Hairstory.
- It’s only available directly through Hairstory, so you can’t pick it up at the drugstore.
What do other customers think?
My hair texture is mostly straight, with a slight wave in the back. It’s also color-treated. I had excellent results with Hairstory, and here’s what women with different hair types and textures had to say about using the nontoxic shampoo.
Tricia R. writes, “I have curly hair and a history of getting all the wrong products for it. To be honest, this was a pricy purchase for me. But as I’m on the website to refill and realize I bought it in January, and it’s now almost October, it’s not that different from what I was buying before that was total garbage for my hair. Try it, seriously. You won’t be disappointed.”
Octavia W. says, “It’s a totally new way of cleaning my hair. [It] takes a bit of getting used to as there’s no lather. I’m so pleased with the difference; my fine and curly hair is much fuller, shinier, and the curls are more bouncy. I’m definitely a convert.”
Kate L. writes, “I have curly hair, and being in my 40s, perimenopausal, and taking medication, my hair started to fall out and thin out. It looked awful. What could I do? I started using New Wash, recommended by my neighbor. Best thing I could do. It washes and conditions my hair in one go, is non-damaging, and my hair is coming back to its original full thickness. I love New Wash and will never use anything else.”
The final verdict
It’s been almost a year since that salon appointment when my stylist gave me tough hair love.
Today, my shower routine is streamlined, fast, and easy. I use New Wash, rinse it out (Dr. Love reminds users to thoroughly rinse to prevent buildup), and comb through.
I still use a heat protectant on the days I blow dry, and I occasionally use a hair mask for extra moisture. Like I said, my hair was really damaged. Today, my hair looks and feels soft, my roots are noticeably less greasy, and I don’t have as many flyaways.
I went to the salon for a trim two weeks ago and the same stylist gushed over my improved hair health and noted how much faster and thicker my hair was growing.
Hairstory New Wash totally changed my hair health and gave me back time and money. Now that I know how to properly take care of colored hair, I’m considering getting highlights.
Where to buy Hairstory nontoxic shampoo
Hairstory New Wash is available directly through Hairstory.com. It costs $40 for an 8-ounce supply, and there are discounts and free gifts (like scalp brushes or travel bottles) for signing up for a subscription refill.
- Elyse Love, MD, FAAD, a board-certified dermatologist in New York