Nina’s routine: Where haircare meets science


I’ve gotten a lot of questions lately about my haircare routine, so now is a good time to come clean. (Come for the beauty advice, stay for the fun dad jokes!) 

But seriously, here’s the low down: I haven’t used shampoo on my hair since April. It’s now mid-August and it’s still light and fluffy and not weighed down or oily. Do you know why?


Believe me, I was the most skeptical of this routine before I started it, and I told myself I would keep doing this routine until my head got really dirty or oily. And then the months started ticking by. 

I also told myself that I love the foam in a shampoo, and while I still love bubbles, I love the purple color staying in my hair so much more

You see, shampoos nowadays have strong enough surfactants to make sure that our hair gets pretty clean without having to heavy-duty scrub. Think about it this way: the surfactant, in the case of shampoo, is the part that helps to break down dirt and oil. It’s the actual cleansing part. The stronger the surfactant, the more dirt and oil will be pulled off -- along with any color, treatments or masks that you’ve recently done. 

You can’t use Dr. Bronner’s soap on a duck that has been in an oil spill. You need a strong surfactant like Dawn to break up the oil and grease.

The reverse is also true: You don’t want to wash your hair with Dawn, or any other dish soap for that matter, because it will strip every essential oil off of your head and hair. Hellllooooo, tangle city! 

How I wash my hair

1. Soak your hair with water. 

2. Take a good quarter dollar’s worth of ONLY and SCRUB it into your scalp. All over. Chances are that you missed the middle back part of your head, so use a little bit more and scrub that spot again. 

3. Put your head back under the water for TWO seconds, just enough to re-wet the head and scrub, scrub, scrub again. This time, you’ll start to notice slip. It’ll foam up some, and your hair will start to feel super soft. Put some more ONLY on your hands and immerse from roots to ends. (You may choose to let it sit like this for a bit. The longer it has, the better.)

4. Rinse hair, and then you’re done! 

5. For those EXTRA dirty wash days, repeat steps 2 and 3. 


I hear this a lot: “Nina, how are you saving on products when it seems like I’m adding so much ONLY to my hair just to cleanse it?” 

Glad that you asked. 

Just bring an empty 2 oz. ONLY bottle into the shower. Fill it half with water, and a quarter of the way with ONLY, then shake it really well. Pour this mixed product over your head, making sure that you got every inch of your scalp, while decreasing the amount of product you use. 

(But always use the newly mixed product the same day. Discard the rest.) 

What I’ve Learned

  • If you add a product that doesn’t add oil to the hair -- like ONLY -- it’s balanced and doesn’t get oily. 

  • If you have a lot of buildup, scrub ONLY at the roots when hair is dry, wet it just a little bit and scrub it into the scalp to let it suds up. Putting it on dry will concentrate the formula and concentrate the ingredients, since added water will dilute it. 

  • You probably aren’t using enough ONLY if your hair feels dry, and that is from a buildup of your other products

  • If your scalp still gets oily, you didn’t scrub it in well enough at the roots when you washed. 

This process can be used for ANY type of hair, even on pets to help combat dry, itchy skin. And is sensitive enough for the most gentle skin.