Dry camping without hookups often comes with many benefits that you don’t get when staying in a park. When you know how to live without water, sewer, and electric RV connections you can do things like:
- Experience the independence of living off-grid
- Get away from crowds
- See the backcountry
- Experience peace and solitude
But unfortunately there’s a price to pay for escaping to dry camping destinations–mainly, shorter showers. When you’re trying to conserve water for more important things like cooking and drinking, regular hygiene habits like hair shampooing become less frequent.
For men and women with long hair, daily shampooing with fresh water is a non-critical activity that usually waits until a return to civilization.
Living with dirty hair is not a comfortable feeling for most of us. Lots of people don’t even like camping because it can mean skipping this important hygiene routine.
However in recent years a growing number of “No Poo” advocates have tried to convince us that we should always skip it.
Advocates and dermatologists alike agree that shampoos strip the scalp of healthy, beneficial oils that would normally dissipate into hair. If you suddenly stop shampooing, the oils build up in excess amounts and weigh your hair down.
Instead of following a daily routine of lather/rinse/repeat with store-bought shampoos, these hard-core no shampoo enthusiasts skip daily washing. They occasionally substitute shampoos with natural household products like apple cider vinegar or aloe vera and coconut oil recipes.
Going “No Poo” seems to make sense when you’re boondocking, but if you don’t like the thought of smelling like a salad, here are a couple of alternatives to keep your hair clean when dry camping.
Soak up hair oil with cornstarch
Cornstarch is your best bet if you don’t like fragrance in your beauty products. This household pantry item will absorb excess hair oil for almost no cost at all.
Apply a light dusting of cornstarch directly to your dry hair’s roots using a disposable makeup brush, or shake it from a Parmesan cheese jar.
Although it works best on blonde hair, if you’re a brunette you can minimize the white residue it leaves behind by using a delicate touch to apply it, then vigorously massaging it into your scalp. You can add a few drops of your favorite essential oil to the cornstarch for added scent.
Clean hair with dry shampoo
Canned dry shampoo products are on store shelves everywhere. Like commercial shampoos they range in price from a few dollars to over $20.
The most common downside of these dry shampoo options is most are scented with some type of fragrance. If you’re sensitive to scents then always read dry shampoo reviews before you buy.
Our favorite is “Not Your Mother’s Beach Babe” dry shampoo; you can find it on Amazon for about $4 here.
Often called “The O.G. of full-time RVing,” Rene Agredano and her husband Jim Nelson hit the road in a fifth wheel trailer in 2007, after their dog Jerry lost a leg to terminal cancer. Sixteen years later they are still traveling and sharing their nomadic adventures at LiveWorkDream. As a self-employed wordsmith, Rene shares her expertise for many RV industry videos, publications such as the Escapees RV Club Magazine, and has authored numerous books, including the Essential RVing Guide to National Parks, and Income Anywhere, a guide to earning money on the road. She has been featured in global media outlets including the PBS documentary “NATURE: Why We Love Cats and Dogs,” The Guardian Sunday Edition, and the Dan Pink book Free Agent Nation.