April 21, 2020
Don’t wash your hair. There, I said it.
Well, I mean… Don’t not wash your hair ever, just don’t wash your hair as often as you’ve been washing it.
About one year ago, I remember sitting at the hair salon with my hairstylist. Her name is Teal, and she has the most fabulous hair. It’s this golden brown, long, wavy, split end-free mane and it’s always styled perfectly. I mean, always! So, as I sat through another long session of balayage, I caught myself staring at her hair, admiring it, and I asked “Teal, how is your hair so perfectly wavy?” “I use heat,” she said, “Usually a flat iron to style it.” Of course, that answer took me by surprise. I thought to myself, “I too use heat, I dye my hair like Teal does, where is my undamaged hair? How does she have no split ends and perfect texture?!”
I went on to ask her how often she uses her flat iron and her answer was jaw dropping. “Once a week”, she said. “WHAT?!” I exclaimed in shock. I’ll straighten my hair and the next day it’s not only wavy again, but it’s also greasy as heck. “Teal, how often do you wash your hair?” I continued, and her next answer was even more jaw dropping to me. “Also once a week”.
I grew up washing my hair every other day, and straightening it every day. Yes, everyday. When I got older, bleaching became part of my routine too. The fact that she only washed and styled her hair once per week was a revelation for me.
Teal explained to me that shampoo is horrible for your hair. It dries it out and it strips it of the oils that your scalp naturally produces. When you shampoo everyday or every other day, your scalp is desperate to reproduce those same oils that have been washed out. Your scalp works twice as fast, and constantly (depending on how often you wash your hair) to re-hydrate your hair. The result is that your hair ends up greasy at a faster rate.
Adding on, shampoo can also worsen dryness in the rest of the hair. “Think of when you wash your hands with soap and water,” explained Teal. “Your skin feels tight and dry afterwards, right? The same happens to your hair when you wash it.” I looked at her with eyes as big as saucers. “Just pick a day of the week, wash it on that day, style it afterwards and leave it. You have no more hair duties for the rest of the week! As simple as that”, said Teal as she continued to put foil on my hair. I sat quiet in my salon chair, processing the information that had flipped my whole world upside down.
In these times of quarantine, it’s amazing to see how creative we can get with our daily routines. I remembered the conversation that I had once had with Teal, and I thought, “If I ever wanted to try out her recommendations, now is the time. If it goes horribly, then, now is the time! I’m at home, with no one to see and nothing to do. Let’s see what happens”.
One month ago, I was washing my hair regularly, approximately three times per week. Starting March 16th, I began my no-hair-washing journey by only washing my hair once a week. I won’t lie, it got ugly. The first two weeks were hard, as the urge to wash my hair of the built up grease was creeping on my skin. I was desperate, but I stuck by the rules.
Since I’m in full lockdown, by week two of this experiment I decided that there was no need to style my hair. I wanted to give it a break from the years of heat and bleach, so though I wasn’t shampooing my hair in the shower, I tried wetting it one day. I conditioned it for the purposes of brushing it out and soon, I was in for a surprise. Wetting my hair, I was still cleaning it. I cleaned off the excess oil that made my hair greasy without using shampoo — only water.
I began wetting it every few days. This was a true turning point.
By week three, my hair stopped producing as much oil. I was able to wear it down for over three days without wanting to tie it in a bun or wash it. We’re now on week four, and my hair feels better than ever. I have thick, wavy hair and for the first time in years, I haven’t felt the need to use products or heat on my hair. The natural shape that it’s taken ever since I stopped using shampoo has tamed it in such a way that not even frizz is a problem for me anymore. Everyone’s hair is different and everyone’s lifestyle is different, but I recommend giving this a try. Quarantine presents a great beauty opportunity because whether you love it or hate it, it’s a safe space to experiment new things. Who knows, maybe you’ll walk out of this lockdown with lucious looking locks 😉
I hope that you enjoyed this week’s blog and that you are all keeping safe and sane.