When I was a teenager (many, many, many moons ago), I used to wash my hair every single day.
My hair came down to my waist and was thick and curly and frizzy. I worked at a popular fried chicken outlet, and the job made my hair greasy and smell gross.
And my hair was in the worst condition EVER. The ends were split. It was so frizzy it felt like pubes. It was uncontrollable, dry and just didn’t look very nice.
Fast forward to 20 years…
I wash my hair maybe once a week. My hair is thick. It might be grey now, but my colours last so much longer than six weeks because I’m not washing all the colour out. I rarely get split ends and my hair feels lovely. The only thing I do different now is…
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I wash it less.
You might have heard it a thousand times, don’t wash your hair every day! So here is what REALLY happens to hair when you stop washing it all the time!
1. It will be less greasy.
Well, not at first. The first week or two will be hell because your hair is so used to being over-washed. Your hair produces loads of oil to try and compensate for that, so it will take a bit of time for that to settle down. But once that oil stops over-producing, your hair won’t need to be washed as often, and the natural oils will make your hair look fuller, and your hair WILL be healthier for it.
How to get over that two weeks of hell?
- Wear your hair in ponytails.
- Use dry shampoo (that stuff is a godsend!).
- Wear a headband to hide the oily parts.
- Start braiding your hair.
2. Less washing means less blow dryer and straightening iron damage.
Applying heat to your hair damages it. No matter how many ‘protective sprays and serums’ you might use. And less washing means less heat, and therefore less damage to your hair, especially the ends. Have you ever used a straightening iron on slightly wet hair and it ‘burns’ the ends? Feel those ends, they feel like burnt plastic – and you can’t revive them – no amount of treatments or oils will fix that. You need to get those bad boys cut off.
When you wash your hair less, you learn to ’embrace’ your curls or kinks – work with them instead of against them!
3. Your hair will be easier to style.
Slightly dirty hair is much easier to upstyle – ask any hairdresser! Freshly washed hair tends to be very ‘slippery’ so won’t hold in a style. So if you need your hair to stay put all day, make sure you have a few days ‘unwashed’ up your sleeve.
4. Your head might start to itch.
What the fuck? Yes this happens, more often than not. And what is this itch? It is usually caused by a build-up of bacteria or yeast on the scalp. It can also be due to dandruff or even a scalp fungal infection. To combat the itch, rinse your hair under fresh clean water, and use conditioner only to ‘wash your scalp’. This will stop all the build up at the roots.
If the problem still persists, you will need to invest in a specialist shampoo to address the problem. Try and avoid harsh shampoos (like anti-dandruff shampoos) – as then the cycle will start all over again. Washing your hair every day will just ‘hide’ the problem, not solve it!
A good natural way to curb the itch is to use apple cider vinegar instead of conditioner. Just grab one cup, and pour it gently over your hair in the shower as a final rinse (don’t wash it out) – just be careful you don’t get it in your eyes, it really stings! The apple cider vinegar makes your hair super shiny too!
So how often SHOULD you wash your hair?
Well every head is different, and it will also depend on the time of year. In summer, you tend to sweat more, so do more of the ‘conditioner washes’ – but don’t let your head get super itchy. Maybe try and reduce an actual shampoo wash to once or twice a week.
In winter, you can usually get away with once a week.
If you go to the gym, swim or go running regularly, you might need to wash your hair more often.
Remember that sweat doesn’t make your hair dirty, it is the bacteria that live on the sweat.
More great tips on keeping your hair in tip top shape
When you actually DO wash your hair, don’t scrub. Be very gentle. If you tend to get very greasy roots, only condition the ends of your hair – not the scalp.
If you have really dry ends, don’t even wash out the conditioner, leave it in! It helps to take away that ‘frizz’.