I don’t wash my hair.
Don’t get me wrong – I wash my hair sometimes. But not every day. Not even every other day.
And my hair has never looked better.
I first discovered this Hollywood secret 9 years ago, when my hair was literally falling out from stress.
“Stop washing it!” my hairdresser ordered me.
The look I gave him shriveled him right down to his pointy-toed boots. “I exercise every day,” I told him. “Um, gross?”
Guess I should have listened to Jennifer Aniston. In March 2015 she shared in an interview that she doesn’t mind post-gym hair. “A little sweat in the hair is nice,” she asserted. “It’s like a little product. You just blow it out with your fingers, and it’s actually just fun.”
So I started to do a little research for myself. And what I discovered made my jaw drop.
You know when your hair looks greasy? That’s not a sign of disgustingly dirty hair like we’ve always been taught to believe. It’s a sign of hair nourished by natural oils.
The main reason we need conditioner, my hairdresser told me, is because we wash all those natural oils away. Brush your hair each night with a boar-bristle brush, he advised. Brush those natural oils through from the scalp to the tips of your hair. Be like the women throughout history who nourished their hair with 100 strokes a day.
So-called “dirty hair” is superior to squeaky clean hair in another aspect:
It holds a style better.
I’ll never forget being 20 years old and sitting in a hair salon before a formal dance. “Did you just wash it? Tsk-tsk,” the stylist admonished me. “I’ll do what I can, but next time don’t wash it any sooner than the night before.”
I’m not the only one. Hollywood stars are regularly asked to come to big awards nights with dry, unwashed hair. It’s easier for stylists to work with.
But what really convinced me was an experiment I read about in a women’s magazine. Two women were both asked to give up washing their hair for an entire month. At that time, you couldn’t have paid me enough to do that!
The first week was rough. By the second week, hats and headscarves were compulsory. But by the third week something magical happened…
Hair that had been drowning in grease began to shine. Soften. Fan out in beautiful waves.
And that’s the mystery and magic of washing your hair less.
When you strip your hair of its oils every day, your scalp overcompensates by producing more oil. Your hair gets greasy faster. You respond by washing it more. It’s a vicious cycle.
The less you wash your hair, the less you have to wash it. You stop stripping your hair of natural oils only to replace them with artificial ones.
Not washing your hair every day can make your hair healthier, stronger, and more lustrous than it’s ever been before.
Talk about cheaper. Talk about a time-saver.
You know how much quicker it is to get out the door in the morning when you don’t have to wash your hair?
So I bit the bullet.
I didn’t go a month without washing my hair, but I went a day.
I wore a lot of ponytails and headbands. I gritted my teeth and sprayed lots of dry shampoo. Then I went two days. Then I went three.
And now I’ll never go back.
I wash my hair when I think it needs it, about twice a week. When I think of all the time in my life I’ve wasted washing my hair and blowing it out every day, I just shake my head. I love how long it takes me to get through a bottle of shampoo. I splurge on the nicer stuff now, because I don’t buy it as often.
And I know exactly how to make day-old hair look great. My trusty bottle of dry shampoo is always at my side. I don’t even rely on the old standby of a ponytail as often.
All thanks to a brave hairdresser who stood before the withering power of my gaze and dared to challenge my preconceptions.
Dared to challenge what my mother had always taught me.
Dared to challenge the shampoo commercials with their addictive promises.
And you know what?
I’m going to say now what I should have said then.