Do you wash your hair every day? I have fine, oily hair that always ‘needed’ to be washed on a daily basis. My sister would regularly go 2-3 days without sudsing her curly hair while mine turned into a greasy mess after less than 24 hours. But then I had kids, and a daily shower became a luxury I was willing to forgo for a few extra minutes of sleep. And guess what, as I started washing less I started ‘needing’ to wash it less.
The problem with daily washing
If you’re washing daily to avoid greasy hair, your shampoo might be doing more harm than good. Shampoo cleans hair by trapping and removing the natural oils in your hair and scalp. Overwashing can dry out your hair, which in turn tells your scalp to create more oil to compensate. Suddenly your scalp is working in overdrive to replenish the lost sebum (the oil your scalp creates), creating a cycle of oily scalp/roots that need frequent washing while the ends of your hair are dry and damaged.
How often should you shampoo?
My hairdresser admits to washing her coarse hair only once a week and regularly sees clients for their weekly wash and blowout. Once a week might be a stretch for most of us though. On average, you should be able to wash every other day or every 2-3 days. The drier your hair is, the longer you can go without washing. Curly hair, processed hair and styled hair (like a blowout) can also go longer between washing.
How do you ‘train’ your hair?
As you’re working up to washing less, dry shampoo will be your new best friend. Your ‘how to train your hair’ schedule might work like this:
Day 1: Wash and style as usual. In fact, this is the time to use your blow dryer and liberally apply hair spray. This will help provide texture in the days to come. Stay away from heavy conditioners and pomade-type styling products as they will weigh hair down. And take care to pull your hair off of your face when you wash or apply moisturizer to avoid getting it in your hair.
Day 2: Showering is optional here, but if you do keep hair from getting wet. The best part about Day 2 hair is that you’ll probably have more volume and body, which makes hair easier to work with. Try one of these dirty hair updos or these styles for second day hair. Apply dry shampoo to your roots if hair looks greasy.
If you have short hair, you probably wake up with hair sticking out in all directions like I do. Dry shampoo spray is a godsend for taming the crazy tresses. Here’s how to make it:
DIY Dry Shampoo Spray
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch (use 1/2 tablespoon cornstarch and 1/2 tablespoon cocoa powder for dark hair)
- 4 tablespoons witch hazel
- 1 tablespoon vodka
- a couple of drops of essential oil (like lavender or rosemary)
- Small spray bottle
Mix ingredients together well and pour into your spray bottle. Cornstarch and vodka can be drying to the scalp and the witch hazel helps counteract that. Shake well before using (the cornstarch will settle at the bottom). Hold a few inches from the hair and spritz at the roots. Then use hair dryer to restyle. Not only does this get rid of oily roots but it gives hair a nice volume boost as well!
Two cautions: Don’t go overboard and soak your head. You should only need the dryer for a couple of minutes. And watch where you spritz because after the spray dries it can leave white spots on clothing.
Day 3: This day is the hardest for me! If you didn’t shower yesterday, now is the time. That’s when I usually cave and wash my hair. But ideally, you would keep your hair as dry as possible in the shower using a shower cap and then pull your hair into a bun or ponytail.
Short hair is, again, a bit more of a challenge. You might want to apply dry shampoo again before going to bed to absorb excess oil overnight and then use dry shampoo spray in the am to restyle.
Day 4: How are things going? If your hair is starting to itch or you’re seeing flakes, go ahead and wash and style like you did on Day 1. If you can get away with another day with dry shampoo and an updo, go for it. Get creative and wear a scarf or hat.
The first couple of times through this routine will be the hardest. Then your natural oils will settle down and your hair will be more manageable. And even if you can’t go 4 days between every washing, it’s still good to give your hair a break now and again.
How often do you wash your hair?