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The Complete Guide to Not Washing Your Hair


Like showering and brushing your teeth, washing your hair is just something you should do daily to keep clean, right? Not quite. Actually, much of the beauty community says otherwise. Believe it or not, those of us washing our hair every single day are washing it too much. In fact, limiting your shampoo use to only a few times a week can actually be one of the best ways to keep your hair healthy, strong and shiny—and yes, it’s totally possible to avoid the sloppy, greasy look while following this kind of routine. Read on and get ready for your locks to look better than ever!

Why go longer in between washes?

Sure, washing your hair less often to make your hair healthier may seem counterintuitive, but plenty of collegiettes are jumping on the less-is-more bandwagon—and for good reason. More and more frequently, stylists and hair care experts are suggesting that washing your hair every single day is too much. After all, in order to be strong and healthy, your hair needs some oil—and often, harsh shampoos can strip your hair of the natural oils it needs.

Celebrity hairstylist Christine Symonds, who has worked with stars like Lauren Conrad and Whitney Port (#hairgoals much?), says that washing less often is key to keeping hair healthy.

“Over-washing hair can strip hair of its natural oils and moisturizers,” Symonds says. “By washing it less you will have healthier, more nourished hair.”

It’s also important to note that just because you don’t wash your hair doesn’t mean you shouldn’t shower at all! If you’re an athlete or work out daily, just a simple rinse in the shower will be enough to get rid of sweat, but still keep the natural oils your hair needs!

For color-treated hair

If you color your hair, washing less frequently can also be a great way to keep your color intact for longer—and, as a result, save you major cash on trips to the salon for touch-ups. Victoria Mikula, a sophomore at Point Park University, says washing her hair less has allowed her to maintain her color longer.

“My hair is much softer and healthier now and my color even seems to stay vibrant longer,” Victoria says.

For girls with curls

Have springy curls? Susonnah Barklow, an editor at Naturally Curly, says shampooing less often may be a way to keep them in check, since your hair type is likely drier than others.

“So many women wonder why their hair is so dry when all they have to 
do is stop washing their hair every day,” Barklow says. “Once you wash less frequently, your 
hair is better at retaining moisture that it needs to be healthy and shiny.”

Jordan Chaffiotte, a junior at Philadelphia University, has found that shampooing less often has made her curls much more manageable. “This is really big in the curly-haired community,” Jordan says. “Shampooing every day dries it out quicker.”

Curly, color-treated, fine, thick—no matter your hair type, it’s likely that washing your hair less will majorly impact the health of your hair for the better!

How long should you wait in between washes?

Ultimately, when you shampoo depends on your hair type and texture—generally if your hair is dry or curly, you’ll be able to go much longer between washes than someone with fine, straight hair. A good rule of thumb is to wait around one to two days in between washes. Abigail Zeitler, a junior at the University of Texas at Austin, follows this routine. “My hairstylists have told me that it takes about a day or two for the natural oils to restore between washes,” she says.

If your hair is thicker or curlier, washing only one to two times a week may work best for you. Barklow has found this routine to work for her curls. “Once your scalp levels its sebum production you will be able to go a couple
 of days without washing and feel fine,” Barklow says. “I will wash my hair twice a week;
 some women will wash once a week.”

With a bit of trial and error, it’s easy to find out which routine works best for keeping your hair healthy, not greasy!

Will washing my hair less make it greasy?

It can be tempting to overdo it on washing your hair in fear of the dreaded greasy strands—but fear not, collegiettes! While your hair might be a little bit greasier as you first back down on your shampoo use, your hair will ultimately get used to the new routine (which will make it healthier in the long run!)

“I probably only wash my hair about two-three times a week,” Victoria says. “When I first started doing this, my hair was a bit greasier than normal, but after about two weeks it started to adjust!”

To combat this greasiness at first, Barklow suggests starting the process slowly, and gradually washing hair less frequently over time.

“My recommendation for anyone who wants to try shampooing less is to take it
 slow,” Barklow suggests. “Skip one day of washing, and do this for a week. Then skip two days,
 and do this for another week. Then skip three. Your scalp may feel really
 oily at first. It may take a couple of weeks for your scalp to adjust.”

As you cut back on shampooing, it’s also important to keep in mind the type of shampoo and other products you use on your hair when you do shampoo, in order to avoid buildup that could potentially cause your hair to become dirtier faster. Abigail suggests paying close attention to the ingredient label on your shampoo, which could have a major effect on how quickly your hair gets greasy. “Using an all-natural shampoo helps as well because there are no additives in it that add grease to your hair,” she says.

If your hair is super fine or you really just can’t handle the extra oil, using a clarifying shampoo, like Frederic Fekkai’s Apple Cider Shampoo once a week can be a great way to make your hair feel extra clean without stripping it of natural oils.

How do I keep my hair looking fresh in between washes?

To keep your hair looking fresh and voluminous in between washes, it’s likely that you’ll need to use some form of dry shampoo. We like products you can quickly spray into your hair during a morning rush to get to class, like Dove Style + Care Dry Shampoo ($6.11 at Drugstore.com), or Not Your Mother’s Clean Freak Dry Shampoo ($6.19 at ULTA). If your hair is a darker hue, it can also be a great idea to try one specifically matched to your brunette shade, like Batiste’s Dry Shampoo in Deep Brown ($7.29 at Drugstore.com).  

Katie Piscopio, a junior at the University of Pittsburgh, opts to use talcum powder instead of dry shampoo to combat greasiness. “I have thick, curly hair, so I would go through a bottle of dry shampoo in just a few days,” Katie says. “Instead, I use baby powder! I always have a small travel bottle of Johnson's Baby Powder at home or when I travel. It works just as well as dry shampoo and doesn't run out as quickly!”

If dry shampoo isn’t your thing, don’t be afraid to get creative! Different hair care routines work for different hair types. Instead of using dry shampoo, Monica Ocasio Vega, a senior at the University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez, uses a bit of water and leave-in conditioner to freshen up after a workout.

“I try to wash [my hair] every two days and between those days if I came from a run,” Monica says. “I spray it with water, apply a bit of leave-in conditioner, run my fingers through it and let it air dry.”

The bottom line? What works for one hair type might not work for another, so don’t be afraid to experiment!

If you want stronger, shinier, healthier hair, cutting back on your shampoo use is one of the best things you can do for your mane! With a little trial and error, it’s not hard to find the best routine that will keep your locks looking glossy—not greasy.

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