All through my childhood, I washed my hair every single day. As I got older and felt constantly pressed for time between multiple jobs and full time school, I was desperate for a little extra time. I figured cutting out the extra five minutes in the shower and the amount of time I spent combing/drying/fixing my hair would be an easy way to get ahead.
I did some reading online and found out that not everyone washes their hair every single day, and some folks even say it's harmful to do so. I can't quote any studies here because it seems most of the pieces out there are pure opinion, but washing less works for me! I've been washing 3 times a week for the last decade, and my hair looks and feels better. This year I've even stopped blowdrying my hair and I'm keeping it as simple as possible!
It can be a little tricky to transition from washing every day to every couple days, but using the tips I outline in this instructable can make the process much easier. Plus, it's totally worth it: being able to put your hair up and shower in less than five minutes if you need to is AWESOME.
Let me know in the comments if you have any great tips and tricks for transitioning to washing your hair less - I'd love to hear them. :D
Step 1: Shampoo and condition the smart way
I shampoo only my roots and condition only my ends.
This is something I've been doing for about a year now and it is awesome. It saves me shampoo and conditioner and keeps my hair from going oily too fast. It might not work for everyone, but I have thin stick straight hair that goes super flat when I condition my roots. If you have dry hair, it might not hurt you to condition near the scalp!
To do this properly, I apply shampoo and just massage my scalp and roots. I never pull my hands through the ends of my hair. Then I rinse that out and grab my hair like I'm going to put it into a low ponytail and apply conditioner only to the hair in the ponytail.
When you first start shampooing less, just try to shampoo every other day. If your hair's still getting oily and gunky fast, try rinsing it with apple cider vinegar. That'll help strip styling build up and give you a clean slate. :)
Step 2: Use dry shampoo
This is especially important right at the beginning of trying to shampoo less because it will make the process less difficult. :D
There are several types of dry shampoo, but I always use my DIY dry shampoo. It's cheap to make and lasts much longer than aerosol versions, and the smell is much better too! It's a mix of cornstarch, cocoa powder and baking soda. You can get the recipe and tutorial over how to use it here.
If you're just starting to transition to washing less, I recommend using it before you go to bed at night - it will give you a good head start to battling excess oil!
Step 3: Use a boar bristle brush
Boar bristle brushes are wonderful! They feel amazing and they help to distribute the oils in your hair. This means the oils won't all collect at the scalp and make your hair greasy - they'll get moved all throughout your hair.
I try to brush once in the morning and at night.
Using a boar bristle brush can take a little bit of trial and error - I always brush my hair out with a regular brush first and then go through my hair from roots to ends in smaller sections with the boar bristle brush. A boar bristle brush is much more grippy than a normal brush, so you need to take care. :)
Step 4: Sleep with your hair up and keep it up when you can
If you have longer hair, it's great to sleep with it up! This keeps it up and away from your face and saves it from all the oils on your skin. If you have bangs, pin them back at night to keep them from getting smooshed.
Sleeping with your hair up also gives you the opportunity to try all sorts of no heat curl tutorials. BONUS!
Two major caveats here:
- Don't pull your hair too tight when you put it up - loose is better. You'll end up with a headache and your head will feel funny all day if your bun is too tight. I normally do a loose top knot - just pull all my hair up on top of my head, spin it into a bun and secure it with a scrunchie.
- Secure your hair with the right stuff. Small hair elastics and bands can give you serious dents in your hair. Scrunchies are the best for holding your hair up without damaging it.
You might also want to keep your hair up a ton if you're just starting to wash it less. Dirty hair is always easier to put up, and it'll keep you from touching it as much (because that will just spread the oils around everywhere and make it worse.).
If you're a hat or scarf person, that's another great alternative. :)
Step 5: Change your pillowcases often
This is something I didn't think about at first, but it really does help! This is especially important when it's warm outside, since there's a higher chance your skin will be more oily and you'll be sweating a little more while you sleep.
I just change my pillowcases whenever I notice I'm starting to wake up with oilier hair.
If you have long hair, it can also be a really good idea to invest in some satin pillowcases. They're pretty cheap and help to keep hair from drying out and getting super tangled.
Step 6: Go easy on styling products (and try a leave in conditioner!)
At one point, I was obsessed with trying to get my hair to do things it wasn't willing to do. It won't hold curls or even stay parted in certain spots, but I tried everything! Mousse, gel, creams, etc. It didn't work and only resulted in my hair getting bogged down with oil and loads of styling products.
Using so many styling products meant my hair would dry out at the ends and get really oily at the roots, which then meant I had to shampoo more to try to rid myself of being so gross.
I've heard of folks being able to use styling products and then rinse their hair in the shower the next day, but it didn't work out that way for me.
Right now all I use is a leave in conditioner mostly on my ends. The one downside to washing your hair less is that the ends can get a little dry. I highly recommend NEXXUS Headress Leave In Conditioner - a little goes a long way and it doesn't make my hair greasy. :D