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Don't Wash Your Hair Every Day

Photograph by Denise Cortes

I only wash my hair once a week.

This may or may not be TMI, but we're all grown folks here, so I know you can handle it. Yes, it's true. I only shampoo my hair once a week, usually on Thursdays. I use shampoo that is free of any sulfates or parabens because I like to keep it natural. My hair doesn't smell and my scalp isn't greasy, I promise you. In fact, my hair looks better than it ever has in my entire life. It's healthy, shiny, bouncy and there are no split ends in sight. Finally, my hair and I are on the same team. How did I come to this epiphany to quit over-washing? Let me explain.

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I faithfully washed my hair every single day for as long as I can remember. That's just what I was taught; lather up your hair with some sweet smelling shampoo and conditioner so you had a squeaky clean scalp. Every single day. Rinse and repeat — literally. I remember waking up with perfect, sleep-tousled curls every morning when I was in college. As I stood in front of the sink with the shower running, I would fluff my hair and tell myself, "My hair looks amazing! Too bad I have to wash it." And then I did, and all my perfect hair ju-ju went down the drain.

Then, 10 years ago, the dirty hair gods smiled down upon me. I got a call from my sister-in-law early one morning; she was in labor with her third child. Since she was having a home birth, things were moving at a rapid pace and she really wanted me there before the baby was born. I had a two-week old baby myself, so I quickly assessed the situation. I didn't have time to shampoo my hair so I did my best to revive my curls with a spritz of water, packed up my baby girl and took off.

As the day went on and my sister-in-law gave birth to a beautiful little girl, I took a bathroom break and looked at my reflection in the mirror. My hair looked great and you couldn't even tell I had skipped a wash. My scalp still felt fresh and my curls were bouncy. That's when I knew I was on to something. From that day forward, I stopped washing my hair on a daily basis. At first, I skipped one day; than another and another. And another. Hair experiments, if you will. I was amazed how great it still looked. I have now settled on a full six days of not using shampoo. On day No. 7 it tends to get a little funky, but it's nothing a little dry shampoo can't fix right up.

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Here are 4 reasons why I don't wash my hair every day:

  1. My hair isn't dirty. It just isn't. I'm not rolling around in a pile of manure every day so there is no need for "clarifying" and deep cleansing. Even if you work out and sweat a little, a light rinse of water is good enough and a gentle scalp massage is all you need. Although I don't shampoo everyday, I do rinse and condition my ends in between shampoos. This keeps my hair soft and helps manage my curly, tangled hair.

  2. Your hair needs that precious oil. Using shampoo with harsh chemicals strips your hair of its natural oils. Those oils are needed to make your hair strong, healthy, shiny and full. With all of the heat damage we do to our hair on a daily basis, coupled with daily shampooing, hair is often left parched, dry, flat and dull. When you stop shampooing every day, your hair will thrive. It will begin to regulate the oils released on your scalp and that will encourage well-behaved hair.

  3. You save money. I used to go broke buying all sorts of fancy shampoos and conditioners that promised full, beautiful hair. I've taught my kids to do the same with their hair (their hair is looking so much healthier and shiny, too) and it's a relief not buying Costco-sized shampoo and conditioner for six kids. I buy natural shampoo and conditioner and it lasts us so much longer. Yes, I pay more for the sulfate-free, paraben-free stuff, but it works out in the end.

  4. It's just easier. I'm lazy. The thought of shampooing my hair and fighting through the knots and snarls every morning is depressing. I have added hours back to my life by not having to deal with shampooing my hair every single day — and for this busy mama, that's a good thing.

Not shampooing my hair every day has revolutionized my morning routine. Heck, it's revolutionized my life! Do your own hair experiment and see how long you can go in between washes this summer. Your hair will thank you.

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