My husband and I have stopped washing our hair.
Our road to this moment started in early 2020 when the world went into lockdown due to COVID-19. Without the daily demands and our morning routine completely trashed, our showers became a little bit more spread out and a little less every morning.
To be honest, there were some days when we were hard pressed to remember the last time we had caught a glimpse of the inside of our shower. Ah, COVID.
“I’m not longer washing my hair,” my loving other half stated earlier this month (May 2021), just over a year into the pandemic. I wasn’t sure if it was a way of keeping his introverted self in a pseudo-permanent lockdown by resisting basic hygiene. Luckily, that wasn’t the case and he made a pretty convincing one with his explanation.
I have always had oily hair. My oil glands like to operate at full speed and early extra for overtime production. It takes less than 24 hours for my hair to lose its shine and become a greasy mess that liked to knot itself in protest. Pre-menopause has only slowed my natural oil production by a fraction.
However, by washing it, I have learned that I am actually stripping my locks of its natural oils (also knowns as sebum). Thus, telling my hair glands “Pump up the oil production, I got nothing to work with here.”
Thus, the hair cycle.
It doesn’t help that every shampoo ad tells us that “oil is bad and you need more shampoo.”
Do I? Really? What if I didn’t strip the oils out with shampoo? What if I just used water only (also known as WO Clean). How hard can it be?
Believe it or not, stepping away from the shampoo was harder due to the lines marketing has fed me over the years (and my mother. She would point out my greasy hair when I fought for my right not to bathe.) I felt like I was breaking some universal strand law and the hair police would be at my door.
At first, my hair got GREASY. SO GREASY. In fact, on the fifth day of my hair washing strike, I almost broke down and gave it a good scrub. Not only was it oily to touch, but you could see it. I checked my shirt regularly to make sure my little experiment wasn’t ruining my wardrobe.
By day seven, I either got used to the grease or my oil glands finally read the internal memo to cease and desist production. My hair was still greasy, but almost manageable. In fact, I went to sell coffee at a farmers market — and no one noticed or cared. Makes me wonder how many people outside of myself worry about how lustrous my hair is — other than shampoo makers.
It was about this day that my husband told me he was sold on never buying shampoo again. He didn’t have to use hair gel to hold his hair, but he also didn’t feel like it was overly saturated with oils. No shampoo equals no hair gel which is double the savings in his mind.
I wasn’t there yet for I have WAY LONGER hair. The biggest thing for me was to brush my hair often. The key was to move the my natural oil from my scalp down to the bottom of my hair, which was starting to frizz. It was easier after a warm shower (water only). A good scalp massage to free the oils and than brush it out helped to distribute and share the oil wealth to the tips.
As of today, I am at two weeks with no hair washing. I am willing to commit to the full three weeks that it takes to break the my hair’s dependence on shampoo.
I will be honest. It hasn’t won me over yet, like it has my husband. But it has been an intriguing experiment. I think it is easy for us to worry about what others may think or say . . . but maybe That’s just part of the cycle the beauty industry sells us.
Needless to say, it gave me something to think about at the drug store.