Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Maybe oily hair isn't such a bad thing

"The current trend of frequent shampoos may have started on May 10, 1908, when the New York Times published a column advising women that it was OK to wash their hair every two weeks. At that time, once a month was the norm."

My interest was piqued when I heard that quote on an NPR podcast recently. (Read or listen to it here.) The story went on to say that our current frequent hair washing habits are due more to shampoo marketing than to genuinely good hygiene. Washing one's hair every day strips natural oils. Then the scalp tries to make too much oil. Everything gets out of balance.

So I have a new goal, to not wash my hair as much. Don't worry, I'll be grabbing the shampoo bottle far more often than once a month. In the above article, Michelle Hananji, a dermatologist, recommends only washing your hair two to three times a week. I've probably been washing about four or five times a week. It's too much--my hair is dry. My new goal is to eventually wash my hair every three days.

For the last several days I've made sure to only wash my hair every other day. When it's been three days, my hair is pretty shiny (not in a good way), so clearly I can't make this change all at once. I figure once my scalp really gets used to the every two days schedule, I'll try to scale back to every three. Already, I think my hair looks less dry and unhealthy.

I doubt I'll get into the habit of shampooing less often than every three days. But I have to admit--I'm a low-maintenance girl. And I'm a little jealous of those girls from 100 years ago, who washed their hair only as often as they flipped the calendar page.

16 comments:

Mama to a diva said...

I wash my hair every two days, if I do any more than that it is a frizzy mess. Hair type has a lot to do with it too. When the Diva was born I was washing her hair much too frequently. Her hair can't be washed more than once a week, with conditioning rinses whenever she gets it wet in the bath. Shampoo has a super drying effect on hair.

ACitizenOfThisWorld said...

From my experience, the hair adapt itself to the our shampooing habits. For example, when I wash my hair every other day for a while, that unpleasant "shiny" feel that you mentioned appears from the third day, but when I decrease it to every three days, after a couple of weeks, it becomes shiny from the forth day.

Kara said...

I saw that article and read a ton on the "No 'Poo" movement, so I tried it for a week. I used baking soda and vinegar to "wash" my hair every other day, but tried to go shampoo-free. I think I could have probably persevered, but I was getting so self-conscious about how my hair looked. It wasn't oily per se, and it felt healthier in some ways... but I just couldn't keep it up. For one thing, I developed dandruff, which I have never had before in my life!! So now I'm back to my every-other-day washing schedule.

Katie said...

I have always been a 'wash every day' kind of girl (except maybe a day on the weekend if I'm just staying home). But lately I've been doing every other day. I usually just put it up in a ponytail the days I don't wash. It seems to be working out pretty well for me!

Lara said...

Interesting you mention it, because over the Easter break I didn't bother todo my hair, and it got horrible, but I once watched a TV show where they said that after a certain amount of time, your hair apparently started cleaning itself. I think the theory was eventually proven to be false, but it didn't stop me testing it!

Dan & Hillary and little Russell said...

I have wondered about the past (especially since I'm a Laura Ingalls' fan). They only bathed on Saturday nights, and made their own soaps. They also believed in the 100 strokes/day rule for brushing. Hmm. I guess if we still did that we wouldn't be on water restrictions! I shampoo every second day and I actually prefer the 'second day' look to my hair vs. the 'just washed' look. Good times...

A Girl Named Me said...

The other good thing about shampooing less frequently is that hair color (the kind from the bottle) will last a whole lot longer.

I shampoo every 2-3 days depending on my schedule outside the house.

xoxo
AGirlNamedMe

Becky said...

I've tried to cut down on shampooing in the past, but my scalp never stops making excessive oil and my hair just looks gross all the time. :-( I have oily skin, too, so I guess it's just how my body works.

But I only have to shampoo my scalp daily - I only do a full shampoo once a week or the end of my hair gets dry and frizzy. I think I just have high-maintenance hair. =)

Janell said...

I echo what Becky said. My hair is OILY and I feel gross all day when I don't shampoo every day. And I've really tried. And, aside from all that, I've never been much of a hair person. I mean, I can appreciate that different styles look cute, but I don't enjoy doing hair and I often wish we could all just be bald!

Liz said...

I'd say I probably wash my hair 3-4 days per week. Not bad. If I go longer, my hair feels yucky. I can only do a 4 days run if the 4th day is on a weekend!

Isabella said...

With my mixed background, it was always recommended that I wash my hair 2-3 times a week as opposed to every day (like I was doing)...but I never listened. After having Peanut I decided to try this (hair went crazy after the birth of my daughter)...and - wouldn't you know it - it's much better.

I'm sure you'll find it's much better for your hair as well. :)

beckiwithani said...

For years now, I've only done every other day. Occasionally I go three days, but that's rare. Depending on the time of year, it can look okay on the third day (not in summer!), but never looks fantastic.

So I guess that's a pretty good prediction for you too. I'm interested to hear if you can manage every 3-4 days eventually.

Remember, those with finer hair (like us) have more follicles. Smaller hair shafts mean more individual hairs. And there's an oil gland attached to each follicle. So those with finer hair do get oilier hair.

Danni said...

I wash my hair every two or three days. I have been told by several stylists that even though I dye my hair once a month I have the healthiest hair they have seen. Now mind you it is short and board straight but it is shiny and very soft.

addhumorandfaith said...

Of course, they bathed even less! :)

Rachel Cotterill said...

I do mine every 2-3 days. My hair always looks best on the second day; first and third are about equivalent. This means doing calculations when I'm going out and really want to look my best!

If I accidentally get it wet in the shower at other times, that messes the whole thing up...

Anonymous said...

I wash my hair about every two weeks. I have thick, healthy, naturally (not greasy) shiny hair. I have excellent hygiene, I just don't have the need to wash my hair as often as most people seem to. - Roshel