There are two types of people: those who wash their hair every day or two, and those who wade in their own filth, relying on that satanic shower-in-a-can that is dry shampoo.
Nine times out of ten, when you see a girl with an elaborate headband covering her roots with her exposed hair in a braid, she’s anywhere between day-four and day-five hair. They are hyper-conscious of their effortless-chic hair, hiding behind the guise of a “woke up like this” minimalist aesthetic. In this way, they think they are invincible, like they have a secret you don’t know.
The Gods of Hair Washing used to tell us to wash our hair every second day; cut to ten years later, and now going so much as three days is considered high-maintenance. This mimics the trajectory of the discourse surrounding the low-fat vs. low-carb diets: the scientific literature is at odds with itself and there will never be a definitive answer.
I can’t help but refer to my own experience in order to determine the frequency of my shampoo sessions. Before I read women’s magazines, I was very intuitive when it came to beauty. I didn’t throw my hair into a shower cap, but instead, I vigorously assaulted my scalp. I put my biceps into it. I even shampooed my ends. (Can you believe it?)
The result was hair that grew like a weed, consistently moisturized from root to tip. Whether I can trace this to my regimen or genetics has yet to be determined.
I’ve heard every line in the book as to why I shouldn’t be as diligent about washing my hair as I am with, say, brushing my teeth: Shampoo robs your scalp of its natural moisturizing mechanisms; dirty hair is easier to work with; sulfates are bad for you.
But that feeling of just-washed hair? It’s irrefutably the best.
Still, I tried following the new rules of infrequent washing.
Wet hair against my naked back is the most uncomfortable sensation I can think of, but that’s not the only reason I gave diligent hair washing a break. I buy into any mentality that validates laziness, whether it’s the idea of rest days at the gym or the health benefits of mental vacations.
As for the results of the hair-washing hiatus? No discernible differences to report besides a drop in confidence, anxiety about hugging people taller than me (I'm 5'2, so my scalp is a makeshift chin rest; on day-four hair, let’s just say it wouldn’t belong in the Chanel line of fragrances), and hair that took on a somewhat spaghetti-like stringiness.
Nothing about it was appealing, besides the part about having a bunch of time to dedicate to admiring my stringy blowout.
I went into this essay wanting to champion my allegiance to daily-ish hair washing, since I’ve been skeptical about the beauty dogma as of late, but I fear my plight to normalize frequent hair washing is futile. There’s really no going around the fact that minimizing your hair’s contact with detergent will save the cuticle from prematurely abrading.
Not to mention, you’ll have a couple extra bucks to spoil your surreptitiously filthy hair with a long-lasting (if not stringy) blowout.
How often do you wash your hair?