Why I Wash My Hair In The Sink

I almost never shampoo and condition my hair in the shower anymore, and my reasons may convince you to switch to the sink, too.
Publish date:
March 6, 2014
lush, extensions, shampoos, conditioners, bacne, J.R. Liggett's, shampoo bars

I don’t know if I've really sat down and gotten deep with you guys about my personal hair preferences. I've definitely done plenty of breaking-it-down for everyone, but haven’t talked too much about the products and regimens I follow for my own skull.

But I need you to know why I simply do not wash or wet my hair when I am showering my body.

I have slow-growing, shoulder-length hair in an asymmetrical cut with some extensions in the left side to add fullness and length. The extensions are fully washable, but I know from almost 10 years of experience that the less often you wash them, the better. My hair is medium-textured and incredibly wavy, but can very easily become curly or straight with a little bit of styling.

Chemical damage is at a minimum, and styling damage is also minimal, but previous irresponsible extension-wearing tore up the hair around my nape, so I have to baby the hair in that area with gentle care, minimal heat, and no chemical dye.

I have major shedding issues, and this is part of why my hair doesn’t appear to grow. Hairs in the top of my head shed very little, and the density is way higher there than anywhere else on my scalp. I am miraculously able to grow bangs to my shoulders in two years, while my chin-length right portion hovered at the shoulder for the whole two years. I trim it myself every four to six weeks when I brush out the old and add new hair to the left side. The hair on the left is nipple-length (!!!) but SO thin that it's transparent from shoulder to areola. I honestly should just cut it off, but I am attached to it since my hair has never ever been naturally longer than just below the collarbone.

One of the things that has gotten the hairs I do have to be as undamaged as possible is washing FAR less frequently than I was used to before going to beauty school. I've familiarized myself with natural techniques and spent drastically less time washing, but for my level of shedding, it is clear that daily washing was not going to help, but once a week was also a bit too infrequent.

When you need to shower every day--and I do--but you cannot wash your hair every day--and I can’t--you get so used to NOT washing your hair in the shower that you just plain forget to wash it in the shower, even when you mean to. I just simply embraced my new and controlled method of hair maintenance: sink-only washing, roughly every three to four days.

When I began doing this, I was initially looking for a better way to scrub my head without wasting the bar shampoos that I have grown to love so much. They are one of the hippie/natural things that stuck with my routine. I like J.R. Ligett’s damaged-hair shampoo bar, and Lush’s Trichomania shampoo bar when my hair isn’t being extra bamboo-ey. When I used these types of products in the shower, I felt like I wasted so much more of it getting it in and out of the soap dish and even more when sitting in the humid shower.

Washing my hair in the sink has also rid me of an extra annoying "perk" of my favorite emollient products: conditioner-related acne. I was not the only one at my salon to notice zits coming on around the time of hair washing, on both the face and back. I tried washing my body last after the conditioner, but this wasn’t really enough. Once in a while, when I like to take a "full" shower and wash my hair too, it doesn’t bother my skin too much; but a few times in a row and I'm left with a new cycle of breakouts to clear and scars to treat.

Putting my head under the faucet has broken the chain, and it allows me to target my super-greasy roots while leaving my extensions braided off to the side, never even getting wet. (Those babies, I wash once every two weeks or so, and sometimes while doing a full shower.)

The additional benefits of washing my hair in the sink poured in the more I used this technique. I was using less hot water to shower, since I spend way too long in there when washing my hair. Being able to shower more efficiently is better for the environment and better for my energy bill.

Many, many stylists will tell you that rinsing hair with cold water is one of the best ways to ensure a shiny end result, but if it is below 40 degrees outside, I am not fond of rinsing my whole body with cold water. Hair doesn’t have nerve endings, so I can soak it in cold water all I want. Doing this in the sink spares me the cold shock, but allows my hair to look mighty fine.

Would you ever consider switching to sink-only hair-washing?