“I often go 30 days without washing my hair and find that this helps me retain much more length than when I washing my hair every week. My stylist who I see a few times a year for trims and the occasional special hair style has balked at this but my hair is healthy and vibrant. I cleanse my scalp weekly with a diluted apple cider vinegar mixture and detangle every two weeks with my fingers. Is washing this little really hurting my hair? And if so, how is it that my hair is thriving so well?” – Anonymous
Hair regimens are a very unique thing and will vary from head to head. When it comes to washing the frequency that we do so will also vary accordingly.
The guidelines most professionals recommend are generally the best practice for all heads, based on hair and scalp health science. Opting to do your own hair thing is not automatic doom but will come with other considerations, added steps and more products incorporated into the hair regiment that aren’t necessary for optimal hair condition.
Choosing to shampoo less frequently or washing your hair once a month, is becoming increasingly popular among naturals yet the common thread among those who choose this is that the scalp is still being cleansed through other methods and water is touching the hair weekly through spritzing at a minimum. These two things: cleansing the scalp and water on the hair being the most critical to hair that thrives.
Our go-to Trichologist, Dr. Kari Williams, chimed in on this topic with her expert opinion on the practice. Here is what she had to say:
“It is imperative that the scalp is cleaned on a regular basis. Infrequent hair washing leads to an accumulation of dirt, bacteria and fungus on the scalp. This can cause scalp discomfort in the form of dandruff, severe itching, or a fungal/bacterial infection that could require oral medication. Most importantly, hair will not grow when the scalp is inflamed. The result is fragile hair strands, broken hair strands caused by excessive scratching, or patchy hair loss. Therefore I highly recommend a consistent shampoo regimen using a shampoo, not just a conditioner. You want to use a product that will remove build up from the scalp and hair.”
As a natural hair care specialist myself who has worked with every curly hair texture under the sun, I unequivocally agree with Dr. Kari. My scalp and hair love a great shampoo every 7-10 days. Do understand all shampoos are not stripping or harmful and the other methods being used serve the same function without necessarily requiring a total reworking of your style.
The most important thing for maintaining a head full of healthy hair is a healthy scalp. This is above all things. Keeping your scalp clear and clean of dirt and buildup should be of utmost importance. There are many naturals like yourself who successfully go longer than the expert recommended time of washing their hair from every 14 days to every 30 days. And again, like yourself, many also go to great lengths to keep their scalp clean by applying a diluted form of apple cider vinegar or witch hazel weekly. There is no one size fits all hair care regimen that will work for everyone, but what does work for everyone is being smart in their practices when it comes to their hair. Above all, it’s your hair and if it works for you, then keep working it. As always, proceed with caring for your scalp gently and cautiously because it’s what will dictate everything about the health and length of your hair. Besides, ridin’ dirtay is never the life.
Cheers to your hair!