I went 30 days without washing my hair

02 November 2018


Never in my wildest dreams would I have planned to write a post like this: a thinkpiece, a soapboxy saga on the wonders of not washing my hair. Yet, here I am, ready to wax lyrical about the topic.

On September 29th, I washed and straightened my hair. I had recently watched Neiicy's video on how she keeps her hair straight for one month, and I had also looked at Lakia's recent natural hair update. Both of these were suggested to my by YouTube's algorithm, which is odd because I rarely watch hair videos, but looking back, maybe God was trying to send me a message.

Here's some context: I usually wash my hair once or twice a week, depending on how often I workout or how dry my curls are looking. Also, I straighten my hair 2-3 times per year, whenever I feel it needs a trim. When my hair is straight, I tend to go longer between washes. Lately, however, I've been noticing so much fallout when I detangle in the shower. I thought nothing of it at first, but over the past year or so, I started noticing how much thinner it's gotten. The excess shedding had me worried, but health-wise, everything checked out normal during my regular checkups.

So, I looked to my product stash. My beloved Eco-Styler gel has gotten lots of heat lately. Apparently many women have reported excess breakage and thinning. I swapped it for a different gel and also decided to give my hair a break from all products that contain protein.

Newsflash, Naturalistas: so many hair products contain protein! I likely developed a sensitivity over the years but never gave it a second thought because it usually comes from natural sources like "hydrolyzed wheat," "collagen" and "silk aminos." Too much of a good thing can often become counterproductive, so to hit the reset button on my strands (and give myself an excuse to be lazy with my hair), I decided to take a break from everything for a month. No shampoo, no conditioner, no creamy leave-ins.

The only thing I put on my hair over the past 30 days was Jamaican Black Castor Oil (JCBO) and the occasional DevaCurl Arc An-gel on my edges, because they get poofy after a good workout. I wrapped it every night for the first week to keep it from reverting back to its curly state, and then I switched to wearing a bantu-style bun atop my head while I slept. This usually gave me effortless "bedhead waves" when I took it down each morning.

Week One
The strands are looking laid, honey. LAID.
The edges are sleek.
The ends are smooth.
Virtually no hair comes out when I brush it at night.

Week Two
The edges are less sleek but do not need intervention.
The ends are still smooth
I get a bit flakey on the strands around my forehead.
Virtually no hair comes out when I brush it at night.

Week Three
J asks "Is it time to wash your hair" after observing my roots. -__-
I apply oil every other day to get rid of the flakes and brush it through with a bit of gel on the edges.
The ends are less smooth, but the bedhead waves mixed with a bit of anti-frizz serum make it look intentional.
I start caring less about the way it looks.
Very little hair comes out when I brush at night.

Week Four
I wear more ponytails and buns.
I put on a taut headband when I wear it down to hide the frizz in the front.
It still looks decent but doesn't feel as smooth to the touch
Very little hair comes out when I brush at night.

The picture above was taken on 10/29, exactly 30 days after my last hair wash. I realize it's not the clearest photo, but honestly, nobody but me (and J) cared enough to look that closely at my hair.

It didn't smell dirty.
It didn't itch.
It didn't get super oily.

Honestly, the only reason I wanted to wash it on 10/31 was because the JCBO was starting to build up on my roots and I wanted it to look fresh (I also missed my curls). If it weren't for those things, I probably could've stretched my little experiment a bit longer.

When I finally washed it, I hardly shed any strands as I detangled in the shower. It's interesting how not washing my hair essentially served as a "hair cleanse" for me.

I'm not entirely sure why I felt the need to dedicate a whole blog post on the subject, but I'll probably start going longer between washes from now on. Maybe twice per month?

We'll see.

6 comments

  1. Good read!! Normally, I was every two weeks, but I've had to wash more often because of that annoying buildup and flaking I get from Eco Styler. My hair also does best when left alone, so my solution to breakage are two plaits. What new gel are you using??

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    1. DevaCurl! I like the two plaits crossed in the back and pinned to the head for a sleek and easy look. It's usually my go-to in the summer.

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  2. I think my hair acts best when I've given it a break between washes. Sometimes I need to wash it weekly but if I can get it up to two weeks, it's even better I think. Because my hair does best when it's not being manipulated, I think just allowing it to sit for as long as possible in a protective style or unwashed is when it's lit. Great read Disa!

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    1. Yes! Crazy how we've been brainwashed (pun intended) into washing our hair so often. My mom was experiencing excess shedding as well, and the woman who cut her hair actually told her to wash it more often. That sounded crazy to me, so I told her to do the opposite (and she agreed, because she hates washing her hair). Months later, the shedding has stopped.

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  3. Ok.. you may call me completely gross, but this totally works for me. I RARELY, EVER wash my hair. I literally go months. I tend to wash and condition when it gets super dry. Since around June, I've washed my hair once, I'll wash my hair tonight, and then I'll get it washed again in December. I typically only wash my hair when it "feels" dirty.

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    Replies
    1. I am not at all grossed out.

      I am however intrigued on how you make it last that long! Does it not get flakey? Do you not get product buildup? What about when you workout.

      SHARE YOUR SECRETS, WOMAN!

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