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View Full Version : Waiting longer between washes - is it necessary?



lushfanatic
December 4th, 2018, 10:08 AM
There are probably quite a few members here who have decided to wait longer in between their wash days in pursuit of happier hair.

As someone who used to be able to do this (a few years ago) with no issue and now feels bound to wash every other day, I've decided to try this out again for myself.

I have attempted this previously, but as soon as I take my hair down to re-braid it two days after washing it, my scalp just feels so sensitive and I can really see how greasy my roots are. There is inevitable itching as well. I'm worried that as someone who experiences sensitivity and greasy roots, and as someone who also applies oil before washing, would stretching my washes be overkill? I've also suffered from scalp psoriasis in the past.

I'm basically wondering if you guys think it would be better to train your scalp to cope for a while or to just listen to it when it feels like it needs a wash (and if it is better to train my scalp, how could I cope with the unsightliness of my hair in the meantime?!)

Looking forward to hearing about your experiences and any tips and tricks!

lithostoic
December 4th, 2018, 10:16 AM
If your scalp is uncomfortable, just wash it. No sense in compromising its health, after all, that's where our hair grows from. Our hair is just an extension of its health.

lushfanatic
December 4th, 2018, 10:46 AM
If your scalp is uncomfortable, just wash it. No sense in compromising its health, after all, that's where our hair grows from. Our hair is just an extension of its health.

I thought this too. I do use SLS/SLES shampoos regularly though to remove the oil and have heard lots of bad things about them, which is why I was wondering about going from about 4 washes a week to 1-2.

The-Young-Maid
December 4th, 2018, 11:01 AM
Your scalp health is more important than your hair. When my scalp is itchy I know its time for a wash. Its also a sign of fungal overgrowth.
I stretched washes without listening to my scalp for about two years.(cause everyone said it was better lol) I lost a LOT of hair. Some scalps just don't like it. Sulfates aren't bad for most people which is why they are in most products. You could definitely try some kind of sulfate free shampoo and wash frequently, removing oil would probably be hard tho. Washing and sulfates really aren't that bad - hair is stronger then people think!

Theres someone here who can tell you way more about that overgrowth stuff

Alibran
December 4th, 2018, 11:33 AM
I thought this too. I do use SLS/SLES shampoos regularly though to remove the oil and have heard lots of bad things about them, which is why I was wondering about going from about 4 washes a week to 1-2.

Is this to remove the oil you add before you wash? You don't need SLS/SLES to do that (unless you're using mineral oil, which can be harder to get out). You could try alternating your normal shampoo with a sulphate free shampoo or conditioner only wash if you're worried about using sulphates that often.

Sid0rela
December 4th, 2018, 12:38 PM
I used to try stretching washes, from every other day to 2 times a week.
I figured it isn't worth it!
I love washing my hair and it makes my scalp and I feel so good, so I just do it.

Pouncequick
December 4th, 2018, 12:48 PM
I'm stretching from daily to every other day but due to my oily scalp I have no intention of stretching further. Some scalps need to be washed often and thankfully there are gentle options.

lushfanatic
December 4th, 2018, 01:01 PM
Your scalp health is more important than your hair. When my scalp is itchy I know its time for a wash. Its also a sign of fungal overgrowth.
I stretched washes without listening to my scalp for about two years.(cause everyone said it was better lol) I lost a LOT of hair. Some scalps just don't like it. Sulfates aren't bad for most people which is why they are in most products. You could definitely try some kind of sulfate free shampoo and wash frequently, removing oil would probably be hard tho. Washing and sulfates really aren't that bad - hair is stronger then people think!

Theres someone here who can tell you way more about that overgrowth stuff

That's so unfortunate - I never really considered be any negative effects of doing this. All of the advice I've seen elsewhere on the Internet says that the extra greasiness on your scalp would be good for you without really addressing shedding, irritation, etc.


Is this to remove the oil you add before you wash? You don't need SLS/SLES to do that (unless you're using mineral oil, which can be harder to get out). You could try alternating your normal shampoo with a sulphate free shampoo or conditioner only wash if you're worried about using sulphates that often.

It is. I do have one sulphate-free shampoo that I use on non-oiling days which did do well removing a hair mask, so I'll try it with my oils.


I used to try stretching washes, from every other day to 2 times a week.
I figured it isn't worth it!
I love washing my hair and it makes my scalp and I feel so good, so I just do it.


I'm stretching from daily to every other day but due to my oily scalp I have no intention of stretching further. Some scalps need to be washed often and thankfully there are gentle options.

I feel thankful that washing often is more common than I thought in this community, lol! I'll still try adding an extra day to see how it goes for the sake of my little experiment.

Ylva
December 4th, 2018, 01:16 PM
General question: if one can "comfortably" (both feel and looks) go about 72 hours between washes, is that considered a "normal" or oily scalp?

Joules
December 4th, 2018, 01:53 PM
General question: if one can "comfortably" (both feel and looks) go about 72 hours between washes, is that considered a "normal" or oily scalp?

I read different opinions. Some say washing 2-3 times a week is normal (and oily means daily washing), some say normal scalp stays clean for at least a week. Idk. I wash every 72 hours and I consider myself within the "normal" range.

Byt the way, oily scalp and the need to wash daily is actually a norm. 70-80% of adults have oily scalps, our hormones control it, it's not a disorder and it doesn't need to be corrected (unless your hair gets oily like two hours after washing, then you should probably see an endocrinologist).

Ylva
December 4th, 2018, 02:10 PM
I read different opinions. Some say washing 2-3 times a week is normal (and oily means daily washing), some say normal scalp stays clean for at least a week. Idk. I wash every 72 hours and I consider myself within the "normal" range.

Byt the way, oily scalp and the need to wash daily is actually a norm. 70-80% of adults have oily scalps, our hormones control it, it's not a disorder and it doesn't need to be corrected (unless your hair gets oily like two hours after washing, then you should probably see an endocrinologist).

Oh wow, I had no idea about that, I thought I was one of those who need to wash more often and I feel like almost everyone around me is washing only once a week or so, haha. I guess it also comes down to how well the sebum spreads down the hair shaft.

blackgothicdoll
December 4th, 2018, 02:33 PM
So the way I understand it, washing hair is more about the oil your scalp produces than anything else. Some people's scalp produces quite a lot of oil, which will then coat their hair. If your scalp is oily, wash it. Just do not shampoo the length of your hair, only shampoo the scalp. Let the suds run down, or you can try isolating the suds just to your scalp if you feel that it dries out your hair. You can also prepoo with an oil if you feel it dries out your hair. Letting your scalp get too oily can clog the follicles, and is somewhat unsanitary IMO.

For those who do not have oily scalps, washing is generally stretched until the point that the scalp does produce enough sebum to reach or coat the hair. I have a dry scalp, and can go a week without washing. If I exercise, I can wash sooner. When my hair is completely straightened, I need to wash in less than a week, because the sebum from my scalp travels down the strand so much faster than if my hair were not straight, it would never get there. So in short, stretching washes is beneficial to someone like me because I would dry out my scalp if I were to wash it more often than I do. It's more about the scalp than the hair IMO.

lithostoic
December 4th, 2018, 03:31 PM
I thought this too. I do use SLS/SLES shampoos regularly though to remove the oil and have heard lots of bad things about them, which is why I was wondering about going from about 4 washes a week to 1-2.

There's nothing wrong with sulfates either. This is the hair equivalent of everyone going gluten free for some reason :P Sulfates irritate my scalp and skin in general, so I cannot use them, but many people swear by them.

MusicalSpoons
December 4th, 2018, 04:43 PM
So the way I understand it, washing hair is more about the oil your scalp produces than anything else. Some people's scalp produces quite a lot of oil, which will then coat their hair. If your scalp is oily, wash it. Just do not shampoo the length of your hair, only shampoo the scalp. Let the suds run down, or you can try isolating the suds just to your scalp if you feel that it dries out your hair. You can also prepoo with an oil if you feel it dries out your hair. Letting your scalp get too oily can clog the follicles, and is somewhat unsanitary IMO.
:scissors:
It's more about the scalp than the hair IMO.

That's known as 'scalp washing' - keeping the lengths of the hair dry while you wash just the scalp hair. It's how my hair survives my scalp needing to be washed every other day to look presentable! (I can go 4-6 days if I don't care how my hair looks, e.g. if I'm staying at home, but there comes a point when it does start to feel uncomfortable and then I'll wash.)

Yup, it is more about scalp health - you can do more to protect the rest of your hair than you can to appease a grumpy scalp!

lapushka
December 4th, 2018, 04:55 PM
General question: if one can "comfortably" (both feel and looks) go about 72 hours between washes, is that considered a "normal" or oily scalp?

My old hairdresser once told me. If you can go a week, that is a normal scalp; if you need to wash more often than that, it is oily and if you can wash less than every week, then your hair is dry.

Sparkles122
December 4th, 2018, 05:01 PM
Mine is terribly oily. As more of my natural roots are growing in, its like oily the day after I wash it (trying to wash every other day)

ArabellaRose
December 4th, 2018, 06:53 PM
It's all about what works for your hair and your scalp, don't go judging by what others do. By all means try things out, but if it doesn't work then don't continue to persue it. My hair hated CO washing and cone free conditioners, I had to pack both in within 2 washes. I have no adverse effects from sulfates in my shampoo so I don't bother cutting those out. I wash my hair every 2 days (or 3 if I'm feeling lazy). The oil doesn't travel far enough down my hair to benefit from stretching washes and I don't want to risk clogging follicles.

Kat
December 4th, 2018, 07:10 PM
I thought this too. I do use SLS/SLES shampoos regularly though to remove the oil and have heard lots of bad things about them, which is why I was wondering about going from about 4 washes a week to 1-2.

Honestly, I tried the whole sulfate-free thing because I read they were bad... didn't notice a difference for all that effort. And sulfates clean my hair thoroughly. Some hair tolerates sulfates just fine, and it might be a good idea to find out whether yours does instead of just assuming it doesn't-- could save you some trouble.

Honestly, if I stretch washes, it's not for my hair-- it's because I don't have time to wash it on my regular wash day.

CopperButterfly
December 4th, 2018, 07:30 PM
I wash my scalp daily. I just have an oily scalp, and when on occasion I do skip a day, I wear a hat to hide the greasiness if I do have to leave the house. That's just how my scalp is. I do like doing scalp only washes at least half the time to save me from having to wait for all my hair to dry.

*Wednesday*
December 4th, 2018, 07:34 PM
I wash twice weekly. I tried a week to see how far I could go (Sunday to Sunday) and my head was so greasy and itchy.

pailin
December 4th, 2018, 09:30 PM
My head gets itchy if I don't wash daily. And I don't bother with sulfate free or any other 'gentle' shampoo. My scalp is happier with an SLS, non creamy non moisturizing shampoo. When I try to use gentle shampoos, I get itchy scalp and if I go too long allowing it to itch, I get flakes. My hair- the length - actually acts LESS dry if I wash daily. If I try to stretch, my hair is dry and staticky on day 2,and my scalp gets greasy and itchy (which I especially hate because it makes my roots look a nasty color. So I still wash daily at past classic, with SLS shampoo. I do use heavy conditioners, and cones.
My point is, gentle is not necessarily the holy grail of hair washing. It's not what everyone needs. As long as your scalp and hair are happy, just do whatever made them that way. And if you can't have both, scalp wins. If you do well with weekly/monthly/water only washing, fine; if you do well with daily, fine; if you do well with every 3 days, fine! Do what works for you. Find the happy place for YOU.

Sparkles122
December 4th, 2018, 09:40 PM
My scalp is soooo oily, i also feel my hair grows faster when I wash more...am I crazy??

TwilightMermaid
December 5th, 2018, 10:38 AM
My scalp is soooo oily, i also feel my hair grows faster when I wash more...am I crazy??
No, you're right. Hair can grow faster if your relieving it from all the heavy oils on it that could clog pores.

cestlavie
December 5th, 2018, 10:43 AM
I tried washing it less but my scalp becomes so itchy and flaky so I gave up. My scalp and hair are more cooperative and happy when I stick to 2-3 times a week.

lemonlollies
December 6th, 2018, 07:16 PM
I wash my hair once a week but Iíve realised that I need to stop stretching out the time inbetween washes so much because my scalp gets irritated and my hair looks terrible and greasy and get dry at the ends. Iíve been washing like this for almost a year, Iím a slow learner I guess! Because I air dry my hair itís not practical to wash it on work days, Iíd much rather wash on a weekend/day off because my hair takes forever to dry :(

akurah
December 7th, 2018, 12:50 AM
I wash my hair once a week but I’ve realised that I need to stop stretching out the time inbetween washes so much because my scalp gets irritated and my hair looks terrible and greasy and get dry at the ends. I’ve been washing like this for almost a year, I’m a slow learner I guess! Because I air dry my hair it’s not practical to wash it on work days, I’d much rather wash on a weekend/day off because my hair takes forever to dry :(

Have you looked into scalp-only washing techniques?

https://forums.longhaircommunity.com/showthread.php?t=49219
https://forums.longhaircommunity.com/showthread.php?t=137528

When I used to do it I would just hang a clothes hanger on the shower pole, braid my hair very loosely with the braid starting high, and tie the end to the hanger.

EdG
December 7th, 2018, 01:41 AM
Diluting shampoo is another way to avoid washing out all of the sebum. The endpoint of diluting shampoo is water-only washing.
Ed

Joules
December 7th, 2018, 02:34 AM
Diluting shampoo is another way to avoid washing out all of the sebum. The endpoint of diluting shampoo is water-only washing.
Ed

The whole point of shampoo is to wash out all the sebum. A lot of people in this thread reported getting fungus overgrowth (itching, flakes, sensitive scalp) from not washing properly.

EdG
December 7th, 2018, 02:45 AM
The whole point of shampoo is to wash out all the sebum. A lot of people in this thread reported getting fungus overgrowth (itching, flakes, sensitive scalp) from not washing properly.Diluting shampoo is an alternative to stretching washes. The original poster may want to try it.

This is a case of everyone's scalp being different. My scalp can go up to three days between washes, but needs only water to wash.
Ed

MoonChildCurls
December 7th, 2018, 03:54 AM
I used to wash my hair every day, these days I shoot for twice a week. It's mostly because my hair takes hours and hours+++ to dry and I don't like dealing with it when it's wet or damp haha.

SwanFeathers
December 7th, 2018, 03:33 PM
There are probably quite a few members here who have decided to wait longer in between their wash days in pursuit of happier hair.

As someone who used to be able to do this (a few years ago) with no issue and now feels bound to wash every other day, I've decided to try this out again for myself.

I have attempted this previously, but as soon as I take my hair down to re-braid it two days after washing it, my scalp just feels so sensitive and I can really see how greasy my roots are. There is inevitable itching as well. I'm worried that as someone who experiences sensitivity and greasy roots, and as someone who also applies oil before washing, would stretching my washes be overkill? I've also suffered from scalp psoriasis in the past.

I'm basically wondering if you guys think it would be better to train your scalp to cope for a while or to just listen to it when it feels like it needs a wash (and if it is better to train my scalp, how could I cope with the unsightliness of my hair in the meantime?!)

Looking forward to hearing about your experiences and any tips and tricks!

Do you leave it braided until you wash? Or do you take it down everday?

lushfanatic
December 7th, 2018, 04:23 PM
Do you leave it braided until you wash? Or do you take it down everday?

I take it down only to comb and rebraid it in the morning and evening.

maborosi
December 8th, 2018, 01:56 AM
My scalp cannot handle this anymore, and I find that I get pretty miserable acne.
To be honest, any benefits of stretching washes has been lost for me. :(

I can wash every other day, though.