View Full Version : To Wash Or Not To Wash... Opinions?

December 30th, 2009, 11:55 AM
Hello lovely people. :) I only joined this site yesterday, so apologies if there's one main thread for this somewhere else. I did search but couldn't find any one particular thread.

What are your personal opinions/regimes with regards washing your hair?

I shampoo and condition my hair daily, as I'm prone to both oily roots (hence shampooing) and dry everything else (my hair is very fine). I'm interested by the fact that lots of people here with gorgeous hair seem to only shampoo very occasionally or even never. Is that ever suitable for someone who does get to look greasy quite quickly? If I leave my hair for more than 24 hours without washing it it always looks greasy on top, and I hate that.

I'd love to be able to shampoo my hair less often, any tips? The only advice I've had from people before involves allowing your hair to be greasy for ages until your hair "gets used" to not being washed. I just couldn't bear that, I wish I could but I just can't cope with having a greasy head!

Looking forward to reading your advice and opinions on this matter. Thanks everyone. :)


December 30th, 2009, 12:06 PM
I had to work up to it. I started by just using conditioner in the shower every day and shampooing every other day. I can go 3-4 days without washing now. Sometimes brushing helps distribute some oils. Everybody's hair is different so what works for one person may not work for another. You'll have to experiment.

December 30th, 2009, 12:13 PM
I have hygiene issues with the notion of not washing my hair. We all know it takes soap and water to get rid of the bacteria on our hands that can make us sick, but what about our hair? Anyway, with that in mind, I wash mine whenever I think that it needs to be washed. It works out to about every third day most of the time, but I've been known to wash it more than once a day if I have reason to do so (got sweaty-dirty in the garden, for example). I definitely wash it if I've been around someone sick with the thought that if bacteria is in my hair, I might touch my hair and then my eye or mouth area or even food and thus make myself sick.

I protect the length from frequent washing by leaving conditioner in it, adding oil and sometimes coney serum, and diluting the shampoo (<~though haven't been doing that lately).

December 30th, 2009, 12:14 PM
Welcome, Lexi!

I'm afraid that washing less is the only way to be able to wash less. ;-)

You don't need to stop washing entirely. If you can tolerate greasy scalp for even a short period of time, try shampooing every 48 hours instead of 24. Stick with that until your scalp feels okay there, then gradually lengthen the period.

Also, on your 'off' days you could rinse your scalp very thoroughly to rid yourself of as much grease as possible. I find that various natural rinses often help to cut the grease, as well.

I have a very similar hairtype to you, including the oily at the scalp, dry on the length problem, and I found that cutting back on washings, plus adding some oil to the tips, REALLY helped.

Good luck!

ETA: Should say that I do wash every three days or so . . . my goal is to wash about once a week, with rinses in between. OF COURSE I wash my body much more frequently than this! I just throw my hair either up in a bun, or underneath a shower cap when I do. ;-)

December 30th, 2009, 12:16 PM
Some people find that fewer washes are just a matter of becoming accustomed. If you just start by washing ever other day, then every two days, etc. Some people can teach their scalps to produce less sebum doing this process so they can damage their hair less with shampoo and still avoid the greasy head thing. I am not one of these people. I found that using sulphate-free shampoo avoids the drying my hair thing but still allows me to wash daily, which my scalp just needs. Meanwhile, many people have success with doing what we call CWC. You put conditioner on your length before shampoo in effort to keep the shampoo more or less only on your scalp. Then, condition afterward. This can be a bit expensive but many people swear by it when they're not able to stretch out washes and they don't like sulphate-free shampoos. There are so many ways to care for your hair. Try one that seems the least different than what you're doing and preferably least expensive. Try it for a couple of weeks. If you like it, keep it. If not, try something else not-to-drastic until you find something you like.

December 30th, 2009, 12:19 PM
You get used to it - I used to wash every day too. Now I wash every 2 or 3 days. I just put my hair up or tie it back on the days I don't wash it. If I feel self conscious about oiliness, I sprinkle some baby powder or spray some perfume on my roots. Most people can't tell. Within a few weeks my hair got used to it and now doesn't get nearly as oily as it used to. It's healthier for your hair too.

*Rose Red*
December 30th, 2009, 12:28 PM
I wash my hair 2-3 times a week, with shampoo and conditioner. I do a co-wash if I have to wash it more often, for example after sports or so.

December 30th, 2009, 12:33 PM
I wash my hair with CO, ghassoul, shikakaipowder or dr Hauschka apricotshampoo once a week; I always use a very rich conditioner after washing.

During the week when I take a shower I only use my conditioner, so my curly, dry hair looks best. When I would wash more often my hair gets too dry and becomes less shiny.

Kris Dove
December 30th, 2009, 12:43 PM
Since joining the forum, I've managed to successfully cut my washes from every 24 hours to every 48 hours. Do it gradually- you might even want to try 36 hour periods between washes till your hair gets used to that. I used talcum powder and did bangs-only washes for the first month or so too, to get me by that awkward stage while my scalp was adjusting. And if I'm going somewhere on day 2 and want to wear my hair down and have it look good, I just wash it again, then skip the next day.

I washed it yesterday and I'm wearing it down today, and it looks good, and not greasy. I'm considering letting it wait till next year for a wash now... ;)

December 30th, 2009, 12:45 PM
I was my hair once or twice a week. Usually it's just with conditioner (CO) and often times it's also after an overnight oiling with coconut oil. There are occasions where I will use shampoo, but only if I really feel I need to. Shampoo is sulfate free and conditioners are silicone free. My hair is porous and needs any moisture it can get whenever it can get it. My scalp gets dry so it likes the moisture, too. There are other times where I'll just wash my hair with water and nothing else, but that's only increased in frequency lately as I need to go to the store and get a new bottle of one of the conditioners I have in my repetoire.

December 30th, 2009, 12:49 PM
Wetting hair weakens it temporarily. The process of drying can cause damage, especially if you rub your hair with a towel or blow-dry. (You should follow the recommended longhair techniques for how to dry your hair anyway). If you wash+dry less frequently, that means less damage. Another reason to wash less frequently is that the best thing for your hair is its natural sebum. Conditioner just fakes it, and often not very well.

Of course, everyone's hair is different. If your hair is thick and coarse, you can get away with all sorts of things that would kill hair like mine. I wash once a week, and I haven't used shampoo or conditioner in months. It took me five weeks to spread my washes out--I used to wash every other day. My hair is in a much better condition now. Your mileage may vary, as they say.

December 30th, 2009, 12:51 PM
Some can get used to washing less. Others cannot. You just have to try and see if it works for you or not. I tried washing less for a few months. It was a disaster. My scalp is oily and my hair ended up just greasy.

CWC works great for me. Condition length-wash scalp area-condition length.

I usually wash every other day. Sometimes every day.

December 30th, 2009, 01:04 PM
I'm one who can't escape daily (or nearly daily) washing. I've tried. My scalp wouldn't allow it. It was an itchy, oily, flaky mess that I scratched until raw and bleeding in my sleep.

So, that being said... I shampoo twice a week. On Friday with a regular, off the shelf shampoo. I can usually skip a day entirely after that. Then, on Monday I shampoo with a non-sulphate shampoo. Right now I'm using handmade soap from my farmer's market. Just about every other day of the week I give my hair and scalp a good scrub with conditioner and that keeps the oil at bay and my scalp from itching.

December 30th, 2009, 01:10 PM
I was like you before joining LHC. Now I wash twice a week, and CO. This has helped my hair a ton. CO keeps my hair nice and soft and less dry. I started out by only washing my hair every other day. It was greasy at first, but after a week or two, it was no more greasy every other day than every day. I gradually stretched my washes further and further apart. Now, I could only wash my hair once a week, but it'd be a little too greasy for my preference. Just start by not washing every day. It'll be greasy at first, but eventually your scalp will produce less sebum, and you won't need to wash it every day.

CO is nice because it doesn't repeatedly strip a ton of your natural oils out of your hair, therefore causing it to over produce, and then your hair becomes greasy again! It's a vicious cycle.

Because I went CO, I was no longer scrubbing out all the build up that cones cause. Going cone free has made my hair very happy, and allows me to do a CO routine.

You may be able to do a CWC easier. Coat your hair in conditioner, usually from the ears down, and do not rinse! Then apply shampoo to your scalp only, and scrub as usual. Rinse all out. Then apply conditioner as usual. This would allow you to keep cones, which may be good as no everyone can get by without cones. This method will help keep your length from getting dry, and keep your scalp clean.

December 30th, 2009, 01:17 PM
I wash 3x a week and my hair is fine and tends to get oily at the scalp. Corn starch (or baby powder) helps keep the greasies at bay.

I do believe that daily wetting can be too harsh for fine hair types. I've tried stretching further, but didn't like it so now I stick with every other day during the week (M-W-F). I still have to wear it up on the 2nd day or use the corn starch.

December 30th, 2009, 02:30 PM
I'm yet another who's going to tell you to give CO washing a try. The real key is just to make sure you rinse the conditioner out really thoroughly. And then rinse some more.

For me, CO removes the scalp greasiness (and over-oiling residue on the length), but if anything it makes my length more moisturized. I started spacing out my washes sometime after I started COing... I simply found that if I waited til my hair got greasy before washing it, the greasiness started taking longer to start. Now I can wash maybe 1-2 times a week in the summer, and about 2-3 times in the winter when my oil production increases.

December 30th, 2009, 02:38 PM
I also think you should try CO.

December 30th, 2009, 02:40 PM
I tried stretching washes, but gave up when I started experience extreme itchies and scalp sensitivity. I now wash every 2-3 days, with a heavy overnight oiling before washing to protect the length. My scalp stays happy and my ends stay moisturized this way, and by using a gentle shampoo and good conditioner I make sure that the cleaning doesn't wreck my fragile hair.

ETA - I did find a conditioning technique that keeps my fine hair from showing greasies - I only apply conditioner to the length of my hair, then comb it through. As I comb, a teensy bit of the conditioner is distributed onto the hair near my scalp so that it's easier to comb, but not enough to weigh it down. I also find that keeping my hands away from my hair keeps the greasies at bay.

December 30th, 2009, 03:09 PM
Some people seem to find that using gentler washing methods reduces the oil production on their scalps and allows them to extend their time between washes.

I am not one of those people. I have tried many methods, for 2-4 week stretches, and generally end up with a greasy scalp that has little pimples all over it. I can dilute shampoo a lot, which I think helps my length from drying out, and allows for the detergent to get all over my scalp and not just on the top. As my hair gets longer I try to wash less (because it's a bother), but I shampoo and condition (with :shock: a sulfate-based shampoo, and often with a coney conditioner) at least every other day.

December 30th, 2009, 03:32 PM
Hello lovely people. :) I only joined this site yesterday, so apologies if there's one main thread for this somewhere else. I did search but couldn't find any one particular thread.

What are your personal opinions/regimes with regards washing your hair?

I shampoo and condition my hair daily, as I'm prone to both oily roots (hence shampooing) and dry everything else (my hair is very fine). I'm interested by the fact that lots of people here with gorgeous hair seem to only shampoo very occasionally or even never. Is that ever suitable for someone who does get to look greasy quite quickly? If I leave my hair for more than 24 hours without washing it it always looks greasy on top, and I hate that.

I'd love to be able to shampoo my hair less often, any tips? The only advice I've had from people before involves allowing your hair to be greasy for ages until your hair "gets used" to not being washed. I just couldn't bear that, I wish I could but I just can't cope with having a greasy head!

Looking forward to reading your advice and opinions on this matter. Thanks everyone. :)


Hi Lexi,

Welcome to LHC :p

I cannot help with advice on stretching washes as I have not really ever tried to do so. I know it's already been mentioned but I would also like to recomend CO washing (using conditioner only).

Personally, I CO wash every day of the week (I'll sometimes skip a day over the weekend). I do this because I am trying to lose weight and therefore working out every day. My scalp gets sweaty and hot and so does my body. I just can't stand feeling unclean, so I shower. For me a shower is relaxing and I don't want to bother with trying to bag my hair or keep it dry. I also cannot stand it if my hair smells stale, which it would get if I let the sweat dry on it or went more than a day or two without washing it. When it's dirty smelling it actually makes my eyes itch!

My hair is like yours, scalp prone to oiliness showing up and length very prone to dryness. So my way of washing is to use conditioner only on most nights and then I use shampoo and conditioner 1 or 2 nights a week. I use a cheap, cone-free conditioner (V05, Suave, or White Rain) and really rub my scalp and areas prone to oiliness. If you let the conditioner soak on your scalp for a couple of minutes this should clean away the oil and dirtiness. Because my hair is prone to dryness, I follow up with a second conditioner which is heavier and moisturizing. Sometimes, I'll use a cone-free one, other times a conditioner containing cones. I like to let the second conditioner soak on my hair under a shower cap while I shave my legs, etc. Then I rinse and get out and apply a leave-in to my length (sometimes the leave-in is cone-free other times it's coney).

Other tips:
If you decide to CO wash you will need to have some product to clarify your hair when it starts to feel gunky. Many people simply use a cheap SLS shampoo, like Suave. I do use SLS shampoo like one time at the most per week. I also use shampoo bars or non SLS-shampoos instead sometimes as they do seem to do the trick of cleaning. However, if the hair is extremely tangly and build-up the SLS shampoo works the best.

Like others have noted, try to be gentle with your hair especially when it's wet. Try to finger comb and use a wide seamless comb for detangling.

Remember, shampooing is not necessarily evil... when your hair truly needs it, it's fantastic!

Hope this helps!

December 30th, 2009, 04:11 PM
Over the past few years I've gone from daily shampooing to several times a week shampooing, to CO washing, to no-poo back to washing 2-3 times a week...
My hair was super dry no matter how little I washed it or how much I conditioned it... so that's when I decided to try CO washing. After that my hair still felt dry on the ends so I tried no-poo for 2 years I think. After the adjustment process, I liked the way my hair felt and it was less dry. I did rinses almost daily with sometimes a little baking soda and ACV... My hair would go "off balance" very easily, if I used too much baking soda, my hair would over compensate and grease up... I ended up going back to shampooing because it was too much work making my hair look "washed" while not washing. My hair did look a little dull though and the back of my head got greasy at times (but my ends were still dry!)
Now I'm back to shampooing 2-3 times a week... I discovered my dry crunchy ends I've had for years were due to a lot of protein buildup... I had focused on putting as much moisture as possible into my hair over the years I probably had not clarified it in 6-7 years! Once I clarified and switched to no protein products, the crunch and dryness has drastically improved.

So my opinion on not washing... it made my hair less dry but it was too much work to make it look clean... My current routine of 2-3 times a week seems to be working.

December 30th, 2009, 06:28 PM
I wash every 5 days, using Logona Beer & Honey or Dr Hauschka Apricot & Sea Buckthorn shampoo and Dr Hauschka conditioner. I sometimes do a CWC wash, and sometimes just a S&C.
The thing that helps me best with stretching washes is keeping it up more. If it's down, I touch my scalp and length more often (adjusting it and keeping it out of trouble ;)), which leads to more grease, more quickly.
I'm hoping to stretch my washes to be every 7 days.

December 30th, 2009, 07:06 PM
We have pretty similar hair types and hair issues. I now shampoo twice a week, but it has taken a bit of time and a few routine changes to get there.

When I started stretching washes, I went from once a day to every other day. Sometimes I still got my hair wet on day 2 and put conditioner ears down. Otherwise I wore a shower cap and maybe sprayed some leave-in. With sulfate poo I could only get so I wash every third day.

December 30th, 2009, 07:23 PM
Lexi- I'm new here, too, so I don't have a zillion tips like some of these ladies. That said, I have had BSL hair for most of my life (so I know a little). When I'm growing my hair, I try to wash no more than every other day. Right now I wash 3 times a week (Tues, Thurs, Sat). On Saturdays I do a pre-treatment with lots and lots of coconut oil, then wash with a regular shampoo and condition. The other two days I use moisturizing shampoos when I wash (Neutrogena Triple Moisture Cream Shampoo) and a fairly thick conditioner.

I may change it up a bit as I've been playing with oils during my vacation and really love jojoba. I'd like to wash only 1-2 times a week if I can manage it. Every person's hair is different, but I honestly don't think anyone NEEDS to wash their hair every single day.

December 30th, 2009, 11:56 PM
Every other day, shampoo and condition. My hair didn't benefit from stretching washes; it just felt uncomfortable to me.

December 31st, 2009, 12:11 AM
The last couple of weeks I've been washing my hair every day with a shampoo full of sulphates. It's bad. Now my ends are all dried out.
It doesn't need to be washed, I just like to hop in the shower after a long day at school - I'm learning how to become a chef, so I do smell like food, but my hair is not greasy at all. I'll have to see if I can stretch it out to once a week again. Until then I'll just CO, I guess. Must be better for my poor dried-out ends.

December 31st, 2009, 12:13 AM
As long as my scalp is happy, I'm happy. That's how I decide when and with what to wash my hair.

I have dandruff (or something like that. My scalp flakes. :shrug:), so most of the stuff I choose to use to wash my hair (ACV, eggs, honey, catnip) is naturally antimicrobial. It just so happens that these things do a pretty darn good job washing and conditioning my hair as well, so I don't really worry about it. Especially because I wear my hair up every day for convenience, so really - besides a happy scalp and non-repulsive hair, I don't need much more. If I know I'm going to wear my hair down or going to a ritzy event, I'll use a shampoo bar or liquid shampoo 'to be sure'. (See, eggs typically clean my hair pretty darn well, but it can be dependent on what I've eaten lately or what the water's like. Detergents and soaps are more dependable.) Also, to note, ACV tends to make my hair look greasier than it is (though makes it very soft), but I'd soooo much rather have a happy scalp than fluffy hair, so I use it anyways. Nothing works like ACV.

So I end up washing my hair about once a week, the extent to which my scalp is happy and my hair isn't noticeably greasy in the state I present it. Sometimes in the middle of the week I give it a WO or tea rinse just for the heck of it. Mostly I just pay attention to my hair and adjust accordingly. After a while you get to know what'll fix your chronic hair 'ailments', like winter dryness or itchy scalp.

December 31st, 2009, 09:26 PM
Every person's hair is different, but I honestly don't think anyone NEEDS to wash their hair every single day.

I think an exception to this could be a swimmer or someone who tries to do high intensity physical activity working up a sweat everyday, like myself :p At least my New Years resolution is to work up a sweat exercising EVERY day of the week... and there's no way I would skip my CO wash after that because I'll just be a hot smelling mess.

December 31st, 2009, 09:51 PM
I shampoo and condition my hair daily, as I'm prone to both oily roots (hence shampooing) and dry everything else (my hair is very fine).

I don't know if this will help or not, but since everything else is dry, I would recommend leaving conditioner on the ends while shampooing. When you shampoo, use a very small amount-- with the harsh detergents in most shampoos, you don't need a lot at all to get a good lather. The conditioner on the ends will protect the rest of your hair from drying out due to shampooing regularly. It may help to leave some in at the ends as well! They might be thirsty.

Good luck!

December 31st, 2009, 10:14 PM
I wash my hair every other day. I really don't like the look or feel of it when it hasn't been washed for a while. I've had problems with the hair getting oily fast for as long as I can remember. It looked better when I colored it lighter though. CO doesn't work for me.

December 31st, 2009, 10:20 PM
I find it helpful not to try to literally count the days between washes. If my hair needs to be wash, I will wash it. BUT!! If it does not, and I still take a shower, I can just put it back, or just do a water only rinse. I try not to force myself on a schedule but follow my body's natural clues!

January 1st, 2010, 10:01 AM
I actually prefer my hair dirty/greasy, because it's so much easier putting it in braids that way. When it's clean it kinda falls out because its so slippery.
That said, my scalp starts to bother me after a while if it isn't clean - especially in the winter. I get horrible flakes if I don't use scalp oil between washes. So what I look for is a kind of balance. I try not to wash my hair until I absolutely can't stand it anymore (say once every 5 days). But I don't always use conventional shampoo, lately I've been using soapnuts and they make a really good non-stripping wash for my hair and clean my scalp very well.

Like someone else already said, the only way to wash your hair less often is to wash your hair less often :p

January 1st, 2010, 01:47 PM
Hi there! You've gotten a lot of good suggestions, and it's made me sort of think through my own journey. I have fine hair, and when I first came to LHC, I had a very oily scalp, Shampooed and Conditioned very day, etc. Now I shampoo and condition the whole length once a week, and just do a scalp only wash if my hair needs it on another day. I tried CO washes and they worked for me for a little while. Once my length got more established scalp only washes were a huge help. That way I could clean my scalp and feel refreshed without tearing up my length or having to wait FOREVER for my hair to dry. If I need to detangle the length or want to protect dry ends, I have been using coconut oil. I also oil my whole length the night before a wash. I think that's it...

Oh. Also it is really important to destribute your hair's natural oils, so after detangling I will use a boar bristle brush once a day to help destribute the oils. Ok.. now that's it. Hope it helps :)

...joyful :flower:

January 1st, 2010, 03:28 PM
Well, I didn't follow a lot of the advice here and just jumped right in to stretching washes. I went from shampoo and conditioning every day to once a week. However, I was doing a lot of heavy physical work outside in the summer and living in the high desert at the time, so I needed to do something to refresh myself in between, so I started Water Only (WO) in between my CWC washes. By jumping right in, my transition period was painful and oily and gross (I just kept my hair back in a french braid and wore a hat, which my boss wanted me to do anyway because of the sun) but it was fairly brief. It only took about three weeks before my hair got used to the new routine and is very happy now. I've decreased the WO to two or three times in between the CWC now, since my hair is more used to it and I'm not getting as sweaty and gross in the winter as I was in the summer. If I start feeling a little greasy in between wash days though, I just wet my hair down and give it a good scritch. Keeps everything happy :)

January 1st, 2010, 05:21 PM
Hi Lexi,

Welcome :) I worked up to it, I S&C'ed every other day, then slowly worked up to 2x/week, Sunday and Wednesday now. In between, I've tried CO washing/going cone-free, but my hair will always need silicone, and need to be shampooed (... as a result).