Here’s What Happens if You Stop Washing Your Hair

 In Medusa News

With so much time on my hands, boredom is creeping in. My online shopping habits have increased. I tell myself it’s because I’m supporting the economy, but secretly, I’m just hoping the postman will hang around long enough for a chat!

But seriously, it’s also giving me plenty of time to explore some trends and subjects we haven’t talked about here before. This subject was actually inspired by my housemate, who revealed last week that she hasn’t washed her hair in three months!! If you’ve just done the calculations, you’re right, she started her experiment back when life was business as usual. So I decided to get some facts on this whole ‘No Poo Method’ (short for no shampoo), anti hairwashing beauty trend.

Is skipping shampoo a good idea?

Yes and no. The good news is that skipping shampoo is better for your hair. Shampoo works by binding with the oil and dirt in your hair, washing away when you rinse. Unfortunately, most of us wash our hair way too often. Frequent shampooing often strips away too much oil to the point where you start producing extra oil to compensate. So when you stop shampooing, your hair will look and feel more oily, especially if you have straight hair, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. From a health and social perspective, there are some critical factors to consider before taking the leap.

What can you expect over time?

In the first week or two, your hair may become excessively oily. In just a few days of not washing your hair, you may experience some scalp inflammation. This looks and feels like pimples on the scalp, and can be tender and uncomfortable.

After a month of no shampoo, the oil will have caught a substantial amount of dead skin cells, dirt and possibly even bacteria. Your scalp may become itchy, develop scale or pimples, which are all an indication that bacteria is present.

After six months to a year, all that dirt and oil can clog up your hair follicles, which can prevent new hair from growing and, over time, ultimately lead to hair thinning or even hair loss. Eek!

What’s that smell?

Ok, now let’s address the elephant in the room, stinky, sour-smelling hair. This is definitely the grossest part of this shampoo-less trend, but if you’re considering taking the plunge, it’s something you need to know. 

Not everyone experiences unpleasant-smelling hair, and I can confirm that after three months of no washing, thankfully my fine-haired housemate isn’t even giving off the slightest odour. 

But if you’re someone like me who has thick, dry hair and exercises heavily daily, you might want to consider whether this trend is for you. After a week or two, your hair will almost definitely start to smell a tad funky. 

What about hair colour, extensions and styling products?

Believe it or not, hair extensions can help to protect your hair by preventing the overuse of hot tools and styling products. You’re less likely to tinker with your hair with extensions in place. 

Due to a rapid buildup, styling products are not recommended unless you plan to merely reduce the frequency of shampooing rather than going cold turkey.

You’ll be happy to hear that if you’re lucky enough to have a scent-free head, your colour WILL last a lot longer. It’s the water that strips colour and vibrancy from your hair, rather than shampoo. Washing and rinsing your hair less often will ensure your hair colour lasts longer.  

Who should try the ‘No Poo’ method?

Women with fine hair or those with naturally less oily locks usually have more success going shampoo-free. Curlier hair, too, can often survive — and thrive — without frequent shampooing.

This method involves transitioning to not shampooing at all, only rinsing your hair with water and the occasional vinegar or clay rinse.

What if you just want to reduce washing frequency?

This is called the ‘Low Poo’ method. If you do decide to take this less radical approach and just cut back on shampooing. the low poo method means you still have longer gaps between washing your hair, but you use a natural shampoo when you do.

Note: dry shampoo should generally be avoided. While rinsing your hair with water will still leave some oil on your scalp (which is what you want), dry shampoo will absorb all the excess oil away from your head, which is the opposite of what we want.

If you have shifted to a ‘No Poo’ or ‘Low Poo’ lifestyle, let us know how you are going!

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