Gee, Your Hair Smells … Unwashed.

Well, the good news is, I’m still here and have yet to be served with any sort of cease, desist, or sue paperwork as fallout from that quite popular Don’t #Tell Dell blog. Was I worried? Yes. Am I still? Of course. Still, a blog that resonated with so many probably is host to a lot of truths.  

Following that winner, I had a few weeks of “What the actual eff is wrong with these people?” added to my life which spawned a request for some lighter writing. That request came mostly from inside my head in a desperate plea to point my brain away from endless pretend conversations that started with “What the actual eff is wrong with you?!” 

For the record, those pretend conversations went very well for me as witnessed by anyone sneaking a peek into my car at most stoplights in my tiny town.

So, hello. Something lighter.

Three months ago, I stopped washing my hair. 

I mean, no, not totally. But mostly. 

Like (probably) the majority of the world and (for sure) the male part of that world, I have been a daily hair washer for as long as I can remember. Plus, as a very, very amateur athlete, I often ended my days with a bit of sweat-head, so the thought of just leaving it be didn’t really seem like a great idea.

I don’t know when the worldwide campaign for less hair care began, but I suspect it took off in conjunction with TikTok or Reels or Stories or Boomerangs as members of the We Skip the Shampoo camp found a platform to recruit participants. I don’t know when I gained interest in this camp, but history (my own) says it was during a time of spiked stress when I needed something to occupy my bandwidth that had nothing to do with whatever I was dealing with. 

Who says avoidance isn’t a great coping mechanism?

Could I join this camp of non-washers and land in the world of luxurious locks? Doubtful, but I’ll try anything once (and then a few more times because I’m stubborn). Did I run out and buy the variety of expensive products recommended by those influencers? No. I’m 52 and, as mentioned before, walking into Sephora or Ulta is like walking into a foreign country (see Lip Service). 

Instead, I just jumped straight in (or out?) by kicking down my washes with a well-planned,  drawn-out titrate: 

  • Week One: Every other day shampoo
  • Week Two: Shampoo every three days Eff that. I immediately lost track of which days were wash days and which weren’t and invented Sunday Sudsday. Sure. A once-per-week wash. That will be easy. 
  • Week Three: Was I drilling for oil? I bumped myself back up to two washes a week and consulted my favorite hair guru (hi, Kristi) who suggested a bottle of baby powder and a water-only rinse for sweat-head.

Today? Months later? Holy hell, my hair is basically having the best day ever every single day

Well, almost every day. Ironically the non-best days are typically the ones immediately following the full wash regiment. 

I do stick to washing my hair just a few times a week though the number of days in between is totally dependent on whether my hair smells funny. Okay, just kidding. I haven’t figured out the specific tell-tale “You need to wash that pile” algorithm yet but sometimes it is hearing my husband ask quite nicely, “So…when’s that next wash?” 

I had read that when transitioning from daily washings, hair would go rogue in protest and then go more rogue as follicles adjusted to the new balance. Check! Yes. Those initial weeks were a bit, well, like wearing a cap of Crisco. I initially went wild with dry shampoo but that made my scalp itch which, I was told, was because most dry shampoos contain alcohol which dries out your head skin. Duly noted. 

I invested in a more expensive, alcohol and sulfate-free dry shampoo. I also (finally) invested in the baby powder recommended by my stylist (who humors me often). She did suggest the baby powder first, even noting that she just “Sprinkles a bit in the roots each morning and brushes it through.” She has amazing hair. Yet, there I was … insisting on a recommendation for a pricier dry shampoo because isn’t that what the influencers use

Today, the over-priced dry shampoo sits essentially unused. Baby powder for the win.

This is my current cadence:

  • Wash twice (ish) per week. On the day I am going to wash, I carefully (so much more carefully) throw in a few drops of scalp oil and go for that slicked-back bun. The first time, I overdid it and walked around looking like I’d lost a fight with a bottle of olive oil. Also, I rarely remember this step anymore.
  • Wash days are a bit more of a project as I use regular shampoo followed by a clarifying shampoo followed by either a light conditioner or a hair mask.
  • After towel drying my hair, I rub a teeny bit of hair thickener through and typically just throw it in a bun for the night after it’s mostly air-dried (a practice I’ve used for decades as it produces amazing waves).
  • Throughout the week, I grab that baby powder and work it into any zones that appear to be given into oil-peer-pressure. I may also hit the ends with some conditioner if they are getting wonky. Occasionally, I’ll grab the curling iron for a quick spruce-up. 

Friends, this works. 

I’m not kidding you when I say that my hair has never looked, felt, or smelled better. I mean, yes, obviously it smells mostly like a baby’s bottom, but still. I cannot tell you how many compliments I’ve gotten inside my home. 

I cannot tell you how many compliments I’ve gotten outside my home to which I’ve replied “Oh, thanks, I stopped washing it!

I also cannot tell you how quickly I backtrack from the look of horror as I quickly try to explain, “I was influenced!

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