8 Things That Happen When You Stop Washing Your Hair Every Day

Washing Your Hair Every DayIt used to be the norm to shampoo, rinse, and repeat every single morning. But now that blowout bars—and dry shampoos—have exploded in popularity, women are going longer and longer between washings. (I've personally racked up a full week between shampoos to eke out more mileage from my blowouts.)

Of course, hairstylists and colorists have been stressing the benefits of a more leisurely shampooing schedule for years. "Washing every day is too much. You need to give your scalp a chance to balance out and be the best it can be," says Elle Kinney, a hairstylist at Livian Salon in New York City. "Going two to three days between shampoos is better, but if your hair never seems to get oily, you can go even longer." Here's what to expect when you lather up less.

1/8 Your hair won’t be as dry.

Our scalps naturally produce sebum—aka oil—that, if left alone, will hydrate the hair. But daily washing removes the good stuff. "Talk about a great hair mask!" says Kinney. "This sebum is just as important to get silky strands as any conditioner you can purchase."

2/8 Your hair will be shinier.

You can thank those overachieving oils again. "Hair will certainly be more lustrous when given time to renew in its own oils," says Kinney, who suggests making the most of your natural reserve by using a flat boar bristle brush to distribute the oils from root to tip.

3/8 Your curls will be softer and more defined.

"Curly hair tends to be drier because it is much harder for the oils at the scalp to make their way to the mid-lengths and ends," says Kinney. "Not washing every day allows the hair to be nourished, which will give you much silkier curls." Her tip: On day two, help those oils move through the hair by massaging your scalp with your fingers, then use them to comb through to the ends.

4/8 Your hair color will look better and last longer.

Nothing will make your colorist shudder like telling her you to shampoo your hair every day. "Hair color is like clothes: The more you wash them, the more worn out and faded they become," says Will Francis, a colorist at the Sally Hershberger Downtown salon in New York City. "It’s the same for your hair—the less you wash it, the more vibrant it will be."

The main culprit is actually the water itself. "Even if you didn't wash your hair with shampoo, the water alone would make your hair colors fade," says Francis, who recommends going at least a few days between cleanings. When you do suds up, use a sulfate-free formula specifically designed for color-treated hair—and a lower water temperature. "Using cold to lukewarm water will help color from fading," he says. "Hot water can open up the cuticle, causing the color to escape."

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5/8 Your blowouts will go the distance.

The longer you wait to shampoo after a blowout, the longer your $40 investment at the salon (or 30-minute time investment at home) will last. To keep yours going stronger, longer, ask the stylist to use minimal styling products in your hair and avoid oils entirely. Then, apply a little dry shampoo like John Frieda Luxurious Volume Volume Refresh Dry Shampoo at your roots the following day (and each day after) to soak up any oil produced by your scalp. On the final day before shampooing, pull your hair into a simple ponytail to rack up another day before washing and restyling.

6/8 It may aggravate dandruff.

It might sound contradictory, but excess oil can cause an already flaky, itchy scalp to worsen, says Annie Chiu, MD, a dermatologist in Redondo Beach, California.

7/8 You may get some product buildup.

When you use a lot of styling products, they tend to stay on your scalp if you’re not washing them away regularly. This could lead to dullness and visible residue. If you’re going longer than a few days between shampoos, you could even end up with an inflammation of the hair follicles. "This feels and looks like pimples on the scalp, and can be tender and uncomfortable," says Chiu.

To get rid of excess product, New York City hairstylist and co-founder of Fox and Jane salons Lorean Cairns recommends washing with a gentle clarifying shampoo once a month. "Clarifying shampoos are the best way to get rid of the buildup of any kind,” she says. “Just be careful not to overuse them, as they can dry your hair out." Try Hair Food Root Strawberry Ginger Root Cleansing Shampoo.

8/8 your hair may look greasy.

For all their benefits, natural oils can also cause unwashed hair to inch towards greaseball territory, particularly if you have fine hair. "What happens when people stop washing their hair hugely depends on their hair type, and for some people, it can leave hair oily and flat," says Cairns. The good news: No matter your hair type, it gets better! (If you do have thin hair, try these 10 gorgeous and simple hairstyles.)

"When you strip the oils from your scalp and hair, your scalp will overproduce oil. But over time, it will begin to produce less," says Cairns. "The first couple weeks may be difficult, but your scalp will adjust." While your scalp is "in training," Kinney suggests camouflaging any greasiness by pulling your hair into a sleek ponytail or topknot on the day(s) after a wash.

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