I don't wash my hair. Yes, really.

January 31, 2012

A few weeks ago I mentioned in passing that I don't wash my hair. It causes a ruckus every time I dare speak it aloud, starting with, awhaaaaaaat? and finishing with, no way. Yes way. And I'm going to tell you all about it (and throw in a shout out to my hot and sexy girl coconut oil at the end), but first I feel I must disclaim:

The following in no way constitutes a self-care plan that anyone else should try. This is not advice. Full stop. I'm pretty sure my hair is some sort of hair-unicorn, a hairicorn so to speak, and what works on my future-shirt I cannot emphasize enough, might not work for anyone else. Caprice?

[And to those of you who repeatedly insist I am lying, why the HELL would I go out of my way to convince you I don't wash my hair? By all accounts that's something you should hide not tell everyone you know. No secret conspiracy here, man, just more manageable hair.]

So, hey! That's my hair.

I've been on a mission to grow my hairs into a breast-covering shirt, so it's getting quite long, nearly a shirt size, even. In the past few months I've had a breakthrough revelation. Taking care of hair this long is completely different than maintaining a shorter style. I've changed all my routines and I've been amazed at the results, things which would have never ever worked for me when my hair was shorter make life with long hair so much easier, which is critical because I absolutely need more help being as lazy as possible.

Here's the deal, and I'll elaborate because we all know I'm really good at the elaborating part:

1. I don't brush my hair. I mean, maybe once in the morning if it's looking ultra kooky.
2. I don't wash my hair. I did last month with a new shampoo and I curse that woeful day down to the tips of my toes. It whacked out my whole jam and I'm still recovering.
3. The end.

When I say "I don't wash my hair" it's sometimes misunderstood because of the no-poo/no-shampoo thing that's going around. That is NOT what I do. I have no problem with it, it's just alternative shampoo for hippies, but when I say I don't wash it I mean really not wash it. Hell, I don't really even get it wet. I protect my hairicorn with a shower cap.

I believe part of the reason this works is that my hair is incredibly incredibly thick. Allowing it to get on the "greasier" side helps tame it down into something I can stand to work with. To be honest when it's freshly washed it's an absolute monster. My stylist de-bulks it every time I come in (not often enough) but suffice it to say, I have a lot of hair and frizz/fluffiness is my absolute pet peeve.

This is my hair today, day thirty-something since I last washed/wetted it:

...and that is me, failing at taking my own picture. TRY AGAIN.

Okay. Better. Smooth moves, idiot.

(These pictures are during the iffy transition period. While not terrible, it got a whole lot better. For full after photos, go here or visit the update link at the bottom of this post.)

So, this is thirty-something days since last wash. I had it pulled back this morning and took it down just for this picture, so it ain't lookin' all fancy-fance, I mean that's not like... how I "style" my hair or something, that's just what it's doing right this second.

Your questions answered:

Isn't it greasy?
No. And I have no idea why. I quite literally do nothing to it. My hair and skin in general run drier than the damned saharah so it's possible I'm just really lucky. The first week after I wash/rinse I actually find it much too dry and frizzy. It doesn't hit the sweet-spot until week two/three.

Does it smell, you know that gross "hair" smell?
No. It smells like... nothing. I did get that "hair smell" a lot before though, when I was using products on it.

So you don't use any products?
Not really. If I'm curling it or straightening it I add some protective spray, but that's pretty rare. The only thing I regularly apply to it is coconut oil, magic coconut oil, but we'll get to that in a minute.

Is your scalp itchy?
Sometimes? Not significantly more than I've ever noticed before.

Other tips for life with long hair?
I've had to change things I did for years to start treating my hair more gently and avoid breakage. I don't really brush it, I treat it as carefully as I can. Basically, I try to stay out of its way and it rewards me by looking more awesome than ever before.

•  I do not put my hair up in a towel when I get out of the shower. It was causing a huge amount of breakage on the "underneath" hairs which looked hideous when I put it up. Long hair people- stop doing this. It's so so so so bad for your hair. Now I lay a towel over my shoulders like a cape and pat it dry. Mysteriously since starting this new routine it also dries twice as fast. I'm not complaining, it used to take it hours and hours.

•  I sleep with it in a braid/s. Partially this is to "help with breakage" but truthfully I kept waking up with it wrapped around my neck like a noose and it was really starting to freak me out. My hairicorn has a murderous mind of its own.

Thirty days later the ends still look a little floofy dry to me. Call in - the coconut oil.

Coconut oil, baby.

Coconut oil is a straight up miracle. I use it on my hair, I use it on my face, I use it on my body. You can read full details on its powers here, but let's talk about the hair part because we're talking specifically about hair. I apply organic virgin coconut oil (find it in the cooking section) to the lower half of my hair as a conditioner and moisturizer.

When your hair is super triple long the oil from your scalp is no longer able to filter down to the ends and provide them with protection hence- split ends, dryness, general medusa head. I massage a heaping teaspoon all up in my lower half a few times during that first post-wash week to tame as necessary. While it feels oily at first (during application) within an hour the moisture is absorbed and that feeling goes away, leaving my hair strong and flexible. It was freaky scary the first time, but nothing terrible has happened, in fact I'm very pleased.

Warning: Do not apply it to your scalp! (SARAH.) Especially if you have a "regular" scalp-oil situation going on, it will be an oil-slick. I mean, it's oil.

Coconut oil can be an excellent natural replacement for conditioner or just a fun "spa" style deep-conditioning treatment every once in a while.

...more on coconut oil's magical magic

I also use it as a face wash. It is a gentle makeup remover and healing cleanser. I massage a scoop onto my face, pressing firmly and giving it the ol' one-two for as long as I can stand. Then I wet a towel with very hot water and steam the oil away, wiping gently. IF you do this properly the oil will not stay on your skin, in fact afterward sometimes my skin feels too dry. If you don't wipe/hot enough dirty oil will remain and totally fuck your shit up. Be warned.

I have been a life long sufferer of EXTREME scaring eczema. I have been using coconut oil as a body lotion and BAM. Fixed. I could cry.

Moral of the story:
Do not fear natural oils. Love the oil, respect, and appreciate
the powers of the oil. All will be well.

Also, PS, I don't wash my hair and it's never looked better or been easier
to take care of, SUCKERSSSSS, in YO FACE.


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