I Didn't Brush My Hair For A Whole Week

by Melodi Erdogan

If there's one hair tool we all have lying on our bathroom counters, it's very likely a brush. But what happens when you take it away from your beauty routine altogether? You know, when you eradicate one of the most crucial tools for mane maintenance, and don't use a hairbrush for a whole week? There's only one word that came to my mind when I asked that question: chaos.

When it comes to my hair, I'm a relatively no-fuss, no-muss kind of human. I shampoo, I condition, and that's about it. My hair gets no special attention, with the exception of brushing. I brush my hair a lot, generally once when I wake up in the morning and before I go to bed just to tame frizz and relieve knots. I depend on my brush as a means to make my hair look somewhat put-together for work, events, and my regular day-to-day. But how much do I actually need it?

The thought of taking this basic element out of my beauty routine fascinated me. After all, some folks claim that not brushing can actually result in good volume and a renewed love for bedhead chic. So like a cave-woman living in 2015, I avoided grooming my hair for a whole week and let it do its own thing. Mostly because... I didn't really know what its own thing was.

In what I dubbed the #NoHairbrushChallenge via my recordings on Vine, here is what happened when I didn't brush for seven days.

A Little About My Hair

Before we dive in, how about a little back story on my hair? My dark brown mane is super thick and in relatively good shape (no dyes or chemical treatments have ever been done). It's slightly curly, and is long enough to cover my shoulders. It also has a tendency to get super frizzy, super quick, and it absolutely hates humidity. I most often blow dry my hair, and occasionally curl it. Or I'll simply leave it in its natural wavy state.

I also have a lot of hair — so much so that I'm used to shedding on everything, from food in the fridge to the corner of my bedroom. I went into this experiment knowing that for someone who loses a lot of strands on the daily like myself, brushing your hair is often considering essential for keeping things under control. But anyway, let's do this thing.

Day 1

On this first day, I took a shower early in the morning and combed through my mane. It would be the last time a brush would hit my scalp for seven days. I couldn't help but dread what was to come. It was going to be a long week, for my hair and for me.

The day was relatively normal, though, even sans brush. In the morning, I had stored my hairbrush in a cabinet so I wouldn't be further tempted. I then blow dried my locks without using my rolling brush, and although it wasn't as smooth as I would have wanted it to be, it was still decent for a night out. My anxiety was brewing already, and I wasn't exactly sure why. I mean, what was there to fear — besides knots?

Day 2

Monday was equally as uneventful in terms of my hair. I didn't wash it, and it surprisingly kept the previous day's style quite well. If you're trying to extend your hairstyle for an extra day, apparently all you have to do is avoid your hairbrush.

I left my hair down in the morning, and tied it up for the majority of the afternoon. Once I got home from the office and let it all down, I gave my scalp and roots a major scratch. Things were kind of getting... itchy. My brush would have been a better way to massage my head, but I stayed strong and avoided it. Doubtful I would survive the next few days, I got ready for bed in a somber mood.

Day 3

Talk about frizz. By Tuesday, my hair was dying for a good brush. I admit I used my fingers to comb through some knots that were forming at the back of my head, but I stopped because it was kind of grossing me out. I was pulling out globs of hair, my scalp was shedding skin and creating dandruff, and my hair was, in four words, a huge frizz ball.

Day 4

One of the hardest things to do in this life is go against something you have been taught to do, well, always. In this case, not brush my hair after washing it. I cannot remember a time when I haven't brushed my hair after bathing, so you can imagine how foreign this experience was. I hopped in the shower, did my thing, and tied my mane up in a braid. Then I let it down for work.

It was at this point that I was seriously wishing for my hairbrush back. While I know a lot of people don't need to brush their hair every day (and I hear that curlier haired folks can get away with one brushing sesh a week), it was looking like this was not the case for me. And my comfort levels, well, they were at a low.

Day 5

Don't worry, I didn't give in. But that doesn't mean I didn't want to. By Thursday, my hair had more volume and frizz to it than I had ever rocked before — but, like, not in that kind of cute '80s way. Also, I didn't even know it was possible to tie your hair within a knot, but, you know, there's a first time for everything.

My scalp was flaking yet again, and I was seriously craving an intimate moment with my hairbrush to massage my head. I've always believed in seasonal depression. But perhaps there's something to be said for breaking-from-your-routine depression, too.

Day 6

By Friday, I was so grossed out by my hair that I didn't even attempt to tame it. I was surprised that no one said anything about it at work, but appreciated that folks kept quiet. I didn't try to untangle the knots at the back of my head. I didn't even try to pull out the strands that were basically falling out of it. I just left it as it was, and counted down the hours until I could use my hairbrush again.

Day 7

You guys, I wanted to wait until midnight to use my hairbrush. But after my hair was in globs of frizz and knots and was falling out like crazy, I had to go for it at the end of the night. Its texture had been grossing me out, so I took a long, relaxing shower before bed and finally relieved my anxiety. Yes, I gave myself a hairbrush-scalp massage. And yes, it was splendid.

Does Not Brushing Your Hair For A Week Work For Anyone?

When I told my mom I was doing this experiment, she said that I was crazy, and then went on to add, "You know you're supposed to brush your hair for 10 minutes every night to keep it healthy?" when you have hair texture and type like mine. I rolled my eyes because that sounded like a mom beauty myth. Additionally, 10 minutes is just excessive. But what I really took from her mantra as well as this experiment is that in order to not be in a state of chaos, my hair needs to be brushed.

Over the span of the week, the major things that I noticed were how frizzy it got, how easily it was getting tangled, and how my scalp was very irritable. By Day 4, I could hear my hair begging for a good brush from root to tip.

Ultimately, the lesson here is that we all have different needs when it comes to our beauty routines — be it how frequently we brush our hair or choose to shave. For me, a brush is crucial. So rather than following all the hacks and tricks of the Internet when it comes to how to maintain my locks, I'm going to continue to do what makes me feel confident and positive. Hairbrush, I missed you.

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Images: Melodi Erdogan