When it comes to not washing your hair, there's pretty much an endless list of good and bad things that can happen. On the positive side, shampooing less often means moisturized strands, and way more time in the morning. But if you don't wash your hair — even for just a day or two — all sorts of weird things can happen. I'm talking smelly smells and greasiness galore, as well as a slew of other odd side effects.
Of course, what happens when you go sans shampoo is totally dependent on your hair type. As celebrity hair stylist Scott Yance tells me, everyone's texture is unique and thusly every type of hair requires different care. If you aren't sure what's best for you, "consult your stylist about how often you should be washing your hair to maximize its health, volume, and shine," he says.
The general consensus, however, is that shampooing every day isn't a great idea. But if you're prone to oiliness, the thought of not showering for just a day can send shivers down your spine. Ever wondered how bad (or good) dirtier hair can get? Then read on for some of the interesting things that can happen when (and if) you decide to skip the shampoo.
1. Your Hair Can Look Thinner
For some lucky ladies, going a day or two without shampoo results in gloriously thick and voluminous hair. But for others — especially those of us with fine hair — even just a touch of excess oil can have quite the opposite effect. When fine or thin hair goes unwashed, it can start to stick together and look even thinner, according to Richard Mannah, stylist and International Artistic Director for label.m USA. (As someone with grease-riddled hair, I can totally attest to this.)
2. Annoying Ingrown Hairs Can Crop Up
You may have experienced ingrown hairs on your bikini line, or in your armpits. But did you know you can get them on your scalp, too? This is all thanks to oily hair and leftover product, Yance tells me. "The longer you go between washes, the more dirt and oils will build up on your scalp, which can ... cause ingrown hairs (dry shampoo can also be a culprit!)," he says. Not cool.
3. You May Turn Into A Dust Magnet
If your hair has been looking a bit fuzzy as of late, it could be that your unwashed strands are attracting dust. Although it looks like dandruff, those white flecks are actually debris form your hat or pillow, according to Mannah. If this starts happening on the regular, it may be time to dip into the shower.
4. Hair Dye Can Slide Right Off
If it's been a second since you washed your hair, keep in mind dirty strands can affect your dye job."When coloring with demi-permanent color, hair needs to be clean and toweled dried, per manufacturer directions," says Jeff Stumps, salon owner of Artkiteks, in an email to Bustle. "Oily hair won’t allow the color to penetrate through the build-up evenly." So give your hair a wash before dyeing, or ask your stylist for tips.
5. Things Can Get A Bit... Musty
Go a day or two without a good shampoo and you may notice your hair starts to smell a bit... off. "It's a musty and oily smell, which isn't pleasant at all," Mannah says. Of course, it's not the end of the world and certainly doesn't mean you have to rush to the shower. But if the smells starts to bother you, a quick spray of dry shampoo should absorb any odor.
6. Your Manicure Can Last Days Longer
OK, time for some good news. If you skip washing your hair every single day, you may notice your manicure lasts longer. That's because hair washing strips off nail polish, according to Thumbtack event hair and makeup pro Chantelle Hartshorne. "I can’t tell you how many times I’ve finished up in the shower only to find those little chips missing from the tips of my nails," she says. Does this happen to you, too? Then shampooing less often may be just what your nails need.
7. Frizziness Will Be A Thing Of The Past
If you can go two days without washing your hair, you may be able to reach that perfect level of oiliness for frizz-free hair. As George Gonzalez, owner of George the salon Chicago, says in an email to Bustle, "This is very hard for most people, but try to rinse your second day and only condition." It may seem counterintuitive — especially if your dirty hair gets frizzy like mine does. But for many people, this trick really does work.
8. Highlighted Hair Can Be Magically Rehydrated
Yes, greasy hair can make dying your strands difficult. But there's also evidence that oily hair can be good for dyed hair. (Yay, another benefit.) As NYC-based master hairstylist Nicole Descoteaux says in an email to Bustle, "My own hair can hit a dry spell after highlights, so I'll let it get all oiled up from my own oils — which is like a natural conditioning treatment." Pretty sweet deal, right?
9. Actual Dandruff Can Develop
I don't know about you, but I associate dandruff with a dry scalp. So it doesn't exactly make sense that dirty (read: oily) hair can lead to flakiness. And yet it can happen — especially if your hair leans to the dryer side of things. As Yance tells me, dandruff can crop up when you go a few days without conditioner. Hopping in the shower, and giving your strands a good dose of moisture, can help clear up the problem.
10. You May Start Collecting Scents
In the same way oily hair can attract dust, it can also attract various scents from the air. "So if you’ve been out at a bar or to the gym recently, your dirty hair is going to let everyone know," Hartshorne says. As someone who frequents pungent coffee shops and greasy food joints, I can totally relate.
11. Your Hair Can Start To Fall Out
Don't let this one freak you out, because you aren't likely to go bald. But if you overuse products, and then don't wash them away, it can lead to an unhealthy buildup on your scalp. And "a congested scalp will ... bring on loss of hair," says NYC-based stylist Jenna Mast, in an email to Bustle. Using a little less dry shampoo, and making sure to cleanse regularly, will prevent this from happening.
12. Things Can Get Downright Itchy
If you aren't used to going a few days sans shampoo, you might notice a tingling itchiness creeping its way across your scalp. As stylist Jen Bennett tells me, this happens because dirtier hair takes some getting used to. If you feel itchy, wait a few days and you should adjust to the difference in texture.
13. It'll Look Beyond Great
If you're already in the know about dirty hair, then this one won't seem weird to you. But for those of us who have never gone a day without shampoo, the idea that dirty hair can actually look better can be quite surprising. As senior stylist Jill Engelsen says, "It's strange that I used to think my hair had to be clean to look good when today I literally hate my hair clean because it is always overly silky and flat." Have you never given it a try? If not, then it may be time.
But remember, how often you wash (or don't wash) your hair is completely up to you. If you want to rock second day (or third, fourth, or fifth day) hair, then go for it. It's not guaranteed your hair will get greasy, sticky, or smelly without a wash. But if any of the above weird things happen to your hair, feel free to shampoo it up as often as you please.
Images: Pexels (14)