No Time to Wash Your Hair? No Sweat!

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Years ago, leaving hair unwashed was a sign of poor hygiene, and extremely frowned upon. Fast forward to today, and fortunately those days are long behind us! Hair experts agree that most women’s hair might actually be the healthiest when it is left unwashed for a few days. And not just that, but it actually LOOKS better if some of the hair’s natural oils work their way into our locks – this allows hair to have more volume, hold curl and styling better, and give a more natural bounce. So yeah, not only is this great news for helping us to look our best, but boy does it help streamline the getting ready process. Mornings can be stressful, and styling our hair EVERY SINGLE DAY quickly becomes one of the biggest pains in the you-know-what that we have to deal with. Things get even worse when we are trying to balance an already crazy busy schedule in which other priorities just have to reign supreme over our hair. But fear not, for no longer should getting ready, washing, and styling your hair have to slow you down and stop you from getting in your run or workout!

Why Skip the Rinse?

Let’s look first at why hair actually benefits from less washes. First of all, there is absolutely no medical reason you need to wash your hair. Unlike clean skin (which is made from cells that are alive) hair is “dead”, and so no amount of oil or bacteria will actually “hurt” you. But as you are aware, opting to never ever wash your hair again will definitely not help you if you want to have friends or look even remotely socially presentable in public. Shampoo products help remove dirt, sweat, and odors. That’s a good thing, especially for us runner chicks. However, the hair naturally produces oil from the base glands on the hand (called sebaceous glands) which help keep hair silky, moisturized, and looking shiny. Now, some of us struggle with hair that may tend to get a little OVERLY oily – in which case, the excessive shine ain’t really valued. But to an extent, we all benefit from hair’s natural oils because hair that is heavily moisturized will not be as dry or frizzy, even if it is hot and humid outside. Oil also serves as a protectant, as a physical barrier between the hair and damage caused by humidity, heat, (curling irons, curlers, straighteners, etc) coloring and dye, and wind. But what if you don’t naturally produce as much oil as some other people do? Then you probably have a pretty dry scalp, and maybe even a tendency to see flaking and itching. Again, shampoo may actually exacerbate dry scalp conditions, (as well as some other dry skin conditions, including eczema) when used too often.

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What Should I Do Instead?

Instead of lathering up and washing your hair with shampoo every day, consider cutting back to just a few times a week (folks with extra dry hair really only need to wash once a week even, unless you just really can’t handle that mentally…). If you want to feel the effects of your hair’s natural oils doing their job and keeping your mane moisturized but are worried about the runner’s head stench that inevitably comes when you are grinding it out during a grueling training season, you can simply rinse with water between washes. A simple H20 rinse will cause all of your dry scalp and flaking issues as well, as it will just as easily remove dandruff as a shampoo product. If you are hesitant to make such a drastic change from shampoo to nada, consider incorporating dry shampoo into your routine. Instead of a liquid, dry shampoo is more of a powder that absorbs oil (kind of like baby powder, but not nearly as dense, and white – you won’t have to worry about coating your head in a different color!). Dry shampoo can work wonders for folks who have really oily scalps, and it usually smells great too and can help deaden any questionable stench you’ve got going. How to apply dry shampoo: once your run or workout is complete, hop in the shower and just rinse your head (dry shampoo works on dry hair as well, – which is great if you styled your hair and only sweated near your roots so you want to clean up but not lose your style – but it doesn’t remove dirt because you don’t rinse it out, so if dirt is involves, you definitely still want to rinse with water). Once out of the shower, spray your scalp and crown with dry shampoo, then blow dry, and carry on!

But Wait… What About Conditioner?

Okay so we have already touched (erm… dissed?) on the effects of shampoo on hair. But what about conditioner? If you opt out of washing and even rinsing your hair, will your hair miss the conditioner? The main benefit of conditioner is how smooth it makes your hair, and how much it helps get out tangles and make your hair easy to comb through. We’ve all been in that terrible situation after a run when we go to take our hair down out of its ponytail or up-do and realize that we have a big, knotted mess. Obviously, these are the situations in which using conditioner is probably imperative in helping revive your hair. Conditioner also has protective qualities, similar to the hair’s natural oils, that help prevent extensive damage. Your hair will likely benefit more from “co-washing” (aka using just conditioner instead of both shampoo and conditioner) so you might consider changing up your routine to doing that every couple of days instead of using both products. But we still stand behind the fact that your hair doesn’t need a full condition every day! Save yourself some time, pack some dry shampoo in your gym bag, and get to work every day having gotten a kick ass work out in AND showing up with enviable locks!

Sources

  1. Chrissy Callahan, How often should I wash my hair? Here's the down and dirty truth, Today.com, Apr 11, 2018
  2. Zawn Villines, Should you wash your hair every day?, Medical News Today post, Oct 28, 2017
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