For all of my adult life, I have taken pride in maintaining my personal hygiene by showering and washing my hair at least once a day. There are a few reasons behind this. For one, I really like the idea of not smelling like hot garbage. For two, not having hair that looks like I dunked it in a 50 gallon drum of bacon grease is something I value dearly.
It turns out my daily hair washing practice has been an act of scalp deprivation. Scalprivation, if you will. If you won’t, then you may want to stop reading here. All this time, I thought I was doing my fine, thin hair a favor by keeping it so fresh and so clean, clean. In reality, I’ve been forcing my scalp into a crazy codependent spiral that results in it looking like it rained on my side of the bed after one night of sleep.
I had set a goal this year to create better habits for myself. Mostly because flossing was on that better habits list and when I eventually find the courage to go to the dentist, I want to be able to say without conviction that I floss daily. Didn’t last long. Maybe a week. My gums still bleed when I even think about flossing, so very little progress has been made there.
In other news, I’m bathing less. This may sound easy and straightforward, but wow, it is not. Training my scalp took time, patience and a whole lot of conversations with my therapist. Okay, there was only one, but I believe the day I told her I washed my hair daily was the one time I’ve seen her show the slightest bit of disappointment in me, and I’ve told her some shit.
Change your state of mind.
After the judgement subsided, she encouraged me to look at it from a different perspective. Up until now, I’ve despised the smell of dry shampoo because I associated it with being dirty and in turn, felt dirty. But what if it didn’t have to feel dirty?
So I tried. With the hair products I already had, my mind was made up. They were all gross and there was no hope in that changing. Since I was trying to look at these products from a different perspective, though, I was hopeful about the next new product I introduced to my scalp.
Invest in hair products you trust.
I’m very lucky to have my best friend as the ultimate Hair Master Guru Expert Know All Extraordinaire. Elizabeth is a talented hair stylist who has been gently nudging me in the direction of washing my hair less with positive affirmations and passive suggestions. She’s also trying to convince me to love my curls. LET’S TAKE THIS ONE STEP AT A TIME, OKAY?
Being friends with someone whose career is based on making other people feel and look beautiful means I’ve been introduced to oodles of products I didn’t even know existed. Did you know that people put gold on their faces? That there’s water for your face that doesn’t come from the faucet? Do you know how many lip colors are too many?
I’ve been through a slew of dry shampoos and I HATED THEM ALL. Like, really hated. They are garbage, and regrettably contributing to the deterioration of our sweet, fragile little ozone layer. I’d feel better about the Earth dying due to my hair products if they didn’t smell and work like complete shit. I complained about this in my group chat with Elizabeth and Amanda.
Elizabeth came to Chicago for a hair show and casually introduced me to Moroccan Oil in the form of a 6 month late birthday gift. At what point does a late birthday gift become a half birthday gift? Half or not, it was fully thoughtful because the Moroccan Oil Dry Shampoo for Dark Tones has a scent that I don’t associate with trying to cover up the showerless sin I’ve committed. I actually called it a scent and it. smells. delightful.
Elizabeth is also a Gold.Key for Kevin.Murphy and wow. It has changed my life and my self care budget. Forget saving for retirement. So long as my hair always smells like Kevin.Murphy products, I’ll work for the rest of my life. Needless to say, I’ve finally found hair products I trust and would open mouth kiss if they were humans. I hope Kevin is never near me because I’m coming for him with mouth wide open. While I talked about ruining the ozone earlier, Kevin.Murphy products are cruelty free (PETA certified) and leave a minimal carbon footprint. Life is all about balance. BLESS UP.
Use less conditioner, you double conditioning freak!
When I was a 10 years old, I was the only female in the house. Surprise! These are the years you start developing and refining your neuroses! As the only female in the household, it became clear that males find no value in conditioner (or nail polish remover, but that’s another story.) When I would find conditioner, it was like the discovering the golden nectar of the hair gods. I coveted these moments and conditioned 2 times for maximum softness. Pantene Pro-V layers of buildup for days.
That never stopped. I’ve been a double conditioner since then, but have since upgraded from Pantene. Some would say I classically conditioned myself to double condition. Great. Annnnd I’m salivating. Curse you, Pavlov.
Have patience and forgiveness.
It was not an easy road. Seeing my hair greasy makes me feel gross. And by gross, I mean anxious. Greasy hair is a creative contribution to my anxiety. ANXIETY DOESN’T HAVE TO MAKE SENSE.
I started my dirty hair journey while people were talking about April showers bringing May flowers. What it brought me were less showers. It was a challenging time to try and fit in with all of the shower talk, and I had many pep talks with myself as a result.
The most important thing you can do for yourself is remind yourself that this is not forever, and it will get better. When all else fails, avoid the mirror and avoid touching your head. It will only make matters worse.
Success won’t come without heavy doses of creativity and strategy.
In an effort to avoid touching my hair to “fix” it, I had to get creative. I made a purchase of cute headbands that don’t look/smell like my multitude of work-out headbands. They’re actually super cute and every time I wear them, people ask where I got them. I got them from my bad influence friend, Prime. Amazon Prime. Know her? She’s got this allure about her when it comes to shipping times. The other great part about Amazon is that I am part of their affiliate program. This is my way of saying that if you click the links below, I can benefit from it.
Here are my top 5 must have products to keep me and my hair on the same page:
The headbands I got are so dang cute. You get 4 different headbands in a set and OMG they cover greasy roots like a dream and don’t hurt your head.
I’ll be honest, I try not to rely on headbands or hats much unless it’s the weekend because it’s pretty much a contractual agreement for the entire day. At work, I prefer having my hair down or pulled back which means I need to be smart.
Here’s my hair day strategy:
Day 1 Morning: Shower, condition ONCE, wear hair naturally curly and dry with a diffuser or straighten (natural tends to look better on day two)
Day 1 Night: Before bed, spray roots of visible problem areas with dry shampoo. Mine are my hair line and the cowlick on the back of my head. Sleep on a satin pillowcase. It reduces frizz and is great for curly hair. It also keeps you cool at night and is much cheaper than silk.
Day 2 Morning: Spray visible problem areas with dry shampoo and let sit while you get ready. Once it’s time to do your hair, massage your scalp like you would while washing your hair. Style as necessary and never look in the mirror again. I typically use a curling iron on day 2 and make beachy waves. Some days are more successful than others. It really depends on the humidity.
Day 2 Night: If you exercise every other day, today is the day you’ll want to do that now. Either way, don’t do anything to your hair. Pretend it’s not a thing. Unless, that is, you’re looking to go for another day of dirty hair. In that case, repeat Day 1 Night and Day 2 morning.
Day 3 Morning: OMG YOU MADE IT. SHOWER YOURSELF IN SHAMPOO GLORY. Make sure you really scrub your roots with shampoo to get out any build-up then rinse and repeat this strategy.
Here’s to bathing less and healthier hair. I’m now 3 months into healthier, dirtier hair, and I can finally say that I’ve trained my hair to go a day between washes. Now, if only I could train my dog to quit shitting in the house, we would really be in business.