7 Days Without Washing or Brushing my Hair!

   reading time: 13 min

Today I want to share something very personal with you: One week of my hair, and how I get away with washing my hair only once a week – without looking super gross for six days straight, haha!

(And yes, I still wash my body every day. I just don't wash my hair unless it's "wash day"!)

Now some of you are probably thinking:
Why on earth would I want to wash my hair only every 7 days?!  😱

And that's a very fair question. I am aware that a lot of people (mostly people with very thin, fine hair) wash their hair daily and couldn't imagine washing their hair less often than that – let alone on a weekly basis because their scalp gets greasy very quickly. However, there are also a lot of people (mostly people with thick, curly hair) that only wash their hair once or twice a week and would actually get greasier hair by washing it more often! This is because their hair – like mine – is very dry to begin with, meaning it can easily absorb the scalp's natural oils (which makes it look healthy, not greasy) and also gets super frizzy when being washed too often.

Seven days sounds like an impossible amount of time without washing or even brushing your hair for someone who doesn't necessarily have my hair type (I'm a mix of 2B and 2C in the front, and 3A to even 3B in the back). Yet for some types of afro curls for example, even 2–4 weeks or longer is the standard, and their hair loves it – it needs it! Anna from Pretty Shepherd for example washes her knee-long hair only once a month! and she has straight hair.

Reasons not to wash your hair every day:

Did you know that w
ashing and shampooing your hair too often will strip your hair of its natural oils and dry out your scalp? As a result, this causes your scalp to compensate and overproduce oils, leading to oilier hair! Therefore, most people are misled into washing their hair more frequently.

This is also the reason why I only use a wooden hair brush and comb on my hair, which help to distribute those natural oils. And by the way, being a curly girl I also only brush my hair right before washing it, so usually once a week! I actually wish I could brush it daily (it massages the scalp and stimulates hair growth), but unfortunately brushing makes my hair extremely frizzy and fluffy, and it basically makes me look like Hagrid! And that's not an exaggeration.

In other words: The more often you wash your hair, the faster it gets greasy, and the more you push the days out between the washes, the more you'll find your hair producing less oil!

It is generally recommended to limit the amount of washing your hair to 1-2 times a week instead of everyday. Gradually decrease the frequency of hair washes by one day each, so if you currently wash your hair everyday, start washing it every other day, then every three days, etc. BTW: I would recommend training your hair to go longer between washes during your holidays or something where you can stay at home for two weeks or so, that way you don't have to face anyone with your greasy mess :)

Another reason for washing your hair less often is of course to save money (your products will last longer because you won't have to use your shampoo and conditioner every day), and to save time! (At least in my case, brushing, oiling, shampooing, conditioning, rinsing, detangling, and styling with gel or hydrating hair products takes ages!!)

How I get away with it:
Well first of all, I live in Germany, i. e. a country that only gets about a month of actual sunshine and heat each summer, if we're lucky, and it is mainly a mix of rain, cloudy sky, and a moderate temperature of about 15–20 degrees most of the time (60–70 F). Which in turn means that I don't sweat a lot, except for the occasional workout or rare heat wave. During a heat wave – or on holiday in a tropical country – I usually wash my hair every three days, or even daily.

The most important rule to keeping your hair as clean as possible is to avoid touching your hair, especially your roots! Just like touching your skin makes you break out, running your fingers through your hair all the time will transfer sweat, oils and dirt onto your hair. Therefore: Hands off! (Or at least wash your hands before touching your hair.)

Another important aspect to maintaining clean, healthy and frizz-free hair is to wear your hair in a protective hairstyle as often as possible to prevent any damage. In my case, I always sleep with my hair in a braid, and I also rarely wear my hair down. Instead, I usually put it up into a bun or a braid, or at least a half updo.

Speaking of braids and buns: Once your hair is past its best days, avoid displaying your roots or parting your hair, as this is where the scalp's oils build up and are visible first. To cover up your roots and disguise slightly oily hair / a bad hair day, wear a hat, a thick headband – or just but your hair into a big messy bun on the top of your head. A messy French braid also works well for me in this case.

If your scalp / roots get simply too greasy to feel comfortable (or sociable) during the week, you could also use dry shampoo to absorb the oil and help extend your washings. I personally don't use dry shampoo, or only about twice a year maybe, because it causes build-up. (In that case I just rub a bit of cornstarch into between my fingers and work it into my roots for a quick fix.)

My favourite quick fix is to wash my bangs (or the front section of your hair that frames your face) in-between since this is another place where your hair quickly gets greasy. I wash my bangs every few days in the shower (with the rest of my hair in a bun so it doesn't get wet; use a shower cap to avoid frizz), and I've also washed my bangs in the sink before. This is an easy way to freshen up your hair without having to wash your whole head!

Other than washing my bangs in-between "wash days", I don't really do anything to my hair. I know that some people add a bunch of products in-between to style and freshen up their curls, but I don't do that because I feel like the build-up will cause my hair and scalp to get sticky/greasy a lot sooner.
So I guess, my tip here is to limit your hair styling products. The only thing I do is spray my hair with my DIY rose water to moisturise it (maybe every other day or so), and then sometimes I take a squirt of pure aloe vera gel, rub it between my palms and distribute it in the length of my hair to further moisturise my dry hair when it gets very frizzy (maybe once or twice a week).

When it is time to wash my hair, I make sure to give my scalp a deep cleaning! First I brush it all out (by the way, if you wash or brush your hair as seldom as I do, don't worry if you see a lot of hair coming out – that's because it hasn't had a chance to fall out yet because it has been sitting on your head for the past week), then I oil it, focussing on my scalp and also the tips of my hair (I use a homemade blend of hair growth-promoting oils for this), then I shampoo twice to remove any dead skin or build-up focussing on the scalp rather than the hair itself (I will often use a combination of my DIY clay shampoo and a store-bought natural shampoo). Following that, I usually condition the length of my hair, rinse with AVC or kombucha, and finally I spray my hair with either rose water or rice water to add some moisture back into my curls. Sometimes I also use a store-bought gel or leave-in conditioner. Your individual hair care routine depends on your specific hair type!


But enough talking! Let's take a look at how I "style" my hair in-between wash days :)

One Week of My Hair:

DAY 1: Wild 'n Free
I usually wash my hair at night (on "Day 0" so to speak, also known as "wash day", lol), letting it air-dry as much as possible before going to bed, and the hair will still be damp sometimes, so it finishes drying during the night while I sleep. The next day (which I count as "Day 1") I usually wear my hair down because later on in the week my hair will be too frizzy or starting to get greasy at the roots, which is why you'll see me wearing my hair up more as the week progresses ...

You might notice that my hair is looking a little bit "flat" on Day 1. This is because it is still weighed down by the products I put in before, during and after washing. This will change on days 2 and 3!

DAY 2: Twin Braids

Having said that I usually wear my hair down while my hair is still nice and "fresh", I do like putting my hair into Twin Braids (either French braids or Dutch braids aka Boxer Braids) around this time for two reasons:

1) I find that later on in the week I don't want to show my middle part any longer, as this is where it gets greasy first (this is why I only wear one regular French braid later on, to cover up my roots).
2) It re-defines the natural curl pattern of my hair just in time for my "best hair days" and protects it from any damage! BTW: I always wear my hair in a simple three-strand braid for the night for that same reason.

If you want to know how to braid your hair into double braids like this, check out my quick tutorial for The French Twin Braids (No 3). This also show how much my hair has grown since May 2020 😉


DAY 3: Half Up Bun
Personally, I find that my hair is usually nicest on Day 3 and Day 4! As you can see, it is much fluffier and lighter than on Day 1, and I am back to wearing it down – or rather, half up half down. Whether short, shoulder-length, or as long as my hair is now, this half updo / bun situation is basically my signature hairstyle ('cause I'm lazy and I like my routines, lol).

You really don't need a tutorial for this "hairstyle" – just gather the top part of your hair and wrap it into a messy bun –, but if you want something like a how-to, it's basically The Half Updo (No 2) combined with The Man Bun (No 1).

DAY 4: Half Up Twist
Yes, I do love my half updos! This time it looks a little more put together, although it's really no effort to do. All you do is twist the front part of your hair (The Side Twist, No 2) on both sides of your middle part – or where it would be –, then tie it together at the back of your head with an elastic. I also then flip the tail of the little "ponytail" onto itself and wrap it around the elastic, as I describe more in-depth in The Twist Back (No 1) for a more elegant looking finish.

If your hair is starting to get frizzy at this point, massage some aloe vera oil into it! That's what I did. To re-define the curls, use your fingers to twirl, curl, or coil your hair ("finger coiling"). BTW: Twisting your hair back – rather than just pulling it back into a bun or ponytail – actually helps to hold your curl when you let your hair down at the end of the day.


DAY 5: Ponytail with Braided Bangs

We're past the halfway point now, and I'm starting to pull up my hair again. This actually used to be my go-to "hairstyle" during college: A simple ponytail with braided bangs on both sides. Takes literally two minutes, but looks way more stylish than a "regular" ponytail. You can either just put your bangs (or the front strands of hair) into two bangs on each side of your middle part, and incorporate them into your ponytail (similar to The Braided Headband, No 2), like I did. Or you could go one step further and actually braid your hair into one or two Dutch braids (The Braided Bangs, No 7) which you then blend into your ponytail.

I can't be bothered, so I just do the fuss-free version of this. Plus, this gives me the option to wear my hair down later that day, if I feel like it, and secure the two braids with an elastic at the back of my head, just like with the Half Up Twist above, but with braids instead! Two in one, eh?


DAY 6: French Braid
While the "braided ponytail" used to be my college go-to-look, the French braid has become one of my go-to hairstyles over the past few years. I never used to be able to do this on my own hair, so I sat down to practice a couple of times, and now I absolutely love how the classic French braid looks combined with my tousled curls!

I prefer the laid-back look to the perfectly neat look, so I always make sure to leave a few tendrils at the front unbraided to frame my face, and to gently pull apart the braid itself to loosen it and achieve that slightly romantic bohemian look. 
BTW: Don't you agree that my Day 6 hair almost looks "cleaner" than my Day 2 hair when it was still being weighed down by the moisturising and curl-defining hair products?! (I tell you, it's because I cover up my roots that are beginning to get a little bit greasy by now 😉 And it's also because both my styling products from the wash day and my scalp's oils have been naturally distributed into the length of my hair by now!)
Be honest! Would you have guessed that this is Day 6 hair?


DAY 7: Messy Bun & Head Band
Lastly, on Day 7 my hair definitely starts to look like it needs a wash, so I make sure to cover up my roots with a messy top bun (The High Bun, No 5 – but make it messy) and a head band (similar to The Headband, No 3). If you have a larger head wrap that will actually cover your entire head – except for the bun sticking out, kinda like this – the better! If you don't have a head band, you can simply use a silk or cotton scarf to wrap around your hair or your bun, like this. That way, no one will know your – literally – dirty little secret, haha.

I'm not a big hat person, but if you feel more comfortable with your scalp completely covered up, you could just throw on a hat like I did with The Hat Piece (No 4) and call it a day.

I'll be honest, on Day 7 I don't feel particularly comfortable with my now pretty dirty and frizzy hair that is begging to be washed, lol. But the health of my hair is of great importance to me, and I also know that if I were to wash my hair on Day 6 instead of Day 7, it would be greasier sooner, which would gradually force me to wash it on Day 5, then on Day 4 etc. Just like you would train your hair to go longer between hair washes without getting greasy, just the other way around! That's why I usually try to stick to the seven days, even though I do wash my hair more regularly when I'm super sweaty or dirty that day.
Speaking of dirty ...

If you are curious, here's a picture of my hair on the night of Day 7:

As you can see, it's not terribly greasy, but definitely much frizzier, shaggy, straggly and less defined than in the beginning, and certainly ready to be washed thoroughly!

So there you have it: One week of my hair without brushing or washing it.

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