Cut the Dry Shampoo

Alternatively titled: Girl, Wash Your Hair

It wasn’t that long ago it seemed as though a movement was happening – a dirty hair movement. Dry shampoo was taking over, and women everywhere have gained hours back weekly by simply avoiding the task of washing, drying, and styling their hair.

My first experience with dry shampoo was actually when I was in the hospital in 2011. It was a longer stay, and it was way too long before I got a proper shower. Shower cap shampoos that are available in the hospital are terrible (and there is a specific method to them in order for them to not be as terrible). My wonderful sister-in-law brought me something I’d never used before: Suave dry shampoo.

As I started infertility treatments, my hair and skin became dryer, and my hair stylist told me I should stop washing my hair every single day. My hair is fine, but thick, and has always been oily. Adding dry shampoo helped some, but my hair never felt clean. I consistently used Batiste and Living Proof, and while it definitely cut down on oil, my hair still felt kind of gross, and almost more oily the next day.

After doing some research, I realized the unthinkable: I should not be using much dry shampoo at all.

Wait! Why?

Using dry shampoo sends the wrong message to your scalp. It soaks up the oils, so your scalp is like “Oh hey, I see you’re kind of dry. Here’s some more oil! I guess we need to produce more next time!” Dry shampoo does the opposite of what we want when we’re trying to train our hair to produce less oil so we can go longer between washes.

Dry shampoo can lead to hair loss. YES THAT’S RIGHT. It sits on your scalp, and the longer it does, the worse it is for your hair. Which leads to…

Going too long between washes can lead to skin conditions. Buildup of oil and products (including dry shampoo) can irritate your scalp, and sweat sitting on your scalp can cause a fungus. Everyone is different here, so if you notice your scalp is irritated or you sweat more, you may be someone who needs to wash more often.

How to go longer between washes

Don’t stimulate your scalp to much when you wash. Use a light hand. I know, it feels good to really get in there, but stimulating your scalp isn’t the goal. Just do enough to wash out any buildup. Look into using a clarifying shampoo.

Focus your conditioner on your ends, not your scalp. Most people already know this, but your ends are what need that conditioner. Your roots are (typically) taken care of.

Brush with a boar bristle brush before you wash and at night to bring some of the oils from your scalp down to the ends of your hair. This prevents buildup and keeps your ends healthier.

Avoid using dry shampoo until you really feel like you need it. If you really need it, you may need to wash soon to avoid that pesky buildup.

Everyone has different hair and different skin, so ymmv. Your friend may be able to go two weeks without washing their hair, but you may not! Listen to what your scalp is telling you, and take it slow when you’re trying to go longer between washes. But some of us just need to face it: we might just have an oily scalp that needs washing more frequently.

Are you a dry shampoo lover?

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7 Comments

  1. March 19, 2019 / 5:50 pm

    i’ve always felt hot + cold on the dry shampoo fad, but kinda glad it’s mass produced so i don’t have to use baby powder or cocoa powder anymore 😂 my hair gets nasty if i wash it too often, but my bangs get a little greasy, which i’m hoping doesn’t mean my forehead is greasy……..

    • March 19, 2019 / 5:59 pm

      COCOA powder??! I haven’t heard of using that before!
      Everyone has their ideal frequency of washing, it just seems kind of ‘trendy’ to push it beyond the point of healthy lately. For me, three times a week is ideal right now. I may be able to go longer as I get older and… well… dryer.
      Do you touch your bangs a lot? I mean, they’re touching your face (whether or not your face is oily) so it makes sense that they’d get more oily than the rest of your hair.

      • March 20, 2019 / 11:39 am

        hahah yeah, cocoa powder! at one point my cousin was like “hey you know, it smells better and it’s closer to the actual color of your hair!” i do tend to touch my bangs a lot, you’d think after forever they’d just naturally stay out of my eyes, but my hair grows so fast that they’re a perfect length for like. four days.

  2. Emelia
    March 19, 2019 / 6:42 pm

    I only Use it maybe once every week ?!?? Used to use it way more but noticed I’m okay without using it that much. Interesting points here!

    • March 19, 2019 / 7:48 pm

      Sometimes I have to on my three-day hair, but I wash that night! It’s amazing how my hair usually feels BETTER without it!

  3. April 2, 2019 / 1:54 pm

    I have dry skin, dry scalp, and dry thick hair, so I am an infrequent shower-er. In my recent shingles recovery, I was soaking in a bath daily and getting part of my scalp wet (since my shingles are on my left ear and along my hairline), but I went six or seven days without actually washing my hair. I was so weak and fatigued that my one shower at the beginning of my shingles was the shortest of my life (shampoo only, body soap only) and I still almost passed out afterwards from the effort.

    And yet my hair still looked fine the entire time. My scalp felt fine, aside from where the shingles broke out.

    It is really interesting to see how different everyone’s hair is. My sister-in-law has thick hair too, but an oily scalp. I think she washes her hair every other day and uses dry shampoo on the off day.

    • April 3, 2019 / 9:03 pm

      Oh yeah, it definitely depends on skin and hair type! And a short-term use of dry shampoo is totally understandable. I just hate to see people attempting to go two weeks without washing their hair because they saw someone else do it, when they have a different kind of hair type! I actually know someone who saw some hair loss because of buildup. :-\

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