How to stop washing your hair so often: Retrain your hair, quit shampoo, and cut down on grease

About two years ago, I was totally frustrated with my hair.

Back then, I’d have to shampoo my hair every morning because, by the afternoon, my roots were greasy, and the ends were just so awful. Dry, ragged and not smooth at all. Washing my hair on a daily basis meant blow-drying and styling my hair on a daily basis too–this added to my loathing, especially in the colder months when I couldn’t get away with letting it air dry. It was an annoying cycle with no end in sight.

I remember researching techniques for how to retrain my hair so I wouldn’t have to wash it as often, but I don’t recall finding anything that gave me step-by-step instructions on how to achieve this, which is why I thought I would share my phased approach.

At present, I currently wash my hair twice a week – on Mondays and Thursdays. Compared to previously washing it anywhere between five and seven days a week, this decrease has hugely improved my morning routine and also in the quality of my hair – my ends also no longer look so frazzled.

Phase 1 –  Washing every other day

I think the first step when retraining your hair is to reach a point where you’re only washing your hair every other day, and on the days you don’t wash, your hair doesn’t look oily at all. This phase can take a while depending on your hair type–I think it took about three months for me.

  • During this phase, I would shampoo my hair only on Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings and style as usual
  • On Tuesdays and Thursdays, I would segment and spray my roots with dry shampoo. Then I’d put on a shower cap and hop in the shower while the dry shampoo did its magic.
  • On the weekends, I tried to avoid washing my hair completely. I think this part was particularly crucial because I’d have two full days of not washing my hair. On Sundays, it didn’t look awesome, but I’d slick it back into a high ponytail and run my errands.

After a few months of following this routine, I started to notice that I didn’t need as much dry shampoo on Tuesdays and Thursday – my hair just wasn’t as greasy. Some days, I started skipping it completely, and that’s when I figured my hair was ready for Phase 2.

Phase 2 – Washing every two days

During this period (which lasts much longer – maybe six months), I decided to reduce the number of washing days from three to two. I also started a few other tricks that I think extended how long I could go.

  • I washed my hair on Mondays and Thursdays, and instead of one shampoo, I would do two. For the first shampoo, I’d use anything that I had on hand. For the second, I’d use Head & Shoulders Clinical Strength (it’s in a navy bottle and comes out a violent orange color!). I found that double shampoo approach really helped get my hair clean and remove dry shampoo. With conditioner, I found the biggest improvement for me was to only put it on my hair below my ears – nothing on my roots.
  • I also spent a bit more time blow drying my hair on these days so it was smooth – I found this also helped me extend how long I could go.
  • On Tuesdays and Fridays, I wouldn’t do anything to my hair – I’d wear a shower cap in the shower and brush it when I got out. That’s it. It didn’t look greasy.
  • On Wednesdays, it definitely was greasy and I would use dry shampoo. Similar to before, I’d segment my hair and spray all the roots.
  • Similar to what I’d do previously, I avoided doing anything to my hair on Saturdays and Sundays. If I was going out with girlfriends on a Saturday night, I’d use dry shampoo, but most of the time I was just hanging with my husband, and I left it alone.

Phase 3 – Maintenance and the future…

I’d say I’m in Phase 3 now, but I would like to shave another shampoo day off my schedule. I’d love to be able to wash and style my hair only on Sundays, like older ladies who go to the salon once a week, but I just can’t seem to find the right approach. While I’m still doing most of the steps I mentioned for Phase 2, I’m trying to make small changes here and there.

  • Unless I’m going out on Wednesday, I don’t usually use dry shampoo anymore. My Wednesday hair still looks slightly oily sometimes, but dry shampoo is no longer necessary, and I’ll usually tie it up.
  • Similarly, unless I have to, I tend to avoid blow-drying my hair, and instead let it dry naturally. This is more to cut down on heat damage.

On the whole, I’m really happy with how I’ve been able to retrain my hair so I’m not washing it as much–the whole purpose was to cut down on my morning routine and help improve my hair quality, both of which I’ve achieved. But I do want to push my hair’s shampoo limit even further…any ideas?


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