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I Tried Not Washing My Hair For A Week And Discovered Being Lazy Isn't Worth It

My week without shampoo lead to lots of oil and an appreciation for washing my hair.

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Hi, I'm Sarah and I hate washing my hair.

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Because I can't live out my dream of *never* washing my hair, I have to settle for washing it every 2-3 days. Three days is normal for me, but I thought, "What if I just stretched it into a week? Would my hair feel super oily and matted? Or would my hair — dare I say— feel healthier? Stronger?" Could I possibly justify using shampoo even less often?

I also wanted to revisit my hate-hate relationship with dry shampoo and see if my opinion would change when the need for it was stronger. One last side note: I never style my hair, so I wanted to grab a few opportunities — if I wasn't going to be totally lazy — to experiment with some new looks, too.

Going into this week I thought it would be pretty easy, not gonna lie. I'm very low-key when it comes to my hair, and this challenge would let me be even more low-key! But oh boy, I wasn't prepared to feel the way that I did throughout the week, both *in* my own head and...*on* my head.

Day 1: Started off strong, thanks to a trip to Bumble and Bumble salon for some fresh color.

Devon Abelman / BuzzFeed, Sarah Han / BuzzFeed

My hair is still super soft post-pink dye and post-blowout. I sleep in for hours and toss and turn, but since my hair's still freshly washed. I don't even need a comb once I wake up! I'm invincible! If anything, having my friend apply fun makeup on me distracts me from my hair. This might be a trick I use later on in the week. Noted.

Day 2: To quote The Beatles, I "let [my hair] be."

Yes, please stare at the precious pup (who doesn't seem to like all the attention I'm spoon-feeding them!!!) instead of my hair. This challenge has already started getting to my head. I thought I was immune to caring this much about my hair, but the fact that I'm actively *banned* from washing my hair has started to make me feel 1000x more self-conscious. Because if it starts looking like crap, I can't fix it!!! I go on to tell this to my friends and am probably silently judged for it.
Devon Abelman / BuzzFeed

Yes, please stare at the precious pup (who doesn't seem to like all the attention I'm spoon-feeding them!!!) instead of my hair.

This challenge has already started getting to my head. I thought I was immune to caring this much about my hair, but the fact that I'm actively *banned* from washing my hair has started to make me feel 1000x more self-conscious. Because if it starts looking like crap, I can't fix it!!! I go on to tell this to my friends and am probably silently judged for it.

Day 3: I work from home because I'm not feeling too well, successfully avoiding human contact and anyone seeing my hair that day.

Sarah Han / BuzzFeed

...until I remember I made a reservation at this hard-to-get-into restaurant a MONTH AGO that I can't pass it up. Hopefully I'll feel better by nighttime.

My hair's starting to feel oily, which is probably partially in my head. BUT I've decided to wait a little longer to use dry shampoo. After all, I've gone three days before. I can do it again.

When it comes time to start getting ready, I blankly stare at the mirror for a few minutes before reluctantly pulling out my Beachwaver curling iron to help make myself feel more put together. I rarely curl my hair because I suck at it, but what do I have to lose? I also heard somewhere that dirty hair is styled more easily, so THAT IS MY TRUTH NOW.

Day 4: The oil has become inevitable. There is nothing else to say.

Sarah Han / BuzzFeed

Instead of washing it, I have to power through the greasy stiffness that seems to intensify with every hour. (Also, if you dare say it doesn't look any different, YOU CAN'T FEEL WHAT IT FEELS LIKE ON MY HEAD.)

Ponytails are my life now. I've been avoiding touching or playing with my hair because my hair gets greasier the more I touch it, duh. But to get clear pictures of the (sad) state of my head, I'm wearing my hair down in the photos.

Day 5: In which I learn how to tango with a questionable acquaintance: dry shampoo.

Christina Lan / BuzzFeed, Inga Lam / BuzzFeed

Lemme say this loud and clear: I hate dry shampoo. It never does what it's supposed to do: namely, help soak up excess oil. Instead, it just sits in my hair, weighs it down, and makes my hard even more tangled and hard to comb through. In 99% of cases, the better solution is to use, ya know, regular ol' shampoo. But, for the sake of this challenge, I know I'm gonna have to give dry shampoo another shot. (HELP ME.)

I've been meaning to try out Captain Blankenship's Mermaid Dry Shampoo for a while — after I tried and loved their Sailor skincare line for Target — so I dust that baby on my roots. It feels just ok — it seems to soak up a little bit of oil, but honestly, not as much as I hoped. Then for the heck of it, I spray Drybar Detox Dry Conditioner on the middle and lower parts on my hair and am pretty pleased in comparison. I guess sprays win over powders for me!

Day 6: I'm ready to throw in the towel. Or throw a towel on me, more precisely. Like, after I take a shower.

Sarah Han / BuzzFeed

I've officially beaten my personal record of not washing my hair by two days...and I am fucking miserable. I don't feel like putting in product, but I run the teeniest bit of Ouai Dry Shampoo Foam through my tangled strands, but does it do much? See the GIF and my facial expression. (The answer is no. Don't wanna talk about it!)

And then something spooky happened. My friend/coworker told me my hair looked good. GOOD. What universe did I teleport to? If it's one thing I've learned this week, no one cares or notices your hair as much as you.

Has society and mass media programmed us to reflexively put ourselves down? A topic for another time. (Short answer: Yes.)

Day 7: Yay weekend! Boo matted hair!

Sarah Han / BuzzFeed

As soon as I woke up today, I could feel the sheer weight of my hair. I've been sleeping in a sloppy, high bun most nights to avoid contaminating my pillow too much — IDK if that's a thing, but it makes me feel better.

My hair's begging to be washed at this point. Counting down the hours. Honestly, nothing's going to make it feel or look better and I'm really not about continuing to pile on the products at this point.

I'm grumpy, but at least I can hide out in my apartment for most of the day. But I'm proud I made it through the week, and if nothing else, I might actually enjoy washing my hair this time around! Shower cap, you rang? Sorry, you're not needed.

And...then came the WASH. *chorus of angels sings*

Sarah Han / BuzzFeed

Look at that smile! The smile that can only be the result of a fresh wash and light-as-air hair!

So did I actually learn anything from this ~dirty~ week?

1) First off, this was not THAT hard of a challenge at the end of it all. I get that. There are bigger problems out there, ones out of peoples' controls.2) Still, it wasn't enjoyable. Especially as someone who considers themselves "low key" and unfazed by general laziness/messiness.3) Dry shampoo still sucks and I haven't found one that I love yet. HMU in the comments with recs (especially if you have Asian hair???).4) But it does kinda help mask any disconcerting smells. That, plus regular perfume on the bod.5) TBQH, no one else really noticed but me. Or they're all too nice to say anything.6) Having unwashed hair does make me feel like I have my shit together way less than usual, which is unpleasant. I noticed I wore more makeup this week in an attempt to feel more put together and/or draw less attention to my hair.7) Silver lining: At least my color didn't fade for that one week, but honestly, even zero fading isn't worth that long of a time stretch. At least I felt less guilty dousing it in hot water when the time came, because gosh darnsicles, I DESERVED IT.
Sarah Han / BuzzFeed

1) First off, this was not THAT hard of a challenge at the end of it all. I get that. There are bigger problems out there, ones out of peoples' controls.

2) Still, it wasn't enjoyable. Especially as someone who considers themselves "low key" and unfazed by general laziness/messiness.

3) Dry shampoo still sucks and I haven't found one that I love yet. HMU in the comments with recs (especially if you have Asian hair???).

4) But it does kinda help mask any disconcerting smells. That, plus regular perfume on the bod.

5) TBQH, no one else really noticed but me. Or they're all too nice to say anything.

6) Having unwashed hair does make me feel like I have my shit together way less than usual, which is unpleasant. I noticed I wore more makeup this week in an attempt to feel more put together and/or draw less attention to my hair.

7) Silver lining: At least my color didn't fade for that one week, but honestly, even zero fading isn't worth that long of a time stretch. At least I felt less guilty dousing it in hot water when the time came, because gosh darnsicles, I DESERVED IT.

What's the longest you've gone without washing your hair? What's your stance? Let me know in the comments!

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