A Week Without Rain: My Experience of Not Washing My Hair for a Week

By: Meredith McBee

Life would be so much easier if I didn’t have to wash my unruly mane. My fine hair is long and spaghetti-like. I will never be voted best hair, so I wonder why I try so hard. I decided I would take a week off of my 45-minute hair-washing and blow-drying routine. Could my hair survive without the blue goo I spread onto it every day of the week? Or rather, could I?

Hairstylist Kim Vu cautioned against this challenge. She recommends that people with oily scalps wash their hair everyday and those with non-oily scalps wash every other day.

It is “very important to wash your hair so you clear up your scalp,” Vu says. “Also it gets really stinky.”

Armed with optimism and unhealthy amounts of dry shampoo, I was ready to take on the challenge. My scalp could bear 7 days, or so I thought.

Day 1: Thursday

It feels like January 1. You know, the day when I finally decide to drag myself to the gym for the first time in forever. I stood in the shower lathering my hair in half a bottle of shampoo, willing it to stay hydrated, but not oily for a week. I could not decide if the water pouring from the shower head was water or my tears.

Day 2: Friday

I woke up in yesterday’s makeup, feeling gross from last night’s taco run. A quick look in the mirror confirmed my feelings. My hair was rat-nested at the back, dry and frizzy at the bottom and the grease from last night’s food seemed to have found a place at the top of my head. I hesitated pulling it up into a messy bun, but quickly opted not to- I still have 5 more days left!

Day 3: Saturday

Everyone looks gross on Saturday, right? My hair felt heavy and limp from the oil sprouting at the crown of my head. I wonder if blotting sheets for hair exist. I pulled on my leggings and decided to go for the “sweating at the gym” look. I’ll convince everyone that I just got out of an unfortunate hot yoga class.

Day 4: Sunday

Officially half way through the challenge. A pep talk from my neighbor prevented me from lathering my head with smooth, gooey shampoo. I took two showers today, hoping that the soap from my body would send a message to the rat’s nest forming on my head.

Day 5: Monday

Someone asked me if I had gone swimming today. Apparently, it looks like my hair is wet. That was just the confidence boost I needed before an interview. Thank goodness for dry shampoo. I think I sprayed half the bottle on my head.

If I don’t get the job, I’m blaming it on this article.

Day 6: Tuesday

My hair is not a part of me anymore. It’s a sculpture piece. Dry shampoo combined with copious amounts of oil have led to my personal brand of hairspray. I braided my hair today and it didn’t move- despite no hair ties. That’s concerning.

Day 7: Wednesday
I think I’ve lost my sense of smell. My hair actually looks alright today. It’s not as oily as I remember it being on day 5. However, I sense that maybe I’m getting used to the layer of oil encapsulating every hair particle. I have never looked forward to a shower so much.

At the end of day 7, I rejoiced in a hard-earned hair wash. I literally washed my hair 3 times and managed to flood my bathroom in the process.

Will I ever do this experience again? Not until I become stranded in the woods for a week (although I think my hair would be the least of my problems then). I did not notice any change in my hair once I washed it. It wasn’t more voluminous. It just looked better than it did when I wasn’t washing it.

Maybe the trick to good hair is convincing yourself that your hair is a stringy, oily mess and then washing it every once in a while to remind yourself you’re still human.

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