What If You Didn’t Wash Your Hair for a Year

What If You Didn't Wash Your Hair for a Year
What If You Didn’t Wash Your Hair for a Year

Have you ever wondered what would happen if you stopped washing your hair? Washing our hair regularly is the basic hygiene tip we all know from childhood. Obviously, there aren’t that many people who are willing to test it on themselves but, thankfully, experts already have an idea of how your hair would react to this bold experiment. 

Well, the first couple of days of your experiment would introduce you to an all-natural hair moisturizer known as sebum. As you let your scalp deal with everything on its own, your hair follicles would start producing more sebum just to make sure that your hair is properly hydrated. As a result, your hair would become greasy and oily. Wanna know the other details? Then watch the video!

Be sure to read my article called Silicone Shampoo Brush. Do they really work? What are the features you should look for in a Silicone Shampoo Brush and more.

What If You Didn’t Wash Your Hair for a Year Summary:

The first couple of days of your experiment would introduce you to an all-natural hair moisturizer known as sebum. As you let your scalp deal with everything on its own, your hair follicles would start producing more sebum just to make sure that your hair is properly hydrated.

After a little over a month without shampoo, you’d have to face another problem: the stench! People who get to this stage of no hair washing usually say that it’s kinda like a strong sour milk odor that follows you everywhere you go. 

The thing is, at this point of the experiment, your hair starts to trap moisture. – Several months of no hair washing can result in not only a nasty stinky look but also occasional pain, especially if you wear your dirty hair in a bun. You see, tight ponytails or buns pull on your scalp, which irritates the nerve endings around your hair follicles.

As you’d come closer to the 6- or 8-month mark of the experiment, another problem would arise: ingrown hairs. And as always, it’s all thanks to oil and dirt build-up in your hair. Nonetheless, it’s not the only issue that can come after 8 months of your new shampoo-free lifestyle.

Another possible “surprise” towards the end of the experiment is a severe case of dandruff. In some cases, all these processes can start way earlier. So, as you can see, throwing your shampoo out the window isn’t that great of a decision after all!

Author and journalist Susan Elkintalked about her own experience with quitting shampoo for 5 years. According to her, during the first stages, as your hair is adjusting, you should be patient and help your hair by brushing it often. Brushing distributes the oil along your hair follicles and removes all the dirt and dust.

There’s a whole movement called “No Poo” that encourages people to stop using shampoos for good. And the reasoning behind it is completely logical! The strong chemicals that most shampoos contain are known to strip our hair of its natural oil, which actually damages it.

“No poo” followers suggest giving it a month to see whether your hair will adjust to this new cleaning technique. What you have to do is rinse your hair with warm water and massage your scalp exactly like you would with shampoo. This will get all the oil out of your hair.

Gavazzoni Dias MFR, et al. (2014). The Shampoo pH can Affect the Hair: Myth or Reality? DOI:
Dermatologists most frequently prescribe shampoos for the treatment of hair shed and scalp disorders. Prescription of hair care products is often focused on improving scalp hair density, whereas the over-the-counter products focus on hair damage prevention. Little is taught in medical schools about the hair cosmetics, so that the prescriptions are based only on the treatment of the scalp and usually disregards the hair fi ber health.”

Hair care, according to the AAD

Tips for healthy hair, according to the AAD,  

“How you wash your hair and the products you use can go a long way toward maintaining smooth, shiny hair. Follow these simple tips from dermatologists to maintain healthy hair.

  1. Wash oily hair more frequently. How often you wash your hair should be based on how much oil your scalp produces.
  2. If your scalp is oily, you may need to wash it as often as once a day.
  3. If you have chemically treated hair, your hair may be drier, so you may want to wash it less frequently.
  4. As you get older, your scalp makes less oil, so you may not need to shampoo as often. But if you see flakes in your hair, you may not be shampooing enough. This can lead to dandruff and other scalp diseases.

  5. Concentrate shampoo on the scalp. When washing your hair, concentrate on cleaning primarily the scalp, rather than washing the entire length of hair. Washing only your hair can create flyaway hair that is dull and coarse.

  6. Use conditioner after every shampoo unless you use a “2-in-1” shampoo, which cleans and conditions hair. Using a conditioner can significantly improve the look of damaged or weathered hair by increasing shine, decreasing static electricity, improving strength and offering some protection from harmful UV rays.
  7.  Concentrate conditioner on the tips of the hair. Because conditioners can make fine hair look limp, they only should be used on the tips of the hair and not on the scalp or length of the hair.
  8.  Choose a shampoo and conditioner formulated specifically for your hair type. For example, if you color your hair, use a shampoo designed for color-treated hair. If your hair is damaged or chemically treated, consider a “2-in-1” shampoo. Regardless of cost, many shampoo and conditioner brands provide the same benefits.

  9. Protect hair when swimming. Protect your hair from the damaging effects of chlorine by wetting and conditioning your hair before swimming. Wear a tight-fitting swim cap and use a specially formulated swimmers shampoo and deep conditioner after swimming to replace lost moisture.”