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I have a little secret — one that my straight-haired friends might even call a “dirty” little secret. I haven’t washed my hair in three days.

While going more than a day or two without washing or brushing your hair is quite the social travesty for the average teen, it’s the usual for many curly girls. When I shower in morning, I put my hair up in a bun to keep it dry. There it sits, high and dry, for the duration of my shower.

Among curly girls, there seems to be two camps: those who fight frizz and flyaways by washing and styling their lovely locks each day, and those who combat dry and damaged hair by washing it every few days and touching up their curls between soakings. While different approaches work for different hair types, I’m a believer in the second school of hair-care thought. Seeing as how I prefer to let my hair air dry, this allows me to avoid showing up to school with wet shoulders everyday.

While giving your hair a break for a few days is all well and good when you’re just going to class and hanging out, it’s often not an option for more athletic curly girls. (News flash, guys: girls sweat too!) Because I teach skiing, I find myself gross and sweaty during Central New York’s coldest months, in addition to its hottest ones. When I have to wash my hair frequently, I skip the shampoo entirely and leave the conditioner in my hair for an extra minute or two before rinsing. I’ve discovered that unless I’ve gotten something crazy in my hair (a recent art-project-turned-paint-fight comes to mind...), I don’t notice a decrease in the cleanliness of my curls when I pass on the shampoo.

While it may seem ironic that water can dry out hair, the hot temperature of a shower can strip moisture and our own scalp’s natural oils. To add a little extra shine and bounce between washes, I use detangling spray to revive my style in the morning. I prefer types that are equally effective on wet and dry hair; this site sells several brands. To pep up my curls, I flip my head over, dampen my hair with a few liberal pumps of leave-in, then scrunch and twirl my curls back in line.

Curly girls’ hair routines are as varied as the girls themselves. While some of us religiously shampoo, condition and diffuse our hair each morning, others prefer to touch up our styles for a few days before conditioning our hair again. Some ladies like loose, wavy curls, while others have like using gel for the wet look. While I share my favorite tips and tricks in this column, we’ve all developed the methods that work for our particular curl type.

What do you swear by? I’d love to hear from you!

Stay Curly


Email your questions/comments to Julia.

0 Comments
I don't shampoo at all. My hair isn't oily or dirty and has a lot more moisture now. I just wash my hair every day or so, occasionally deep conditioning, and that seems to work just fine.
I tried to cut out shampoo, but my hair lost volume and felt gross. Now I shampoo maybe once a week and conditioner every day.
I have 3A hair but I also have pretty severe dandruff so....I have to wash everynight 3 times. Selsun Blue, Head and Shoulders, Pantene Beautiful Lengths shampoo then PBL conditioner. My hair hasn't looked better!
I only wash my hair about once a week. I thought this was normal until I realized that some of my straight haired friends 'pooed every day. :)
I only wash my hair about every two or three days. This is gonna sound gross, but I like the way my hair feels when its a little dirty. The clean feeling is too much for me to handle :D
I have 3B hair and I wash and condition every day. I towel dry my hair as much as possible, then comb through a leave-in conditioner (The Conditioner, by Paul Mitchell). Then, I try to gently shake more water out of my hair by running my fingers through it upside down. I finish it up by scrunching Dove Curl&Sculpt Defining Mousse all throughout. It's a lot of work, but it's usually worth it :)
I've basically skipped shampooing altogether too. If I want to clarify my hair or my scalp...I just use some baking soda. I mean, i only use shampoo about once or twice a month...and that's only if i REALLY think that i need to...
yeah, i wash my hair every three or four days, depending on what i've done during those days. crissi: i'm gonna see how long i can go without washing my hair, and see how it looks.
i have 3A hair and i wash and condition it every day. i am considering skipping a day just to see how my hair looks.
I have 3C/4A hair and condition wash everyday. After about a week of this, my hair is dull and doesn't take on products quite as well. So, I use a clarifying shampoo once a week and follow that with a deep condition. My curls stay healthy and look great!
I've simply stopped shampooing altogether. I know it sounds crazy, but if you read Lorraine Massey's Curly Girl book, it all starts to make sense. My hair looks the best it ever has. =)

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