Not washing makes hair dry, hard, and frizzy

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Does anyone else have this issue? I asked my hairdresser and he'd never heard of it. I have very thick, dry, frizzy hair. I have gone the sulfate-free route, and never washed my hair more than 3 times a week, sometimes less. I think at some point in my childhood a hairdresser told me it was bad to wash curly hair every day, so I didn't and it turned into automatic habit so I never really thought about it or questioned it.

But once I started reading about the curly girl method a few years back, it occurred to me that this idea of not washing makes your hair better conditioned, softer, more oils, and more manageable is the complete opposite of what happens with my hair. And my curls NEVER look better on the second day. The curls completely lose their shape and start to become a straighter, frizzy mess. And my hair feels horrible as more times passes- hard, coarse, and haylike. And no matter what products I try to use, nothing tames the halo of flyaways that get worse as the day progresses and as the days progress.

My hair feels soft, conditioned, manageable and the curls look great (on this site I am probably closest to a 3b) a few hours after showering when it is still a little damp, then it's downhill from there.

Does anyone else have this problem? I tried to google search but no matter what key words I put in, I only get articles on how not washing makes curly hair better, but with whichever products I try (I read just about every article on here and try to follow the suggestions and recommendations), this doesn't seem to happen for me.
natural.oils likes this.
My hair is the same. It feels great on day one, with defined curls that are pliable and soft. Second day hair is frizzy and stiff. I usually CO wash again every other day, but because of this site, I've tried to stretch CO washes to three days or longer, it just doesn't work for me.
absolut340 likes this.

Sounds like maybe you are porous. I have this with my hair sometimes. The only things that have helped are PT/DT, lots of leave-in, and sealing with mineral oil. The mineral oil has made the biggest difference by far!

Sometimes I'll smooth another oil on the next day to kill frizzies and add some moisture. In the winter I sleep with a humidifier (not just for hair!)
absolut340 likes this.
2c/3a/3b, Fine/med, Dense, high porous, & normal elas.

Lo-poo - Renpure Keratin, SMR, Giovanni SaS
clarifying - mix Johnson's H2T with low poo
Co-wash - Suave Nats. clar. or coco.
RO - GVPCB, Ion Eff. Care, TN.
LI - SMR, Cure Care, or RO
Seal - MO or Jojoba
DT - + honey, ACV, & EVOO to SM masque & GVPCB
PT - Gelatin!, CNPF
Styling - FSG, AIF, BRHG, LALS/PS, GF curl spray gel, SM Souffle/Smoothie, LOOB
Oils - MO!, EVOO, jojoba, GSO, SM Elixer, EVCO, VO5 Hairdressing
A lot of people on this board wet and condition their hair every day, because their hair doesn't maintain it's shape overnight. The Curly Girl Method is more about not using shampoo than it is about not wetting your hair. Like, my hair almost always looks worse on the second day after I've showered. So it might just be the way that you're defining washing. I define washing as shampooing (especially with harsh chemicals), not as wetting or showering if I'm just using a conditioner.

The farther away I get from my shower, the worse my hair looks. It is suppose to be healthy to only shower your hair every other day or every few days. Some people use a spray bottle with conditioner and water in it to bring moisture to the hair. I usually wear my hair down the day that's I've showered and styled it. Then the next day, I just see if it still looks nice or if it's messy. If I don't think I can perk it back up, I wear it up the second day. Third day hair pretty much always looks bad on me, so it always goes into a bun or ponytail. Then I shower and repeat. If I scrunch water into second day hair, it will form again and look better.

You could try washing every other day or wetting your hair more often to see what it does.

ETA: have you tried sealing you hair? You can use an oil or cream after you leave-in conditioner to lock in moisture so your hair doesn't dry out as quickly.
absolut340 likes this.
Fine Texture, Normal Porosity, Normal Elasticity. Dyed to brown a few months ago.
Trader Joe's TTT Shampoo
Rinse Out:
Yes to Carrots, AOHR, Aubrey Organics Rosemary Peppermint
LI: Yes to Carrots
Stylers: Shea Moisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie, LA Looks Sports, Suave Professionals Captivating Curls Whipped Mousse

Last edited by rainboe; 09-01-2012 at 08:28 PM.
I wet, use a rinse out and style every day. My hair looks better that way.

What products do you use?? Are you adding enough moisture to your hair. Doing anything to prevent moisture from leaving your hair?? I agree with the idea of sealing in the moisture. I'm not a proponent of mineral oil--makes my hair stringy, tangled and is difficult to remove. If your hair is dry in the high dewpoints, it will only get worse in the low dewpoints.
Morgan_Adcock and absolut340 like this.
3a (Corkicelli), highlighted, fine, low porosity

HGs: Anything Sevi; Curly Kinks Satin Roots, Curlycue ReNew and Coil Jam; homemade FSG and okra gel; soap bars; UFD Curly Magic; Botanical Spirits Jellies, CJ Repair Me, Aloe Fix
I'm still learning and playing around, and figuring out what works for me. My motivation for not washing every day is to try to save money on styling products. It seems like I have to use so much more since I started following the CG method and gave up cones, so I'd rather wet and reactivate than rinse and start all over.

I find that my second day hair is very much the same way. I lose the nice sectioned curls, have a bigger halo and my hair definitely feels dryer and more hay like. If all I do is wet and condition, or spray on conditioner, it gets greasy along the scalp (noticeably so) and it's still frizzy on the ends. Typically, I can only go a day without washing. The 3rd day, it's no poo or co-wash.

The biggest help for me so far, by far, is a satin pillow case. Next on my list is a cap. For styling this week (I try to stick with one thing a week so I can find the right combination), I have been using home made gelatin gel with glycerin. I like it very much so far, so I wonder if my hair needs protein.

The other thing I found helpful (this time of year at least with the high dew point) is styling cream. I've been applying that on my 1st and 2nd day hair under my styling gel. I've been using oil, very little, with an upward scrunch to try to get the ends and not the scalp (antihumectant) and I've been having some success with using just a very little amount of watered down conditioner that I spray on to my hand and scrunch up instead of spraying right on my hair.

I never leave home without my hair clip, however, because i never know what's my hair will ultimately decide to do!

--edit to add: Well, that whole thing didn't work. I had the most amazing 2nd day hair. I added just a little product, and a little oil. I got to work and POOF, quite literally, and out came the clip.... swamp cooling and humid weather, assisting with bathing.... I think I'm just going to have to wet it daily. That helps get through the wet mornings.
absolut340 likes this.
My hair: TBD, but appears to be 2B/2C, medium density, medium porosity with higher porosity on chemically treated ends, medium width.

Permed 1 year ago, should be mostly grown out and cut off. I'm not sure how much of these curls are my own.

Current products being used: DC No poo, DC conditioner, DC gel, FSG

Last edited by fifthwheel; 09-03-2012 at 07:49 AM. Reason: Update
It took me a long time to be able to stretch my washes out. When I first went CG or modified, I couldn't go anytime between. Now though, I only usually wash every other day, so 3-4 times a week, depending, and a lot of the time my hair is pulled up on the second day.

It's all about what works for you. If daily washing works, then you should do that. If stretching your washes works, then do that.
absolut340 likes this.
Cosmetology Educator with sensitivities, eczema and Seborrheic Dermatitis.
Low poo: looking
COWash: Eden, cheapo condish, CJDF
RO: varies
Protein: CJCF or CJRM
LI: varies, usually KCKT
Stylers: KCCC, CRNCM, UFDCM, Curls gel, ecostyler

Lady Karaan, High Priestess of Hayr Tretements in the Order of Curly Crusaders
Fotki updated 10/12/10 Password: wavy
Wait! here is the minority opinion. I wash every day. I always have and plan to continue. I do not use a no poo or a conditioner. I use SM shampoos and Cure Care conditioner. My hair is fine, and I am sure I am way older that a lot of you gals here, simply meaning that no harm has come to my hair from this routine. This year I went no sulfate, but I do NOT like cleansing creams, nor do I like washing with conditioner, no offense, ladies but that kind of creeps me out. I love the SM line.
absolut340 likes this.
Wait! here is the minority opinion. I wash every day. I always have and plan to continue. I do not use a no poo or a conditioner. I use SM shampoos and Cure Care conditioner. My hair is fine, and I am sure I am way older that a lot of you gals here, simply meaning that no harm has come to my hair from this routine. This year I went no sulfate, but I do NOT like cleansing creams, nor do I like washing with conditioner, no offense, ladies but that kind of creeps me out. I love the SM line.
Originally Posted by Myrna

I also cleanse daily. I rotate between a variety of products (conditioner, cleansing conditioner, low-poo, gentle sulfate shampoo). Normally I rotate based on how my hair feels each day, but I've been focusing on stash killing (more blah hair days, but I figure I'd rather do it now with the more forgiving higher dews, and making room for more stuff!). So lately I've been using low-poo almost daily because after I started using CHS Treatment Shampoo I found low-poo really wasn't needed in my rotation.
Anyway, didn't mean to sidetrack, but if cleansing daily works for you then go with it. We might be a minority but that's ok. CG isn't about following a hard and fast set of rules as much as it it's about learning what your hair needs to look and feel its best.

Sent from my BlackBerry 9800 using Tapatalk
absolut340 likes this.

Modified CG since 11/5/11
CLEANSE: CJ Daily Fix, DevaCare No-Poo, CHS Treatment Shampoo
RO: SS Caitlin's Conditioner, CJ Beauticurls Strengthening
LI: SS Repairing Protein Treatment, CHS Silk Leave-In
STYLE: Re:Coil, Curl Keeper, Deva Ultra Defining Gel, Curls Rock Amplifier,Sweet Curls Elixirs Okra Gel and Hard Hold Gel, SS Curl Enhancing Jelly and Firm Hold Gel
Finding out what suits our hair best is just trial and error, I dread to think how many products and routines/methods I've tried in a quest to get my hair looking half decent. If your hair looks good on the day it's washed then just wash more often, doesn't matter what any of the "rules" say.
My son has very thick, coarse curly hair and when he washes it it's all nice and soft and defined, however he's a lazy so-and-so and hates washing it and as time passes it gets just the way you described yours. I touched it this morning and it felt really hard and rough, I only wish I could get him to wash it more often!
absolut340 likes this.
3b in South Australia.
I'll also chime in with "whatever works for you, do it"
I've discovered, especially in the summer, my hair wants to be washed (with a low poo or gentle sulfate) almost daily - otherwise I look like a wet dog
I hesitated to do this, due to my self-imposed rules but then decided that I would "just try it and see" and my hair is much, much happier.
absolut340 likes this.
Modified CG since Dec 2011
Try using an oil as a sealer! Gives much more moisture to your hair. I personally like coconut oil. I heard jojoba oil is good.. I'm thinking of trying that next.

Sent from my SGH-T589 using CurlTalk App
absolut340 likes this.
I am trying to reply to individual messages, this one is for Jas 76

Thank you for your reply, it has a lot of helpful info... the only problem is that I don't know what a lot of those acronyms are and the shorthand you use in your hair arsenal list. Are you actually adding honey to your deep treatment? Sorry, but I have no clue what the rest of them are like RO, LI, and PT nor what a refresher or pre-poo are. And I'm not sure about your product names either. I apologize, I do a lot of reading on this site, but don't go on the forum much so I don't know the lingo.

I do use a humidifier in the winter because I notice without it I wake up with sore throats. As far as porosity, if I stick a strand of my hair in a bowl of water, it is still floating a day later. And if I don't wash my hair for a few days and stand under the showerhead, my hair doesn't really get wet, but it is not oily at all which I guess is usually the reason for hair to repel moisture. So this would imply I have low porosity, but my hair also retains no moisture which is the definition of high porosity. And as far as whether my hair needs protein or has too much, I don't even know where to start with that one.... so confusing and frustrating sometimes.

But I really appreciate your response, and if you could help me out a little more with your product regime, I would appreciate that as well. Thanks!

Last edited by absolut340; 09-11-2012 at 10:26 PM.

Thanks for your reply. Several people have responded about using oil, so I think I'll give that a try as one of my next steps in this trial and error process of figuring out my hair
rainboe, perrip, starmie, corrina77, myrna, rymorg2

Thanks for taking time to leave your replies. All I ever see on this board is about how *not* to wash your hair often- even when I tried a search before I posted this- so it's good to hear there are other curly girls who break the rules. I don't wash my hair every day because that's the habit I got into, but I was never able to understand how all these people claim what great hair they have second, third... and even forth, and fifth days. In fact, in that CG book, she talks about going for as long as possible without washing. It can be overwhelming at times reading all these how-to's and what should work best, but never seeming to be able to get my hair to match the promised results

oh, I forgot to add, that without shampoo, I can't even get my hair wet when I get back in the shower after a few days. And low poo/no poo shampoos are practically useless unless I use half the bottle.

Last edited by absolut340; 09-11-2012 at 11:09 PM.

I am currently using Loreal's sulfate free intense moisturizing shampoo and conditioner. As far as styling products and deep treatments, I tend to just use whatever is on sale for dry, damaged hair. Right now I have a garnier creme which I think is awful (but I have to use up products I buy even if they suck, a weird compulsion of mine), and organix deep conditioner which I think is doing nothing for my hair. If you don't recommend a mineral oil for sealer, then what do you use? I'm not really sure what products count as sealers, so I just assumed mineral oils were the sealers. I guess I also always thought of oils would leave my hair feeling kind of gross.

There is a moment when my hair is almost dry but not quite when it feels perfect- soft and exactly how I wish it would be. But within an hour, it's gone and back to feeling like dried hay.

My curl pattern has been changing drastically over the past ten years (I am 31, never pregnant) which is also driving me nuts because once I think I've got it figured out, it never lasts. I have no "holy grail" product because there hasn't been a single thing that consistently helps my hair.

I wanted to add that I use a cotton shirt for my towel, a satin pillowcase at night, and have to have at least some styling product in my hair even just to get it back in a bun or my hair becomes a massive fire hazard that could self combust at any minute.

And what is a shampoo bar?

Last edited by absolut340; 09-11-2012 at 11:49 PM.

Thanks for taking the time to reply. I do have the satin pillow case and I use a cotton shirt as my towel. I read on here that the best way to preserve curls is to tie your hair up in a bun before bedtime, but that's a joke for me since when I pull a band or scrunchie out my hair, it just looks ridiculous, half stuck in that bun position. If I add any product on the second day- even using a spray bottle to dampen my hair- my hair just feels hard. Also, after reading an article on here, I tried leaving in a bit of my conditioner without washing it out and my hair felt disgusting- not hard (or soft) just gross. I also had the brazilian blowout because of an article on here that said that for very curly hair, it doesn't take out the curls but instead controls the frizz and makes the curls nicer- no luck with that either, it had absolutely no effect in either direction.

So at this point, I'm just stuck with what else to try.
There are two kinds of shampoo/soap bars that people use to clean their hair. Lush make bars that contain sulfate (SLS) and would be considered a solid shampoo. I, and many others, use natural soap bars that are made the old fashioned way--saponified oils. It's soap--what you use to wash your body.

I suspect that the products you're using are causing your problems. Most of the folks on the hair boards become very ingredient savvy. Using a lot of trial and error and discovering the type of ingredients our hair likes--and not using those it doesn't. My hair just HATES castor oil and mineral oil. It makes my hair greasy and frizzy. It's also difficult for me to remove.

My hair generally doesn't care for straight oil or butter. I use minute amounts of really rich products that contain oils and/or butters to seal.
absolut340 likes this.
3a (Corkicelli), highlighted, fine, low porosity

HGs: Anything Sevi; Curly Kinks Satin Roots, Curlycue ReNew and Coil Jam; homemade FSG and okra gel; soap bars; UFD Curly Magic; Botanical Spirits Jellies, CJ Repair Me, Aloe Fix

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