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I Didn't Wash My Hair For 7 Days And This Is What Happened

photo of no shampoo experiment

Depending on who you ask, shampooing your hair is either a welcomed part of their hair care routine or a bothersome task they have to do, like standing in line at the DMV. I, for one, fall into the first group. After a long day at work and commuting a combined three hours in and out of NYC, I absolutely love lathering my strands with my favorite shampoo and conditioner. The look and feel of clean, refreshed strands is unmatched in my book.

With everything going on in the world, however, and with my commute put on hold for a few weeks (or months?), my editor presented me with a challenge: Not washing my hair for a full week.

While I’ve been excited to kick back, relax, and give my strands a much-needed break from daily products and styling, the thought of not washing my hair was terrifying at first. I have fine, color-treated hair that typically gets oily by day two. I fully expect to be dealing with a greasy mess by half-way through this experiment. Still, with my social life put on hold and my plans to spend 90 percent of my time indoors (sans my daily walk), I was happy to accept the challenge.

Wondering how my seven-day no-shampoo journey went? Keep scrolling for my day-by-day breakdown.

no shampoo experiment

Day 1:

My daily routine over the past two weeks has been pretty much the same—I wake up, make myself a coffee (though I miss overspending on my daily iced coffee addiction), and turn on my laptop to start my workday. The one thing that hasn’t changed, however, is that I always wash my hair at night.

The night before I started this experiment, I shampooed and conditioned my strands with Pureology’s Strength Cure Shampoo and Conditioner. Anticipating how oily my strands will likely get in just a few days, I double lathered like never before. Once I stepped out of the shower, I applied a few spritzes of Mizani 25 Miracle Milk throughout my hair and detangled as I normally do. Then, I let my hair air-dry and went to sleep.

While some people swear by second-day hair, I personally love the look and feel of freshly-washed, day-one strands. My fine, color-treated waves always look their best when they’re squeaky clean, and they remained that way throughout the entire day.

no shampoo experiment

Day 2:

Here’s where I start to switch up my routine a bit. On a typical day, I would come home from work with day two-hair, head to a kickboxing class, and then wash my hair immediately after. Today, however, I forwent my normal shampoo routine and tried to avoid touching my hair, which was slowly but surely approaching oily mess status.

I didn’t even want to brush through it as even that sometimes makes it greasy. Dry shampoo would usually be my go-to at this point, but since I was trying to prolong my wash as much as possible, I tried waiting until day three to use it. I went about my workday, did an ab workout, watched a few episodes of my favorite Netflix show, and went to sleep.

no shampoo experiment

Day 3:

I woke up on day three excited—not just because a full restock of groceries was about to be delivered to my house, but because it was finally time to use dry shampoo. I grabbed one of my favorite formulas, Pureology’s Style + Protect Refresh And Go Dry Shampoo, and applied a generous amount all over my roots. As I tousled the hair with my fingers to disperse the product, my strands instantly felt refreshed and slightly less stuck to my scalp than it did when I first woke up. My hair looked (dare I say it) almost as good as it looked when I first washed it.

As much as the dry shampoo helped my hair look camera-ready, it still felt pretty gross.

no shampoo experiment

Day 4:

I made it to day four, and I’m not going to lie—the urge to throw my hair into a ponytail or give up entirely was real. My hair was literally at the point of no return—meaning, even a few extra spritzes of dry shampoo did nothing to revive my hair. Since I had a virtual happy hour with my coworkers, however, I tried not to go the messy bun route just yet.

At this point, I tried to get a little creative with my style. After trying to tuck my hair behind my ears (fail) and popping on a headband (bigger fail), I gave in and simply kept it down.

After I finished up my virtual happy hour (and my glass of red wine), I decided to put a baseball cap on and take a walk.

no shampoo experiment

Day 5:

You know when you accidentally apply too much hair gel, and your strands look shiny and sticky? That’s basically where my hair was at by day six. The weather was almost as bad as how my hair looked—so I skipped my walk and chilled inside for the entire day. I kept telling myself: “Less than 48 hours to go, you can make it”.

no shampoo treatment

Day 6:

I’m not going to sugar-coat it—by day six, my hair felt gross and looked almost like someone doused my entire mane in olive oil. Nevertheless, I was almost at the finish line, and I just needed to make it another 24 hours before I could wash my hair. At this point, I couldn’t wait to get my hair away from my face. I gave in and threw it up into a messy bun, which is how I left it the entire day and when I went to sleep. At this point, I wasn’t surprised if I started dreaming about having fresh, clean hair.

no shampoo experiment

Day 7:

I officially made it to day seven and after I snapped my last progress pic, I couldn’t get in the shower fast enough. When you Facetime your friends and they ask you if your hair is wet, it’s definitely time to throw in the towel. Basically, no amount of dry shampoo in the world could conceal how dirty my hair was anymore.

The Takeaway

While this experiment was admittedly hard for me to get through and I probably won’t last a full week with dirty hair ever again, there were a few upsides. Once I did finally wash my hair, it felt soft and hydrated, and my natural waves we’re on point (without me using any styling product whatsoever). All in all, not washing my hair for seven days was the break my mane deserved but from now on, I'll be sticking to my regular shampoo schedule.

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