What is it about hair that so necessitates a pun? And I fucking hate puns, I think they are the absolute lowest form of everything, the vocabulary equivalent of own-brand Cola or that £9 dress from BooHoo I was slagging off the other day. And yet, when I thought about writing this post on hair, I immediately reached for a pun.
Anyway, who cares, I digress. I saw my friend Annie the other day for a much-needed debrief about how terrible our lives were, which they are entirely not, but we are both complicated and not a little crazy and slalom on a downwards mental trajectory quite easily. We need the sort of support only a fellow sufferer can give.
We started talking about hair. A lot of people think I do something in particular to make my hair grow the way it does but I don’t. It is just very thick and shiny and vibrant even though I treat it like utter crap. My hair is like one of those women who cannot stay away from “bad boys” and the meaner I am to my hair the better it looks.
Annie said that some douchebag, probably a man, had been telling her that she overuses her hairdryer, which is causing damage (as her hair is a more sensible type – one that goes for men who always do Mirror, Signal, Maneouvre, rather than headcases who drive on the pavement and go the wrong way down one-way streets, naming no names GILES).
Then we fell to talking about how often to wash one’s hair and how often to use hairdryers and stuff and I rather thought I might start a conversation on here about it, if anyone is still awake and listening.
I have historically been a person who washes their hair every day as my hair is very greasy and I sort of cannot abide the rank hippie feeling of dirty hair not to mention that it gets itchy and I start thinking about nits.
But then one week last year, I can’t remember when, I decided to skip my morning shower, (I had a wash at the basin), pinned my wonky front-bit of hair up out of the way, stuck on yesterday’s clothes and went about my day.
And I don’t know what changed, but now I have a shower probably every other day. Or maybe even once every three days. I rely on my husband’s very sensitive nose and American standards of hygiene to tell me if I actually smell, (not yet, apparently).
The thing I have realised is that I actually find showers rather unsettling and enervating. Am I hypersensitive and mad to think this? I now rather think they might cause inflammation and an unsettling of the humours. Is that crazy? Tell me honestly. (Don’t.)
(I have also just finished reading this really fun book called How To Be Tudor, where this wonderful woman actually lives like an actual Tudor for a year and then writes about it. She explains that the Tudors didn’t really bathe in the way that we do but that, contrary to belief, they didn’t really smell (they were, after all, human and didn’t like bad smells any more than we do). Instead they just regularly changed their linen underwear, which was then laundered briskly in boiling water. The linen carried away moisture and smells and basically kept them reasonably fragrant.)
I also re-visited with Annie the subject of hair-zoning and air-drying. I have mentioned this before on here but I know you bitches don’t fucking take in a word because you’re so drunk by 4pm on white wine, or perhaps because I’m just so boring, so I’ll go through it again.
Hair-zoning is the principle of doing different things to different bits of your hair; so when it comes to blow-drying you can just dry the front bit to get it to lie flat and also maybe a quick blast to flatten down your parting a bit. It is not necessary to dry the whole of all of your hair every time you dry it, because if you have sensitive or fragile hair it might really dry it out and fuck it up.
You then can let the rest of your hair Air-Dry. That literally just means leave it to dry naturally.
BUT, there are some caveats to this.
First of all, you must not brush your hair when it is wet. Or even comb it. That will frizz and fluff your hair. Brush your hair before you shower, then when it is wet get it into a rough shape with your fingers only.
Then apply one of two products – your hair will respond best to one or the other, or maybe even both.
The first is Keratase Oleo Relax serum, this will – as the name suggests – relax any kinks or waves in your hair leaving a swishy, luxurious finish. It will turn your hair from an itchy woolly sweater to N Peal finest cashmere.
The second is literally any old mousse. Pantene! £3.99 stuff. Who cares, whatever you can get your hands on at the supermarket. This is the thing to use if you would like to encourage any sort of natural wave. Brush hair, shower, DO NOT BRUSH AGAIN, apply mousse, leave to air dry, try not to touch it.
You can of course as I sometimes do, apply the serum to your fringe in order to relax any cursed cowlicks (I then blow dry the shit out of it) and put mousse to the rest of my hair to encourage its natural wave.
God I’m exhausted now. And it’s 6.25pm and I cannot really believe I do not already have a drink in my hand.
How about you? How often do you wash your hair?
I’m an every other day kinda gal. Wash it in the morning, towel dry it, do school run ( I mean it’s generally pissing down anyway isn’t it?!) & then when I get home & its just damp I give it a quick style with my LIFE ( & hair) CHANGING ghd air hairdryer. I always get comments on how shiny it is, whicb could be down to the odd grey hair ! Or ‘sparkle’ as my hairdresser calls it !
Carmen WHAT please say more about this GHD dryer why is it so life and hair changing please thank you
Well, like you I’ve pretty much had long hair all my life, but due to 40+ hormones it had started looking a bit ‘Ms.Allsop’ ya know, a bit frizzy! (sorry Kirsty) I thought that was it, game over for youthful shiny hair, but after my old babyliss hairdryer went out with a bang I decided to do a bit of research. The good old British pessimism in me thought it was sheer stupidity to spend anymore than forty quid on something that sucked air in one end and spat it out the other, but I did it, I gave in! I didn’t fall for any fancy marketing, just the 2000 odd amazing reviews it had on JL website! Forget Dyson, this is the dogs. It’s TRANSFORMED my hair! It’s ridiculously shiny and there no frizz. EVER. No static. Nada. Get one Est. Oh, and someone tell Kirsty, bless her.
This is fabulous I must investigate
I go to a Virgin Active gym and they have ghd hairdryers in the changing rooms and my hair always looks so much better and shinier when I wash and blow dry my hair there rather than at home.
oh my god how do we not all know this? why has it been kept from us?
v interesting. i moved to bathing alternate nights when i stopped full-time work. what is your position on baths and on deoderants?
Hi Annette, I bathe every day but have been using an alum stick deodorant -Pitrok, Waitrose and elsewhere – daily for a few years now which has been great. I am not a massively sweaty person, but not un-sweaty; like suddenly moisturising your face when you’ve been toning it for years, your sweat glands go a bit hyper for a month or so but calm down after that. Alum is a naturally anti-bacterial deodoant, not an anti-perspirant, so you do get a vaguely damp feeling, but you get used to that, and definitely no smells. I will use an aluminium-based (ie normal) deodorant for parties/weddings/seriously hot days/long flights, but I am much happier not using anything massively chemical on a daily basis.
Have just realised I ASSUME you meant ‘what about deodorant’ from a health point … apols if this is just random waffle xx
Emily K says
I wash my hair every day because I can’t bear to feel unclean and I convince myself it is greasy when perhaps it isn’t. I know I should wash it less but hairdressers always say it’s in good nick so I think I’ll carry on.
Every other day with a ponytail or bun on the second day, unless I’m doing something that means I have to leave the house then I have to wash it for styling purposes. And I use oily skin care which gets in at the front sometimes.
Also blast 80-90% dry the use babyliss big hair to finish. Xx
Every other day. Small kids touch, breathe barf on it so I constantly look like Hagrid. Same you I treat my hair mean and keep it keen!
I used to be an every other day girl. Then I reached 50 and something massive happens, your hair NEVER gets greasy. So I can now leave it a week in between washes, unless I’m actually meeting someone or going somewhere special then I revert to type. I’m at a special John Lewis event at the moment, hiding behind my phone in the cafe but I rather wish I was at home washing my hair…
I wash my hair every day and can’t bear the dirty hair feeling. In fact, I’d happily have a dirty body as long as my hair was clean (this has made me remember going to Glastonbury decades ago in one of the mud years and washing my hair every day under a cold tap despite the fact that rest of me was absolutely covered in mud).
That said, my hair is a bit of a disaster at the moment. I want to cut it and go brunette but am fed up with schlepping to Chelsea for my normal hairdresser, so if anyone knows a good place in North London, please say!
I can’t give you north but I can give you Soho-is – I go to Nadia Dean at John Frieda and she is a goddess. Though I just had colour done and it was 200 fucking quid!!!!
Esther I was paying attention and I regularly think about hair zoning. Mine needs it for different reasons, (fine, flat, shitty calf-lick) but all the same, zoning changed my life x
Louisa Booth says
Every three days – stuff on grapeoil (tiny bit) blast the shit out of it with the Dyson
I feel dirty if I don’t shower every morning, but only wash my hair once every three days as it seems to look better for being a bit neglected. We’ve recently stopped washing the toddler’s hair every night as bathtime was becoming a scream-fest, and that first few days he did look awful but now his hair seems to have gotten used to it?
Any advice on how to stop my husband washing his hair with shower gel? The shampoo is RIGHT THERE and his hair looks like shite when he uses the Radox but HE JUST WON’T STOPPPPPPPPPP.
H – my husband was doing the same after cycling in the showers at work!! Wasn’t being washed properly and I had to have a word. He smelt… off :-/
What is wrong with them?! I always compliment him when his hair looks good and it’s ALWAYS when he’s washed it, actually washed it properly, but the message doesn’t seem to be getting through. I’m using all the same ‘positive affirmation’ tricks I use on the toddler 😂
Sarah Robson says
H – no more shower gels, get old-fashioned soap! I’m trying to reduce single-use plastic to save the world & placate my pouncing snowflake offspring. (Just hope he doesn’t start shampooing his body.)
I agree with you 100% about puns. The worst in every way.
I wash my hair every day because a) it’s cropped to about 2 inches long at its longest point and I don’t think hair damage is a thing at that length and b) it’s more oily than any hair you could even imagine. 24 hours after washing it looks almost soaking wet. Which is gross.
Every other day for me (no hairdryers or styling though coz I’m basically too slovenly to bother). Best hair situation of my life was pregnancy when it just never got greasy – I could go 10 days without washing it and it looked great!). Hoping for some sort of similar hair miracle post menopause – gotta be an upside right?!
Same here re: pregnancy both times. Gorgeous shiny happy hair and didn’t have to wash it for *days!*
Hi, once every 3 days but mine is v curly and just past shoulder length. Can’t tell you how upset I get if anyone tries to brush it. Kerastase orange shampoo non-sodium laurel and conditioner, then scrunch a lot, add a curl cream and actually twist each curl into shape holding the other ones as they are done. Maybe end up with 25? Some little around my face some bigger. Takes a couple of minutes and is the only way to stop frizz. Always clockwise !!! It’s not thick curly hair – I’m white British to clarify – but frizz is so hard to avoid otherwise.
I go to Sonia at Four London who is the only person I’ve met in my life who can cut curls. (I’m mean – would never say if not true) and actually Maleeka there for ten years has kept my colour okay. In fact lovely. Very expensive but hey I work and would rather spend on that because she’s a wonder worker and I’m getting divorced and things like that become very important 🙂
Not even sure if I answered the question !
Jesus you slipped your divorce in there as a little stinger in the tail of that comment!
oh that little thing! Hardly worth mentioning x
Nikki Verlin says
I wash my hair once each week. I’m half African-American so I have a huge head of thick, curly hair. The dirtier and more oily it is, the better if looks and feels. I use Oribe Côte d’Azur Hair Refresher to keep it smelling great throughout the week.
The growing obsession these days with hair being “healthy”: It’s already dead! Does your hair *look* nice? Then keep doing whatever you’re doing, totally fine. Second on the Kerastase by the way, love that shit.
I shower daily and wash hair two daily, but if I’m busy both can get pushed out. Top tip on NOT combing post shower – I have fine, fragile, bleached hair that needs all the help it can get.
My biggest hair revelation is Beauty Kubes (https://beautykubes.co.uk) which I tried as part of a well intentioned but ultimately half-arsed attempt to use less plastic. ANYWAY, fact they don’t use plastic packaging aside, they are better than even the most expensive shampoo I’ve ever used. I don’t even use conditioner with them. They somehow seem less chemically and astringent and more nurturing than normal shampoo. Also they’re made in the UK (Cornwall) – what’s not to love. Really interested to see if anyone else on here has tried them?
I was inspired to get some Beauty Kube samples by your post – and they are great! Smell fantastic. Used them twice so far and liking the results. Thanks for the tip!
I used to wash hair everyday, especially when I was younger and full of grease and oil. As I have aged I have cut back and now shower every other day; no need to shower everyday in this country as I don’t sweat that much ( grew up in Australia where it was often necessary to shower twice a day!!) and wash hair the same frequency. Tried washing hair less, having read that somewhere that you should wash hair less often. It caused me dandruff, itchy scalp and hair thinning. After treatment and buying a scalp brush to use when shampooing, I have managed to restore a healthy head of hair.
I don’t ever use a hairdryer, can’t be bothered. Air dry, bit of spray for volume. Done! But that’s how my hair works.
G’day another UK based Aussie here. Yes I can’t believe that I can very reasonably wear clothes more than once! At home (perth) you could easily go through 2 outfits a day!
I wash it every 3 days (with Lush shampoo bar – great) but I shower every day. It does look quite greasy on day 2 but a bit of Batiste and I’m good to go.
I am so slovenly and have never washed either my hair or body every day. Every couple of days is fine with me and nobody has commented on any whiffy odours. I can’t go any longer than a couple of days though as my head becomes incredibly itchy.
I have very well behaved, shiny hair. If I blow dry it, it looks like I’m going to a job interview or I’m standing in as an extra on some American corporate show like Good Wife where they all have helmet hair. I’d rather my hair look a bit more rock n roll, like I got home at 3am from some dive bar. To get that, though, you have to not wash your hair so often, and I’ve had a problematic scalp for years and have become slightly obsessed with managing it and my hair.
Dry shampoo on day 2 (and as at today, day 3… didn’t have time for a wash at all pre school run… day got away from me).
If I’m going out, I will deliberately not wash my hair, maxx out the Batiste for texture and volume. But it gets itchy the next day.
I am loving this scalp cleanser by Aveda. Smells gorgeous and makes my scalp happy so I can manged 2-3 day washes
My hair only looks reasonable the day after I wash it. This window closes with a bang the following day when it needs washing again. After a shampoo it goes big and fluffy and I look like a muppet in a wind tunnel whatever I do to it, the next day it calms down so I try and pack in a lot of stuff then. If I leave it longer the elements get to it and it goes frizzy and wiry and “we don’t need roads!” and the grey streak shows up so I douse it down again. I have good success with hair zoning as recommended on here before, when I can be bothered. I use Schwarzkopf Mermaid spray on the ends and while it doesn’t work in the sense of making me look like I live with Tom Hanks in the ocean, it does make it go a bit beachy wavy if I don’t look at it too closely and that’s good enough. I’m definitely buying some Kerastase after this. I have to shower every day as I feel like my circulation doesn’t really get going without one.
Shower every day definitely- you have to if you have a dirty bottom! Wash hair every three days. When I was younger my hair was greasy but now it’s drier so every three days works. Oh and dry shampoo baptisé to give it a bit of ooomph.
I have just finished the best part of a year doing the curly girl routine (check out curly hair on reddit if interested). Key elements are no silicones, special low sulfate shampoo, microfibre towel.
But it’s so exhausting to try and get it right so I’ve given up. Blow dried yesterday and it was brilliant – nice looking hair in 20 min post shower and lasts for 3-4 days between washes. (I do shower every day as I live in sweaty Western Australia and pop a shower cap on for non hair wash days).
I’m a shower every other day, but hair only once a week person. My hair is so long and thick I don’t let hairdressers blow dry it, never mind me as life is just too short, and as someone said, it only gets rained on.
After a week my hair definitely does need washing (fine till about day 5 though) but it takes so bloody long the weekend is the only chance I get.
I don’t get mine blow dried any more either after a grown man had to pause for breath midway through once, and kept saying what a “workout” it was. I decided any benefit to a blow dry was negated by having to hear someone say “It’s so thick!” at me repeatedly while I say “I know, sorry ha ha” over and over until I hate myself into the ground.
I gave up daily showers and hair washing a few years back – every other day now – when I casually mention it to friends a lot of them react as if I live in a rat-infested hell hole and have nits. I don’t. I like the idea of hair zoning and shall apply that
I find I do some of my best thinking in the shower so I am definitely in there once a day, usually before I get in to bed but will quite happily have a quick splash after a gym session too. Hair washing is done as necessary with the addition of some Aussie Miracle oil afterwards and then air dried. Its long and straight so copes well with being ignored. I rarely use heated stylers which I think helps keep it shiny, but I actually have no idea. Deodorant is my new favourite topic…. I’ve switched to natural products due to scaremongering around cancer, aluminium and other armpit relates stuff. Also normal deodorant whether roll or spray always ended up making me smell a bit like curry :-/ Anyone else gone rogue with their pits?
Loved the bit about all your readers being drunk by 4pm and therefore paying no attention. Genuine LOLs. I wash my hair every two days – any less and my scalp gets quite itchy and so then I get paranoid that we’ve been invaded by head lice. Jesus, even the mere mention of the little b’tards makes my head itch!
My hair got so absolutely soaked in the rain in London yesterday that it was running off it in trickles BUT when it dried as I went about my day it looked the most fantastic it has done for ages – all floppy 70s curls. I guess that’s the equivalent of not combing it after showering…must try it for real in the shower.
Since I started using a shampoo bar and some sort of natural spray instead of conditioner I’ve found my hair no longer gets so greasy, I also use a natural bristle brush which apparently distributes the oils through your hair. So now I can comfortably go a few weeks between washes and my hair actually looks better after a week than it does immediately post wash…
When I was a student, a friend had a tantrum about how disgusting and crusty her flatmate’s boyfriend was because he ‘only showered every other day’. I thought it was fucking weird at the time and I still do. I shower every day if I’ve been for a run, otherwise every other day – but I put the shower head really low so it misses my head, and do my hair just twice a week.
YES to not washing hair – I only wash mine twice a week which seems to horrify some people but it saves me so much time although I definitely shower daily. Also a big YES to Sian’s comment about FOUR London, I saw Brooke for a few years who is some kind of colour magician – truly the best colour and service I’ve ever had. I stopped going to save money due to pregnancy/maternity leave etc but I am constantly plotting how to go back, especially after some shitty highlights by a local headmasters which I am still furious about. But if anyone ever wants amazing hair colour and don’t mind paying above average, FOUR is definitely the way to go.
I wash my hair as infrequently as possible. Probably every four or five days, as it’s quite curly so looks better once a bit lived in. I used to spend ages with the Babyliss Big Hair making it sleek and frizz-free, but since I started getting it cut by the amazing Natasha at Hersheson’s I’ve just let it air dry and haven’t touched a hair dryer for two years. That was after I went for a hair cut after having my first baby (meant to be a nice pampering thing to do) and my (male, straight) hairdresser responded to my comment that it was hard to find the time to blow dry since having a baby by saying ‘If you want nice hair you just have to make the effort.’ I left feeling crap and didn’t go back. Love the site, Esther. This is my first comment, but I’m an avid reader of others’.
God I want to find that bloke and knock him out … yes you do have to make a BIT of an effort but that doesn’t involved fighting against what your hair naturally wants to do. What an idiot. Great to have you here Sarah, first time commenters have a special place in my heart
Ha, I know. At the time I had a few conversations with friends about whether I should tell him why I wasn’t going to be coming back any longer so that he could understand the error of his ways. They convinced me that only a hormone-addled person would think this was a good idea or that he would care that I was breaking up with him, but I still think he needs to know that you can’t say things like that to women with three month old babies..!
I was my hair twice a week and home-dye it (BRIGHT FUCKING RED) every 2-3 months and my hairdresser always compliments me, with bemusement and surprise, on the condition of it, so I must be doing something right.
Ha ha! But if you are not bleaching it don’t those home-dye kits come with loads of extra moisturising stuff in it to make your hair all shiny? Or do you bleach it first to make the colour take
I don’t need to bleach it because I’m ash blonde naturally, but you never get enough deep conditioner in the boxes, just a paltry little spaff of liquid.
(This is Dex by the way – I set up my work website on wordpress and now it INSISTS I BE KNOWN by my actual name)
omg I had a hunch there were not 2 bright redheads with the same turn of phrase… well you must just be blessed with good hair then, promise to use it only for good and never evil
I have Afro hair, and an actual sort of Afro, wash about twice a week. It looks much better when washed but hey, life’s too short (and I have a non-sleeping baby). Scalp condition is much better without silicones and SLS. I shower every day because I’m a sweaty so-and-so.
Also, Esther, I do quite miss being able to reply to your stories. It is/was nice when you replied but I definitely didn’t EXPECT you to at all. So although it’s been a while, I really like your new haircut!
Oh Anna I am sorry about turning auto story replies off. It’s really important to me to reply to everyone who messages me, whether it’s by email or on Instagram stories. It just really bothers me if there is an unread or unreplied-to message and even with 14K followers, which isn’t that many, the windfall of replies I get just sends my anxiety through the roof. I don’t understand how people with like 50K followers deal with it. Do they simply spend all day on Instagram? Do they have 400 unread messages in their inbox? Seriously it bothers me.
With a non-sleeping baby I’m stunned you wash your hair at all. Though I must say when my kids were little and jerking me about that 10 mins alone in the shower was pretty much the only good thing about my life.
Also just to say you can still message me on Instagram, it’s just takes a few more clicks – which I understand is not that appealing when you are on a roll falling down the Stories hole x
I’ve recently made the switch to shampoo bars and I love them. I wash my body every day/other day depending on exercise/heat/sweatiness/gentleman callers, but I try and space out my hair washes a lot. Shampoo bars give me a solid extra day of not needing to wash my hair, two if I’m feeling grimy.
I hate showers- the way the water rushes at my face and the hot water makes me feel faint. I only shower and hair wash about one day in three, although I do often pop into the bath with my kids on Tory days. My hair used to be well behaved but now it’s all frizzy in that post partum way!
P.S. My other half has a bath every second morning and never showers. He tries to tell me it’s normal, but it isn’t, is it?
Call me a rank old hippie but I’ve never been someone who thinks you must shower every day; every 2 days is just fine. What are we doing that gets us that dirty really? Unless you work down a mine or as a bin man, I really doubt it’s necessary.
And as for hair, I have long thick swishy hair that looks just FINE if it’s not been washed for a few days. It’s generally scraped back in a bun for work anyway so why bother? Obviously if I’m going out somewhere I’ll wash it (I’m not that cool) but I don’t blow dry it, and only curl it if it’s a REALLY special occasion. It’s coloured and bleached to shit every month at my hair salon so I want to be nice to it at home, and not stress it out by using heat if I don’t need to. I even wash it in cold water which kind of gives me the feeling of eating ice cream too quickly but ON MY HEAD, but having undamaged swishy glorious flame red locks is worth it all in the end.
Red wine at 2pm and only very mildly but I take the point. Hair washing every other day and it’s awful.
Once a week day off from shampooing hair and wearing contact lenses. But I love showers, and always have one. I really want the ghd hairdryer – esp as spellcheck keeps changing it to god hairdryer when I type it in. I have JL voucher and birthday coming my way – will ask for this. My old Boots travel hairdryer is not doing a very good job.