Remember back in the day when you used to only wash your hair every two weeks? Then came the internet and hair care journeys that said hair needed to be shampooed or co-washed weekly for best results. I admit, washing my hair on a weekly basis (or better yet, every three days) is a new development for me. Up until four years ago when I cut my hair into my cute little Halle Berry cut I washed my hair on a bi-weekly basis, it was just the way things were.
Looking back, before I started playing in my hair and doing everything everyone else was doing or saying I should be doing, my hair was at its healthiest and longest. I unconsciously had a healthy hair regimen; I washed, conditioned and styled my hair every two weeks without fail. I was stretching relaxers without knowing it (I only relaxed on holidays when I could go home from college), and I was a chronic protective styler (I wore a bun so much that I forced myself to get my hair cut into a bob so it was too short to put into a ponytail).
Since I have been on a mission to find the perfect hair regimen I have been rethinking old habits, particularly shampooing on a bi-weekly basis. Before I jump into another experiment I took some time to develop a list of pros and cons for bi-weekly wash sessions:
- Less Heat Usage: Because I prefer to heat style my hair shampooing bi weekly will allow me to cut down on the number of times I am in contact with direct heat. Instead of using heat four times each month I will only be using heat twice. Less heat = Less dryness = less breakage
- Less Manipulation: I typically only style my hair on wash days, which means I basically only touch my hair on wash days. Less manipulation = Less breakage
- Forced Protective Styling: My wash days usually leave me with such beautiful hair that I want to wear it out and free. Eliminating two wash sessions guarantees that my hair will be in a bun/protective style for at least two weeks out of every month.
- Longer Product Life: Washing less = less product usage = fewer purchases
- Prolonged Smoothing/Keratin Treatment Results: I plan to do a smoothing/keratin treatment on the 31st and from what I have learned frequent washing shortens the life of your keratin treatment. Less washing = longer keratin life
- More Exposure to Natural Oils: when we wash our hair we rid it of the natural oils it produces which help moisturize and protect the hair. Washing less will allow my hair's natural oils more contact with my hair for an extended period of time.
- More Free Time: Fewer wash sessions means more free time to spend on other activities.
- Potentially Dry Hair: For me moisturized hair starts on wash days and I attribute my hair's moisture levels to the use of moisturizing shampoos and conditioners without adding additional moisturizers between washes. Fewer washes = dry hair
- Forced Protective Styling: This is both a pro and con for me because I hate protective styling.
- Less opportunities to play with my hair: Because I only style my hair on wash days and generally leave it as is in between wash sessions, moving to a bi-weekly schedule will only afford me two opportunities to play in my hair.
- Fewer wash sessions: This is a con simply because I actually like washing my hair, I look forward to my wash days.
- New Schedules: I currently clarify once per month to remove build up and start with a clean slate, this schedule makes sense for weekly wash sessions but may not be necessary for bi weekly washing so I may have to come up with a new plan.
- Potentially Itchy/Flaky scalp: now that my hair is used to being shampooed frequently this my have an adverse affect on my scalp in the form of dryness and flakes.
As you can see the pros and cons of switching from weekly washing to bi-weekly washing are pretty even. Washing my hair weekly has become a habit for me, a part of my weekly routine and I imagine it will be difficult to break but this seems like a worthy experiment. Because I am still in the middle of my summer hair experiment (washing hair and conditioning twice per week) and want to see how this affects my hair's growth and length retention I will not be starting this new routine until August. Wish me luck!