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 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 every day.
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.