Everyone knows that if you go more than a couple of days without washing your hair it’ll end up looking like an oil spill pelican. If ads are to be believed, modern shampoos and conditioners do more than just clean your hair — they smooth it, shine it, moisturize it, and repair the split ends that are repulsing even your loved ones.
The problem is that “vitamin/nutrient-enriched” shampoos are about as likely to repair your hair as slathering a bunch of vitamin C on dead grandma is to induce her resurrection. Your hair can’t be revitalized because it isn’t alive. And while shampoo is cleaning your hair, it’s also removing the protective coating that makes your hair look healthy — sebum. And hair without sebum is basically the “before” hair at the beginning of shampoo commercials: tangled, dry, brittle, and dull.
In fact, conditioners exist because shampoos are too effective — conditioners cover the damage done by shampoos by pasting split ends back together and temporarily replicating sebum’s look. And even then, they’re not so great at it. The next time you’re at the supermarket, check out the number of shampoos labeled for dry hair as opposed to oily hair. Most likely, the dry hair will outnumber the oily ones, because of shampoo’s drying and damaging effects. Washing your hair every day is just stripping the sebum and replacing it with a weak chemical copy of the shit you just washed off.
Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images It’s like pushing a
Caddyshack DVD into a wood chipper with Caddyshack II.
But what if your hair is greasier than Bret Michaels in a deep fryer? Weirdly enough, overwashing your hair can also cause your scalp to overcompensate and produce extra sebum, which leads to greasier hair.
So What Should You Do Instead?
Actually, you probably don’t even need to use shampoo at all. One informal Australian study challenged people to go without shampooing for six weeks. Of 500 participants, 86 percent found little or no change to the quality of their hair after giving up shampoo for six weeks. So if nothing else, at least try cutting back to a couple times a week if you just can’t go without your shampoo-induced shower orgasms.
For more ways you’re totally screwing yourself, check out 5 Ways You’re Accidentally Making Everyone Hate You. Or discover 6 Reasons Assholes Are Healthier (According to Science).