In my ongoing series of posts on things-I-really-should-know-by-now-but-do-not, I recently had a chat with FameThrowa and our friend LuckySevens about the care and maintenance of long hair. This was after I met up with them on an evening when my hair was so frizzy I had no choice but to bind it into Pippi Longstocking-style braids. They told me the secret is actually not to wash it too often. Apparently long hair is much happier if you let a little natural oil build up.

Then later, I was reading this new book I got for my birthday called Because I Said So, by my celebrity crush Ken Jennings. Not that I want to mess around with him or anything – he’s like, Mormon, and married, so the mere thought of something physical is just too weird. Rather, I really want him to come to one of my pie parties and entertain us all with witty and odd facts of the world, and maybe a little tour through my atlas of the world, followed by a series of wickedly funny Alex Trebek impressions. And maybe between sets we can have Chris Hadfield come in for a little earnest discussion of how The View From Space Makes Us All One Planet, and maybe he could also throw in an Alex Trebek (mustache era, of course) impression, and then I could seriously DIE HAPPY, having my belly full of pie and my brain full of fun and funny facts brought to you by the Thinking Woman’s Ultimate Sex Symbols.

Aaaaaaanyway, I was reading Because I Said So, which is a book in which KenJen discusses the truth, or falsity, of various long-lived parenting legends, like whether or not it’s okay to read in the dark, or swallow gum, or run with scissors. I read a few of these out loud to my older kids, and they particularly enjoyed the entry on running with scissors, because apparently it’s much more likely for a kid to be sent to the emergency room for sitting on scissors rather than running with them, which led to excessive and intentionally hilarious use of the phrase “buttocks lacerations,” a phrase which still pops up almost daily in our dinner conversations. Although, if I were to meet KenJen I would argue that the only reason why buttocks lacerations are more common than running injuries is because Good Parents Everywhere have been super diligent about stopping the scissors-running for years, and if we were to compare the actual incidents to the actual number of running situations we’d probably be close to a 100% injury ratio.

And also, my need to actually discuss the nitty gritty of scissors injuries is exactly why my dream pie party guest is Ken Jennings. QED.

Aaaaaaaaanyway, one of the entries in the book is about hair washing, and it was interesting to me that as recently as 100 years ago, people only washed their hair perhaps twice a month. I remember an interview with Annette Funicello I read back in the 80s that talked about how once a week, no matter where she was in the world, she’d fly in her hairdresser for a wash and a set, and then I realized that she literally did not wash it or touch it the rest of the week, and that was a shocker. And yet, it gives so much more meaning and weight to the infamous, “I have to wash my hair,” excuse, don’t you think, when it’s such a rare and big deal, and involves rollers and product and the flying-in of a stylist.

So FameThrowa and LuckySevens taught me that not only should I consider a maximum once-every-three-days wash cycle, but when I do wash it, I need to bind it up with various clips and braids and things to ensure it doesn’t frizz out. It seems like a lot of work but the results have been encouraging so far, but really, now that poor Annette Funicello has passed on, I’m thinking her hairdresser is likely looking for a regular gig. So very soon after I get totally famous for…something …and throw fabulous parties featuring Alex Trebek impressions, I’m thinking I’ll give her a call. That’s how grown-ups do it, right?

23 thoughts on “QED.

  1. Good point about the ‘washing my hair’ excuse. I have hair that collapses in an oily panic if I don’t wash it every day, but I’ve heard some people have good results with the other way. And that pie party sounds AWESOME. Too bad I’ll probably be in Barrie for it. 🙂

  2. Yes! In high school I washed my hair daily because my friends did, and was always lamenting how frizzy it was. Turns out it’s not, it’s actually wavy (and got much wavier, in a nice way, after 2 pregnancies!). So now I’m smarter and only wash 2-3x a week. And if I’m going somewhere special, I wash the day before instead of the day OF. Such a difference. So much less frizz. Also finding the right product (heavy enough but not too heavy/greasy) is KEY. Such an awesome thing to learn – less work = looks better 🙂

  3. I read this post while sitting in bed having a cup of coffee. However, it felt like I was sitting in your house or at a local coffee shop having a chat with you. You have a talent to write very conversational pieces!!

    I laughed at the hair situation. My hair would be frizzier if it were short(er) so i keep it long(ish) but that’s getting harder with the colouring I do bec I cannot stand the grey. Home kids are cheaper but make a mess…salons are nice but expensive…I get it. Here’s what I do and have for a few years now:

    -wash every other day (the whole family except for DH who has very fine, short hair that greases easily does this)
    -use Dove shampoo and Dove conditioner (also Pantene works, nothing else is as effective) for colour treated hair with emphasis on conditioning for at least two minutes
    -a hair oil after drying, a very VERY tiny amount, rubbed into my palms, and slightly stroked over the top of my hair and rubbed a bit into the ends. It has to be a small amount as more would make the hair greasy and then you have to wash every day as it gets into the pillow, your skin…


      1. You can try a few. jojoba is very popular. As is apricot kernal oil. And argan oil…but look out for the ones that say argan oil but are really 90% silicone. A few coarse haired people swear by castor oil (I hate the smell). I have quite a few on hand if you’d like a little bit of each if you want to give them a try.

        1. I tried a coconut oil for hair and found it to weigh my hair down a lot more. My hairdresser said once a week to wash my hair with baby shampoo to get rid of the product completely. I tried it and it works. I use the baby shampoo and the rewash with my regular shampoo and use the normal conditioner and when I blowdry it, the weight is gone. 🙂

  4. Not sure if Sevens and I mentioned, but it takes 2 or 3 weeks for your scalp to adjust to the new wash cycle. I.e., in those weeks, your hair might seem really oily, but if you can get through it, your scalp will adjust, and you’ll recognize it’s true cycle. (E.g., I think Sevens washes every other day, and me, every third.)

    A great product to invest in is a dry shampoo. Super simple to use, it will fix up greasy roots if you want to get one more day out of your wash for the sake of your ends. I’ve tried a few, and my favourite right now is Rockin’ It by Got 2 B. (http://www.walmart.com/ip/got2b-Rockin-It-Encore-Fresh-Dry-Shampoo-4.5-oz/20700156)

    You just shake the can, spray onto the roots, massage in, wait 2 minutes, and comb it out. Done!

    1. LuckySevens

      I agree with FameThrowa. Your hair will adjust after a couple of weeks. Lately, I have been washing it every three days as well. One day to dry while tied up/braided, two days down or styled how I like it and then wash. 🙂

    2. I’ll definitely pick up some of that dry shampoo. I tried doing the every-three-days thing for about two weeks – at first it went suprisingly well, but after two weeks I was disgusted with the amount of oil in my hair, so I broke down and went back to every-other-day washing. But after a few rounds of that, my ends are back to being all frizzy and dry. I’ll give the extended washing another try once I get some of that dry shampoo stuff.

      1. You could also try “conditioner only” (or CO) washing on that last day to see if you could extend. Like try every other day “washing” but only use SHAMPOO on every 4th day. There are actually mild surfactants in most conditioners which will adequately clean natural scalp oils. That said, those surfactants aren’t strong enough to remove heavy duty “conditioning agents” such as silicones…which are found in the majority of drug store/grocery store conditioners. So…you may only get “so far” with CO washing if you don’t also switch to non-silicone products.

        I have two products I buy in bulk that you can try some of for CO if you want. One contains protein and the other does not. Some people’s hair reacts well to protein (gets all springy curls) and others gets dry and strawlike. You’ll have to experiment to see if your hair needs protein.

        The method of CO washing is to use a whole bunch of the product and it will gently dissolve natural oil. Combine that with thorough massaging of the scalp, and thorough rinsing and you will get clean. Well, definitely clean-er depending what was there in the first place.

        1. This is quite mind blowing – *washing* your hair with conditioner??? I’ve never heard of such a thing, but I’m up for trying anything – definitely looking for some new approaches!

  5. Can I come to your Ken Jennings/ Chris Hadfield party? I don’t like pie so more pie for you.

    I have long hair and I do wash it every day, but that’s because it is also very fine and I’ve tried the whole “don’t wash it every day” thing but it becomes incredibly limp and icky looking. So I wash it every day, and deep condition, and use a ton of hair product….

  6. smothermother

    i washed my hair every single day for always. then about a onth ago my hair became brittle and fried. it’s aweful, i think i’m going to have to cut all my hair off. no joke. i’ve started to now only wash it about every 4 days and am using a karotene spray to see if it will help. i’m figuring it’s hormones and all that crap with getting older. (can you tell i’m grumpy today).

  7. I’m a hair freak. I belonged to thelonghaircommunity 10 years ago, then naturallycurly for about the last five. I also joined the wavy hair community on facebook. I can give you LOTS of advice about hair, hair care, products and their ingredients. There are some pretty big extremists out there about hair (I’m not one of them) but I have learned how to experiment to find products and techniques to minimize scalp irritation (as you know I have pretty sensitive skin and lots of allergies) and minimize frizz.

    Let me know if you want me to weigh in.

    1. Yes, definitely, weigh in! I had no idea you were such a guru. I’m definitely looking for new products – I need some sort of deep conditioner, maybe some leave-in products that help with oil? My scalp is SUPER oily so I’m finding that trying to not-wash the hair is kind of gross. I need help!

      1. Great!

        Well, as you’ve probably gathered, a lot of people’s frizz comes from being dry/overstripped. One major cause of that is harsh shampoos and frequent washes. One thing people do when their hair is dry/frizzy is use heavier conditioners…but most conditioners contain silicone which isn’t removed fully (and therefore builds up) unless you use a harsh shampoo. You see the problem?

        How do you feel about styling products? Do you use them regularly? (I only use them for special occasions because of my allergies) There are often silicones in there as well as in conditioners.

        Often the first step in combating frizz is to ditch silicone containing conditioners, and then switch to gentler shampoos. For me, I had to ditch not just silicone but a bunch of other things because I have a lot of allergies. I got rid of scents, and had to avoid adding some common herbal ingredients. (Did you know that camomile is related to ragweed? It’s enough to make me react…) Sadly it means my hair doesn’t have that pretty salon smell (if you go for that sort of thing) but just smells like nothing.

        This lady’s blog is fabulous. http://science-yhairblog.blogspot.ca/p/product-list-by-category.html

        I can give you samples of a few products to experiment with the next time I see you. I have a few small bottles around the house…do you have any travel size bottles you can bring to get filled with stuff?

        Oh, and I’m assuming you’re an air-dry girl. Is that right? Or do you blowdry? The excessive heat and “blowing around” from blowdrying can cause frizz in and of itself.

  8. Another thing you can try if you have oily hair is to brush it upsidedown. Start at the back of your head while you are bent over (I do it over the tub to collect the hair that falls out) and make sure you use the brush well on your scalp. This helps with good distribution of natural hair oils and helps to keep the scalp healthy. You’ll be surprised at how much ‘dead’ hair will fall out (I know, hair is already dead, but you know what I mean).

  9. Hilarious! I really want to attend your Ken-Jenkins-and-Chris-Hadfield-immitate-Alex-Trebek pie party! Keep me posted. 🙂

    I’ve been washing my hair every three days for many many years now, and I swear by it. If you can go four days, so much the better. And I’ve known people who went from washing frequently to washing every three days and it took their scalp some time to adjust to the change. The first month or two they were really oily after two days, but with time it got better. Good luck!

  10. Annette Funicello was my IDOL for so many years that I actually tried to watch a rerun of Beach Blanket Bingo recently. Sadly, I cannot not recommend it. But the idea of flying in a stylist weekly is intriguing to me. The idea of not washing my hair in between stylist visits is not, with all due respect to natural oils; I calculate my best hair washing timing is about every 2 1/2 days, which is very inconvenient. Good luck with the clips and braids!

  11. I didn’t know Ken Jennings wrote a book!

    Also, the hair thing. I get it, but still wash my hair every day because the transition is unthinkable. Yuck greasy.

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