I have heard and read all over the place that hair cleans itself, but HOW does it do it? That's my question. I can't find it on the internet. Every time I punch in: 'how does hair clean itself?', i get all these 'how to wash your hair without shampoo', etc. but that's not my question.
So, can you tell me please, exactly HOW does hair clean itself?
Ben - Now thatís a good question. I think heís probably referring to the idea that if you stop washing your hair for six weeks or so, then it ends up sort of auto-cleaning and you end up with clean hair despite it not being washed. I think the truth is a little bit more complicated than that. Itís not that your hair is clean; itís that your hair has the right amount of oils.
Normally, when you wash your hair with shampoo, itís a detergent and it will strip the oils off your hair. Hair is supposed to be a bit oily so your hair follicles produce additional oil to make up for the oil thatís been washed away and you end up getting greasy hair. If you don't wash it away, there seems to be some kind of feedback mechanism that means that the follicles will produce the right amount of oil, and you won't end up with greasy hair.
Now I don't know if this really bears itself out in practice and from what I have seen and read about it, it seems to be much better for people with very short hair. Itís not that they never wash their hair, itís just that they don't use soaps or shampoos Ė they just wash it with water. The water takes away the dirt and grime but the oils stay there to help protect the hair. Dave, you've got quite a lot of hair. How easy is it for you to manage?
Dave - A while ago, purely in the spirit of scientific inquiry, and much to the annoyance of my then girlfriend, I decided to see what would happen if I didnít wash my hair for three months. Basically, what happened is my hair sort of reached an equilibrium. It was much less greasy than it would be just before you'd wash your hair normally, but still greasier than just after it: a bit greasy, but not very greasy. So there does seem to be some kind of feedback loop. Also, interesting things happen when it rained because it appears that your natural grease from your hair is quite good at waterproofing because the outer layer got incredibly greasy and the rain would run off whilst the hair underneath would be entirely dry. So obviously, natural oils have advantages over conditioners.
Ben - Thatís very strange. It's like wearing a natural shower cap made only of hair - thatís revolting.
I reject the premise! Madidus_Scientia, Thu, 22nd Jul 2010
I dont think it does. if it did we wouldnt have to clean it would we. tangoblue, Thu, 22nd Jul 2010
Hi.... human hair is not that great at staying clean. Mainly because it's scaly so dirt gets trapped. If you stop cleaning your hair (that included brushing) it will matt up (the premise behind dreadlocks). Having said that there seems to be a trend towards no shampoo hair these days.. but they all talk about good brushing, which is effectively cleaning.
Afaik, hair isn't self-cleaning but, like our skin, it is self-regulating with respect to the oils that are secreted to stop them from drying out and becoming dry and brittle/flaky.
So if oils get washed out of hair, whats in hair conditioner that makes it nice and supple again? FuzzyUK, Wed, 4th Aug 2010
Its almost true for your hair (after leaving your hair for over 6 weeks without washing, just plain water will be able to clean it sufficiently) but not for your body.
Hair is a very clever thing you see cat_with_no_eyes, Wed, 18th Aug 2010
- This thread is just superb !
- There have been more forums like this but this is what i loved.
I dont think im going to not wash my hair for 6 weeks though :) tangoblue, Tue, 12th Oct 2010
I can attest to the waterproofing but you forgot to mention it smells like a chippan! Me, Tue, 22nd Feb 2011
Everybody talks about greasy hair .i have never had greasy hair.quite the opposite.extremely dry. What will happpen to my hair if i dont wash im hoping it will be less dry danielle vaughan, Fri, 17th Oct 2014
I haven't washed my hair with any but water, and occasionally lemon juice, for 7 years. It took about 4 months to get past the initial gross greasy phase. It's easier with long hair because you can tie it up and people don't really notice. My hair and scalp are clean and healthy with no greasy look or smell. Saves me time and $$ Mardi, Mon, 30th Mar 2015
I left my hair for 3 months without washing it and afterwards it was just an absolute greasy mess. Did not work for me Sharon adams, Mon, 21st Sep 2015