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Dirty Hair Diaries: I Didn’t Wash My Hair for Five Days


By Erin Gignac

On a quest to achieve the perfect dirty hair of my dreams, I decided to forego wetting, washing or putting any type of dihydrogen monoxide (fancy name for H20) near my precious head for five whole days—minus the time during this experiment in which a kid carelessly hit me with a squirt gun in the FACE.

In lieu of water, I used Kevin.Murphy’s FRESH.HAIR—a dry shampoo—to keep my strands grease-free during my times of need. The shampoo reads, and I quote: “A dry cleaner for the hair that gives body and texture, removes odors, excess oil and all your sins from the night before.” Sins? I thought to myself. Wow, they’re really getting dirty.

Dry shampoo is a modern day miracle. It disguises oils, greases and odors, and extends the amount of time you can go without washing your hair, which saves you precious time if you’re in a hurry. It also gives you messy texture and a lived-in look that’s top notch, as you will hopefully see in my photos.

I’m no stranger to dry shampoo. I’ve also tried the no-poo movement where I’ve washed with baking soda and that Dr. Bonner’s Castile liquid soap with the doomsday spiritual sayings on it. What’s new to me is the no-water part of the project. What’s new to me is the NO WATER part of the project. Yes, I repeated twice for emphasis. My hair is getting thirsty just thinking about it. Here we go.

Day 1 
Nothing to see here—just another normal day at work! I'm a little nervous though. I did notice that my hair was pretty oily. That’s because I have fine hair and I shower at night. I think I may have used a small squirt of dry shampoo, but that’s nothing compared to the amounts I went through in the next few days. Notice my victory rolls? Here’s how you get them

Day 2 
I woke up and performed a power yoga sequence. Getting sweatier than I had hoped, I hopped in the shower to rinse off. The temptation to wash my hair was not strong, yet.

I’m getting married in three weeks, so I met with my stylist to demo the perfect updo for our nuptials. A little bit embarrassed, I apologized about my greasy hair and told her about the project while I rolled my eyes. Much to my disbelief, she said my hair didn’t look greasy at all! My hair smelled great too, but the chalkiness (and my lack of layers) made it difficult for my hair to hold a curl.

We had a family reunion today, where I was squirted with a super soaker in the face. My fiancé was a champ and said I looked like a surfer girl with my hair wet, which instantly made me think of Kate Bosworth in the movie Blue Crush. I squinted my eyes and did my best Zoolander Blue Steel face. “Ok not anymore,” he said.

Despite the completely genuine compliments, this was my worst hair day. I found myself counting down the days on my fingers until I could douse it with shampoo.

Day 3 
Let me set the scene for Day 3. So, here I was in the CVS Pharmacy entrance door watching one of the worst storms of this summer ransack the busy intersection. How were people still driving? How am I going to get out of this store without ruining my hair? I whipped a shopping bag over my head and ran to the car. Whew.

Today, there was a certain pliable quality to my hair that wasn’t there in the days before. I had complete control. Instead of spraying onto the head, I lifted sections up and sprayed the individual strips, which helped me use less spray and control the application better. I also blow-dried my hair after I sprayed dry shampoo in, which gave it a lot of extra freshness. Guys, my Day 3 hair was amazing. No frizz and plenty of volume—it even garnered a compliment from a lady at church!

Day 4
“What smells like bacon?” I asked my coworkers in the tiny office space we share. Nobody else smelled it. I lamented that it was probably my hair. Oof. This was getting intense. My hair still looked great though.

Day 5
My head was getting itchy, but other than that, my hair looked bangin’. My ego was out of control at this point. I kept wanting to shout the line from Anchorman: “Hey everyone! Come and see how good I look!" I mean, looking back, my hair didn’t look amazing or anything, but I really appreciate nice people in this world making me feel so good about this little experiment. Thank you!

What I’ve Learned

• JUST GET PAST DAY 2. Trust me, it gets so much better after that, but it’s going to get worse before it gets better. My best hair days were Day 3 and Day 5.

• It’s so much easier to shape your hair when it’s a little dirty. Oftentimes, when my hair is freshly washed it has too much slip to shape correctly.

• The dry shampoo diet is very easy to do with short hair! Most of the time I woke up without any kinks or weird indentations in my head. If you have long hair, it might be a different story.

• Be careful how much product you use. You usually don’t need as much as you think. I used so much—and I have short hair! Some of that’s due to the fact that the Kevin.Murphy dry shampoo doesn’t leave as much white residue on the hair.

• The smell: I was always super self-conscious about it, but nobody else noticed. In fact, my amazing fiancé (bless his heart) said that my hair smelled great every day. He’s a keeper, folks.

• It’s handy to have a travel-size dry shampoo for those unexpected times when, you know, you get hit in the face with squirt guns and need to restyle a bit.

• I saved a ton of time, but not as much as you would think. Going without washing requires more maintenance than you’d think. I approached this experiment more as a way to “get the look” and not save time, so I didn’t mind it. However, if you’re looking to save time doing your hair, just shave your head bald, OK?

• Not washing your hair is hard. I give major props to everyone who does this on the reg.

The Verdict: Would I Do This Again?

Yes I would! This really gave me some newfound confidence to get dirty. I would definitely only be able to go 3 or 4 days, though. Day 5 was just too much for me, no matter how good it looked. And, like the lady at church said, it looked GOOD.

Erin Gignac covers stories for The Style Garage.You can follow her on Twitter and find more of her work here

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