I will reluctantly admit that when I first heard that some women wash their hair once a month my first thought was ‘eeeww girl you nasty‘ with a distasteful side eye.
But wait please don’t throw rocks at me yet, I quickly realized that there was method to that madness and in actuality there are women who wash less often, retain tons of length and their hair always looks super healthy and may even smell like lavender.
There are a few examples of women who have achieved and maintained waist length hair with these unconventional regimens. Cipriana of Urban Bush Babes comes to mind and lonhairdontcare2011 from YouTube is another example.
So whats the secret? How can we wash our hair less often and retain more length? Its easy really, here are a few key regimen additives that can help you achieve maximum length retention and reduce your wash days from four per month to just one.
Retain The Moisture You Put In
This is easier said than done, essentially you want your hair to allow moisture in so that it is not dry but at the same time avoid the buildup trap. Normal porosity strands do just that and water can freely enter the hair allowing for about 30 percent absorption into the cortex which means hair will remain soft and resistant to breakage for longer between washes.
It’s not hard to imagine that high porosity hair would probably struggle with this regimen (which is why it may not be advisable for relaxed hair). Natural hair can be returned to normal porosity with a well maintained balance between moisture and protein. When the hair’s structure has been restored more moisture is able to be trapped in.
Use Less Product
For a great monthly wash regimen, wash day is everything! This is the time when you have the opportunity to use your favorite products and concoctions to prepare your hair for the month ahead so choose wisely and do not forget to deep condition. After wash day, you will suddenly become a minimalist, put all the products away and keep handy only a little something to keep your ends looking and feeling sharp.
This is a key point, because the less exposed your hair is to the environment and your manipulative hands the easier it will be to maintain your hair for the month. Find a style that suits you, Cipriana keeps her hair in over a hundred loose twists which she then uses to create the dramatic hairstyles she is known for. Longhairdontcare2011 is known for her beautiful braids or creative styling techniques she achieves on straight hair. For any style you might choose, try to keep the ends of your hair tucked away and protected so that you can maintain moisture levels not only in the crown of your head but at the very tips of your hair as well.
Avoid Tangles By Stretching Your Hair
One common denominator among monthly washers is stretched styling. Again the idea is to reduce tangles and avoid breakage but even better, one cool thing about our hair is that it is made to be self reliant in the sense that we naturally produce sebum that helps to hold moisture in our hair.
The problem with curly hair is that sometimes the sebum doesn’t quite make it to the ends of your hair leading to dryness. When your hair is stretched it makes things a whole lot easier as the sebum can travel down the strand with ease.
Stretching should start on wash day, using braids or twists which will help your hair to stay tangle free and allow it to naturally maintain its own moisture.
Maybe you are not much of an ‘updo’ kind of girl and you prefer your hair straight? No problem, you can actually use heat to retain length and wash sparingly. Stretching is not limited to just traditional non heat styles, especially if you prefer a sleeker look.
The Glamtwinz on YouTube are able to maintain their hair for two weeks straight by flat ironing through the winter months and switching to curly styles in the summer months. Check out their regimen video here.
Protect At Night
I know bed time is sometimes about glamour and sexy, but honestly you are going to have to find a way to make your satin scarf less of a [insert groan here] and more of a necessity. Covering your hair is an absolute must if you want to retain moisture over long periods of time. Investing in a satin pillow case couldn’t hurt either, the more opportunities your hair has to reduce moisture escaping, the better chance you will have at retaining length for the month.
Where most people fail with infrequent washes is that they pick and choose the aspects of the regimen that they want to keep while ignoring other aspects. For instance daily manipulation plus a monthly wash regimen equals lots of breakage or daily oil usage with a monthly wash regimen equals build up and dry hair. There is simply no getting around the fact that a monthly wash regimen can be wonderful if you apply it correctly but can also be very fragile if not kept in check.
So what do you think, could you switch to monthly washes?
Hey Alma, i just joined the current protective hair challenge. I’ve be natural for 5 years
But only last year i discovered YouTube and all the goodies it provides for natural hair.
I currently keep up with, napural28, and the green channel, and a few others. And i also read The science of black hair. I’m 4b, neck length. Anyway Thankyou for your website. Its very helpful.
Alma Ruddock says
You are welcome Gena!
Liz Marie Maysonet Sostre says
I wash and condition my hair every othe day and find that it’s growing, looking softer and healthier than when I had a low manipulation regimen.
Mary McNeal says
my scalp is the issue. if my scalp start itching too much, time to wash.
Liz Marie Maysonet Sostre says
You should add mint oil to your shampoo Miss Mary McNeal. That works for me. I also add it to my daily moisturizing hair lotion for fragance.
Karen Mcneal says
Any suggestions on loc’s
If I only wash my hair once a month can I still cowash with conditioner once a week? Is cowashing with conditioner is still consider washing your hair?
Chelbie Thompson says
Gorgeous girl in the photo!
Jannis Jackson says
I would like to recieve all of the information I can receive about natural hair.
Cheryl Williams says
I co-wash and deep condition once a week and do a clarifying shampoo at the end of the month. I retained my 6 inches of new growth within one year wearing braids, I’m hoping with this method I can gain more length without wearing braids
Shayla Hicks says
Gotta cowash at least every 3 days… Holding off on the weekly shampooing has been majorly beneficial for my length retainment… Bunning has been my go to style as well! Its the only way that I could’ve ever made it to waist length!
Sara Ruviri says
U hardly shampoo my hair. I just co-wash once a month or once every 2 months..
Christy Love says
I shampoo daily and l hv no problem with length retention.