Some TikTok users who practice “hair training” say that going 30 days without shampooing could be the secret to healthy hair.
To clarify, the act of “hair training” isn’t actually anything new—it just doesn’t usually require a full month between washes. It’s often experts’ first of piece of advice when it comes to preventing and treating greasy hair, and the method requires ”training” your hair and scalp to produce less oil by slowly extending the period between shampoos over time. Typically, the traditional type of hair training recommends not washing your hair for a few days to a week. Sounds pretty normal and doable, right?
Is their hair pretty? Yes, very much so. But does that mean such severe forms of hair training are good for everyone’s hair? Definitely not. In fact, depending on your hair type and scalp health, it could even result in dandruff, folliculitis, odor, and skin infections that could result in hair loss, according to double board-certified dermatologist Brendan Camp, MD, clinical assistant professor of dermatology at Weill Cornell Medical College.
@_theredhead 🖤 getting my hair done on Monday! What am I going to do?! #hair #hairtraining #redhead #hairtok #CustomersMostLoved #DoTheJuJu ♬ original sound – Bone Broth Bastard
“Less washing and altered scalp hygiene may also predispose the skin to infections with bacteria or fungi,” Dr. Camp explains. “If certain scalp conditions are left untreated, such as psoriasis and seborrheic dermatitis, it is possible that associated inflammation could damage hair and impact hair growth.”
Washing your hair infrequently does not directly cause hair loss, of course.
“But if the scalp becomes excessively oily or develops conditions like dandruff due to infrequent washing, it can indirectly contribute to hair loss,” adds celebrity hairstylist and L’Oréal Professionnel global ambassador Min Kim.
@cherries_87 3rd hair wash of 2023!! 😱♥️ #mumsoftiktok #THINKTINK #hairtraining ♬ original sound – Tink
So do the experts recommend this method? “I don’t recommend waiting a full month to wash your hair,” Dr. Camp says. “Though you may not be able to see it well, scalp skin produces oil, accumulates dead skin cells, and is prone to acne and irritation, just like the skin on your face and body. Waiting too long between washes causes buildup of scale, oil, sweat, and hair product, which can contribute to dandruff, folliculitis, odor, and acne.”
However, Kim does actually recommended the traditional kind of of hair training as a technique for treating greasy hair, though how you go about it depends on your hair type. “I would recommend the 30-day hair training method with caution,” she says. “It can be beneficial for some individuals to reduce hair-washing frequency, especially if they wash their hair daily. However, it’s essential to consider one’s individual needs.”
For example, people with oily scalps might find it challenging to go without consistent hair washing. “Those with drier hair however—such as curly, coily, or damaged from heat and/or chemical services—may benefit from less frequent washing,” Kim says. “It’s a case-by-case basis, and it’s important to monitor how your hair responds during the process.”
That’s why, if you want to try “hair training” yourself, you shouldn’t hit the ground running and wait a full month.
“The ideal frequency varies from person to person, depending on their hair type and lifestyle,” Kim says. “Generally, I recommend starting by extending washes gradually. For instance, if you currently wash your hair daily, try every other day for a week, then every third day, and so on. Pay attention to how your hair and scalp adapt to find the maximum duration that works best for you.”
@cherries_87 Hair training 🤍 #mumsoftiktok #hair #hairtraining ♬ pump it – 🍪
How to go longer between hair washes
There are also techniques to help your hair last longer between shampoos. “Use a sulfate-free shampoo and conditioner and incorporate dry shampoo to absorb excess oil between washes,” say Kim, who also suggests using texture sprays to absorb oils in the midlengths and brushing your hair regularly to distribute natural oils from the scalp to the ends.
“Avoid excessive heat styling, as it can contribute to oiliness, and consider using a silk or satin pillowcase to reduce friction and oil absorption,” she continues (might we suggest the Glamour Beauty & Wellness Award–winning option?). And as always, stay hydrated and maintain a balanced diet to support overall hair health.
Dr. Camp similarly points to dry shampoo and apple cider vinegar rinses and sprays as products that can help reduce oil between washes.
“Remember to change your pillowcase often if trying to ‘train’ your hair, since oil and residue accumulates on linens and contribute to acne formation,” he says. “Avoid touching or manipulating your hair if trying to ‘train’ it; oils and residues on your hands are introduced into your scalp and hair each time you run your hand through it.”
Shop everything you need to safely and healthily “hair train” below.
Originally published in Glamour.com