I have oily hair. I have always had oily hair. I don't mean 'hair that looks a bit shiny.' No, I mean, if I didn't wash it and leaned against a window, I'd be in a panic realizing I'd left a smear behind. My hair stylist aunt, in her 50+ years of doing hair, has never seen hair like mine. My mother was horrified by my hair when I was growing up and insisted that I simply didn't know how to wash it correctly.
Past puberty, I knew that I had to wash my hair every day. It was a given that I was raised with. Wake up, wash my hair, and if we had to go out somewhere nice, I might have to wash it again. I used the harshest crap I could find on the market. If it had 'oil control' or 'clarifying' on the bottle, you can bet I used it at some point.
I realized last year, though, that I was losing the battle. My hair was getting worse. My scalp was paying the price. In places, my scalp was literally weeping. I'd go to brush back a strand with my hand and come back with my fingers wet. The last time this happened, I was at a wedding, with no quick escape at hand. I decided that I needed to find another way to fight back.
I started googling around, and I found that the cure was probably the cause: oily hair hates to be shampooed all the time, and really hates oil stripping shampoo. Several stylist confirmed it. Basically, I was making my hair go crazy as it assumed that I needed to have a certain level of oil in my hair, and when it was gone, my scalp decided that the solution was to up production.
I had started working from home. This was a godsend, actually, because I could reset my scalp on my own terms. My husband didn't care how awful my hair was as long as the rest of me didn't stink. My kids didn't care as long as my hair condition didn't affect the levels of snacks in the house.
At first, I just tried to wash my hair less, moving from every day to every other day. This worked okay. My scalp was tons better, but my hair itself wasn't getting much less greasy. The day after I washed my hair (hell, the EVENING after I washed my hair) it would be a mess again. I was shoving it under a cap most days. This was still not optimal. I felt less diseased, but I still felt grimey.
Enter dry shampoo
One day, I got a sample of Blow Pro in my Birchbox. Ugh, dry shampoo. It didn't work, did it? That was for women with already perfect hair. I'd tried one before, and not only did my hair look like crap afterwards, but I smelled like I'd rolled around in a pile of perfume samples. My husband actually asked that I wash my hair before we left, because the smell was too strong to stand in a small space like the car, or being on the same continent. Screw the reservations. He would speed.
Still, the reviews for Blow Pro were really good… And this was from a site where people were loathe to give out high ratings. Also, a sniff didn't make me go into spasms of sneezing. It smelled like baking supplies rather than old people house. I decided to try it out.
The first time, I filled my ear with the powder and put way too much in my hair. I also sucked a bunch up my nose. I am so glad I experimented when no one was home, or I would have a million hits on YouTube right about now. I went back to the reviews and hunted around for application tips.
With this stuff, a little goes a long way. Hit up the scalp. Let it sit a bit. Brush it out with a bristle brush. Enjoy your oil-free locks. And, amazingly enough, they really do look oil free! Your hair looks clean, if a bit more voluminous than before.
Oh, and that's not the only trick. Once your hair looks great, keep your grubby mitts off of it. I learned to carry a brush with me, rather than using my fingers as a makeshift comb. Fingers are the ruiners of previously un-oily hair.
Still not enough
Even with the dry shampoo, I was wearing a hat on day three, and to be honest, pretty paranoid on day two. I asked my hair stylist why my hair always made it longer when she did my hair. Was it the shampoo? The treatment?
"You don't blow-dry your hair, do you?"
I confessed that I didn't. I hated blow drying my hair. It took forever! And I killed hair dryers. It wasn't uncommon for me to blow a fuse twice while trying to blow-dry my moisture sucking hair. She asked me where I got my hair dryers. "Uh, the drugs store?"
Oh. That was my problem. Apparently my insane hair cannot get by on some dinky travel hair dryer that was meant as a back-up dryer for when you stay in hotels too cheap to put one in the room. She also pointed out that I could get a better hair dryer there (Ulta) for less than the drug store, just because they love to mark up that sort of shit on the regular.
So I got a decent hair dryer, made for hair that took forever to dry. I tried it out the next time I washed my hair. Holy balls. I'd found the missing piece. My husband made a rather logical statement: wet hair was probably attracting crap to it while I was walking around. Of course it would get dirty faster. It was starting off dirtier!
What I do today
I have the process for keeping my hair from annoying the shit out of me.
- Day one:
- Shampoo. I don't use the clarifying stuff anymore, either. Just stuff for color-treated hair.
- Blow dry my hair
- Day two:
- Usually doing pretty good. Dry shampoo if needed.
- Day three:
- By now, I'll need some dry shampoo
- Day four:
- Queen of the fucking updo, let me tell you.
- Day five:
- If I have to go out, wash my hair. If not, I'll go another day.
Since starting this, I've noticed that my hair seems to need less and less dry shampoo, and my scalp has been trouble-free. I also actually have body, for once. I'm finally not touching my hair as much.
So, that's how I went sort of low-poo. Yes, I wrote over a thousand words on my shampoo habits. Yay for NaNoBlogMo! I hope some of you found it helpful, since I know the topic comes up now and then.