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Living Lightly column

Hair experiment busts a myth and saves water

By Melissa Kane

Have you ever heard the urban myth that if you don’t wash your hair for six weeks, you will never need to wash it again? Having been a slave to oily hair, which needed to be washed every two days, this myth had always held appeal. For the record, I do choose to have rather long hair and I am quite proud of it.

A few summers ago, I found myself between Christmas and New Year with no real appetite for hair washing, then I found myself unemployed, perfect time to commence the non-hair washing experiment. And to really commit to trying to save on the packaging involved in using hair products, and the water involved in washing one’s hair all the time!

The oil slick started at the top of my head and as the weeks went by the ‘oil ring’ did work itself down my head. My hair was getting wet regularly enough with summer swimming. It probably would have been a good idea to put some research into it and start brushing my scalp a little more vigorously and frequently earlier on. The build on my scalp did get thicker. Knots just brushed out.

At the six-week mark, the oil ring had descended to shoulder height – this was not the promised outcome. I vowed to push on, theorising that because of the length it would take a little longer and there was visible progress.

With the commencement of a new job I tied my hair back into a braid, you couldn’t tell by looking at it that it was so ‘dirty’.

At the 12-week mark, progress had continued but my scalp was itchy! With the proposal of a swim at the Wodonga Leisure Centre, I could not say ‘yes’ fast enough. The over-chlorinated indoor pool water was finally the excuse to wash my hair with shampoo and with that the experiment was over!

It’s true I did not achieve the desired outcome, but for the last few years I have only had to wash my hair once a week instead of every second day. The oiliness has been reset and I no longer suffer oily hair.

The conclusion of my experiment was urban myth busted, but I’m glad for the journey. I certainly use a lot fewer products and water now, which is better for the planet!