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TikTok Says You Can "Train" Your Hair to Clean Itself — but Does It Really Work?

3 months ago 32
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"By using less harsh shampoos and reducing the frequency of washing you will find the scalp produces less oil and will not need to compensate for the natural oils being washed away," agrees trichologist Stephanie Sey

However, oil is not the only thing that we are washing away when we take a shower. There's also daily grime, pollution, and cell debris that need to be taken into account. "You will need to wash your hair at some point, as the natural oils and environmental pollutants will eventually build up. If you don't wash your hair, your scalp will itch and your hair will become dull and lackluster," adds Sey. 

According to trichologist Anabel Kingsley, washing your hair is the only way to prevent bad smells from building up. "Your scalp is skin — it is a living tissue that produces oil, sweats, and sheds skin cells, and it starts to smell when it's not washed because bacteria begins to break down oils and sweat when they're left on your skin, and this produces a distinctive musky smell."

"What's more, your scalp contains apocrine sweat glands, which produce a protein-rich sweat that is prone to developing a particularly pungent odor," Kingsley continues. "Apocrine glands are the same glands found in your underarms and pubic region."

While you can mask these odors to an extent with dry shampoos or scented styling products, the only way to eliminate them is by shampooing the scalp. Kingsley warns that not cleansing your scalp often enough can trigger flaking, itching, irritation, and inflammation — which, in turn, can lead to hair loss. It's for this reason Kingsley is anti-hair-training.

"This idea that you can train your hair to require less frequent washing is the most non-sensical myth out there. Perhaps it's because once your scalp and hair get past a certain point of greasiness, you can't really notice it as much. Much like you don't really see stains forming on an already filthy carpet."

So, how often should you wash your hair?

Again, opinions are split but the general consensus is that a month is far, far too long. "It really depends on your hair type how your hair responds," says hairstylist Bernardo Vasconcelos. "Those with naturally oilier scalps and fine hair may find this a tricky process and find they only want to wait a couple of days in between washes, maximum." You'll also need to wash your hair frequently if you smoke or live in a polluted environment. 

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