It’s all about the hair.

I never thought I’d write a post about my beauty process1, however, a large number of my Twitter girlfriends and I haven taken to having unplanned and very random discussions lately on everything from being anxious to our periods to whatever else our vaginas demand we talk about on the twitters. As the conversations are often spontaneous2, and it typically starts out with one writing a blog post, another commenting on said blog, then more entering the fray with their thoughts and the threads go on for ages. Thus, when Carolyn recently wrote about that she doesn’t use shampoo, I commented that at some point I should write about the fact that I wash my hair once a week. Several of them said I needed to do such a post because it would be very important, natch, to note that not all of us are created equal, hair wise.3 Since I’m a writer with consistant writer’s block, if writing about my girly acts gets me back to writing on a more regular basis, who am I to argue?

When I say “I wash my hair once a week,” I mean specifically that: I wet and lather my hair once a week. I do not wet or wash it during the course of the week, with the odd exceptions here or there, but usually I have to set aside time for THE WASHING not so much that I have so much hair but that it can be a fairly long process. When I first met my friend Jessica, this past January we were attending the same workshops together in California, and one night we were planning on doing something or another and I mentioned that I had to get back to our hotel early to wash my hair. She looked at me like I was crazy, as it does sound so damned ’50s. Though, to be fair, I have been toying with the idea of setting my hair in juice cans for curls that won’t quit but that is neither here nor there.

Let me back track a bit more here to say my hair likes to think it is ethnic. And by this I mean it does not seem to follow the conventions of Caucasian hair, specifically when it comes to hair products. I’ve spent a small fortune over the years on just about all the boutique, designer, and drug store brands designed for white people to no avail. Somewhere in my 20s, I started using products designed for people of color to find out that those products worked beautifully on my hair. It was a goddamned revelation. My second revelation was recently finding a hairstylist who is well known for working with heads from all backgrounds, textures, and lengths and whom I adore. She knew EXACTLY what I meant when I told her my hair was confused.

It was Kateri who told me that I should wash my hair only once or twice a week for the following reasons:

  • For people with wavy/curly hair, excessive washing strips natural oils to keep curls
  • We’re under the delusion we need to wash our hair everyday to be “clean,” when we do not
  • It is not environmentally friendly

For me, I’ll add in the following:

  • I’m lazy
  • I like things to be low maintainance. The idea of washing my hair every day AND styling it, drives me insane
  • I hate the feel of product build up so I refrain from using it. Finding a way to do my hair without having to use products is TEH AWESOME
  • I’m lazy

Here is how I do it:

” Towel dry.


Shampoos and accouterments.

With the exception of when it got super dry this past winter and suddenly I was wafting dandruff like no one’s bidness, I usually use products that are natural and organic. [Explaining the unnaturalness that is Head and Shoulders, that is.] This means, usually, NO *cones or SLS’s (sodium lauryl sulfate) involved. I was dismayed, however, to find that the Sauve shampoo shown, its second ingredient is SLS. I’m a huge fan of Nature’s Gate shampoos, conditioners, and body shampoos.

When I condition, I only condition the ends, I do NOT condition my roots. Ever. Most of the damage to my hair tends to be from braids, ponytails, getting caught in things, etc. Conditioning the roots also adds unnecessary weight and tends to grease up my scalp ten fold.

” Wet hair is wet.

” Moroccan oil, Curl Keeper, and wide tooth combs.

So after shampooing/conditioning, I usually run a wide tooth comb through my hair to get the conditioner through when I’m in the shower. This is the only time I use a comb on my hair ever. Yes, again, there are exceptions to the rule, but unless I need to part my hair for doing a ‘do of some sort, I never use a brush on my hair (damages the curls) and only use the comb about once a week.

Towel dry. Do not blow dry. Ever. Towel dry and then air dry. I do not care if you have the most ionic of ionicest available hair dryers and it has been approved by Paul Mitchell himself, do NOT blow dry your hair. This is why I ALWAYS wash my hair at night before I go to bed so that my hair has time to air dry. If I don’t have time to wash my hair that night, I resort to a bun or braids until my hair can be washed.

After I towel dry my hair, I then apply one of two products (sometimes mix them together depending on what I need my hair to do). Moroccan oil Curl Control Cream for Curly Wavy Hair ($25-30) and Curly Hair Solutions Curl Keeper (~$17). The Moroccan Oil is good for dryer periods of weather, where as the Curly Hair Solutions is a good all-over. Both are water based and clean products, which means that if my hair gets wet, the product is reactivated and does NOT get sticky/gunky. This to me was the selling point.

Kateri like to apply the Curl Keeper to my hair liberally when I get my hair did by her but at home, I’m more conservative with the application.

” Hair screws.


” Lisa puffs.

After I put the product in my hair, I then wrap it up in either a bun OR hair screws. The images above show the hair screws, which you can find at any drug store or beauty shop. I use two large screws to do my Lisa puffs, but as my hair gets longer, this is not enough so soon I’ll probably need four screws to get them to stay upright. Since I do this typically before I go to bed, I try to put the bun/puffs in locations I won’t hurt myself as I flop around our bed. If Im doing it on the weekend (like right now), usually whatever looks vaguely human in case I need to leave the house.

Air dry 8 – 12 hours.

” Day 1 – Tada!

I washed my hair on a Sunday, so Day 1 is Monday. This was taken right before I left for work. No back combing, product, or any other fluffing was needed.

Day 3


Day 7

So here are day 3 and day 7 comparisons. Hair is slightly less fluffy and by day 7, my roots are finally getting greasy. In fact, sometimes my hair starts to dread by day 6 if I don’t at least finger comb it. I usually wear the crown pieces either back or to the side, on the rare occasion, actually wear my hair up. My hair, such as it is, has a lot of memory so if I braid it early in the week, the kinks from the braids stay and can sometimes flatten my hair so I try to avoid braiding it if necessary or unless it’s towards the end of the wash cycle.

I DO shower every day, and when I shower, my hair is usually up in a bun. The slight misting from the shower is enough to typically reactivate the product I put on the day of the washing of the hairs. Total time, including shower but not air dry time? About 30-40 minutes.

I finally embraced my wavy/curly hair within these last couple of years and this process has helped bring back a lot of wave/curl that was beaten to death by over styling and product from the last few decades. I’ve also noticed a huge improvement in hair health doing this method (overall less damage and split ends) and I always get a ton of compliments from people about my hair.

Is this method for everyone? No, but it does prove that a lot of the advertising aimed at women to have natural, fuller, healthier hair is more about selling the product then the claims of the product itself. You don’t NEED to wash your hair everyday, so you should find a solution that works for you.

To recap:

  • Wash hair, using clean shampoo (no *cones or SLS)
  • Condition, but only the ends
  • Use a wide tooth comb to comb through conditioner
  • Apply Curl Keeper/Moroccan Oil to damp hair, liberally as needed
  • Wrap hair up in a bun or use hair screws
  • Air dry 8-12 hours
  • Take out of bun/hair screws, finger comb into shape

Repeat as necessary.

1. Or lack thereof.
2. This sounds like a good excuse to use Google Hangouts for virtual girl nights IN. Thoughts?
3. Okay, not much as very important in so much as “Hey, that is kind of interesting! Discuss!”


  • Sarahjeannejones

    For those who have straight/limp hair to begin with—this can work for you, too!  I did it for a long time, though now that I have bangs I wash more frequently–every third day or so.  For me there was a period of adjustment where by day three my hair would be a bit gross, but after a couple of months everything adjusted to the new once-a-week schedule.

    I’ve been using Indian Hemp goo from the ethnic lady haircare section lately, just a TINY TINY CAN’T STRESS ENOUGH HOW TINY amount on my scalp and then brushed through keeps my scalp in good dandruff free shape and makes my hair soft and more likely to bend to my will.

  • JC Brown

    As someone with curly hair that has decided to embrace it (within the last 4 months), I sincerely appreciate this post — thank you!