The phrase ‘good things come to those who wait’ really does apply when it comes to hair. For most people, the mention of ‘self-cleaning’ hair brings visions of a horrifying dirty, greasy and smelly barnet. And the truth is that is the case for a few weeks – but those who persevere will be rewarded with gloriously healthy hair. Lockdown is therefore the perfect opportunity to attempt this. Yes, partners/families/housemates will have to live with the greasiness for a few weeks – but, by the time lockdown is lifted, you’ll be well on the way to healthy, self-cleaning hair. Thinking of giving it a go? We’ve asked experts to shed light on the process and what to expect. Why do people do it? Adam Jones, from Live True London, says people choose self-cleaning as a natural alternative to the harsher chemicals found in hair products. He tells us: ‘The chemicals in hair products – though vastly improved – still contain chemicals that strip our scalp from all its natural oils, therefore stimulating the scalp to produce even more oil which makes our hair “greasy.”‘ Dr Aragona Giuseppe, a GP and medical advisor at Prescription Doctor, says that like most things in the human body, hair is naturally self-sufficient and will clean itself on its own – eventually. ‘Self-cleaning allows the natural hair oils to replenish and rebalance as well as giving it a break from the harsh chemicals found in shampoos which tend to strip hair of its natural oils,’ says Dr Aragona. Who is it right for? Leaving your hair to clean itself sounds like a pretty dreamy scenario, but experts say that it’s not the right solution for everyone. Adam adds: ‘If you are a bustling city person using public transport and always on the move, this may not be ideal for you due to your constant exposure to polluted environments.’ Ricky Walter, founder of SALON64, adds that only certain hair types have the desired outcome. He says; ‘Anyone with fine, lank, soft, Caucasian hair that wishes to get volume or bounce within their hair – this is certainly not the option for you. ‘But for those that find their hair is forever dry, and very often those with thick, curly coarse hair, this could be a great solution for you. ‘Those with curly thick dry hair often find their scalp and hair need a little helping hand and apply artificial oils and serums to their hair to aid in the hairs condition. However, such heads of hair are then washed each week almost defeating the object.’
What is the process?
Adam adds that once the decision has been made to ditch hair products, you’ll need to prepare for the different stages which follow – starting with an initial dirty one. He says: ‘Once determined you need to stop using shampoo, conditioner and styling products right away. ‘You will go through a “yucky” stage but pull through this and be confident in the process. Your hair and scalp will naturally start to regulate itself and stop over producing its natural oils.’ Ricky adds: ‘As you start this process you will be appalled with how your hair feels and even smells. ‘Power through past this point. For those with thicker curlier hair, you will find your curls are better behaved and uniform.’ Dr Aragona says it usually takes around six weeks for hair to adjust to the process and for the natural oils in the hair to balance out. ’You will notice your hair becoming much greasier as the weeks go on,’ he explains. ‘By week four your hair will be at its greasiest and it may look and feel really oily, however try not to be deterred as by the end of the process your hair will adjust to the lack of product, restore balance and the grease will have subsided.
While she hasn’t taken the full-on self-cleaning plunge just yet, beauty editor Sarah Sian says she’s dramatically reduced the amount she’s washing her hair in lockdown – and has seen impressive results. She tells us: ‘I have gone from washing my hair three to four times a week down to once a week during the lockdown and it’s never been in better condition. ‘At first, I thought I was being incredibly lazy, but by week 4 of lockdown I realised that washing my hair as regularly as I did (pre-lockdown) meant that I was actually stripping hair of essential oils and damaging it with heat from my hairdryer and styling tools. ‘At the beginning it was ridiculously greasy, but going into week 3 it’s like it has breathed a sigh of relief and balanced itself out. ‘It gets greasy a lot less and it just looks so much healthier.’