Yes, that low.
So what did I do that wasn't working for me just so that I wouldn't feel judged?
Washed my hair until it felt like Brillo.
One morning, I realized pulling my hair back into a puff was giving me a headache. It's kind of emotionally comforting to subdue my hair. Fros can attract some serious attention and sometimes, I like to feel invisible. But at the expense of my scalp? Hell no. So I got over my fro fear, washed and conditioned in the shower and went to work looking like the female Lenny Kravitz. (Nah, I don't have dreads but that's the sexiest photo my eyes have ever dilated on).
One of the guys from work saw my hair and asked if I cut it. I explained that I hadn't, that moisture makes my hair shrink. He looked confused. I asked him what was up.
"How does your hair look bigger other days if moisture makes it shrink? You don't wash your hair everyday?"
I know what the correct answer is. Or his definition of how hair should be treated. Of course I wash my hair everyday, I should say. I am not 'dirty'. I could lie and say I blow it out.
Naturally, I am honest and say I don't. "That's gross," he states with a frown. "Your hair is probably dirty and greasy. Disgusting."
From now on, call me Pig-Pen. Go on and squint, you'll see the squiggles of filth around my hair. I roll around in mud after work and use my hair to mop the halls. Yes, it's very dirty. And he's right. It is disgusting. The oil well that is my scalp is a threat to marine life.
Alas, that's simply not true. My hair doesn't get oily. Work dude didn't know that though. But I know his hair. That after a day, the sebum would travel down his hair shaft and cause a greasy, limp, look. That the bacteria feeding on his oils would make him complain that his hair smells. But he doesn't know that my scalp doesn't produce much oil. That the very little it does make, takes a bit longer to build up and even then, doesn't travel down my hair shaft the same way.
But fine, he didn't know. But worse, he didn't ask. And that's what bothered me. All he had to say was, "Really? If I don't wash my hair everyday, it gets really oily. Do you not get oily hair?"
That's all. And then a discussion would have ensued and we both would leave wiser. Instead, I left feeling like pig-pen. And googling the topic resulted in me learning the many Americans wash their hair at least every other day.
So I washed my hair more often. And it felt like a scouring pad. My hair was like hay. I knew it was bristle-like when I looked in the mirror and saw a dustpan sitting on top. My strands felt brittle, all moisture was zapped and it tangled viciously. And my poor scalp felt really tight, inflamed and dry. Shampoo commercials always advertise their product making hair feel "clean but not stripped". They weren't lying. My hair wasn't stripped, it was jacked. But worst still, I kept doing it. Because I was supposed to.
But I know better. I don't need to shampoo multiple times in a week. Conditioner can cleanse, just ask Wen, great for people with curly hair. Excellent when you don't have oily hair to begin with. It gets washed with conditioner after dancing, running, swimming, partying... But I use shampoo if my hair feels product laden.
Some people styled their hair and don't want to mess it up with a vigorous wash regimen. Like a Brazilian Keratin treatment or fresh blow out. Some people just don't feel like it. I'm neither. Okay, and a little of the latter. But I don't need to shampoo that often. And instead of trying to pretend I did so that I could save myself another insult, I need to realize that what works for me, may not work for others. And that some of those people may be so self-centered that they only see things as "my way=the right way".
Wash your hair daily or don't. If it works for you, if it's tailored to your needs and if it gives you the best results, do it or don't do it. It should be that simple. In fact, it is that simple. Sadly, open-mindedness isn't.
So question: When my hair was shorter, I'd conditioner wash and go each morning for the best hair. Does anyone use shampoo on their hair daily and it DOESN'T feel like straw?