I Stopped Washing My Hair for a Week. Here's What It Looked Like Every Day

What happens if you don’t wash your hair for a week? Our commerce editor gave up shampooing for seven days to find out and documented the process for us ahead.

Meet Our Guinea Pig: Olivia Kappler, Commerce Editor

Hair Type: Oily scalp and fine hair that tends to get greasy quickly.

Normal Routine: Typically washes hair every five days, with the help of a lot of dry shampoo and sleek buns in-between to hide the oiliness. Doesn’t heat style.

Prep: Getting ready for a full week of no washing meant giving my scalp some extra love beforehand. I massaged some Vegamour GRO Scalp Detoxifying Serum into my scalp with the Revitalizing Scalp Massager to really work it in and let it sit for five minutes before scrubbing my roots with a clarifying shampoo. Then, I followed up with some Olaplex No.4P to brighten my highlights. I didn’t condition since I did an overnight mask and rinsed it out in the morning.

what happens if you dont wash your hair day 1

Day one: I’m currently working on restrengthening my hair because I got some fresh highlights. After going rogue and dying my hair dark brown earlier this year, I’m slowly in the process of getting back to my original blonde through a professional. That said, my ends are dry, so I used some leave-in conditioner and oil.

what happens if you dont wash your hair day 2

Day two: Looking back, I think this was my best hair day by far because it wasn't squeaky clean like day one, but it wasn't dirty yet either, so it fell exactly how I like it. Also, any frizz I had from day one dissipated and my locks looked smooth and shiny.

what happens if you dont wash your hair day 3

Day three: This is right around when I started to notice some oil build up around the crown of my head. Thankfully, it wasn’t too bad and could easily be concealed.

what happens if you dont wash your hair day 4

Day four: I had a very sweaty Pilates sesh in the morning and then went to the beach later in the day, which resulted in a little more greasiness than usual. Hence, the messy braids.

what happens if you dont wash your hair day 5

Day five: My scalp is starting to get itchy and although my husband said otherwise, I felt self-conscious that my hair was starting to smell. It probably didn’t help that I went for a long run today, which added more sweat to my tresses. I ended up wearing a baseball cap when I went out later.

what happens if you dont wash your hair day 6

Day six: I caved and broke out the dry shampoo because I had an event to attend. I only used it around my hairline, where things were extra greasy. This helped soak up excess oil, but it really dried out the rest of my hair, so I pulled everything back into a bun and added a big scrunchie as a nice distraction.

what happens if you dont wash your hair day 7

Day seven: I kept my hair in a low, tight bun for the last two days. I had to. My scalp desperately needed to be cleansed. By the end of the day, when I was cleared to wash my hair again, I was ecstatic. I felt like a new woman when I stepped out of the shower. A new woman with a squeaky-clean head of hair.


Seven days is definitely a little too long for me to go without washing my hair. I can deal with a little oil on my scalp, as long as I have some dry shampoo. But by day five, I just started to feel dirty and noticed an extra pimple popped up on my cheek. I assume it came from the oils transferring to my face. For someone with fine, lightened and naturally oily hair, I think five days is the absolute longest I can go without washing.

Jenny Jin Headshot Vertical 2023

Beauty Director

Jenny Jin is PureWow’s Beauty Director and is currently based in Los Angeles. Since beginning her journalism career at Real Simple magazine, she has become a human encyclopedia of...