Interviewer: What is all this talk about you not washing your hair for months on end?
R0bert Pattins0n: People are scared of my hair. But it starts washing itself after about three weeks.
R0bert Pattins0n, by the way, is the male star of the new Twilight movie. For teens, he is the hunka-hunka-du-jour. He also has really crazy-looking hair, and it often doesn't look particulary clean.
But "washing itself"? What the heck?
It turns out this isn't merely the stoned-out ramblings of a starlet-boy. "Self-washing" is a state of hair.
Let me back up, because if I give you the short version of this, you'll just be disgusted and disbelieving. You need to hear everything.
Consider a cat, or a bunny, or a foofy Pomeranian dog. You don't wash your pet every day, right? They only get a bath every few months, and yet a cat's hair (or a bunny's, or a doggie's) always feels soft, clean and glossy and/or fluffy. Why is that? Why don't cats get greasy-hair days?
The answer is that a cat's oil glands, skin and hair have all evolved to keep the cat's fur clean and healthy with nothing more than water-based baths. In the wild, that's all a cat gets. The jungle just ain't got soap.
The thing that is really bizarre--and frankly hard-to-believe for us modern folks--is that human hair is the same way. Because we shampoo regularly, we strip off our natural oils and upset the body's balance. As a result, if we stop shampooing, our hair starts to look greasy and disgusting in a matter of days due to over-production of oil.
Here's where the "self-washing" thing comes in.
Apparently, if you stop using shampoo, but rinse your hair in warm water regularly (for example, every time you shower), then after about six weeks of suffering beneath your greasy, disgusting, smelly mop of hair, your system finally sorts itself out. Your natural balance of oils reasserts itself, and your hair starts looking clean and fluffy again. You've entered the "self-washing" phase.
Of course, your hair doesn't really wash itself. I suspect what happens is the hair shaft becomes so well-moisturized that it swells shut and becomes impervious to dirt. And since most dirt and all sweat-residue is water-soluable, a quick rinse is all that's required to swoosh the yucky-yuck off your impervious hair.
People who do this--and obviously you're only going to hear from those who think "self-washing" is groovy--report their hair is healthier, nicer-looking, and more manageable than it was when they washed it in shampoo, and that no one ever notices the difference, and that scalp problems and dandruff often disappear, and that they're happy to not be spending money on shampoo they don't need or sluicing unnecessary detergents into the environment.
On one hand, this "self-washing" thing is fascinating to me because I'd never heard even a whisper about it before.
But on the other, behold R0bert Pattins0n's hair:
Ew. Is that hair gel, or...?
(Picture removed because its presence was doing crazy things to my hit rate, liek woah OMG.)
Has anyone here ever had "self-washing" hair, either intentionally or accidentally? If so, what did you think? Does this system actually work? Does it sorta work? Is the phenomenon of "self-washing" hair a sham, or is shampoo the real sham?
As an experiment, I tried just rinsing my hair instead of washing it last night, and then I brushed it heavily once it was dry (which you're supposed to do, to distribute the oils.)
My hair should look disgusting right now, but to be honest, it just doesn't. It's not crazy-flyaway like normal, which is nice, and although it has less luster, it doesn't look dirty at all. I'm truly surprised. El Husbando hasn't noticed anything either, which is great, because when I mentioned "self-washing" to him yesterday, he thought it sounded utterly revolting.
But yeah. I'm probably not going to continue this experiment beyond today.
**warily eyes R0bert Pattins0n's hair**
Edit 10/01/2009: Okay, I lied. I did go through with it. Read this post if you'd like to know what I thought of "self-washing" hair, as well as my best-discovered way of getting through the icky six-week transition stage.