Going seven days in between shampoos might seem daunting, but the results are well worth it.

July 25, 2017

I’ve always loved the look of second-day hair—perfectly-undone, slightly tousled waves like you just rolled out of bed. To achieve the style without waiting 48 hours, I used to wash my hair every night, curl it, then use a flat iron to transform the curls into waves that looked naturally lived-in. I loved the end result, but the process was time-consuming—and worse, it was damaging my hair. To top it off, I had oily roots, which meant my "second-day" look actually needed to be recreated every day. I needed a change.

About a year ago, I decided to wash my hair less often. I'd recently splurged on balayage highlights, and I was eager to make the color last. My goal was to eventually go a week in between washes, but I started gradually, cutting back one day at a time. And I'm not going to lie: during those first few weeks, my hair felt like an oil slick, and I was constantly tempted to shampoo it. But I resisted, and as time went on, my strands adapted to the new routine. 

Now, I can honestly say that weekly washing transformed my hair, and I'll never go back to washing it daily. Here's how I make my once-a-week shampoo look fresh for a full seven days.

Day one: Prep hair for the week ahead

 Jinwoo Chong

Day one (photo: Jinwoo Chong)

One of the most important things I've learned during this process is that when you're shampooing every seven days, that wash needs to be thorough and effective. So once a week, I lather, rinse, and repeat with a clarifying shampoo and conditioner. My favorite are Hask Charcoal Clarifying Shampoo ($6; walgreens.com) and Hask Charcoal Clarifying Conditioner ($6; walgreens.com). After, I apply my one major product splurge: Christophe Robin Regenerating Mask With Rare Prickly Pear Seed Oil ($71; sephora.com). It's pricey, but leaves my hair noticeably soft and smooth for days on end. If I'm trying to save money, I'll use Neutrogena Triple Moisture Professional Deep Recovery Mask ($9; walgreens.com) instead. It's significantly cheaper, but still hydrating.

After my weekly wash, I blow dry and curl my hair, always dividing it into two layers and curling away from my face, leaving the last half inch off the wand for a natural finish.

RELATED: Here's What Happened When I Used Only Conditioner for a Month

During the week: Less is more

 Jinwoo Chong

Day three (photo: Jinwoo Chong)

It seems counterintuitive, but I've learned that the best way to maintain my hairstyle throughout the week is to use as little product as possible. At most, I'll spritz Batiste Dry Shampoo ($9, walgreens.com) on my roots, which adds texture and absorbs grease. But other than that, I refrain from using any style-extending products, which I find can become crunchy after a few days. The fewer products I apply, the less likely I am to experience build-up.

Throughout the week, I make sure to sleep with my hair in a ponytail to add natural volume. I find that simply brushing it out in the morning helps smooth waves.

RELATED: I Tried a Tool for Girls Who Hate Washing Their Hair, and Here Are the Results

Day seven: Waves still intact

 Jinwoo Chong

Day seven (photo: Jinwoo Chong)

Unsurprisingly, my hair is flatter and more relaxed by the end of the week. But since I didn't load strands down with product, the waves remain intact. I now don't notice any oil until day six or seven, and even then, it's more manageable.

All in all, my hair is the healthiest it's ever been, especially since I'm less reliant on hot tools. Also good: I save money on shampoo and conditioner, and my color-treated strands stay vibrant for longer. Plus, it looks healthier—in fact, since I started shampooing less often, I haven't gone more than a week without receiving a compliment about my hair, and I even get them on day seven.

The best part? I rarely need to do more than finger-comb my strands to style them, which means I can get out the door in record time. In other words, the "low-maintenance" style I used to do every day is now actually low maintenance.