Waves, Waves, Don't Go Away
June 18, 2010 7:06 AM   Subscribe

Is it damaging to get hair wet between shampoos?

I have medium length wavy hair that looks awesome right after washing (it gets super wavy after it dries) but then starts to loosen up and straighten out after a day. I don't want to have to wash my hair that often but I want that post-shower look.

Recently, I have taken to wetting half of my hair before bed and sleeping on it like that. When I wake up it looks great. Am I doing damage to my hair getting it wet so often? Is it fine as long as I don't brush it? Is there a better way to get this look?
posted by amicamentis to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (12 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I only shampoo a couple times a week, to keep my hair healthy (its curly and prone to drying out at the ends while the scalp swims in oil; infrenquent shampooing helps even out the natural oils). When I shower and don't shampoo, my hair gets wet.

Several hairdressers have commented that I have very healthy hair.

posted by sandraregina at 7:11 AM on June 18, 2010

You may want to explore the whole curly girl movement. Basically, in order to make your curls/waves happiest, you stop using shampoos with sulfates and just wash with conditioner isntead. Then you can only use products without silicone in them, because the surfectants in conditioner can't handle silicones. Here's a blog about it. And here's her very specific post about the method.

Note: I have wavey-ish hair, but I haven't tried this yet. I have, however, rinsed off after a run or something, gotten my hair wet without washing, and not noticed any extra damage. If you're really nervous, could you give it a little bit of conditioner when you wet it without washing?
posted by hungrybruno at 7:14 AM on June 18, 2010 [4 favorites]

I also have thin wavy hair that dries out easily. I shampoo every few days, but shower and get it wet everyday. Why do you think getting hair wet could be damaging?
posted by molecicco at 7:15 AM on June 18, 2010

Plain water is not going to do any damage to your hair. In fact it's recommended to use plain water more often than shampoo. I read this somewhere.
posted by amethysts at 7:18 AM on June 18, 2010 [1 favorite]

The reason that I'm concerned is because I've read that hair is weaker when it's wet, and more prone to damage. Myth?
posted by amicamentis at 7:26 AM on June 18, 2010

Hair is weaker when it's wet, but you're not doing anything to it when it's wet to damage it.

If you had a habit of vigorously brushing your hair, or using a curling iron, those are the sort of things you'd want to do to dry hair rather than wet.
posted by desuetude at 7:32 AM on June 18, 2010 [2 favorites]

I suspect that the warning about hair being weaker when wet (which I've also heard, but i'm entirely sure whether it's true) refers mainly to damage induced by brushing. When your hair's wet, use a comb instead. Water itself isn't damaging.
posted by divisjm at 7:33 AM on June 18, 2010 [1 favorite]

I have wavy/curly hair and do this all the time. If it's hot or if I work out in the afternoon I might take multiplele showers in a day, and I certainly don't want to wash my hair every time.

Wet hair is weaker, which is why you should NEVER brush wet hair, but just sleeping? Might give you some weird bed-head the next morning, but that's it.
posted by JoanArkham at 7:41 AM on June 18, 2010

I have curly hair, I only shampoo my hair 2 (sometimes 3) times per week but I rinse it every day and reapply conditioner. I don't vigorously brush it when it is wet because it does break easier when wet. I actually don't brush at all, I just use my fingers but my hair is also short, when it is long I do brush it when wet just gently.

Don't be afraid to experiment, don't be afraid to do things that some people tell you doesn't work, find what works for your hair and rock it. (My straight haired roommate almost had a heart attack when I told her I don't shampoo my hair every day, she thought my head must be the most disgusting thing on the planet or something).
posted by magnetsphere at 7:44 AM on June 18, 2010

Getting your hair wet is fine; the damage comes from trying to comb or brush it when wet. Many people who follow the Curly Girl method don't comb or brush their hair even when it's dry. When it's wet, do the bare minimum to get your hair to fall in the right way as it dries, and you'll be fine.

You might want to try a salt water spray between washing; it brings out the waves like whoa. You can make your own for cheap by filling an 8-10 ounce spray bottle with water and adding a teaspoon or two of sea salt plus a little bit of conditioner and/or gel - there are tons of recipes and variations online.
posted by Metroid Baby at 7:58 AM on June 18, 2010 [3 favorites]

I swim a lot (a few times a week) and had breakage from tying my hair back tightly with a band while wet. My hairdresser told me to leave it loose til it dries and the breakage has more or less stopped. I also use leave-in conditioner now, too. My hair isn't curly (has a slight wave) so ymmv.
posted by poissonrouge at 10:36 AM on June 18, 2010

I have very wavy, thick and coarse hair. I use gobs of gel and silicon hair shine. I don't wash it daily, just spritz it with water in the morning to reactivate the hair product. Getting your hair wet is fine.
posted by theora55 at 12:08 PM on June 19, 2010

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