Hair care regimen to rock my natural hair [male, medium length]
May 10, 2015 6:12 PM   Subscribe

I'm looking to change my hair care regimen so that I can keep my hair thick and manageable as it typically is after not washing it for a few days.

Right now I wash my hair when it gets oily/itchy/smelly, but after doing so it tends to poof out. I like how my hair feels and acts when I'm at the end of a hair care cycle (in that it's manageable and feels thick) but I don't like how it smells. I believe my natural oils have something to do with all of these effects. What can I do to keep my hair manageable and non-poofy, but also not smelly and itchy?

I'm a male, with medium length hair. I typically wash every 4-5 days with a double rinse of some generic men's dove shampoo and a single application of anti-dandruff conditioner (which has been doing its job, though I don't know that it's necessary at this point).

I've heard of a few non-traditional hair care methods like using baking soda and vinegar, or not washing at all, but I'm unsure if they'll have the results I'm looking for.
posted by lalunamel to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (15 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Oooh, I just solved this problem!!! I hate looking like a chickadee/bird of paradise for a day and a half after washing my hair. My solution? One application of the generic men's Dove shampoo every 3ish days, no second rinse, no conditioner. Only in dire circumstances do I apply the two rinse/conditioner ritual now.
posted by good lorneing at 6:30 PM on May 10, 2015

Best answer: A tiny dab of coconut oil or argon oil after your hair is washed but before it dries, applied over the top, can calm down the fluffiness.
posted by xingcat at 6:43 PM on May 10, 2015 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Striping out natural oils with a double shampooing and then softening the hair's natural texture with conditioner is a recipe for fluffiness.

Switch to a moisturizing shampoo and just soap it up once. That whole 'rinse and repeat' thing is a trick to sell more shampoo. Do not believe them. Once is plenty. And if your hair is shorter than shoulder length, you should not need conditioner.

Then use a drop or two of argon oil or a dot of texturizing cream after you towel dry and your hair will cooperate :)
posted by ananci at 7:03 PM on May 10, 2015 [2 favorites]

This is what hair product is for! You don't have to set up some complicated washing routine. Wash once a day (or as necessary for your scalp/hair type), then apply product. I'm imagining some sort of styling cream applied while hair is still slightly damp should do the trick.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 7:23 PM on May 10, 2015

Women use product to calm the fluffiness. A little gel run through, just after you get out of the shower, emphasis on the ends, will give you a little structure.
posted by Lyn Never at 7:30 PM on May 10, 2015

Also, why not just use Head & Shoulders in place of Dove shampoo, so keep the dandruff at bay without conditioner?
posted by cantthinkofagoodname at 7:44 PM on May 10, 2015

Best answer: I wash once a week - my hair is short and does not feel greasy or weird after that long (well, maybe a little greasy). I use Suave, and more importantly, I use a very small amount. So not only should you skip the 2nd shampooing, you should consider using much less shampoo even though it will "feel" like you aren't using enough.
posted by O9scar at 7:55 PM on May 10, 2015

I resisted putting product in my hair daily for a long time; I'm female but not very feminine-presenting. The no-shampoo or conditioner-only stuff never did much good for me. A little dollop out of a $3 drugstore tube of curl cream, on the other hand, and the texture is suddenly the way I always preferred it. I can get finicky about shampoo/conditioner and how I blow dry it to control just how curly it is and whatever, but mostly the thing about avoiding looking like a freshly-washed poodle turned out to just involve trying a few drugstore hair products until I found the one I liked best. I can wash daily now with no trouble.
posted by Sequence at 8:12 PM on May 10, 2015

I am the female hair equivalent of you. While product helps if it's humid and frizziness is inevitable, it's much easier to prevent for me with this regimen:

1) One lather and rinse with an SLS-free shampoo. I use Avalon Organics, because I like the scents (lavender, mint, rosemary) and it's cheap at Wal-Mart. My boyfriend started stealing it from me recently and we both love it. If you don't shop at Wal-Mart, you can usually get it online or at various crunchy health-type stores. But there are tons of different kinds of SLS-free shampoos out there, including Burt's Bees. (SLS is sodium lauryl sulfate, it helps the product lather, but also totally strips your hair. A lot of shampoos have sulfates under different names and so forth so it's easiest to do a little research before you go shopping.)

2) Really cover hair with a good conditioner. I've used an expensive brand (Alterna Caviar) and a cheaper brand from Wal-Greens (Infusium 23). Infusium is much cheaper and works just about as well. L'Oreal also makes a line of products now that uses high-end ingredients from their high-end line, and you can find info about that online. All of these are great conditioners and work magic on my hair. Leave it in while you wash your bod and do your other shower stuff, then rinse out at the end.

3) Sometimes I use a little Infusium leave-in conditioner (step 3 in their three-step hair care regimen).

4) Only do this every other day, or every three days, depending on weather (hot & sweaty etc.). Don't lather, rinse and repeat-- just one wash is good enough.

If I really need it I'll use some additional product. But this washing regimen makes my hair as naturally non-fluffy as possible.
posted by easter queen at 8:18 PM on May 10, 2015 [1 favorite]

sorry, but when you say "my natural hair," do you mean your hair free from styling products? or do you mean it in the afro-textured hair sense? if it's the latter then you'll have better results with sulfate-free shampoos. the sulfates are what's causing the dandruff and dry scalp, so instead of putting something else on top of all that to reduce the dandruff, you should ditch the source of it, aka the evil sulfates.
posted by poffin boffin at 8:50 PM on May 10, 2015

I'm a dude with thick, curly hair. I don't use shampoo or conditioner, ever, because I become a puffball. Here's what I do (this is long):

I bring two boar-bristle brushes into the shower.

I soap one up (using random bar soap) then scrub it with the other one to clean it. I rinse ALL the soap away out of both brushes.

Then, I massage my scalp under running warm water, then I brush my hair thoroughly with the clean brush while under the running shower water.

Then, I massage my scalp again under running water.

I do this maybe every 3-6 days, depending on how sweaty I am.

The first few days/weeks, your hair will smell horribly unless you shower every day or two. And, you'll need to boar-bristle-brush very thoroughly or your hair will look greasy and sticky. These are both because your scalp will be massively overproducing sebum from years of stripping the natural oil out of your hair.

Over time, sebum output will go down and you'll be able to use my regime above. No frizzy, fluffy hair ever again. And you'll save money on shampoo/conditioner.

(If your hair is very thick, like mine, your brush should be a mixture of nylon and boar fibers. Otherwise it won't be stiff enough to get down to your scalp.)

To style my hair, I thoroughly wet it, and then briefly run a random, plastic "blow dryer" brush through my hair, then thoroughly lift everywhere at the roots with my fingers, then style with my fingers.
posted by zeek321 at 9:01 PM on May 10, 2015 [2 favorites]

(You can buy a cheapo nylon-reinforced-boar-bristle-brush at like Walgreens. I bought one of these and a non-nylon one to clean the nylon-reinforced one. Works great. They seem to be lasting fine, even bringing them into the shower and getting the whole brush soaking wet every time.)
posted by zeek321 at 9:04 PM on May 10, 2015

Have you tried rinsing your hair with water without actually shampooing it? About 6 months ago, I transitioned to shampooing my hair more like every four days (cutting down from every day or every other day), but I usually rinse my hair thoroughly with water once or twice in between shampooing. If you haven't tried that out yet, I would definitely recommend it. I try to give my scalp a good massage while I'm at it. I use this scalp thing that is actually technically for dogs, but it's perfect for using on your scalp in the shower. They also make things like this specifically for humans, but this was cheaper. It's held up really well after more than a year of almost daily use.

I also use a fine (but not super fine) toothed comb to try to redistribute oils and avoid knots when I'm rinsing my hair, but I'm female with long hair, so that may not be as much of an issue for you.

I also like an occasional apple cider vinegar rinse, and it does seem to help when I have issues with scalp itch/dandruff, so it's something that might be worth trying, but I wouldn't do it instead of shampooing.

Also, you might consider ditching the conditioner. I use it on the ends of my hair, but it just leads to build up if I use it on my scalp. If you have dandruff issues, I would really recommend against any product. YMMV, but I find product just makes my scalp so much worse than it otherwise would be.

I've mostly embraced the less is more idea. I definitely wouldn't mess around with baking soda, since it's alkaline and can throw off the pH of your scalp, so I've heard. If you do continue having problems with dandruff, I also like to use Neutrogena T sal shampoo. It does a good job of clarifying my scalp, getting rid of any product buildup, etc. However, it can be a bit drying and may temporarily make your hair a bit fluffier, so I would only resort to it if you are having dandruff flare ups.
posted by litera scripta manet at 9:28 PM on May 10, 2015 [1 favorite]

I haven't shampooed or conditioned my hair in a half a decade.
Works great. My hair looks awesome. try that maybe?
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 4:55 AM on May 11, 2015 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Great answers everyone! I'm now only shampooing once with about half the material I used before, and I've stopped using conditioner. After I get out of the shower I put a few drops of olive oil on my hands and work that in. Works great for keeping my hair thick and not smelly. What a deal!

I'm sure there are better kinds than olive oil to put in your hair, but it's what's in the kitchen at the moment.
posted by lalunamel at 7:13 AM on May 17, 2015

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