TikTok is obsessed with ‘hair training’, but does it even work?

It’s time to debunk this BeautyTok myth

Beauty Crew Beauty Editor / October 10 2023

We’ve all heard that washing your hair every day is bad for its health because it removes moisturising natural oils on the scalp (which results in dry strands), and in turn the scalp overproduces oil in order to compensate for the lack of moisture in the hair, thus creating greasy hair. 

Some of us have even tested the theory to varying degrees of success, but now, the sentiment has spawned a whole trend on TikTok.

Introducing: the ‘Hair Training’ method, which theorises that you can ‘train’ your hair to produce less oil by prolonging the time in between hair wash days. 

The sweet spot seems to be a seven to eight day pause, but some brave TikTokers have tried to hold off on washing their hair for as long as 30 days. 

However, according to Rhysa Phommachanh (Personal Care Specialist at Landys Chemist) there are hair texture and genetic factors to take into consideration that determine whether or not the ‘hair training’ method will actually work for your hair. 

While it’s true that washing your hair every day can contribute to oil buildup (“the cleaner your hair is, the less the buildup of natural oils, therefore your scalp will naturally produce more oils to help compensate”), washing your hair removes more than just oil from the scalp, says Phommachanh. 

Shampoo helps to eliminate bacteria, product residue, pollution and dead skin cells that build-up on the scalp, and a lack of washing “can contribute to a build-up around hair follicles and triggering folliculitis, which can cause itching and inflammation that can later lead to hair loss,” she says. 

@andreventurrr Oily scalp, fine hair, prone to dandruff gang will understand 😌 if you don’t believe me, ask a derm. They specialize in hair #washday #washdayroutine #washdayresults #shampooandconditioner #dandruff #greenscreen #greenscreenvideo ♬ original sound - MISS J 🤭

“How often you can go between hair washes largely depends on your hair type and texture, be it fine or thick, curly or straight,” Phommachanh explains. “If you have thick and textured curly or coily hair, then you should typically be washing your hair every seven to 10 days.” 

However, prolonging wash days any longer than this could actually increase the likelihood of breakage, dryness and scalp irritation she warns: “Your scalp and your strands need moisture to stay healthy.” 

As for people with fine hair, straight hair or oily scalps? You should be washing your hair twice a week. 

“While dry shampoo can definitely help reduce scalp oil, it doesn’t remove build-up or clean your scalp,” says Phommachanh. “You’ll still need to wash your hair regularly for optimal scalp and hair health.”

Instead of swearing off of washing your hair completely, Phommachanh recommends keeping a hair journal so you can track how many days it takes for your hair to get greasy after it’s washed, gradually adding a day in between your wash days as needed.

“Balance is key, so don’t wash your hair too frequently, [but] try not to go too long between washes,” she advises. “You’ll know you’re getting it right when you can go one or two days over your regular hair wash schedule and still observe bouncy, fresh-smelling hair.” 

You can also try using a dry shampoo or texturising spray to refresh your hair in between washes, regularly brushing your hair, experimenting with updo hairstyles (one Sofia Richie Grainge-style sleek bun coming up), and cutting down on styling products.

Plus, it’s recommended to invest in a sulfate-free, silicone-free shampoo, a hydrating oil (for your mid-lengths to ends), a monthly scalp-clarifying treatment (to cleanse and reset the scalp and hair), and a scalp brush to exfoliate your scalp with when you’re in the shower. 

Image credit: Getty

If 'hair training' doesn't sound like your kind of hair trend, maybe you should try one of these viral TikTok hair colour trends instead?

Briar Clark got her start in the media industry in 2017, as an intern for Marie Claire and InStyle. Since then, her keen interest in fashion and beauty has landed her gigs as a Digital Content Producer and Beauty Editor with titles like Girlfriend, Refinery29, BEAUTYcrew and beautyheaven. She loves the way seemingly innocuous topics like skin care and style have the ability to put a smile on people’s faces or make them think about themselves a little differently. A big believer in self love and experimentation, Briar has made a point of becoming the Australian beauty industry’s unofficial guinea pig for unusual treatments and daring hair trends. When she’s not testing out the latest beauty launches, Briar is big on broadening her horizons, mostly in the form of food but she’s also partial to travelling to new destinations both near and far (and of course, allocating an extra bag to bring their best beauty offerings home with her).

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