oil training: how-to and benefits

I used to wash my hair once a day. Now, I wash my hair once a week max; and it’s all thanks to oil training. 

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This picture was taken after six days of not washing my hair.

*The first part of this post is my personal journey with oil training. If you just want some tips/answers to FAQs, scroll down!

If you’re one of those people who can’t go a day without washing your hair because of how greasy it gets, I can totally relate. I used to envy friends who would complain about how dry their hair gets because, after 24 hours of not washing mine, my head would look like a mop. No problem, though; because after a while, I accepted that fact that I was one of those people who just had to shampoo my hair every day to avoid looking like I hadn’t showered in weeks. Right?

Na. Not anymore. Thank you, oil training!

I started oil training when I first became a cycling instructor. Though I exercised nearly every day before I became an instructor, teaching multiple classes a day on top of exercising on my own started to really take a toll on my hair. Not because I sweat so much; though, but more so because I would wash my hair multiple times a day to try and avoid excess sweat and grease. Let me say that again: Sweat wasn’t damaging my hair. Over-washing it was.

After about three weeks or so of teaching/exercising/shampooing my hair multiple times a day, I started noticing some unpleasant changes in my hair health. My ends started becoming super frizzy. My hair would get knotted much easier than it did before. I’d lose A LOT of hair in the shower. AND, it would get greaser even faster than it used to. You’d think that the more I washed it the less greasy it would become…

In hopes of someone having some suggestions on how I could avoid damaging my hair any further, I started asking my friends and colleagues for advice. I had only mentioned it to a few people before another instructor mentioned how Lee From America—a blogger she followed—didn’t wash her hair regularly. “I think she oil trains?” she said. “Maybe you should look into that.”

The idea of washing my hair less than once a day literally made my skin crawl, but after doing my research on oil training and the benefits it could provide, I started to wonder if this was something I could get into. “I’ll try it for a day or two,” I thought to myself, “and if I truly can’t stand it, I’ll just wash it.”

I decided that since I was a serial washer, I’d first start small and only wait an extra day in between each wash. First I’d wait two days, then three, etc. Eventually, I’d build up to a full week without washing, and then I’d wait anywhere between five and seven days after that (depending on what I had going on socially, how greasy my hair would get, etc.)

The first few days were ROUGH. After the first time I went three days without shampooing my hair, it looked like my hair was wet all the time. I definitely had to swallow my pride a bit and rock a LOT of “slicked back bun and big earrings” looks. After three or so weeks of pushing through, I noticed my hair was less and less greasy each time I’d go shampoo it. Just like I had read, it was working. So, I pushed myself even further and started experimenting with different oil-training tactics.

Long story short, after 5 or so weeks of oil training, I got to a point where my hair wouldn’t start to get greasy until 6 to 8 days of being shampoo-free. Now, I usually wash my hair once a week, and I LOVE IT.

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FAQs

Q: What is oil training, and why do you do it?

A: Oil training is when you refrain from washing your hair as much as you can so that once it’s trained, you can wash it less. The more you train, the less oily your hair will get after a few days of not washing it. The overall goal (for me, at least), is not to NEVER wash your hair again. It’s simply to wash it less and not depend on shampoo.

I oil train for two reasons: 1. In my personal opinion, it’s damaging to stop our bodies from doing anything it does naturally. (Ex: birth control, antiperspirants, and stripping or hair from natural oil it produces.) I’ve found that after I oil trained my hair and refrained from shampoo, it was MUCH healthier in every way. 2. I used to shampoo my hair every day, and ain’t nobody got the time/money/patience for that.

Q: Do you get your hair wet when you shower?

A: I personally do, but I know many people who don’t. Some claim that getting your hair wet while oil training spreads the grease, however, this isn’t my experience. Also, as an instructor, my hair is a HOT MESS after I teach; and getting it wet makes it easier for me to style after teaching a bunch that day. (Yes, I often dry my hair with sweat in it. I don’t think it’s gross. You do you.)

Q: Do you use dry shampoo?

A: Na. In my opinion, if you’re dry shampooing, you might as well shampoo. My natural version of “dry shampoo” is baking soda and APCV. I apply the baking soda on my roots a few minutes before I shower when it’s dry (get it ALLL up in there), and then I apply about half a cup of APCV on my hair in the shower once it’s wet. I only do this in a do-or-die situation; like, if I have a social event and I don’t feel 100% about where my hair is at but I don’t want to wash it. In other words, I only do this on days where I would usually wash it but want to train it longer.

Q: What do you do when you’re going out but your hair looks or feels greasy?

A: Braids, buns, bold lips, and big earrings. Oil training has actually pushed me outside of my comfort zone to try different styles/looks. I’ve grown to love the bare-faced, bold lip, slicked back hair look now; which prior to oil training I would have NEVER done. It makes you OWN your shit, ya know?

Q: How long did it take you to get to a place where you are only washing once a week?

A: A little over five weeks. PUSH THROUGH I PROMISE IT’S WORTH IT.

Q: I tried oil training for a few days and my head is itching. Is this normal?

A: YES. Week 1.5 the itch was REAL. It goes away!

quick tips

-use baking soda + APCV as shampoo alternatives. (See how-to above.)

-start slow…that’s what worked for me. I didn’t go seven days without washing right away; I started with two days shampoo-free, then three, and eventually built up to seven.

-plan your social life around the training. When I first started, I used to schedule dates, dinners, etc. around the days I knew I was going to wash my hair. NO SHAME.

-don’t knock it until you try it! I was such a skeptic but now I’m so thankful I pushed through, and my hair feels so healthy.

 

In good health,

G

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4 thoughts on “oil training: how-to and benefits

  1. This tips were awesome, and I just have to tell you that you used the term ” cereal washer” instead of “serial washer” which is officially the cutest typo ever, because I just imagine you pouring coco puffs on your head and being like “why isn’t this working?” lol. Cerealiously though, the no poo method is the bomb 😉

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  2. I want to try this so badly (I have longgg days and a long commute so I’ll be honest it’s partly laziness) and your hair looks so great and healthy; do you and/or do you know of anyone who’s done oil training while working an office job? It’s really my only hesitation, when I go in with greasy hair I feel like all my coworkers are side eyeing me and I’m nervous to get some sort of reputation as someone who just doesn’t bathe 😂 (Which I feel is what a lot of people confuse not shampooing with)

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