Gary Barlow's unwashed hair: Should you do the same?

Gary Barlow Image copyright Getty Images

Former Take That star Gary Barlow has revealed on Twitter that he has washed his hair for the first time in 14 years. Is this really a hair-raising fact or are there any benefits?

Way back in 2003 when Westlife and the Black Eyed Peas were in the charts and flip mobile phones were all the rage, Gary Barlow washed his hair for the last time.

That is, until this weekend, when Gary announced on Twitter that it was an "important day" as he had washed his short locks.

Image copyright Twitter

Cue jokes from people on social media - many of whom were surprised at the revelation from the Let It Shine judge.

Image copyright Twitter
Image copyright Twitter
Image copyright Emma Harrison

So are there any advantages to not washing your hair?

Patrick Graham, from Stroud, Gloucestershire, ditched the shampoo bottle 25 years ago after he heard that hair may be self-cleaning.

"I had problems with dandruff, I couldn't get rid of it," the 60-year-old says.

"As soon as I stopped my hair was worse for about two weeks.

"Pretty soon after that I started to feel clean and nice and now I've had no dandruff for 25 years... there is no smell, it is clean."

'More manageable'

Kayleigh Thomas, who wrote about her experience of not using shampoo on her blog Blue jeans white tee, says she stopped using shampoo in March 2015 after seeing another woman on Snapchat who had done so for two years.

"My hair's more manageable now and I don't feel like I need to tame it using heat tools, so it saves me time in the mornings," the 28-year-old from Milton Keynes says.

She also says that a rash she had behind her ears cleared up as a result.

Image caption Gary Barlow, pictured two years after he stopped washing his hair, with Take That bandmate Mark Owen

Other public figures have admitted not using any hair products.

Andrew Marr said in 2006 that he had given up washing his hair, which had been "a vast cost to my wallet and the environment".

And former Conservative MP Matthew Parris spoke to BBC 5 live last year about not washing his hair for more than 20 years.

"The hair got greasier and greasier and after about 10 days it stopped getting greasy," he said.

Image copyright Kayleigh Thomas
Image caption Kayleigh Thomas stopped using shampoo two years ago

But Mark Coray, former president of the National Hairdressers' Federation and owner of a salon in Cardiff, says there is no benefit to not washing your hair.

"Shampoo is not abrasive or harsh to the scalp," he says.

"The ingredients in shampoo help the hair to look lustrous.

"The [hair's] oil may build up so it starts to look like it is shiny and lies in place more... but it will not self-clean."

'Greasy and flaky'

And the Belgravia Centre in London, a hair loss clinic, recommends that people avoid the no shampoo - known as "No 'poo" - trend.

"Rinsing your hair is not going to be very effective after certain activities that make the scalp sweaty, such as exercising or using a sauna," it says.

"Rinsing will also not remove bacteria or clean the excess oil from your scalp if you have greasy hair."

The clinic says it is "understandable" that people want to avoid harsh chemical ingredients in their shampoo, but stresses that there are good quality products free of harsh chemicals that are "widely available".

Anabel Kingsley, a trichologist from the Philip Kingsley clinic in London, agrees that hair does not clean itself.

"Imagine if you didn't wash your face or underarms for a week - the same logic applies to your hair and scalp," she says.

"They are likely to become coated in dirt, smelly, greasy and flaky. Build-up of yeasts and bacteria will also occur, especially as they thrive in oily environments."

She recommends shampooing at least every other day - leaving no more than three days between washes to keep the hair and scalp in good condition.