Meet the Woman Who Didn't Wash Her Own Hair for Years

10/24/2013 at 06:52 PM ET

Blow dry addictionGMA/ABC News

Everyone likes the way their hair looks when they leave the salon, but Sandra Ballantine took that to an extreme — she stopped washing her hair at home, having it blown out in a salon up to three times a week instead.

The N.Y.C. resident admitted to Good Morning America that she was spending up to $250 a week on her addiction, but only realized that she might have a problem when a friend, an editor at W magazine, noticed there wasn’t any shampoo in her house.

RELATED: The fall hair products editors are raving about!

Her pal issued her a challenge: Forgo the salon and skip the dryers, flat irons and hot rollers for three months, and then write about it for the magazine. “I didn’t think I could do it,” she said. “And then I kind of got over myself. I was like, ‘Come on, who cares that much?'”

Ballantine admits she didn’t accept the challenge straight away and found it hard to go cold turkey.”The first time I lathered up and air-dried, I looked like an extra from Game of Thrones,” she writes.

But with some advice from her stylist and some inspiration from the queen of wash-and-wear hair, Kate Moss, she jumped in. “I began experimenting with all manner of shampoo, conditioner, balm, oil, cream, mousse, spray and serum,” she admits. (Her current fave is Living Proof’s Perfect Hair Day.)

And while that led to some mishaps — like a wet-look ponytail that looked more like a rat tail and a boyfriend who didn’t recognize her — Ballantine says she’s embraced her new look, going as far as to change up her makeup and wardrobe to match her more natural style. “I’ve discovered that softer hair is the perfect foil for stronger makeup,” she writes.

But the biggest payoff of all might be in her wallet: She’s now putting the money she’s saved towards the property taxes on her newly purchased home.

Thoughts? Do you have any beauty addictions of your own?

–K.C. Blumm

FILED UNDER: Beauty , Hair
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Showing 67 comments

nicky on

If only we all had her problems..

Shia on

News flash: women of color do this ALL the time as their hair doesn’t have to be washed as often and many go to the salon ONCE a week (that’s all you need for many black women) – especially in NYC where a wash is $10…but nevermind People to be cognizant of that…joke.

Aneta on

I can beat that, my sister in law has not washed her own hair since she graduated law school 14 years ago…

rockybopper on

Correct me if I’m wrong but this is the life of many, many senior women who don’t have the mobility to wash their own hair. Why is hers a news story?

Tara on

Why is this news? Lots of women do this. Mostly seniors.

Kristy on

My 90 year old grandmother has not washed her own hair for about 20 years.

Women in the 60s and earlier would only get their hair done at the salon. As do many people with “black hair” even today.

I don’t see anything wrong with it, unless she wants to save money and her hair from so much heat damage. Otherwise, it’s not such a revolutionary idea not to wash your own hair. I’d totally get my hair washed only at a salon if I could afford it.

Nannyto1 on

My 85 year old Mom never washes her own hair… I don’t think she ever has! She visits her hair dresser once a week and always has.

J. on

I thought this was going to be a heartwarming article about a woman with limited mobility or a disability becoming physically able to wash her own hair for the first time in years. Disappointed :(

Charli on

I know a lot of people who don’t do their own hair. Not a huge story.

Angela on

Why is this even news?? WTF

Deni on

Wow – it must be nice to have an extra $1000-$1250 a month to spend on getting your hair done 3 times a week. That’s a mortgage payment for many people. I wonder what she does for a living that she can afford that AND is able to live in NYC.

Guest on

I’m honestly surprised at how normal this sounds for so many people. I don’t know a single person who does this! lol. Weird! Maybe it’s a regional thing or something, but where I live we take care of our own hygiene, black women, old women, young white women, everyone. I suppose if you have a ton of extra income and nothing better to do with it, yeah, go for it. But it just seems like such a waste of money…and I don’t live in a “poor” area either. This story just struck me as funny! lol

Peachy on


desperada57 on

Is that what her hair looks like AFTER a blow dry? WTH? Mine looks like that if I do absolutely nothing to it. Of course, I have to use mousse, hair spray and a blow dryer to get mine to look fuller – lol!!

desperada57 on

Oh, I forgot to add – I do it all myself. And I don’t do it every day.

Robynnn on


Morning Coffee on

I guess I was expecting that this woman would have beautiful hair, but this isn’t the case at all. With her hair, looks like she spent a lot of money for nothing.

Ashlie on

I havent washed my own hair in years either. It dries straight and so I wash it once a week at a salon and leave it be.

Dawn on

Must be a slow news day! and I read it!

Me on

What a waste of frickin’ money! I can understand the elderly and certain people having to go to a salon on weekly basis. But, NOT someone who is quite able to do her own hair! What’s so hard about shampooing and blowing it dry yourself? Or going naturall y curly like I do? Going in for a haircut and or color job, that’s different. But not going in a weekly basis.. waste of money, but of course the hairdresser loves you and isn’t going to encourage you to do it on your own.

rudy2138 on

Umm.. new flash. You can blow out your own hair. It’s not that hard to use a blow dryer.

Toya on

Women of color do this all the time! Why is this news?

katiebug6785 on

How lazy are you if you are paying a salon to wash your hair for you? The money isn’t even the shocking aspect to this story, it’s the laziness. Even my 80 year old grandma washes and styles her own hair! Holy cow America, get your life together.

Elle on

This is just a pathetic story, for more reasons than one.

Halley on

Man! If I could afford it, I’d totally do this! Nothing better than a good blow out!

Sammi on

This is actually the dumbest article I’ve ever seen

Cariboo on

Why is this news? Because W magazine which I confess I don’t read needed filler material for 3 months just like the faithful Royal section readers of sometimes find non-royal mentions of Hollywood stars or the K clan.

Stassi on

A minute wasted at reading this.

LisaB on

Up to $250 on her hair a week?! The article states she went “up to 3 times a week”. This is spending $83.33 per trip to the salon!!!!! She’s hitting around $13,000 a year for hair care. Seriously! Why? If you just want a thrice weekly blow-out go to one of the cheapo hair shops and pay about $10 – $12 for a shampoo and blow dry. Yikes!!!

Kate on

I don’t wash mine or my child’s hair everyday. It dries out the hair and ravages the cuticles. We wash about twice a week or when the scalp smells like it needs a wash especially after a workout. I have heard some people, especially this European lady say she doesn’t bathe everyday. Even if a person doesn’t bathe everyday at least wash the parts that should be cleansed if one has a propensity for mal odor.

Nanu 08 on

Lots of females have this done so whats the big deal? Sounds like this female was lazy…..

Dee on

Quite a misleading title..

linda on

I expected this girl to have beautiful hair, what happened???? She sure wasted alot of money.

Trish on

How is this news. There are many women out there who don’t… especially black women.

Tiff on

What a tart.

Olive on

This is a story? Seriously? Tons of celebs and rich people get their hair done regularly. Will the next headline be “Meet the woman who has never cleaned her own house?”

Amp on


Seriously though? Who has that kind of money to blow on getting your hair done that many times a week? Yeah, it’s her money, but wouldn’t she have preferred just saving up for her own house?

bfd on

First world problems.

Yvonne on

If I didn’t wash my hair every day I’d have greasy hair. I’ve tried it many times because some friends only washed every three days or so. Yeah that didn’t work for me. Not even close. I even tried shaking on a little baby powder and rubbing through my hair and that didn’t work either. I don’t know how other women got so lucky in that department. My scalp doesn’t cooperate.

Is she Dumb or Lazy ? on

She paid for her hair to look like that for years…. Ummmm … She Can’t do that herself ? Really ? Is she that Dumb or just Lazy ?

fiona on

everyone should wash their hair every other day or else it starts to smell. i can tell immediately (when on the train) who has dirty hair – i can smell it.

owen s on

?She must make a whole lot of money to pay $250.00 a week to a hair dresser…give me a break………sad if true………0

pinky on

Clearly her editor friend at W must “know” some people to get this written. This is a story?? I live in NYC and lots of us ladies do this, no big deal…
Newsflash…they even opened salons that do nothing but blowouts…imagine that!

Karen on

Waste of money. Her hair doesn’t look that good in the salon photo. Very thin hair.


My cousin is a model…never washes her own hair..

kalie on

This is probably just an advertisement for Living Proof’s “Perfect Hair Day”, since it has a link on it. — or it’s a very slow news day.

Carrow on

Lol an extra from Game of Thrones :-D

I have super thick hair and if I could afford it I’d have someone else wash my hair too!

ana on

my mother in law has been doing that for twenty years

Jorge on

She is a young lady, meaning she hasn’t washed her hair since she was little.

Jorge on

She is a young lady, meaning she didn’t wash her hair since she was little.

Please on

Caucasians are among the many races of people with some of the easiest hair to manage, yet they can’t figure out how to do simple sh* like wash and blow out their own hair and spend mind blowing amounts of money at the salon only to come out looking exactly the same.

Ava on

What a vain, selfish woman! Get over yourself, girl.

Laura Hensley on

For that money she could have gone to beauty school and learned to do it perfectly herself.

Terri on

I wish I could take my hairdresser home with me bc I can never get mine to do what she can get it to do …Unforunately I can only afford to go about 4 times a year if that …..

fiehnphoto on

I wouldn’t have time for that. I hate getting my hair & make up done because it takes too long. Wash & walk Baby! Besides it looks like her hair is actually very damaged from all that.

ladywriter7 on

I wash my hair myself; it saves money. I have Head & Shoulders, Leave-in Conditioner, a hair straightener and hand dryer, why do I need to go to the saloon?

Sunny on

My 90 year old grandmother hasn’t washed her own hair in probably 65 years. She has been going to a hairdresser every Friday since she was around 25 years old.

Sunny on

Many women have their hair done at a salon on a weekly basis.

SJMommy on

Please do not sit or stand next to me. Whether you are with a male or female partner, they love to smell fresh clean hair. Bonus if it smells like nice smelling flowers or sweet smelling fruit. Sounds like you are lazy or piggy.

Elle on

Trust fund baby problems!

Dorism on

What’s the news?? I had did my own hair in 40 years! I went to the hairdresser every week! Only thing different I had a perm, so wash and set $35, touch up on perm $75. Now, Im 100% natural and I don’t miss my hairdresser at all!! Yeah NATURAL!

Dorism on

SO HOW’S THIS NEWS??? How do you think hairdressers make a living. Every week for years. I did it for 40. Now I ditch the perm, and now doing my own hair and I have to start from square one…..I have no idea how to care for my hair!! I turn to Youtube, blogs, and natural hair form, and Facebook. So tell me something I don’t know

Carrow on

To get your hair styled at a salon with a predominantly black clientele in my city can run you 35 to 100 dollars (for natural hair not including weave). Can someone tell me the average in a salon with a predominately white clientele? Lets assume you are simply getting a wash and style….

The reason I want to know is I’ve read a few comments that said they can only afford to go to the salon a few times a year! My mom has a regular 9 to 5 but the prices are so reasonable that she goes every 2 weeks. Thanks!

Melissa on

Her hair in that first pic is pretty flat, why spend so much on that? I can see once a week, and using dry shampoo in between. Also, why spend so much at a fancy salon when a cheaper salon can do the same blowdry?
I’m sure she looked frizzy at first bc of all that damage! Glad she got over her vanity…

AT on

I originally mis-read the title & thought it said she hadn’t washed her hair (at all) in years…haha…that would’ve been more entertaining!

M on


Pam on

Well she needs a new stylist. Her hair looks thin and lank in the picture. And the part is so wise. Is she losing her hair because of all the stuff she has done to it?

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