Your hair is an important feature of your identity, and keeping it looking healthy and shiny can be a difficult task. So many of us spend many hours a week washing and styling our hair, it can be a time consuming job!
But did you know that shampooing your hair too often can actually cause more damage than good? While there isn’t one general rule that will work for everyone, how often you should wash your hair can be determined by its type and texture.
Read on to find out if your shampooing schedule could be contributing to making your scalp and hair more oily, and whether you could be saving valuable time and money by spending less time in the shower.
Why do we use shampoo, anyway?
While this may seem like a silly question, have you ever asked yourself what shampoo actually does, and why we need it?
Your scalp secretes natural oils called sebum, which helps keep your hair hydrated and travels from the roots right down to the tips. A buildup of dirt and sebum can make your hair look oily, and have you reaching for shampoo more often than you need.
A good shampoo will help trap dirt, oil and product residue, leaving your hair and scalp clean after rinsing it out. However, the aim is not to get rid of oil completely, as it acts as a protective barrier and helps keep hair moisturized (WebMD).
What’s your type?
Your hair type is an important factor when considering how often you should wash your hair. Oil spreads more quickly in straight hair, which can make your hair look greasier between washes.
Curly hair, on the other hand, is drier as it is harder for sebum to travel down the hair follicle, and can go longer between washes before looking greasy (Independent.co.uk).
Let’s take a look at different hair type and texture, and how to determine a healthy balance to achieve healthier looking hair:
Fine Straight Hair can lack volume, making it easier for sebum to work its way down your hair and make it look greasy more quickly. Celebrity stylist Abraham Sprinkle suggests that three times a week should be enough to keep your hair healthy, using a light conditioner only on the ends. Try using a shampoo like Aveda Pure Abundance to add some volume.
Thick Straight Hair can hold a style for longer after it’s been washed, so you can leave a few days between shampooing. Products that contain keratin or argan oil can help smooth your hair and make it more manageable.
Coarse Curly Hair tends to be drier and less oily, so washing once or twice a week should be enough. Make sure you use a moisturizing shampoo that doesn’t contain sodium lauryl sulfate, as this can corrode hair follicles and cause it to fall out. Sprinkle recommends Living Proof’s Curl Conditioning Wash.
Color Treated Hair can be dry due to the chemicals present in dye. It’s important to use a nourishing color formula about twice a week that will help prevent loss of color.
How often is too often?
As you can see, the amount of times you should wash your hair over a weakly period depends greatly on your type of hair and its texture. One thing most experts do agree on though, is that a daily hair wash is too much.
According to Angela Lamb (assistant professor of dermatology at Icahn School of Medicine), by shampooing this often you could be stripping your scalp of natural oils.
This will not only dry out our hair and cause more breakage, but will also signal your scalp to produce more sebum, making your hair look more oily. Notice the vicious cycle?
If you do wash your hair daily, why not try changing your schedule a little? Try for every other day at first, and then see if you can go two or three days between washes. You will probably need to wait about two weeks before you see any results.
Rinse and condition instead of shampoo
If your hair needs detangling, you could try rinsing with water and using a conditioner on the tips of your hair. This way you can avoid shampooing too often, but still keep your hair manageable.
By shampooing less frequently you could save some money, or be able to invest in higher quality products which are a little more expensive.
Some people go the extreme and don’t use shampoo at all, stating that using water and other natural substitutes is enough to create a healthy balance for clean hair that’s healthy. But this comes down to personal choice!
Summing it all up
To answer the question “How often should you wash your hair?” it’s important to consider your hair type and texture.
If you have normal hair and skin type, you shouldn’t need to be shampooing more than once or twice a week, but greasier hair will need washing more often.
Other factors such as whether you sweat a lot or are exposed to dirt more often might mean you have to increase hair washes throughout the week.
If this is the case look for a gentle shampoo that will help protect the essential oils in your hair to keep it looking healthy and lush.
- Your hair type is an important factor when determining how many times a week you should wash your hair.
- If you wash your hair daily because it looks greasy, consider leaving a few days between washes so your scalp doesn’t overproduce sebum.
- Allow at least two weeks for your new schedule to show positive results.
Have I missed anything in the article? Please leave any questions you have in the comments section and I’ll be happy to help.