How Often Should You Really Be Washing Your Hair?
Unlike brushing your teeth both morning and night, there is no set recommendation for how often you should wash your hair. Some people can go several days between shampoos, and then there are the lucky ones who can make a blowout last for an entire week. On the other hand, those with a more oily scalp may feel the need to wash their hair almost every day. Of course, this aspect of hair care, like others, ties back to the diversity of hair types.
So, how often should you really be washing your hair? The answer might be less often than you think! Keep reading to see what hair care professionals and dermatologists have to say about it.
What’s the problem with washing hair every day?
Washing hair with shampoo cleans the hair and the scalp, but it can also cause dryness and damage if done too often. Shampoos contain surfactants, which lower the surface tension between two liquids or a liquid and a solid, in this case water and the soil particles trapped in the hair.
One part of the surfactant molecule is a lipophilic hydrocarbon chain that can bind the sebum of the scalp as well as any oily styling products. Typically, chain lengths are between C8 and C18, the most used being C12 in cosmetics formulations as this length strikes a balance between mildness and detergency. Shorter chain lengths equate to stronger oil removing properties while longer chain lengths are more mild but also produce less lathering effect. (The Trichological Society)
The other part of the surfactant molecule is the hydrophilic head, which attracts water, thus allowing the shampoo to be washed out when you rinse your hair. (ThoughtCo.) Functional groups that make up the hydrophilic portion of the surfactant include sulphate, ethoxy sulphate, succinates, polyhydroxylates, and many more. (The Trichological Society)
The problem with surfactants in shampoos is that they can strip too much of the natural oil from our scalp, causing the hair to be dry and frizzy. This is particularly a problem when hair is shampooed more than necessary.
Another problem with too frequent washing is for those with dyed or highlighted hair: the shampoo can fade your color or cause brassy tones to develop. According to WebMD, “Shampooing causes the hair strands to swell, and the color then washes out little by little.” In fact, shampooing the hair more frequently is suggested in tutorials on how to fade a hair color disaster. (Refinery29)
Is there anyone who should shampoo every day?
You may come across numerous articles and hair care guides that insist no one ever wash their hair daily. Although this is true for the majority of hair types, there is a small population that may benefit from daily hair washing. Dr. Carolyn Goh, MD, assistant clinical professor of medicine at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, explains that those with fine hair, those who frequently work up a sweat through exercise, and those living in very humid environments may require daily hair washing. (WebMD)
Is there a recommendation for how often to wash hair?
Dr. Goh confirms that, “There is no blanket recommendation” for how often to wash hair, but she does recommend to shampoo if the hair is visibly oily, the scalp is itching, or there’s flaking due to dirt. On average, every other day or allowing 2 to 3 days between shampoos is acceptable. (WebMD)
How often you wash is also dependent on your hair type. StyleCaster says, “Hair that’s thicker and curlier can go without a wash for longer than hair that is fine.” Additionally, hair strands that are coarse, curly, or processed slow the dispersion of oil down the shaft much more than fine strands.
Find your perfect hair care regimen
One of the best ways to maintain the health of your hair and reduce the need to wash it as frequently is to find a hair care regimen that works with your hair type and lifestyle. Some stylists recommend using a light, volumizing shampoo for fine hair so the hair won’t become greasy as quickly. On the other hand, the recommendation for coarse or thick hair is a moisturizing product that will balance the scalp and hair. (StyleCaster) Ultimately, the type of shampoo, conditioner, and styling products that will keep your hair looking its best all depends on your hair type.
At the end of the day, the easiest way to ensure you have the ideal products in your hair care regimen is by allowing the Shtrands professionals to choose them for you. Shtrands is a team of passionate hairstylists and cosmetics chemists who recommend and deliver personalized luxury hair care regimens, so you can achieve salon results at home.
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