Do you always just reach for the bottle of shampoo as a matter of habit when you're in the shower? Or is washing your hair more of an occasion, like something you actually have to schedule on your calendar?
Have you ever really stopped to question if you're doing the best thing for your hair when you wash it? Does it damage your hair if you overwash it? Or does washing too seldom lead to a dirty scalp?
The Truth About How Often You Should Wash Your Hair
Unfortunately, there is not a simple answer to this question. Rather it depends on several factors, including:
- Hair Type
- Personal Preference
- Styling Choices
Less Often Than You Think
In general, many people should be washing their hair less frequently, especially if washing daily. Hair stylists and doctors alike say that hair can be harmed from overusing shampoo. To understand why let's take a look at how shampoo works.
What Shampoo Does to Hair
Shampoo works like any soap or detergent in that it is meant to get the dirt out. And since a large part of the 'dirt' in hair is oils which come from the naturally occurring oils produced by the scalp, shampoo works by trapping the oils that collect in hair, allowing them to rinse away. As a result, if you use shampoo too much, you could end up with hair that is too dry, with too many of the natural oils stripped away. Dried out hair can in turn lead to breakage.
It's important to maintain a natural balance of those naturally occurring oils which are called sebum. This helps to keep hair healthy as well as to provide a protective and moisturizing layer to the scalp. If overused, the emulsifying properties of shampoo will remove too much of this sebum. In fact, it's preferable to have a bit of dirt in your hair than to strip all of the oils away. Overwashing can also lead to the production of too much sebum, as your scalp tries to compensate for the lost oils.
But Don't Wash Too Little Either
While some people choose to not use shampoo on their hair, it's important to be careful with this method. For those with certain kinds of hair and scalps, the effects of underwashing are just as negative as overwashing and include dandruff, clogged pores and hair loss.
So how are you supposed to know the right frequency for washing your hair?
How Often Different Hair Types Should Be Washed
A major factor in determining how often you should wash your hair is hair type. Here is a breakdown of how different hair types should be treated.
Very fine hair is recommended to wash hair every other day. This hair type can be very prone to looking oily, even when it's not. Because this type of hair is so fine, a small amount of oil can lead to a greasy appearance, making daily shampoos tempting. Resist the urge, as daily shampoos will lead to dried out tresses. Use dry shampoo instead or hair extensions.
Thick hair does a much better job of hiding a greasy appearance, which means if you don't tend to oiliness you should be able to achieve maximum hair health combined with good looking locks with one to two washes per week.
Wavy hair and soft curls
Overwashing causes curls and waves to get weighted down. Avoid this by washing every other day for more oily hair and every 3rd day for normal hair.
Because coiled hair is in tight curls, oftentimes oils cannot make their way down the hair shaft, leading to dry hair. Depending on the individual this may be combined with greasy roots as well. A moisturizing combined shampoo and conditioner or co-washing every three days, while using a purifying shampoo to remove buildup a couple of times a month.
In addition to hair types, the condition of hair also factors in to how often it should be washed.
Just like those with fine hair, it can seem like the right choice to wash daily to get rid of all that oil. And just like with fine hair, you should only wash every other day. If you go daily, you risk overdrying your scalp which will just lead to your scalp producing even more oils, leading to even more oily hair. It's a vicious cycle you can break by not washing daily.
Overstyling and too much heat leads to dry, brittle hair. Wash every two to three days with a special shampoo for damaged hair and apply an Olaplex treatment weekly.
If you've read all these descriptions, and thinking none really apply to you, and your hair is just 'normal' the general rule of thumb is wash your hair every two to three days.
So Who Should Be Washing Their Hair Daily?
There are some situations where daily hair washing is recommended. People who work out and sweat daily may need to wash their hair just as often. Additionally, those who live in a very humid climate may require daily hair washing, particularly if they have very fine hair.
When Is the Best Time to Wash Your Hair?
Right before styling can be a really good time to wash your hair, as you want to start out with completely clean hair. This will allow you to preserve your styling, such as a blowout, longer.
Are you overwashing (or underwashing) in order to achieve a certain hairstyle? While styling can be a factor, you shouldn't be drying out your hair to get the look you want. Especially when there's a better way. The wide array of hair extensions at Chic Magnifique allows you to create just the look you want, while still being able to wash your hair just the right amount for your unique head.