One, two, three, one, two, three, wash. How often should we really be washing our hair? Between how sensitive hair can be, and how easy it is to under-or overdo washing, we decided to deep dive into all the research to give you the lowdown on it.
In this article, we’ll go over all the information to help you nail the routine, so you can feel confident your hair will look fresh on the days that you need it to.
Why we need to wash our hair
Washing your hair at the right rate is important. Especially for those working with fine or limp hair, a healthy wash routine is essential to make the most of your locks. And, nobody likes the feel of greasy hair or an itchy scalp.
So, why do we need to wash our hair in the first place?
Hair produces a natural oil called sebum, which is vital to healthy and shiny hair. Without it, hair can become dull, dry and brittle. However, a build-up of sebum will also make your hair oily after a while.
Crucially, it’s not just sebum that is making your hair dirty. Pollution, dirt and dead skin cells also build up on the scalp between washes. That’s why it’s essential to give the scalp a cleanse now and then – so hair follicles don’t get blocked and the scalp doesn’t become irritated.
Some dirt in the hair is normal and unavoidable, and you definitely want some oils staying in there as well.
It’s all about striking a balance.
3 factors that influence the hair washing cycle
There’s no one-size-fits-all answer to how often you should wash your hair. However, there are a few key factors that influence the frequency at which you need to lather up your locks.
1. Hair type
Different hair types – coarse, straight, curly, fine – need different levels of natural oil to thrive. To figure out your hair type, assess individual strands instead of the full head of hair. Some people may have a lot of hair but the individual strands may be very fine, whereas others may have coarse strands but not that many of them.
Hair type can also change at different stages of our lives – just because your hair used to be one type, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t change the way you treat it if you notice changes.
Living in a hot climate, exercising often and working in polluted or dusty environments may lead to your scalp needing a scrub more often.
If you feel the need to wash your hair constantly, step back and consider your lifestyle. Are there any factors that could be causing more scalp build-up? If yes, you may get a hall pass to give it a cleanse more often.
What products and styling tools you use and how often also influences your hair wash cycle. On one hand, styling tools dry the hair out, meaning it will be all the more crucial for your hair to get the natural oils it needs. On the other hand, products create build-up in the hair that can irritate the scalp and block the follicles. It can be a tough balancing act!
Is it bad to wash your hair every day?
While there’s no universal answer to how often you should wash your hair, pretty much all the experts agree that washing your hair daily is bad. It can damage and dry out the hair by stripping it of its natural oils – in turn making it more prone to breakage.
This is especially the case for longer hair, because the sebum your scalp naturally produces is meant to prevent hair from becoming dry. Some hair types may also become more frizzy with over-washing, not to mention colour fading.
So if you’re stuck in a cycle of daily washing, keep on reading to find out how to break it.
When less is actually more
If your hair has become accustomed to daily washing, it will take a deliberate effort to make a change.
Oil glands in the scalp can sometimes become over-stimulated as a result of frequent washing, making your hair more oily.
If you can stretch out the time between washes, you’ll soon start to notice that you can go longer without the greasy feel. As the scalp realises it’s not constantly getting stripped of oil anymore, it will start producing less.
The less often you wash your hair, the less often your hair will need a wash. Simple!
So, if you’re looking to stretch that wash gap by a day or two, here’s exactly how to do it, without bad hair days.
How to nail your hair routine and break the cycle of daily washing
First up, avoid the excessive use of styling tools and hair products. Then, start to gradually stretch the time between washes. In time, your hair will adapt to the new wash cycle.
If your hair is prone to getting very oily, use dry shampoo instead of a full wash to get in another day without washing.
Make sure you’re using quality shampoo and conditioner. Many shampoos contain harsh chemicals, such as sulphates, to help create lather. Sulphates are cleansing agents used in household cleaners, detergents and yes – even most shampoos available at your local supermarket. They’re considered safe to use at low concentrations, but they can be quite taxing on hair.
BONUS TIP: be careful with how you apply your conditioner – only use it on the tips and the ends, or it can weigh your hair down!
Conclusion – how often to wash your hair
As with many things in life, there’s no one universally correct answer. That being said – less is often more. The right frequency will be different for everyone, so trial and error is the best way to find out!
To give a pithy answer – for most of us, every 2-3 days will do.
Here are the key points to keep in mind from this article:
- Try to find a balance between avoiding scalp build-up and not drying your hair out with excessive washing.
- If you have very fine hair, work out like a beast or live in a tropical, humid climate, you may need to wash your hair every day.
- Whatever the right pace may be for you, it’s crucial to use quality hair products and apply them gently to make the washing process easier on your hair.
- If you don’t wash your hair often enough, dead skin cells, excess oils and dirt can build up. This can clog up the skin of the scalp, causing itching, irritation and even visible flakes.
Now, off you go and look after those locks the way they deserve to be looked after!
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There are plenty of treatment options for thinning hair. The trick is find the right treatment for your specific hair concerns! A Gro hair growth specialist will be able to diagnose any hair or scalp conditions and recommend tailor treatment solutions for you. Click on the button below to book a consultation or call our friendly team on 1300 787 563.