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To wash your Hair or Not to wash your Hair…
As a hairdresser, I get asked Lots of questions daily by lots of different people and those questions can range from just about anything you can think of.
I mean it totally varies on the days, clientele, and the season but there are a few Iconic questions that All hairdressers get asked repeatedly by their clientele, friends, and family.
One of those infamous questions is the…
“How often should I wash my hair?”
“Do I need to wash my hair every day?”
Because this can be so confusing, I wanted to simplify the not so straightforward answer as much as possible so that you and your hair can have a solid and stable relationship with one another. It’s Crazy important to understand what your hair needs and deliver it, along with providing a clean house for your hair to kick it at.
Hell yes, I said I want you to have a relationship with your hair.
Because I want you to LOVE your hair for what it is.
Get excited about your hair because its part of what makes you–You.
Why is the answer to this simple question not so straightforward??
Lots of reasons:
- Is your scalp clean, dirty, oily or normal?
- Is your hair oily, dry, silky or course?
- How much hair do you have?
- Is your hair curly, wavy or straight?
- How active are you? Are you lazy?
- How often do you work out and how sweaty do you get?
- Are you pregnant?
- How much time do you have for your hair?
- What hair care and styling products do you use and do you use a lot of products in your hair?
- Do you smoke or live with someone who smokes?
- Do you mess with your hair a lot?
- What is the condition of your hair?
See, not so straightforward.
Scalp and Strands
There are several different types of hair that people can have with multiple different types of combinations to it.
Hair that has thicker strands can go way longer without cleaning compared to someone with thin strands that tend to get dirty and oily quicker.
Curly hair can be more on the dry side, so they can go longer without washings, while straight hair will require more frequent washes mainly due to excessively touching the hair.
If you have coarse hair than you can go longer without washes but if you have silky hair you cannot. Make sense??
Think of it this way; the oils in your scalp don’t travel down the hair shaft as quickly on coarser hair as it does on finer hair strands.
My fellow brunettes, we are the exception!
Regardless, of your hair type and texture as a brunette- you do not want to wash your hair more than 2-3 times a week-Tops.
The reason is that shampooing your brunette hair too frequently will make your hair loose some of its pigments. Darker hair colors tend to keep their shine a lot longer so if you wash it too much than you can damage your hairs natural shine and create a dirty mousey brown color.
When considering how often you should be washing your hair, you should first look at your product selection your using to clean your hair.
Having the correct products for your hair type will absolutely help you simplify your hair cleansing needs.
Look for products that are for curly hair if you have curly hair, colored protecting shampoos if you have color on your hair, strengthing shampoos if your hair is on the weak or frail side.
The trick to finding the best shampoo is by trial and error, you need to have the shampoo accommodate your hair type but it also has to give your scalp a great clean too.
If your scalp isn’t clean than your hair will look like shit, that simple.
You need to wash your hair in order to keep your scalp healthy and free from build up. When your scalp is clean and healthy it shows in your hairs’ Amazing shine, bounce, texture, and volume.
Also, it’s important to have more than 1 shampoo in the shower with you so that you can alternate between the two. The reason for this is that you don’t want your hair to get too comfortable with 1 shampoo.
Our bodies can become immune to products if they are overused.
Have you ever noticed that your hair feels different in the summer compared to the winters? Weather and climate can be a big influence on your hair condition and its performance.
SO, continually switching your shampoo every 4-6 washes is a good option to keep your hair in its best shape and condition. Don’t go crazy with the number of shampoos you have in your shower, keep it simple, moisturizing and or protecting are the 2 most necessary for any good shampoo.
Pro Tip: Have 2-3 different shampoos in the shower to accommodate your hair’s changing needs. Choose from different smells, finishes, or weights of your favorite brands or experiment with a new brand. It doesn’t need to be complicated a little change is all you need to keep your hair happy and confused.
Amount of Hair
The amount of hair plays a major factor in how often you should wash your hair too. The reason is there is so much more hair to clean and it becomes very heavy and it makes cleaning your scalp more difficult.
When you’re washing your hair out, you really need to make sure your scalp is clean and free of shampoo and conditioner.
If your scalp isn’t clean then it can create a build-up of shampoo, sweat, styling products, and dirt. If that build up is neglected than after time of not having a clean scalp, your hair and scalp begin to stink.
It’s a sour smell and very unpleasant.
Believe me and if its left untreated then the smell just gets that much worse and pungent.
People love to ask me all the time what are some gross things that I encounter being a hairdresser and I always reply with the same answer….
Its when your hair and head stinks!!
Its fu#$ing disgusting and what really makes it worse is when the hair has to be blow dried because it makes the whole salon reak and it’s just awful for everyone.
Not washing your hair enough will have the exact same effect as build up does on your scalp. A disgusting smelly scalp, along with an itchy and flaky scalp to accompany the smell.
Ok, so our bodies create Sebum, which is Oil, and this sebum is secreted from our scalps and then onto our hair.
If you choose not to wash your hair very often than this Sebum will build-up and will leave your hair looking and feeling Oily and gross.
It’s NOT ‘shine’ that you are seeing, it’s Sebum.
Here is some more gross shit to go along with the Sebum, lol.
If you choose not to clean your hair when necessary than after time, your negligence will make you into a food source for these little gross guys called, Microfauna.
This Sebum will create all sorts of problems for you such as dandruff and in the most extreme cases- Hair loss.
So, you don’t want these little microscopic organisms on your head, these guys are literally- teenie tiny little worms. Yuck
Your skin turns over/sheds every 28 days.
So, again if you choose Not to wash your hair regularly for whatever reason you may have. Then the build-up of sebum, hair products, and dead skin will become more visible and prominent on your scalp.
Like cradle cap on babies but way more gross on adults.
When your hair gets that bad of a build up it will take several clarifying treatments to remove all that gross shit that has been left alone to sit on your head. It can be a process.
A lot of my clients over the years have expressed to me that they don’t want to wash their hair too much because they feel that washing their hair too much hurts their hair and they think it conserves the integrity of their hair by not washing it.
They fear to lose any more hair than they already are from the shower, brushing their hair, or any kind of heat so they won’t wash it. I mean it’s ok to go without daily washes BUT there is a limit so it’s important not to take it to the extreme.
So, for me, I’m not really a fan of this logic.
Here’s the thing, we naturally loose on average 100 hairs every day. Some of you may have a lot more hair loss on an average day because you have a shit ton of hair. Whereas those of you that have less hair may not even come close to losing 100 strands daily.
Just know that those 100 hairs or so that you are losing daily, you are also gaining the same amount in new hairs that are growing back.
Do you really know how to wash your hair???
The correct way to wash your hair is to begin by getting it wet, next add your shampoo but start with a small amount first and if you crave more of a lather than add more. You want to scrub your scalp and leave the mid-shaft to the ends of your hair alone, the suds from the shampoo will naturally drip down your hair to clean your ends.
This way you’re not being too rough on your ends.
When you wash your hair, you’re also essentially washing your scalp-Not your ends.
Here comes the double-edged sword.
Unfortunately, over-washing can damage your hair and cause it to dry out. Even worse, over washing will also create a stinky scalp.
Washing is supposed to help eliminate odors. Duh, right!
However, if you do it too much it can have the opposite effect on your hair. It can cause a smelly and pungent scalp because it strips away all the natural oils from your hair. Not only are you creating a stinky head but it will cause frizz and royally F-up your hair strands.
Ok, so our bodies want to protect our hair! If it notices the oils are being removed, it will begin to overcompensate with more oils being produced at your scalp.
Your hair will become more greasy and it can lead to things like dandruff, itchy scalp, dull hair, and it makes it easier for your hair and scalp to hold onto odors.
Gross shit like dirt, sweat, smoke, pollution, and debris will all become magnets to your skin very easily. Even when you go to wash your hair again, the constant buildup of oils won’t necessarily help the awful smell.
Honestly, it is the worst smell ever.
Ok, so if you are an over washer than you will first want to cut back on how often you are washing your hair.
Start it on the weekend or whenever you have at least 2 days to commit to NOT washing your hair. When you do go to wash your hair the first time after your stall in washes you will want to cleanse your hair with a good clarifying shampoo.
Once you feel your hair and scalp are clean and clear, then you can switch your shampoo back to something that is more geared towards your actual hair type.
Pro Tip: Keep a good clarifying shampoo in your shower and use it on occasion when you feel your hair to be getting heavy, lifeless, limp, and of course Smelly.
What F***ing Shampoo Do I Use?
There are a Shit ton of hair shampoos and they come in all sorts of sizes, smells, cost points.
They can vary by hair types, color treated, frail and weak hair, dry and brittle hair. There are colored shampoos that extend color life, dry shampoos, shampoos that combine conditioner in it, conditioners that are shampoos.
There are a shit ton of hair shampoos to choose from. The trick to finding a good shampoo for yourself is by knowing 1-2 key components that you Want and or Need to have in a shampoo. Once you know what need then you can play around with the varieties of smells, finishes, and brands that are available.
Here are my Favorites not only for my clients but also for my Daughter and me!
Salon Brands Shampoos:
Warning: Clarifying shampoos are all meant to give your hair a heavy and deep cleaning which can rough up your ends and make your hair feel dry or brittle. Do Not use a clarifying shampoo too much on your hair and make sure you finish with a good conditioner.
Style Sexy Hair Detox Shampoo: This stuff is great and highly effective for releasing dirt and oil build up on the scalp. When you use this shampoo to clarify your hair let it sit on your head for just a bit so it can do its job by pulling out the gross shit in your hair.
Have a good conditioner to use on your ends afterward, not your scalp, your ends. A lot of clarifying shampoos can be stripping to the hair which means its kinda roughing up your hair a bit to shake loose all the excess oils and product build-ups that your hair is holding onto.
If you use this Detox shampoo sparingly it will be a great fix for those of you who want faster results from a clarifying shampoo but just be sure to pair it with a good conditioner.
Redken Hair Cleansing Cream Shampoo: This shampoo is great for those of you that may have a sensitive scalp. It removes hard water, copper, iron, products, and environmental buildups. Just like most clarifying shampoos, you don’t want to use this daily as your normal shampoo. Also, follow your clarifying treatment with a good conditioner to mend the ends that the clarifying shampoo may have roughed up a bit.
Redken All Soft Shampoo & All Soft Mega Shampoo: Both of these shampoos absolutely deliver on their name because your hair will feel so soft, nourished, and they both leave a great shine behind on your hair. I use this a lot on my clients whose hair is overly dry and brittle and it smells really good too. I would recommend the Mega Soft be used for people whose hair is Med to Thick because it can be a bit heavy for hair that is on the lighter side.
Redken All Soft Conditioner: Redken All Soft Conditioner is now enriched with Redken’s exclusive RCT Protein Complex to treat hair from the root, to the core, to the tip. It leaves your hair crazy soft and silky. Depending on your hair type, I wouldn’t recommend this conditioner as a daily one because It can be heavy for some people.
This is the case for myself and daughter, our hair is on the finer side and it weighs our hair down but it works great for us to complete the clarifying treatment.
Redken All Soft Mega Conditioner: This conditioner is geared towards those of you who have medium to thick hair and has extreme damaged or dryness. This is a great conditioner to help leave your hair feeling really soft and silky. Your hair will become so much easier for you handle and manipulate because it really does pack a punch of good nutrients to your hair.
Matrix Biolage Sugar Shine: This one is probably my favorite because it smells Amazing! It is silicone free and creates a great lather that pulls away the dirt and dullness from your hair. It’s lighter than the other clarifying shampoos that I listed above but is still very effective. When I use this on my hair, I do get volume from this shampoo which is great and again it smells Amazing!!
Biolage Sugar Shine Conditioner: This is a great conditioner to follow up after you use the Biolage Sugar Shine Shampoo but the smell to this conditioner has mixed reviews. Weird, considering the Sugar Shine Shampoo smells soooo good but the conditioner has a lemony smell that some don’t like.
Budget Brands Shampoos:
Purifying Solution Clarify Shampoo by Ion: This shampoo is great shampoo and effectively does the job of removing any excess buildup you may have on your scalp. It smells citrusy, which I like, and it’s not as harsh on your hair when it comes to stripping any color out.
Aragan Oil Split End Mender: I really like this product for myself personally and my clientele. I typically don’t bring other product lines into my shop aside from Redken, Big Sexy Hair, and Matrix but this Split End Mender really does work in helping your ends live a lot longer and healthier.
Tresemme Keratin Smooth Shampoo: Oh man, this stuff smells so good. If your hair is frizzy, dry, and been through a tornado than this Keratin Smooth is what you need. What is great about this shampoo is how silky your hair will feel immediately after your first use. It doesn’t weigh your hair down so your hair is left with lots of volume, movement, and shine.
Tresemme Keratin Smooth Conditioner: My hair feels so smooth after I use this and I love that I can pick this up anywhere. It’s light on the hair, super budget-friendly and packed with nutrients to give an amazing shine. This really is a great product to use on your hair and restore and dry and brittle strands.
There are 2 different types of Dry Shampoos available, Powder and Aerosol Spray.
Dry shampoos are great for those in-between days of washes and those, “OH Shit!’ days when you have no time to wash and style your hair.
Although these shampoos are meant for convenience, quick fixes to being late, and lengthening the time in between washes they are Not meant to replace your normal shampoo and routine.
These dry shampoos work by absorbing dirt and excess sebum from your hair and scalp and it can leave your hair feeling and smelling fresh.
I am personally very picky when it comes to the aerosols for my hair type because I find that the aerosols can be too heavy for me, but I do like the powder ones. The powder ones to me add a lot more texture and fullness than the aerosols for my hair type which is straight, finer strands and has a silky feel.
Salon Brand Dry Shampoos:
Living Proof Perfect Hair Day (Phd) Dry Shampoo: The main reason I really like this aerosol dry shampoo is that it doesn’t leave any build up, Powder, that comes from the can and it is colorless so you don’t have to worry about matching your own hair color.
Also, this product has 2 really cool things that about it that make it special.
- It has a time-released fragrance in it that delivers a light clean scent that will keep you smelling pleasant all day.
- Living Proof has patented Healthy Hair Molecule (OFPMA) and Triple-action cleansing that focuses on cleaning the hair, the feel of the hair and the smell of the hair.
Dry Bar Detox Dry Shampoo: I think that habitual dry shampooers can attest to Drybar’s Detox Dry Shampoo because it’s just so universal. It’s light and absorbs the oils great, it smells sweet and delicious, and it been proven to be the ‘Go-To’ for Dry Shampoos because it’s so adaptable to lots of different hair types. I think it’s because it uses micro-fine rice powders to do the dirty work and it gives you a good root lift too.
Redken Powder Grip: This is what I use on my own hair and I love it. It is not a “dry shampoo” but it acts like one in that it delivers a matte finish which will camouflage excess oil that I have because I need to wash my hair. I love it because it adds a grip and guts to your hair that makes styling and the ability for the style to hold all day, that much easier to do.
Redken Dry Shampoo Powder 02 with Charcoal: This actually is a Dry Shampoo and it’s formulated with charcoal to absorb oils and other gross shit while still giving you volume at the roots. A little of this will go a long way so be sparing with this when you first use it and add more if needed.
Budget Brands Dry Shampoos:
Not Your Mother’s Clean Freak Dry Shampoo: This product is not only cost effective but very much the real deal as far as dry shampoos go. It’s very light, cleans the scalp great, doesn’t leave a white powder build-up on your scalp and it smells good. This product is kind of a Win-Win situation because it’s simple and does the job at a great price. They have 4 different types of dry shampoos to offer and all of them are just as good as the next one.
Here is the all their different types they have:
So, How Often Should You Wash Your Hair???
Here is my professional answer:
Wash your hair when your scalp is glistening because of excessive oil and grease, when your scalp is dry and itchy, when your hair is flat and lifeless, if it’s been more than 4-5 days, you just ran a marathon, or you pulled an all-nighter with your girlfriends.
Every 2-3 days is a good all-around answer for most of us.
Brunettes: No more than 2-3 times a week
Natural Redheads: 3-4 times a week
Colored Redheads: 2-3 times a week MAX
Blondes: 3-5 times a week
If you want to fine-tune your cleansing routine than look into the texture of your hair, your lifestyle, styling products you use, and the condition of your scalp and hair.
Use the right cleansing products for your hair type, this will create a solid foundation for your hair to hold onto its styles better and longer.
Just remember that healthy hair starts at the roots and that shampoos and conditioners are your friends and Not your enemies!
I think that’s pretty much it so, I hope you enjoyed my article as much as I enjoyed writing it.
If you ever have any questions about Hair, Makeup, or whatever, I’d Love to hear them! Also, if you ever have any ideas you would like for me to write about, then Please leave me a comment or send me a message.