How Often Should You Wash Your Hair?
~ Courtesy of Kevin Murphy
We all want our hair to look its best at all times. And while some overcome hair challenges easily, others have a hard time controlling and maintaining them. Our hair type and texture are a question of genetics, and such features often dictate the production of sebum – responsible for lubricating our hair and skin. Some lucky people can go without a wash for two or even three days. However, many men and women need to wash their hair daily because of lifestyle, habits, and the environment which can result in hair becoming dirty and oily more quickly. So, if you’re wondering how often should you wash your hair to keep it clean and healthy, here are some expert tips and suggestions.
What makes our hair dirty and greasy?
Keeping your hair clean on a daily basis can be a daunting task. Having to wake up at least an hour earlier to do your routine before work consumes time and money, especially if you need to use a lot of wash and conditioner. Regardless of how much effort you put in, your hair keeps getting dirty quickly. At some point, you’ll probably start asking yourself – ”What am I doing wrong?”. The answer is – probably nothing. Besides your hair type and texture, many other reasons determine how long you can go without a wash, such as:
1. The Environment
Polluted environment and work surroundings lead to mineral buildup on your skin, clogging the pores and sebum glands. Excessive accumulation of sebum and dirt can cause scalp inflammation. When spending a lot of time in such a polluted environment, you need to provide your hair and scalp detoxification and protection from external elements.
Age plays a significant role in determining the state of your hair. Typically, young people have higher hormone levels that affect gland activity to produce more sebum. At a mature age, women who have gone through menopause may experience a decrease in hormonal activities, slowing down oil production.
3. Types of products you use
There are many hair types, and each of them demands specific nourishment. That means there is no such thing as a truly “universal shampoo” or “conditioner” that will perfectly match every hair type. If the shampoo you’re using lacks the necessary nutrients for your hair type, it can do more harm than good. Many hair products have harmful ingredients that could make your hair greasier than usual. Thus, it is crucial to know what kind of wash and rinse your hair type requires.
4. Routines and lifestyle
Your lifestyle and diet are also responsible for how often your hair gets dirty. For example, physical activity makes you sweat more and kickstarts the adrenal glands. Adrenalin raises cortisol levels, which boosts sebum production. Sebum accumulation and sweat can make your hair oilier than usual.
We all know the saying “You are what you eat”. A healthy diet is essential for your genuine well-being, affecting your body, skin, and hair at the same time. The intake of fatty acids like omega-3 contributes to your nails, hair, and skin strength and shine. On the other hand, saturated fats and refined carbohydrates influence sebum oil production.
The expert tips for controlling greasy hair recommend introducing scalp treatment and detoxifying washes in your regimen. That means opting for products with natural oils, fruit acids, and herb extracts that restore balance to your scalp.
Suggestions for washing hair based on types
Every hair has a unique texture and type and to know how often should you wash your hair weekly, you need to understand your hair features. What is your hair texture? Is it thin, medium, or thick? How about a type? For example, fine and straight hair is easily overwhelmed by excessive oils and requires frequent washes, while fine and wavy strands can go 2-3 days without a wash. Medium hair could go without a wash for 3-4 days, while strands with coarse textures can resist a wash for 3-7 days! Nevertheless, like texture, hair type plays an equal role in determining the optimal frequency of washes. Curly, coarse, and wavy types tend to be less greasy and look cleaner for 4-7 days.
Consequences of not washing your hair regularly
Even though giving your hair and scalp some rest from constant shampooing can help moisturize the strand, there is a downside to neglecting your hair hygiene that can lead to many harmful consequences for its health and looks. Going too long without a wash will cause excessive oil accumulation on the scalp. The over-secretion of sebaceous glands is a perfect breeding ground for bacteria that can cause various issues, such as folliculitis, dandruff, itching, hair falling, seborrheic eczema, and acne. Buildup on the scalp can also result in a smell, resembling mildew.
What happens if you wash your hair too often?
Many people wash their hair daily because of the oil issues they face, often not knowing they are not fighting the problem, but rather exacerbate it. Our bodies and skin combat anything they identify as a threat. In this case, overwashing can strip natural oils that protect the strands. Sebum glands adjust to your everyday shampooing habits and produce more oil as a defensive mechanism.
In conclusion, instead of wasting time on the daily washing routine, focus on training your glands to work optimally. It may take time, but with the right approach, you can reduce hair washing from daily to approximately once every three days. Opt for alternative ways to keep your hair clean without a threat to your scalp health:
Instead of shampoos, wash your hair with water only every other time you feel the need for refreshing your strand,
Use dry shampoo in between proper washes,
Try co-washing instead of shampoo, especially if your hair is highly textured or dry. Introducing quality conditioners to your haircare routine will help with necessary hydration in any hair type.
Listen to your hair’s needs!
The combination of your hair type, lifestyle, diet, and the environment you’re living in will dictate how often you should wash your hair. Since everybody has individual requirements, there is no universal rule you can apply regarding the frequency of the washes. To make the best assessment, first determine your hair type and listen to your hair’s needs. Over washing or not washing it enough can create different issues and jeopardize its health. That’s why you need to adjust the routine based on your skin, scalp, and strand demands. If you need to wash your hair daily, reevaluate the choice of products you’re using, or think about your daily habits. Moreover, when struggling with scalp issues and mineral buildup, change your wash regimen to achieve balance and a healthier look for your hair.
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