Real talk: most of us aren’t born with Blake Lively levels of hair volume. We have to fake it; blowdrying our tresses with a round brush, applying a volumising spray and sometimes even clip-in extensions. But if your hair is still looking limp after all of the above, the problem might lie with how you’re looking after it. Or, more specifically, how often you shampoo/condition. Here, we investigate, how often you should really be washing your hair.
How often should you wash your hair?
Shampoo schedules are very serious and getting the timing right is vital if you want your hair to look fresh on a particular day. Experts are divided on how often we should be washing our hair, but a general rule to follow is every two to three days. However, this can quickly change depending on your hair type, lifestyle and even where you live.
Essentially, the less you wash your hair, the less you’ll need to wash your hair. If you gradually reduce the number of times you wash each week, you’ll find over time your hair will need to be cleaned less frequently, but will still continue to look and feel healthy. To achieve this it’s important to minimise how often you use styling tools such as curlers or straighteners and limit the amount of hair products going on your head. If your hair is prone to oiliness, consider using some dry shampoo on your roots to soak up excess oil instead of a full wash.
Is it bad to wash your hair every day?
While some may need to wash their hair more regularly than others, washing your hair every day is considered a bad thing. Over-washing on any hair type will remove important natural oils, known as sebum, and will leave your hair feeling dry and brittle. Other signs of over-washing include the colour of your hair beginning to fade, frizziness and a flaky scalp.
How often you should wash your hair also depends on your hair type
Those with curly hair should be washing no more than three times a week because those curls really depend upon natural oils produced by your scalp. However, if you have fine or straight hair an oily scalp will show more easily, meaning that you might need to wash every second day. According to recent research, brunettes should wash their no more than twice a week. This is because over-washing brown hair makes it dehydrated, drawing it’s pigment out and leaving it colourless and dry. If you have short hair, washing it frequently is allowed as it generally is not subjected to the rigours of styling. Naturally dry hair types may require more washing, but with a smaller quantity of shampoo.
When it comes to looking after stressed out hair, the right shampoo can make a world of difference. “Definitely avoid sulphates, as they dry out your hair and cause frizz, they can also strip the natural oils from hair which keep it moisturised and luscious, explains Lauren McCowan, Evo and Cloud Nine Creative Director. McCowan says.
Look-out for a shampoo that can deeply clean and remove product build-up without stripping your natural oils, then, opt for a conditioner that will seal your strands. Like this shampoo and conditioner pairing which are aptly called ‘the therapist’ because who’s hair isn’t in recovering from something?
evo the therapist hydrating shampoo & conditioner ($34 each; at evohair.com)
Can shampoo and conditioner damage your hair?
Some shampoos and conditioners themselves can also contribute to hair damage. Using large quantities of shampoo while washing dry hair can remove the moisture you desperately need, making your hair even more susceptible to damage. This issue can be made worse by accidentally using harsher shampoos, such as clarifying or volumizing products, when you don’t need to. Conditioner is the key to keeping your hair healthy and nourished, but similarly over-conditioning can prevent natural serums and oils from working effectively. The best practice is to only use a small quantity, leave conditioner in for three to five minutes and to rinse thoroughly.
Alternately, you can skip conditioner all together and opt for a nutrient-rich hair serum (look for something with argan or macadamia nut oil in it). Remember: your next good hair day isn’t reliant on whether you use conditioner but, how you use it!
The Living Proof Perfect Hair Day Shampoo ($41; at mecca.com.au) helps you to wash your hair less often over time.
Struggling with oily hair? Try, Sukin Oil Balancing Shampoo ($14.99; at priceline.com.au). It’s infused with jojoba oil to help balance excess sebum without drying out your scalp.
Can you damage your hair by not washing it enough?
The other side of this debate is: can you damage your hair by not washing it enough? Truthfully, daily washing is an option for some people with specific hair types or lifestyle habits. If you have extremely fine hair, work out every day, have dandruff or live in a very humid climate then washing frequently is the best way to keep your hair healthy and non-greasy. But try using a sulfate-free shampoo and minimise heat treatments to prevent excessive damage.
This article originally appeared on Marie Claire.
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