Every day, every other day, every few days or once a week? Just how often should you be washing your hair?
This is an ever popular question and debate.
Some people find their hair seems greasy if it isn’t washed every day while others find it falls limp, or just doesn’t feel fresh. But the experts say washing your hair everyday actually does more harm than good, and perpetuates the cycle of greasy, limp, or dry hair.
The Root of the Problem
The glands in your scalp produce something called sebum. This oily substance is what moistens the hair and keeps it from drying out, and is also what can make the hair look greasy. We all produce a different amount of sebum with everything from genetics to hormones playing a role.
The thing is, sebum is necessary – it provides natural moisture that your hair needs, however, overproduction or buildup can lead to oily hair.
The experts agree, no matter your hair type washing 2-3 times per week is optimal, 4 times a week is okay but no more than that. This is because your hair’s natural oils, the sebum, are there to protect your hair and scalp. Washing too frequently strips these oils away, which in turn, causes your scalp to compensate and overproduce sebum, leading to increased washing because your hair is extra greasy. It’s a vicious cycle.
For those of you that are frequent shampooers, the cycle won’t break overnight. If you do wash your hair every day, you need to get over the oily hurdle of the next day before washing your hair again. This is because your hair is used to overproducing sebum to compensate for the over washing. A good trick here is to use a bit of dry shampoo (see recipe below) to absorb some of the oil in between washes while your hair and scalp adjust to the new routine.
But my lifestyle demands more!
For those that colour their hair and think they need to condition more often, or those who go to the gym or workout frequently and feel they need to wash away any sweat – we hear you! But there are ways around this.
For starters, drop the shampoo and simply rinse and condition every other day. Rinsing will remove sweat without stripping away oils.
Second, use dry shampoo in between hair washes when needed. It is easy to make your own:
- Use 1/4 cup cornstarch for light hair OR 2 tablespoons cornstarch + 2 Tablespoons cocoa powder for dark hair
- 5 drops essential oil of choice
Mix the ingredients together and store in a container (small jars or old powder containers work well). To use, simply apply with a make-up brush to oily parts of your hair, and comb through.
Third, use styling products or change up your hairstyle to see you through between washes. Try wearing your hair back in a bun or braid, or put some rollers in at the roots and blow dry to get some volume back.
No matter your lifestyle or hair type, the rule for hair washing is 2-4 times a week with 2-3 being the optimal amount.