How often should you wash your hair?
Another day, another timeless question: how often should you wash your hair? Mainstream society (and shampoo manufacturers) would have us lather up at least once a day. But you’ve probably heard about the No Poo Method, which is all about healthy shampoo free hair. Rather than dive head first into one of these two extremes, let’s explore the middle ground here.
WHAT DOES SHAMPOO DO, EXACTLY?
Little glands (called sebaceous glands) all over your scalp produce an oily substance called sebum to protect your hair and prevent it from dying out. Sebum forms a protective layer on the skin under your hair to keep the elements at bay (dust, rain, wind, anything dirty) and it travels along the hair shaft to protect each strand of hair. It also forms a barrage against disease-carrying bacteria. So, what’s the catch? Unfortunately, excess sebum gives your hair a filthy, oily aspect. Simply put, it looks greasy. That’s why we use shampoo.
How does it fight sebum? Well, shampoo is just chemistry at work: the detergent contained in shampoo traps the oily sebum and separates it from both your hair and your scalp. After that, a quick rinse washes the whole thing away, and gone is that greasy look. There’s only one small hitch. The sebaceous glands are working to make sure your hair doesn’t dry out, so when they see you’ve destroyed their precious sebum, they just produce more. It’s a vicious cycle. You need shampoo to wash it off, and the glands work overtime to keep you hydrated. Using shampoo frequently actually accelerates sebum protection, making you ever more reliant on shampoo.
WHAT’S THE MAGIC NUMBER?
We all naturally produce sebum at different rates, and of various consistencies. What’s more, some of us have thin, straight hair, while others have thick, curly locks. As a result, there’s no magic number of days you should wait in between shampoos. The basic gist is that the longer you can wait, the better.
If you have very fine hair, or a naturally oily scalp, you might need to go for a daily shampoo. Dandruffs are another sign you should wash your hair as frequently as possible. It might feel like your scalp is dry, but the shampoo will also help carry the dandruff away from your scalp.
Those with thicker or less oily hair can afford to wait a few days in between shampoos. Some people with dry, curly hair can even wash it only once a week without too unbearable of a sebum buildup.
The average person can go 2 or 3 days without a wash. Of course, you have to factor in your lifestyle. If you work out daily, you will definitely want to get rid of the sweat as often as you can. Anytime your hair is visibly oily, itchy, or flaky is a good indication that a shampoo is in order. As usual with grooming, it comes down to personal preference. If you can’t stand the sight of a slightly oily scalp, then you know what to do. But bear in mind that daily shampoos won’t do anything to strengthen your hair. If you’re happy to go a few days without a shampoo, your hair will thank you for it. Obviously, the ingredients in your shampoo matter, too. If you’re on the market for a gentle shampoo that keeps your hair and scalp hydrated and one that promotes hair optimum hair health, be sure to check out our BSG HCO1 Shampoo available right here.