Do us a favour and take a peek at your hair real quick. Is it dry? Dull? Frizzy? All of the above? What about split ends or breakage? If you answered yes more than one of those questions, there’s a real possibility you’ve been washing it too much - or alternatively, not often enough.
Dw, we’re confused too. You see, experts are divided on how many times a week we should reach for the ‘poo bottle. The one thing they can agree on? It’s dependent on many factors including your hair type, lifestyle and even where you live.
How many times a week should you wash your hair?
Generally, every two to three days suits most people. That said, the less you do it, the less you’ll need to do it. Yup, you read that right: it is possible to train your hair to be less greasy, but it requires a bit of patience.
You’ll need to cut back on styling tools (e.g. curlers, straighteners and blow-dryers), brush your locks daily (to distribute some of those natural oils) and limit the number of products you use (bye, leave-in treatment!) Bonus tip: dry shampoo works a treat on the roots in place of a full wash.
Is it bad to wash your hair every day?
In short: yes. The scalp produces oils (called sebum) that naturally make their way down the shaft of your hair. If you shampoo too frequently, it strips your strands of this healthy hydration, leaving them dry and brittle.
Other signs of over-washing include:
- The colour fading in intensity
- A flaky scalp
Where does hair type come into play?
Those with curly and wavy hair should be washing no more than three times a week (a small amount of natural oil will help with the texture). However, for fine or straight hair, aim for every second day as an oily scalp will be much more obvious.
If recent research is anything to go by, brunettes should wash their no more than twice a week. Over-washing brown hair can draw the pigment out and leaving it looking colourless and dry.
Short haired folk can wash more frequently (shorter locks are generally not subjected to as much heat styling.) Naturally dry hair types may also require more washing, albeit with a smaller quantity of shampoo.
Finally, for stressed out hair (be it from heat, colour or environmental damage), the right shampoo can make all the 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," Lauren McCowan, Evo and Cloud Nine Creative Director tells us. Here, you’ll want a shampoo that can deeply clean and remove product build-up without getting rid of those natural oils and a conditioner that will seal the moisture into your strands.
evo the therapist hydrating shampoo & conditioner ($34 each; at evohair.com)
Can shampoo and conditioner damage your hair?
Believe it or not, certain shampoos and conditioners can actually worsen the condition of your hair. For example, harsh products - such as clarifying or volumizing shampoos– can be extremely drying when they’re not needed. And while conditioner is key in keeping your hair healthy and nourished, overdoing it can prevent the natural sebum from doing its thing.
For best practice, use a small quantity of shampoo (around the size of a 10c piece), then leave the conditioner in for three to five minutes before rinsing thoroughly.
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?
FYI, there is such as leaving it too long between washes. Over time, dirty hair can lead to discomfort and itching. And thanks to the bacteria, oil and sweat that builds up, it won’t smell great either. Appearance-wise, there are also benefits to clean tresses e.g. greater shine and more volume.
Bottom line? There’s no hard and fast rule as to how often you should ‘poo per week. It’s simply a matter of finding out what works best for you, your hair type – and your shower schedule.