Grooming 101: How often should I wash my hair?
If you’re lucky enough to be sporting a full head of hair, have you ever thought about how often you should be washing it? With Gary Barlow recently Tweeting that he'd just washed his hair for the first time in 14 years, we thought we'd delve into the subject. We know washing your hair is a bit of a chore but, come on Gary...
If you’ve ever turned to your trusty friend “the internet” to ask this question, you’ll be familiar with the masses of articles warning you that washing your hair every day is a terrible mistake, and will inevitably leave your locks resembling that of a scarecrow (that's the straw kind, not the Batman supervillian). But is this really the case? Whilst it’s true that over-washing can lead to dryness, there isn’t a universal rule for everyone (clearly illustrated by Gary Barlow). So how often should you be washing your hair?
It depends on a number of factors
Your hair type, thickness, scalp oiliness, lifestyle, and product usage are all factors that affect how often you should wash your hair. Hair gets greasy as oils secrete from your scalp, although grease doesn't look pretty, oils are important in keeping your hair moisturised and free from brittleness. The thicker and curlier the hair the longer it takes for these oils to spread, meaning the hair is more prone to dryness. If your hair is curly, we wouldn’t recommend washing it any more than 3 times a week - just wet it with water and give your scalp a good scrub with your fingertips on the days you don’t shampoo. Straight hair tends to be more prone to oiliness, so a daily wash should be fine providing it doesn’t feel too dry.
The easiest way to keep your hair from drying out too much after shampooing is to use a conditioner. But what does it actually do? Men’s Health have explained this rather well:
“Each hair is covered in tiny cells which look a bit like fish scales. Damage causes these to stand out which makes the hair look dull, rough and out of condition. Conditioners work by smoothing down these scales so your hair looks smooth and shiny again.”
If you’re shampooing every day, we’d recommend using a conditioner about 3-4 times a week, but you might find you need to use it more/less depending on your hair. Try and avoid getting too much on your scalp, as this can lead to greasy roots. If you wash your hair less often, conditioning once/twice a week should be fine, and if your hair is super short then we wouldn’t bother at all!
Use your common sense
Like most things in life, having a bit of common sense goes a long way. At the end of the day, everyone wants to look, and feel clean (well at least we hope they do), so if your hair feels dirty, then please do wash it! Your day to day life also comes into play here, and again it’s all about common sense; if you’ve been in the gym, or in a sweaty club, or anywhere that involves dirt/sweat then you probably should wash your hair afterwards. At the same time, if you’ve had a chilled one, it could be a good time to give your hair a day off as well.