How often do you wash your hair? Once a day, every other day or as little as once a week? However often you might think your hair needs a good rinse, it’s probably not as much as you would expect.
We’ve all heard that whipping out the shampoo too often can make hair oily over time - but, of course, grease can also build up when locks aren’t washed regularly enough.
Most experts agree that we don’t need to be over zealous when it comes to washing our locks. So, what’s the right routine?
“All hair is different but a general rule is not to over wash,” explains Lorraine Rose, founder of D&L Hair Products.
“We tend to wash our hair for two reasons: Grease and smell. However, when hair is ‘never washed’ the smell does vanish after a period of time and the natural oils in the hair and scalp self-clean the hair.”
And it’s a tried and tested theory. In 2012, blogger Lucy Aitken Read decided to give this no washing challenge a go and ditched conventional shampooing for a whopping two years. The results? She found that her hair was healthier, had more volume and grew more quickly.
When should we wash our hair?
Sadly, there doesn’t seem to be a definitive answer. Sean Nolan, creative and education team member at HOB Salons, says, “Hair should be washed as and when needed, when hair becomes dirty. Everyone is individual according to lifestyle factors, hair texture or even colour.”
According to Sean, the trick is to pay attention to your hair and scalp needs. Bad habits die hard, but if your hair doesn’t look or feel like it needs washing stay away from the shampoo, you could be doing more damage than good.
What should we do instead?
There are many alternatives to conventional shampoo that can help and tend to your hair needs. Dry shampoo such as Batiste’s Dry Shampoo in Floral & Flirty | £2.99 eliminates greasy and weighed down roots within a few seconds and adds volume.
To help cleanse your scalp without drying out your hair, why not try a clarifying oil such as Alchemy’s Grapefruit Hair Remedy | £24.00 to help keep your scalp healthy?
To add shine and body, and to balance out your hair’s pH levels, try rinsing your hair with an apple, cider, vinegar and water mix.
Coconut oil can be utilised as a hair mask for dry hair. It can also be applied lightly onto the scalp if you find you’re having a flakey scalp day.
Benefits of prolonging wash day
If you’re used to washing your hair frequently, you may not be so keen on stretching out your washes - but there are benefits to holding out.
“A likely side effect of shampooing less frequently is you’ll need fewer styling products,” says Amandeep Panglin of Alchemy Oils. “Generally, people over-wash and then compensate for their hair drying out by using heavy creams and styling products to fight the frizz. Washing less would do away with that.”
For those of us who suffer from dry hair, allowing the natural oils from your scalp to condition your roots will prove beneficial. This can also be said for those who have thick, curly hair or afro hair.
And don’t panic about a grease build-up. You can avoid this between washes by styling your hair in a way that stops hair looking lank and limp. Try a bun, ponytail, twist or brand to keep your hair out of your face - just make sure you don’t pull too hard while tying up your locks as prolonged tension to the roots can result in permanent hair loss.
Avoid touching your hair too much throughout the day, too, as fingers can spread grease and dirt to other areas of the body.
It may be tempting to add an array of products to your hair over the course of the week, but generally speaking it’s best to keep your routine simple. Adding products such as heavy styling gels, sprays and creams can cause build-up and sometimes brittleness. Try avoiding products such as these and let your hair breathe. You may find that you don’t need to wash your hair as often.
All in all, while there is no definitive answer to how long you can go without washing your hair, there is such a thing as washing your hair too much. A good rule to follow? Tend to your hair and scalp when it’s time to, not just out of habit.