How often do you wash your hair? It's a debate that can get anyone talking, from people who can't go a day without wanting that freshly washed hair feeling, to those that are the lucky few who only wash it once a week. It should go without saying that the texture and condition of your hair should be a contributing factors. We investigated further…
What type of hair do I have?
Before we even begin to dive into a hair-washing routine, you need to understand your hair type. Yep, you have a hair type, just like a skin type - knowing this will save you a lot of money on incorrect products. First of all, take a moment to assess your hair type:
- Take a single hair in between your fingers
- If you cannot feel it, you have fine hair
- If you can feel it, you have medium
- If it feels thick or coarse, you have thick hair
It’s important to look at the individual strands of your hair, as you may have a lot of hair physically, but this can still be fine. Similarly, if you have thick hair that may be sparse in areas. Next up, we need to determine the condition of your hair by the following:
- Take a single hair between your fingers and stretch it out, if it breaks immediately, you have low elasticity indicating your hair isn’t as healthy as it could be.
- Take a single hair between your fingers and stretch it out, if it stretches to 50% of its original length, you have high elasticity and healthier hair.
After the stretch test, if you feel as though your hair is on the weaker side of the scale, you may want to look at strengthening treatments, while re-considering how often your hair is wet or brushing it through after washing - this can cause your hair to snap. It's important to remember that just because your hair is a certain “type” now, doesn't necessarily mean your hair will be the same in 6 months or even 6 years - climate, health and hormones can all have an effect on how fine, coarse, oily or drier your hair is.
Fine Hair Tips
People with finer hair may experience an oilier hair type, as the hair is not able to absorb as much sebum secreted by the glands on their scalp compared to drier, coarse hair. But what happens if you suffer from greasy hair and subsequently have to wash it more, is this a bad thing?
The short answer is, technically no. If you are using high-quality shampoos and conditioners, the number of times you wash your hair should not affect the quality of your hair i.e. it won't dry it out. However, experts do suggest that if you are purchasing a higher-quality shampoo, you should always shampoo twice, making sure to only use a grape-sized amount each time. You first wet your hair, shampoo, rinse, shampoo again and then move on to conditioner.
Regular cheap and cheerful shampoo brands use an ingredient called either sodium laureth sulphate (SLES) or sodium lauryl sulphate (SLS), this is used to create the ‘bubbled’ effect when washing your hair, psychologically convincing you that you are giving your hair a deep clean by producing more of a lather. You’ll find similar ingredients in shower gels or soaps, which is why our products, including our natural refillable body wash, are sulphate free. In reality, this ingredient will strip your hair of its natural oils and leave it feeling dry, resulting in your hair creating more oil.
Please never presume that if your bottle is expensive that it doesn't contain SLS or SLES. High prices in the beauty and hair industry normally relate to brand, not the quality of ingredients so you really have to read the INCI ingredient lists to check what is in the bottle.
Also, regardless of your shampoo and conditioner, the amount of heat applied to your hair can have a significant impact on the health of your hair. Hairdressers would always recommend that if you do frequently wash your hair, air-dry it the majority of the time, and only blow dry when really needed. Make sure you are using heat protection when you do too.
Medium Hair Tips
If your hair isn’t super fine, you may feel as though you don't need to reach for the shampoo as often. Therefore, stretching out the washing process may be an easy step for you. However, if you are wanting to try and lengthen the time in between washes, some easy tips may be to try dry shampoo. Although, you should be careful as most dry shampoos on the market are aerosol-based, which not only contain toxic ingredients for your body but the planet too. The Lush No Drought powder dry shampoo is a great eco-friendly alternative.
Coarse and Afro Hair Tips
Unlike most other hair types, those that have coarse hair may not show much greasiness, however, it can become drier and harder to manage if over-washed.
Experts always suggest that all hair types should be shampooed twice to remove impurities and product build-up, not forgetting that your scalp is skin, just like the pores on your face, which can become clogged in the hair follicles. If you do suffer from coarse hair, it is suggested to wash your hair twice a week.
On the other hand, if you have an Afro hair type 3A to 4C, professionals advise you should wash your hair every two weeks, as this hair type tends to be quite dry and even brittle at times. Although our hair naturally produces sebum, we don't want to be stripping that out too frequently as it only makes the hair even dryer.
Ultimately, you have to go with what you feel is best for your hair and scalp, it's about maintaining the health of your hair, while feeling clean in the process. If you would like to learn any more tips on skincare and grooming, follow us on social media @proverbskin.