In hot and humid Singapore, it’s not uncommon that we wash our hair everyday. However, not all of us need to so every single day – it depends on your hair type and your level of activity. If you wash too often, you could be literally throwing money down the drain and damaging your hair at the same time.
How often should you wash your hair?
There are hair experts who believe that washing daily does no harm, unless it causes hair breakage like flyaways and baby hairs around the crown of the head.
However according to dermatologists, washing too often can strip your scalp of beneficial oil: sebum.
Ideally, you should really only wash your hair 2 – 3 times a week at most, but it also depends on how your scalp feels.
This is because when you wash your hair, you’re effectively removing sebum, so your oil glands compensate by producing more oil. It’s a vicious cycle.
Washing frequency by hair type
There aren’t hard and fast rules, but you can refer to guidelines by the American Academy of Dermatology for hair wash frequency:
- Wash oily hair (and if your scalp is naturally very oily) more frequently.
- Wash chemically-treated hair less frequently.
- If you see flakes in your hair, you may not be shampooing enough. This can lead to dandruff and other scalp diseases.
If you feel your hair is getting too greasy, you can wash your hair with a dry shampoo every other day (or every few days). If you don’t wash your hair often, you should clean your scalp to avoid too much oil production and product build-up. As you get older, your scalp produces less oil, so you won’t need to shampoo as often.
- Normal to dry hair: Only need to wash once or twice a week.
- Fine hair: Daily or every other day, but it still depends on your personal experience.
- Thicker, coarser, curly hair: Only twice a week.
How to properly wash your hair
If you wash your scalp and hair more effectively, you can keep them healthy without wasting shampoo. How?
Concentrate on shampooing (and massaging the shampoo) primarily on your scalp rather than the rest of your hair. The oil production and buildup on the scalp is what you need to clear up in order to grow healthier hair anyway. So if you wash only your hair, you can create flyaway hair that is dull and course and still have oily scalp.
Do conditioners help?
Most people recommend using a conditioner after every shampoo (unless it’s a 2-in-one type), but to use it properly, concentrate the conditioner on the tips of the hair and not the entire length. And definitely not on the scalp.
Used properly, conditioners can:
- Improve strength of hair
- Decrease static electricity
- Protect from harmful UV rays
- Improve the look of damaged or weathered hair by increasing shine
Make sure both shampoo and conditioner are specific to your hair type – if you have coloured hair then go for those labelled for coloured hair, or if you have damaged/chemically treated hair try a 2-in-1 shampoo.
So, if you’re using pricey shampoos, not washing everyday will help cut your spending. Besides, the ADA also says that the price of shampoos and conditioners does not determine how effective it is — most brands have the same benefits.