We earn a commission for products purchased through some links in this article.
Whether you’re a religious daily washer, or a worshiper at the altar of Batiste, we’ve all wondered the answer to that age-old question: how often should you wash your hair?
Quite frankly, the reason why we’re often left confused by this daily pondering is because when it comes to how often you should wash your hair, there is no one-size-fits-all rule. The regularity with which you should be cleaning those locks is entirely down to hair type. Your choice of shampoo and your shampooing ‘technique’ (yes, that is a thing), could all have an impact on how long your hair type can last between washes.
Confused? Don’t worry, we have some very clever hair experts on hand to explain exactly how often YOU should be washing your hair. You never know, if you’re washing it too much just think of all the time you could save for extra snoozing! Music to our ears.
Hair washing myths, busted!
Myth 1: ‘Washing my hair a lot is bad for it’
According to Ken O’Rourke, Charles Worthington brand ambassador, washing your hair often isn’t actually bad for it. ‘Every time hair is washed, you’re stimulating the scalp which is great for nourishing the hair follicles.’
Myth 2: ‘It doesn’t matter what shampoo I use, they all do the same job’
Ken says that the choice you make when it comes to your shampoo can make a huge difference to how it looks and feels. ‘A good shampoo is definitely the building block for healthy looking hair as it’s responsible for preventing product build-up on the hair. Find a shampoo that compliments your hair type.’
Myth 3: ‘I should be conditioning all over’
Keep conditioner strictly to the ends of your locks, says Sarah McKenna, director at top London salon Vixen&Blush. ‘Even if your hair feels squeaky clean at the root and tangled, it is best not to condition near the root as this will lead to limp hair and a lack of volume.’
She also says it’s worth asking your hairdresser for shampoo advice. ‘Anyone with oily and thick hair should use a very good quality clarifying shampoo that doesn’t contain astringents but is very cleansing. Those with dry hair should look for nourishing shampoo with good quality ingredients that cleans the hair without leaving it unmanageable and tangled.’
Myth 4: ‘My hair needs lots of different products’
‘Using too much product is the main reason why we feel like we need to wash our hair more often’, says Sarah.
‘A good nourishing oil (used in the right amount) is the most universal product. Moroccan oil is still the best oil for penetrating into the cuticle and actually reducing the amount of erosion of your ends.’ So step away from all those lotions and potions, ladies!
How should I was my hair?
When it comes to shampooing and conditioning, it pays to pretend your at the hairdressers and copy their technique. ‘Concentrate on the scalp because as you rinse, the lather will cleanse the rest of the hair. This will also go some way to stopping tangles and prevent breakage when you are combing the conditioner through, leaving your hair in a healthier condition’, says Ken.
Sarah says it’s important to not be too heavy-handed when washing: ‘Think “gentle scalp cleansing” – you should be gently massaging your scalp in a firm round motion. You do not need to scrub your hair itself or comb through the product, shampoo is intended to cleanse the scalp.’
When it comes to conditioning, avoid applying it to really wet hair. ‘Step away from the stream of the shower and ring out any excess water in the ends of your hair. Then, apply conditioner to the ends only and comb it through with your fingers’, says Sarah.
‘Leave it to work for a few minutes, to provide much needed moisture to your ends. It is best to rinse the conditioner out (not too much!) with a cool or even cold blast as this will seal the cuticle and trap in the moisture and nourishing ingredients in the conditioner.’
Could the way you rinse your hair be affecting how it looks? Ken thinks so! ‘Most of the time, we’re all in such a hurry to get ready in the mornings that we probably don’t spend the time rinsing hair with plenty of fresh running water.
‘Even if we spent just one minute longer rinsing, the results would be very different (and a shot of cold water at the end is great for shine, but not everyone wants to brave this in winter)!’
Little did we know, but the way you brush your hair after it’s washed could be having a huge impact, with many of us getting this stage very wrong indeed. ‘Hair loses its elasticity when it is wet and any pulling, even gentle, can lead to breakage,’ Sarah says which can erode the ends of your hair over a long period. Instead, use a hairdryer to get hair 90% dry, and then use a soft-bristle brush.
So how often SHOULD I wash my hair?
‘It completely depends on what hair type you have’, says Ken. ‘For fine hair, I would recommend to wash hair three times a week, and for thick hair, again, you don’t need to wash your hair every day – two to three times at the most.’
And Sarah agrees. ‘Three times a week is the most that anyone should wash their hair as washing it too often can actually promote the production of excess oil.’
She says that fine-haired ladies can get away with washing their hair even less is advisable because ‘finer hair benefits from the protection of the natural oils against environmental damage.’