Our shampoo schedules are a very serious thing. Timing is crucial if you want your hair to look fresh on a certain day – but this golden window differs for everyone depending on your hair type.
As a bleached blonde, with fine hair buts lots of it, I find I need to wash it every second day. But a friend of mine, with afro hair, often goes up to eight days. And I know others who wash their hair every damn day. (Where do they find the time?!)
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To deduce whether you’re on point with your shampooing, or could go a day or two longer without (hello, free time), here’s what the experts have to say…
DO NOT wash your hair every day
Experts do have divided opinions about this, but the argument tends to lean towards restraining from overzealous washing.
“Washing your hair too often is drying and damaging. Many shampoos contain harsh chemicals like sulphates that are used to create lather”, says Adir Abergel, Celebrity Hairstylist and Creative Director for Virtue, who recommends turning to sulphate-free shampoos if you wash so often.
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Daily washing is particularly bad for longer hair, according to Toni & Guy International Artistic Director and London Hairdresser of the Year 2018 Finalist, Philipp Haug.
“For shorter hair, it’s not as bad as the hair is more virginal”, he says. “Overall, washing your hair too often will strip the hair of its natural oils and can dull hair colour.”
So how often should you wash it?
As a general rule, most experts recommend washing your hair every 2-3 days. This will, of course, vary depending on your hair type.
“Generally speaking, thick brunette and Asian hair types tend to get greasy quite quickly and should be washed more regularly – maybe around 3+ times a week”, says Jake Wanstall from Jo Hansford. “Whereas coloured, over-processed, textured or Afro-Caribbean type hair tends to be drier and can go longer without being washed (eg. 1+ times a week).”
Lifestyle factors will also impact your schedule on top of this, for example if you do sweaty workouts, use a lot of styling product or work in polluted environments, you may want/need to wash your hair more.
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If you’ve fallen into the cycle of daily washing, Guy Parsons, founder of My Hair Doctor, says it may take some time to adjust to lengthier in-between periods, as your hair oil glands are likely to be overstimulated, creating ‘oily hair’.
But if you can manage to stick it out, your hair will reset and you’ll find you can go longer between washes without the greasy feeling.
What if waiting so long makes me dry shampoo dependent?
Dry shampoo – our Lord and saviour for greasy hair – is a-ok to use consecutively on your non-wash days. Even if that’s 4-5 days.
“If the dry shampoo is lightweight enough, feel free to use as much dry shampoo as often as you need!”, says Adir Abergel, recommending the Virtue Refresh Dry Shampoo (£15). “However, after a few days, the product will start to build up and need be washed. Too much product build-up can start to irritate the scalp.”
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“Make sure you hold the can at least 30cm away from your hair and start off with a few light mists and work in. I think a lot of people have the tendency to use more than needed, and it can have the opposite effect of making hair look greasy and feel heavy.”