Hair: The ‘only’ time you should wash your hair – expert tips for a ‘healthy scalp’
Getting into a hair-washing routine can be easy, not because you need to, but because it’s what you think you should do. But according to experts, depending on hair type, frequently washing your hair can do much more harm than good. For those hoping to restore life in their locks, the answer could be as simple as switching up your washing routine.
Regardless of whether you have curly, coarse, afro or oily hair, all types have their own unique qualities to determine how to look after it.
Discovering what works best for your hair takes a lot of time and patience. If you don’t quite know where to start, you might fall into the habit of washing your hair daily, but this isn’t always the best option.
Saul Meskin, hair maintenance expert at Foxy Locks told Express.co.uk: “Your hair is connected to your scalp by a follicle and this follicle is connected to glands that produce vitamins and moisture, which gets passed into the hair.
“If you wash your hair too often, you’ll wash out all the natural oils in your hair that the glands are producing, meaning they will no longer be passing on any goodness to your hair, leaving it lifeless and dry.”
Hair expert Simone Thomas at Simone Thomas Wellness added: “Stripping your hair of essential oils is just one issue, as well as leading to dandruff and a dry, itchy scalp. It can also make your hair dry, brittle and more vulnerable to breakage.”
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How often should you be washing your hair?
A-list celebrity hairdresser Jon Hala said: “You should only wash your hair when it’s absolutely necessary.”
You’ll be able to tell whether your hair needs a wash or not by running your hands through it and if it still feels soft and bouncy, it’s likely it won’t need a wash.
Mr Hala said: “Although the general recommendation is to wash it a maximum of one to two times a week, I’d say that it should only be washed when the hair is visibly oily.
“If the scalp is itchy or there are signs of flakiness due to dirt, then it’s clear it’s time for a wash.
“Remember, for a healthy scalp you need natural sebum for healthy follicles and washing your hair too regularly will reduce this.”
What is the best way to gradually cut down on washing your hair?
Ms Thomas explained: “You can go for an all or nothing approach, but as with so many things in life if you can make gradual changes, you will get into a new, healthy habit that your hair will thank you for.
“If you are washing daily, try to go for every other day, with the intention of washing your hair two to three times a week in the long run.
“If you are self-conscious about your hair in between washes, there are some great dry shampoos out there which will absorb excess oil from your scalp and will add volume to your hair if it’s looking and feeling lank and greasy.”
You can also switch up the products you’re currently using to help slow down the process of it getting greasy, which will help with cutting down on washes.
Mr Hala said: “Make sure your new shampoo is ‘light’ so it doesn’t weigh your hair down, causing it to build up in oil and dirt.
“Using less oil-based styling products such as serums would also be beneficial.”
What about those with hair types more prone to grease?
For those with hair types prone to grease, such as fair hair, there are a number of remedies and product ingredients you should look out for if you’re still hoping to cut down on washes.
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Cally Borg, hair expert and personal stylist for Amanda Holden told Express.co.uk: “You could look at doing an at-home remedy of an apple cider vinegar rinse, where you water down the vinegar at a 1:3 ratio and rinse your hair with it once a week.
“The idea is to detoxify and balance your hair and scalp.
“Alternatively EveryGreen do an ‘anti oxidant’ shampoo and conditioner which has been very popular in the salon for clients that suffer with greasy hair, as it rebalances the pH level and keeps it squeaky clean without stripping any natural oils.”
You could also look into a more lightweight shampoo or a combinational shampoo specifically for greasy roots and dry ends.
Mr Hala said: “It should also have more of a citrus acidic factor in order for it cut out the grease.
“Another hack is to add shampoo directly to your hair in the shower without the addition of water.
“Apply shampoo and run it through your hair for a few minutes to draw out the grease. Use cooler water to wash and cleanse.
“Note, very hot water stimulates and excites the sebaceous glands creating more sebum (oil/grease) and remember, finish with conditioner working it only from midway down to the ends of your hair.”
What ingredients should I watch out for in products?
When choosing hair products, however, there are some super ingredients – and ones you should absolutely avoid – according to Neal & Wolf founder and haircare specialist Neil Capstick.
He identified the great ingredients to include nourishing oils such as argan, jojoba, avocado, and sunflower seed, to all improve manageability, nourish dry ends and add incredible shine.
Mr Capstick said: “Panthenol helps to lock in moisture, add shine and improve manageability, and shea butter can help moisturise while reducing frizz and flyaways.
“Glycerin is also a natural humectant that helps to retain moisture in the hair.”
When discussing ingredients to avoid, Mr Capstick said: “Harsh sulphates can be quite stripping to the hair, leaving it feeling dry and unmanageable.
“Silicones that do not evaporate or dissolve can create a build-up on the hair, blocking moisture from entering, and parabens can cause irritation and further dry out the scalp.”
Vitamins and supplements are also effective ways to pack more nutrients into your hair.
Biotin, zinc, and selenium are all essential vitamins and minerals to support hair strength, growth and repair, and Nutrition Geeks have a supplement, Biotin Growth +, that includes effective doses of all three of these things.
For more information on great vitamins to improve hair condition, click here.
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