No matter what hair type you have, you've probably asked yourself if washing hair every day is a good idea. We can all generally agree that clean hair is healthy hair, and many popular hair care brands recommend daily washes. There's no arguing that shampoo and conditioner help remove grime, unwanted smells, and sweat from your scalp, but using the wrong products on a daily basis can remove too much hair oil (aka sebum) and can lead to a dry scalp, dry hair, and frizz. If you feel like going more days between washes, here are some great tips to keep your locks looking clean for longer.
How Often Should You Wash Your Hair?
Many people wash their hair daily or every other day, and that may work for them. But the truth is there's no golden rule for how long you can go between washes. One highly unscientific theory when it comes to hair washing is to follow your stomach: just like you should only eat when you feel hungry, try to wash your hair when it feels dirty! But the real answer depends on a variety of factors, including:
Younger people typically have more active oil glands in the scalp, while women after menopause experience a decrease in androgens, which can lead to less oil production. As we typically reach for the shampoo as soon as we feel that oily scalp, it stands to reason that you need less washes as you age.
Your roots can affect your hair roots. While many Latinas complain of oily hair or greasy hair, African Americans tend to have very dry hair. Over washing hair that's dry can make it more brittle and prone to breakage and split ends.
Hair Length and Type
Women with long hair often complain of dryness. That's because your oil glands, or sebaceous glands, are found in your scalp. This natural oil has to travel from the top of your head to the end of your strands to moisturize them. And women with drier hair should go longer between wash days. Dryness also affects people with curly hair more than straight hair, for similar reasons. The oil from your scalp has a more complex path to travel to reach the ends of each strand. On the other hand, people with thick hair tend to have excess oil, which may require more frequent washes.
The Right Hair Care Products
What your shampoo bottle says matters not just for your hair health, but also for how frequently you should use it. Traditional shampoos and conditioners with harsh chemicals can cause damage to your hair and even hair loss. And if you use a clarifying shampoo, a daily wash schedule can be a recipe for disaster. Fortunately, there are hair care brands, like Lu, which don’t use any sulfates, parabens, phthalates, or colorants in their products. A sulfate-free shampoo cleans the hair and scalp but won’t strip it of natural oils that leave it crying out for another wash. Instead of harmful products, Lu uses naturally-derived ingredients like Impossible Keratin™, a 65% vegan keratin formulation that aids damage recovery to build hair strength fast, add shine, and help protect against further hair damage. Lu works with hair, not against it. It's been carefully designed to nourish and protect your hair every single day, with every single wash.
6 Tips to Help You Wash Your Hair Less
If you believe that less is more, here are five easy ways to start going longer between washes.
1. Rinse With Cold Water
When it’s cold outside, it’s tempting to take hot showers and let that steaming water soak your locks. However, to get the best results from your hair products, you might want to endure a blast of cold water from time to time. Hot water is great when you're applying shampoo, as it opens up scalp pores and allows the product to penetrate hair follicles effectively, which also makes it easier to remove grime and product buildup. But, when it comes time to rinse it out, turning down the temperature has been shown to close up hair cuticles to help hair retain moisture long after your shower has ended.
2. Condition It (Correctly)
Once you’ve rinsed out your shampoo with cold water, it’s time to apply conditioner. This product's main purpose is to add moisture back into the hair after cleaning, to restore sebum removed by shampoo, and to tame hair cuticles. But, even if you have been using a conditioner since you first started your daily hair care routine, you may have been doing it wrong this whole time. First, wring out your hair so it isn’t soaking wet. Then, squeeze out just the suggested amount of conditioner into your hand (any more and it won’t be as effective). While shampoo is most effective when it’s massaged into the scalp, conditioner should be spread evenly on the ends of your hair to prevent product buildup on the scalp. If you have long hair, a good place to start is from chin level down. Finally, let the product sit in your hair for at least a couple of minutes before rinsing it out. Following these simple tips will give your hair its best shine for longer.
3. Apply Styling Cream
The most important post-shower defense against lifeless hair is to apply a styling cream. Styling creams protect hair from damage, lock in moisture, and keep your locks looking lush between wash days. Lu's Free To Be Styling Cream defines curls and waves, prevents frizz, and helps create a defragmented look, all while nourishing your hair. The Lock the Look Styling Cream provides heat-activated protection and keeps your style looking great for a longer time period. Or, recover damaged hair with the Intense Therapy Leave-in Cream. Remember, scrunch the cream rather than brushing it through your hair to give it the bounciest, fullest look. Just like conditioners, a little goes a long way with these products. For best results, use them while hair is wet straight after your shower.
4. Look, But Don’t Touch!
So, you’ve followed your routine to a tee and are ready to rock your locks around town. In fact, you’re looking so good your bestie wants to touch your incredible curls. You’re going to have to tell her to keep her hands to herself. There’s a strong possibility that her dry hands will steal important natural oils from your hair, and counteract all the hard work you’ve put into making it look so good. And the same goes for you! Playing with hair between washes can actually spread around the oils and leave it looking greasy, transmit dirt from fingers, lead to breakage, and may even cause thinning due to a weakening of the follicles. If your so-called friend touches it anyway, it might be time to meet new people.
5. Get Ready for Bed
Bedtime can be disruptive to hair, which is why a lot of people prefer to go through their routine in the morning instead. Sometimes, you can’t avoid washing your hair in the evening, but there are a number of ways to protect it overnight and prolong the time between washes. Hair is at its weakest when wet, so try to shower early enough to allow it to dry fully before you go to bed. Another way that hair is damaged at night is because of friction caused by movement on your pillow. Tossing and turning at night can cause hair follicles to break. Instead, invest in a satin pillowcase and sleep soundly in the knowledge that your hair is protected from the cotton fibers of a regular pillowcase.
6. Dry Shampoo
Is dry shampoo your go-to solution when you want to avoid the shower? Sure, it will help you go longer between washes, but it may not be doing you any long-term favors. According to the Cleveland Clinic, it's no substitute for the real thing. Dry shampoo is a good idea in a pinch, but we wouldn't recommend making it a regular part of your hair care routine.
Do you need to wash your hair every day? Even the hair experts at Lu will tell you that you absolutely do not. It's important to wash your hair the right way, using products that are kind to your hair and will keep it looking fresh and clean ... even on skip day.