Even if you’re not really that bothered about having healthy hair, you might just dread washing your hair. Maybe your arms are tired from blow-drying your hair so much, or it's the type of hair that goes puffy after a wash. Or maybe you’ve just had your colour done and you want it to last longer.
Much less hair washing would be ideal. Whatever the reason, keep reading to find out how to wash your hair less often.
At some point in our lives we’ve all been led to believe that shampoo is “good” for our hair. The advertising industry has a lot to answer for! But general opinion nowadays on how good shampoo actually is for our hair is changing. Shampoo certainly cleans your hair, but any “goodness” mostly comes from the conditioner that follows.
What does shampoo do that isn’t so good?
It’s becoming apparent that shampoo (on its own) actually dries hair out over time. And can irritate sensitive skin and conditions such as eczema and dermatitis. Especially if it’s not a lovely mild sulphate free shampoo and it removes all of the natural oils that our scalps produce along with the dirt.
Shampoos that aren’t sulphate free have detergents in them that strip the oils (sebum) away completely, whereas sulphate free shampoos leave some of the sebum behind.
The scalp actually produces sebum to protect itself and the hair. Regularly washing it away causes the scalp to go into oil production overdrive. Which leads to an endless cycle of greasy scalp and over washing.
So do I need to shampoo my hair at all?
Perhaps you’re now thinking of ditching shampoo altogether and joining the (unfortunately named) “no ‘poo movement”. That is quite extreme. Although, to be fair, there’s no actual medical reason for hair washing. “No ‘poo” does work for certain types of hair, and some people can get away with just rinsing the dirt out with water.
Although not all. It depends on how oily your hair and scalp get.
Wavy, curly and coarse hair types tend to prefer being “washed” just with conditioner (co-washing). These types of hair generally look fluffy right after being shampooed and are better behaved a day or two after. Even so, I wouldn’t recommend avoiding shampoo altogether and only co-washing.
When co-washing (our Light Conditioner works well) I’d suggest washing with a sulphate free shampoo at least every couple of weeks. To properly cleanse the scalp and remove any built up dirt that hasn’t been removed by the conditioner.
People with fine and straight hair tend to find the co-washing method too heavy for them. This is because conditioner tends to sit on top of their hair and leave some residue behind, rather than sinking right in. Which leads to oily looking hair even when it’s been rinsed well.
How often should you shampoo in order to have healthy hair with balanced oil levels?
The million dollar question. It really does all come down to personal routine and personal preference. If you naturally tend to have an oily scalp, you’ll probably find you can only stretch an extra day. If you have a fringe you may struggle, too!
The answer is to go as long as you can without shampooing, if you want healthier hair. Whether that’s a couple of days or a week will depend on you and your hair. “Less is best” is a good rule of thumb.
It’s time for a shampoo when:
1. Your hair looks visibly stringy (oily) when it's dry
2. Your scalp starts getting itchy
3. You develop spots on your scalp or in your hairline
Keep to a shampoo schedule if you can
Your body will naturally balance the oil levels over time, so try to get into a good routine so it’s not constantly being thrown curveballs! Just add one extra day between washes to start with. Even if it means wetting your hair and only running conditioner through it on the non-shampoo days.
Build up the gap between shampoos every couple of weeks or so. It usually takes about two weeks for your hair (and body) to adapt to changes.
Will training your hair for less hair washing be worth all this effort?
Definitely. Especially if you don’t have wash-and-go type hair. Who wouldn't want to spend less time faffing about with their hair?
Less frequent shampooing will improve the quality of your hair and scalp over all. Your hair will be less fluffy and more manageable. Over time, it’ll be softer and sleeker with fewer split ends.
Washing it less often also regulates the oil that keeps your hair and scalp healthy. And it means you’re using damaging heated styling methods less often, too.
The best bit is using less product. So treating yourself to a good quality shampoo and conditioner becomes more affordable.
(Like the two award-winning products pictured above).
While training your hair to be washed less often, try these shampoo dodging tips:
1. Use dry shampoo to minimise oily roots
The obvious go-to alternative to regular shampooing is dry shampoo. It’s not an actual shampoo but a waterless method of freshening hair up between washes. The powder absorbs some of the oil and odours from the roots.
If you’re used to washing your hair every day, it’s great to use on the second day for the first two weeks. A top tip is to use it before bed if you tend to get hot at night and then brush it all out in the morning.
2. Hair perfume to keep it smelling fresh
Hair absorbs and holds onto more odour than skin does, which is why we created our hair perfume! It makes more sense to us to wear scent in the hair. The hair perfume also does a good job of freshening up unwashed hair, smell-wise. The spray has ingredients for de-frizzing and shine, too, so it acts like a very, very light serum for the ends of the hair.
3. New hair styles to distract from the process
If you can’t get used to the idea of ‘dirty’ hair near your face, try out some new hair styles that involve tying it up. Or if your fringe (bangs) is splitting in weird ways, perhaps clipping it up or to the side will help. YouTube is a great source of inspiration for hair styling tips.
4. Rinse and condition instead
As mentioned above, co-washing is a great way of freshening up your hair without reaching for the shampoo bottle. It works a treat on very dry and damaged hair, as conditioner cleanses the hair in a similar way to how cleansing balms clean your face. It’s not a deep clean, so as long as you’re not using heavy hair products it does the trick.
Good for rinsing out any sweat and dirt particles while infusing your hair with the lovely smell of conditioner again.
5. When you absolutely have to shampoo, do it twice
On the days that are scheduled to wash your hair, give it two shampoos. This will ensure that it’s the cleanest it can be when you style it which will make the style will last much longer. It’ll also eke out the amount time until your next shampoo, too.
These tips and tools will help you go longer between each shampoo, giving you more time to spend doing other things. Your hair will thank you for it, too!