How regularly you wash your hair is purely down to personal preference, but you may not need to wash it as often as you think. Shampoos are essentially cleansing agents that help to lift away dirt and grease to leave hair looking and feeling refreshed; our hair often looks better when it's freshly washed and styled, feeling silky smooth and catching the light perfectly. However, with every wash you're also removing vital beneficial oils that help keep our barnets in tip top condition, so if you do it too regularly you could be leaving strands prone to breakage. If your hair is dry, frizzy, damaged by electrical tools or colouring, then reducing the number of times you wash it every week could see an increase in the condition - every time you wash hair you also have to dry and style using heated appliances, causing more damage to the cuticle.
Dry shampoos have boomed in popularity in the last few years, offering a solution to greasy roots and limp styles; this simple styling product can help refresh your look without the need for washing, reducing the amount of damage your electrical appliances cause. Texturising sprays and root lifting products provide an alternative to washing your hair every day, saving you time in the morning while reducing the removal of that beneficial sebum. Try tying your hair up, rocking a messy side plait or simply pinning a few bobby pins to create an undone messy style. Alternatively, if you can't break the cycle of washing daily, try substituting your usual shampoo for a cleansing conditioner five days a week.
In the simplest of terms, cleansing conditioners are super light conditioning products with a touch of cleansing action for good measure; unlike the traditional 2-in-1 products which are shampoos with a little added conditioner, these offer a much more beneficial and lighter approach. Cleansing conditioners tend to use oil (rather than stripping surfactants,) to lift dirt and residue from the surface of hair, meaning they don't also take away the nutrients and moisture our hair needs to look and feel great. Their light nature also ensures hair is left feeling nourished, without being heavy or lackluster. They're a great alternative to traditional daily shampoo sessions, while still leaving your hair feeling fresh. (Read the full lowdown on cleansing conditioners here.)
Essentially there's no magic answer to how often you should be washing your hair, but it's probably less than you think. Breaking the habit and introducing a portfolio of products may help your hair condition in the long term, but it's all about what works for you. However, if you've ever wondered how exctly you should be washing and conditioning your hair to get the best result, I've broken the process down into little chunks. Here is my guide on how to get the perfect wash:
1. Distribute a 50p sized amount of shampoo through your thoroughly wet hair, ensuring you focus the product on the roots. It's a common misconception to focus attention on 'greasy' roots, but the largest amount of dirt and product will actually build up on the ends and mid-lengths of hair.
2. Apply your shampoo in the direction of hair growth, smoothing it down the hair to smooth the cuticles. Don't just chuck it onto your crown, especially if you have long hair.
3. Lather the shampoo without using circular or scrunching motions, which causes the hair to tangle. Not only will you cause knots in your hair, but it can damage the cuticle and create a rough surface which stops your hair from catching the light; put simply, your hair won't be shiny.
4. Rinse well using luke warm water (excessive heat will have the same negative impact as using heated styling tools,) washing away the shampoo by combing your hair from root to tip with your hands.
5. Repeat again to ensure you get rid of all dirt and build up, avoiding being too rough with motions that could potentially irritate the scalp or stimulate grease production.
6. Add a touch of conditioner by squirting it first into the palm of your hand, distributing it thoroughly throughout the length in smoothing motions to the tip. Avoid applying conditioner to the roots, as this can cause hair to look lank and greasy.
7. Leave your conditioner on for at least two minutes (longer if possible,) allowing the nutrients to penetrate into the hair and condition from within. The longer you leave it on, the better the result.
8. Wash away your conditioner using luke warm water and the same motion you used to wash away the shampoo. Comb hair through to ensure there is no product remaining, and that there are no tangles present.
How often do you wash your hair? Do you have any top tips on ensuring your barnet is in the best condition possible? I'd love to hear from you...