washing and styling your hair
Image: The Pioneer

We all can relate to that sigh of relief when you realize you don’t need to get your hair wet in the morning. No blow-drying, no tired arms, no poofy hair to style… we really like not having to wash our hair. But exactly how often do you need to use shampoo on your hair? The answer varies from person to person.

It sounds strange, but some people ditch shampoo altogether in order to have healthy, lush hair. We don’t recommend this, but washing your hair more than three times a week is too much. Too much shampoo leads to built up oil caused by your glands working hard to replace the natural oils you’re washing away. You can still get your hair wet for styling purposes, and you may even add a little conditioner on the ends for untangling.

Shampooing not only causes excess oil if used too often, but it can lead to dry hair and breakage. The last thing you want to deal with all day is a greasy scalp and brittle strands of hair. This happens because the primary goal of shampoo is the trap oil, ultimately drying out your hair. Shampoo traps oil to get rid of dirt, but some dirt is actually okay for your hair. Dirty hair often has more texture and volume. That’s why anytime you go to the salon for a formal up-do, the stylist recommends that you don’t wash your hair that morning.

There are certain exceptions to the rule, of course. People who exercise and sweat a lot are producing more oil and dirt on their scalp, so they can get away with shampooing more often. Another exception includes people who live in a humid climate. Although this shouldn’t change things drastically, you can add one extra day for shampooing a week than those who live in dryer environments. If you have thin, fine hair, then you may have to wash more frequently. Women with thick, voluminous locks can hold more dirt and oil before their hair looks greasy.

Signs that you’ve gone too long without shampooing include an itchy scalp, visible oil, or flaking due to dirt. You should also try to shampoo before you style your hair in a blowout. Hair needs to be very clean in order to have this look last all day. Try to avoid daily or frequent use of heated products such as a blow dryer or straightener.

Luckily, today’s beauty products help to extend the period in between washes. Products with keratin are made to repair previous damage done to your hair. Keratin is a protein that is naturally in your hair but is damaged by too much washing and styling. These products aim to rebuild the strength of your hair. Dry shampoo and powders are effective in removing the appearance of grease, while giving you the added bonus of lifted roots. Leave-in conditioners will help you style your hair as if it is newly cleansed.

On that last day before you wash your hair again, try parting your hair on a different side to restore some volume, or style in a side braid, bun, or ponytail.