The hair washing debate

How often should you be washing your hair a week? Nusrat Angela takes a look at the latest research to find out...

Nusrat Jahin Angela
25th February 2019

`The dilemma surrounding hair washing is never-ending. Questions like “when to wash?”, “how many times to wash?”, and “what if all my hair falls off?” got us all on our toes day and night. Research suggests that washing your hair can be a damaging process, as frequent shampooing can strip the hair of its natural oils and vitamins, causing your hair to feel dry and crisp. This has led to the belief that hair should only be washed when it is oily. However, hair washing is not as simple as this. Deciding how frequently one should wash hair involves a lot of other factors which should be considered thoroughly.

So, what’s the right amount of times to wash your hair?

There is no simple answer to the question as to how many times you should wash your hair per week. Everyone’s hair is different and has different needs, based on lifestyle, preferences, and genes. Factors like how many times are you going out, how much heating and styling products are you using also affect this number. But the main three things to consider when choosing the right number of times to wash your hair are skin type, hair texture and styling. If you have normal scalp that is not too oily or dry, you can wash your hair once a week. However, if you have a greasy scalp like mine, you can’t help but wash your hair almost every day. Secondly, hair texture plays a vital role in deciding your hair routine since the spread of sebum from the roots to the ends of the hair will predict how quickly your hair becomes greasy. Ideally, curly hair slows down the spread of sebum so it needs to be washed less often compared to straight hair in which sebum quickly spreads. Finally, the amount of styling your hair is exposed to must be considered when you are devising your hair care routine. If your hair is subject to heavy styling, heat and chemicals, chances are it is more damaged and therefore should be washed less often to control the damage.

However, it is only through experimentation you will find the right amount of times you need to wash your hair. It usually works differently for everyone. I myself have curls and use straighteners almost every other day. But even then, I have to wash my hair everyday since it is very oily. If I skip shampooing for even a day, my hair looks almost wet with oil. So rather than bothering about how dry or damaged my hair is, my first worry is always to get rid of the oil. But a close friend of mine, who has straight, thick hair, washes her hair once a week, and it always looks good as new. This just goes on to show that here really is no set times you should wash your hair. You need to work out what suits and agrees with your hair.

Setting that straight, another common question everyone seems to fret over is, “does over-washing really have that much of an effect?”

Among the commonly mentioned effects of over washing are fading of hair colour, split ends, flaking of the scalp, frizzy hair, and hair lacking lustre. However, the extent to which you are likely to experience each of these nightmares is dependent of many factors, not hair washing alone. For instance, even though I wash my hair every day which people consider to be over-washing, there isn’t any difference in terms of hair fall, fizziness or flaking of the scalp compared to the time when I wouldn’t wash my hair as frequently. Therefore, rather than only considering the effects of hair washing, it is important to consider all aspects of your hair care routine, including taking vitamins and supplements and using a high-quality shampoo that suits your hair type to make it healthier and stronger in the long run. In this way, you will never have to part ways with your gorgeous, beautiful and luscious locks.

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