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How Often You Should Really Wash Your Hair, According to Experts
Do a quick search online, and you’ll likely find dozens of opinions on the hotly debated subject. Up until a handful of years ago, we were all perfectly happy to shampoo our scalps every day. Then, word spread that too much shampoo was actually damaging the strands. Now we find ourselves on the other side of the no-poo wave, embarrassed by our post-gym ponytails but not willing to wash every day.
So, what’s the ultimate answer? We spoke to global Redken Brayden Pelletier just after the launch of the brand’s Clean Maniac shampoo and conditioner. If it’s cool to be a “clean maniac” again, just how often should we be washing?
Like all things in life, this isn’t a simple issue. How often you shampoo will depend on several factors, according to Pelletier. Read on to find the schedule that’s right for you.
As a general rule, shampooing less frequently is better for your strands.
There’s fact behind the belief that shampoo can strip or dry out sensitive manes. Pelletier’s the first one to suggest that his clients stretch the time between washes as far as they can—within reason, that is.
“I recommend they go as long as possible, but 14 days is the absolute max,” Pelletier says. “The thicker the hair and less oily the scalp, the longer you can go, usually between five to seven days for each shampoo.”
It’s also important to remember that shampoo and conditioner aren’t the only styling products in your arsenal. Pick-me-up formulas like dry shampoo can help your hair appear fresher, longer, according to Pelletier.
“It’s all about the right products on the right day. If you wake up in the morning with oily hair, apply dry shampoo before bed,” the hair professional adds. “Sometimes it’s applying a product to prevent something, rather than trying to fix it.”
Planning out your washes will make life so much easier.
Be honest about what kind of hair you have.
Hair styling is counterintuitive because you’re always working backward. Start by envisioning the result you’d like—a bouncy blowout or air-dried waves—then plan your routine around it.
“Everyone has different hair textures, hair styles, and lifestyles which leads to different experiences,” Pelletier says. “If you’re not using the right product regimen, you’re not going to get the end results you’re looking for.”
If you’re working with fine hair that falls flat or gets oily at the roots, it’s time to admit you’ll probably need to wash more frequently than your thick-haired counterparts.
Consider your lifestyle—including your workout schedule.
Contrary to the arguments made by dozens of advice articles about wearing your hair from spin class to the office, most of us can’t get away with post-gym hair. It’s sweaty and smelling, not to mention roped together from all that extra liquid.
If you’re regularly in hot weather or a yoga studio, Pelletier recommends shampooing and conditioning your hair daily to keep it smelling and looking fresh.
“For those who have very fine hair, live in a very humid place, or exercise and sweat multiples times in a day, you should probably shampoo every day,” he explains.
So long, messy top knot that lasts three days. We hardly knew ye.
Pick shampoo and conditioner formulas that work with your washing schedule.
Once you’ve used Pelletier’s tips to determine how often you should be scrubbing that scalp, it’s time to go shopping. Without a shampoo formula that works with your washing schedule. Not washing every day means you’ll need a hair care system that works to get rid of a week’s worth up of oil and grime from your roots.
Luckily, shampoo formulas have adapted to fit the needs of women everywhere.
“Shampoos are becoming gentler by removing the sulfates and silicones, but with a higher cleansing ability,” Pelletier says. “If you’re only washing once a week, you've got to get a week’s worth of free radicals, dirt, oil, and city smells out of your hair.”
From the L’Oréal portfolio of brands, Pelletier recommends trying Redken’s Clean Maniac Micellar Clean-Touch Shampoo and Clean Maniac Clean-Touch Conditioner for that squeaky, scrubbed feeling without any of the dryness. The hair care system is formulated to help remove excess sebum, styling product build-up, and pollution residue for a clean feeling.
“The same micellar technology that works brilliantly to remove makeup and cleanse your face is now being used in this micellar shampoo, Pelletier explains. “It attacks impurities for clean, soft hair, making it great for all hair types.”
Hair that feels fresh without the dry ends or guilt? Yes, please.
Make sure you’re actually getting your hair and scalp clean.
It may seem obvious to scrub your scalp while shampooing under a hot jet of water, but you’d be surprised how many women treat home hair washing like an in-and-out task. This isn’t a drive through, baby—you’ve got to do a little work to get your mane totally clean.
Pelletier recommends starting your wash with a rinse, saturating your mane with water and then squeezing most of it out to get a head start on banishing dirt. Then, using less than a quarter-sized dollop of shampoo, work the product through your strands.
“If you have long hair, you really want to give those ends a good wash,” Pelletier explains. “If you feel a lack of lather, it just means that the hair is dirty. I would rinse and re-shampoo before conditioning.”
Rinse your hair until no bubbles are visible, then wring the hair out and apply conditioner. Hair that’s closer to dry means less water in the strands to dilute the conditioning formula. Pelletier advises starting at the ends, working the product up through the mid lengths and (for thick hair) roots. Rinse and you’re all done.
After you rinse, feel free to enjoy your newly cleansed ‘do. With luck and a little TLC, it’ll last you at least a day or two.
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