Hair: How often should you wash your hair? Tips for a “healthy scalp”

Starting a hair washing routine can be easy, not because you have to, but because you think you should. But according to experts, washing your hair frequently can do a lot more harm than good, depending on your hair type. For those hoping to bring life back to their locks, the answer might be as simple as changing up their laundry routine.

Whether you have curly, coarse, afro or greasy hair, all types have their own unique characteristics that determine how they are cared for.

Finding what works best for your hair takes a lot of time and patience. If you’re not sure where to start, you might fall into the habit of washing your hair daily, but it’s not always the best option.

Saul Meskin, hair care expert at Foxy Locks, told Express.co.uk: “Your hair is connected to your scalp by a follicle and this follicle is connected to glands that produce vitamins and moisture that goes into the hair.

“If you wash your hair too often, you wash out all of the natural oils that the glands in your hair produce, which means they no longer impart good properties to your hair, leaving it lifeless and dry.”

Hair expert Simone Thomas of Simone Thomas Wellness added: “Removing essential oils from hair is just one problem that leads to dandruff and a dry, itchy scalp. It can also make your hair dry, brittle and more prone to breakage.”

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How often should you wash your hair?

Celebrity A-list hairstylist Jon Hala said: “You shouldn’t wash your hair unless absolutely necessary.”

You can tell whether or not your hair needs a wash by running your hands over it, and if it still feels soft and bouncy, chances are it doesn’t need to be washed.

Mr Hala said: “While the general recommendation is to wash it no more than once or twice a week, I would say that it should only be washed when the hair is visibly greasy.

“When the scalp is itchy or there are signs of flaking from dirt, it’s clear it’s time for a wash.

“Remember that for a healthy scalp you need natural sebum for healthy follicles and washing your hair too frequently will reduce this.”

What is the best way to gradually reduce washing your hair?

Ms Thomas explained: “You can go for an all-or-nothing approach, but as with so many things in life, if you can make incremental changes, you will develop a new, healthy habit that your hair will allow you to use will thank.

“If you wash daily, aim for every other day, with the intention of washing your hair 2-3 times a week long-term.

“If you’re concerned about your hair between washes, there are some great dry shampoos that will absorb excess oil from your scalp and add volume to your hair when it’s looking and feeling stringy and greasy.”

You can also switch up the products you currently use to slow down the process of getting greasy, which will help reduce wash cycles.

Mr Hala said: “Make sure your new shampoo is ‘light’ so it doesn’t weigh down your hair and let it build up with oil and dirt.

“It would also be beneficial to use less oil-based styling products like serums.”

What about those with hair types that are more prone to grease?

For those with oil-prone hair types such as B. light-colored hair, there are a number of remedies and product ingredients to look out for if you’re still hoping to reduce washing.

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Cally Borg, hair expert and personal stylist for Amanda Holden, told Express.co.uk: “You could look at an apple cider vinegar rinse as a home remedy, where you dilute the vinegar 1:3 and rinse your hair with it once a week.

“The idea is to detoxify and balance your hair and scalp.

“Alternatively, EveryGreen offers an antioxidant shampoo and conditioner which is very popular in salons with clients suffering from oily hair as it rebalances the pH levels and keeps it sparkling clean without stripping natural oils.”

You can also look for a lighter shampoo or a combination shampoo specifically for oily roots and dry ends.

Mr Hala said: “It should also have more citric acid factor so it cuts out the fat.

“Another trick is to put shampoo directly into your hair in the shower without adding water.

“Apply shampoo and run it through your hair for a few minutes to pull out the grease. Use cooler water for washing and cleaning.

“Note that very hot water stimulates and excites the sebaceous glands, causing more sebum (oil/fat) to be produced, and remember to finish with a conditioner, working in from mid-lengths to ends only.”

Which ingredients should I look out for in products?

However, when it comes to hair product selection, there are some super ingredients — and some you should absolutely avoid — according to Neal & Wolf founder and haircare specialist Neil Capstick.

He identified the great ingredients with nourishing oils like argan, jojoba, avocado and sunflower seed, all of which improve manageability, nourish dry ends and add incredible shine.

Mr Capstick said: “Panthenol helps lock in moisture, add shine and improve manageability, and shea butter can help moisturize while reducing frizz and flyaways.

“Glycerin is also a natural humectant that helps retain moisture in the hair.”

Discussing ingredients to avoid, Mr. Capstick said, “Hard sulfates can be quite damaging to hair, leaving it feeling dry and unmanageable.

“Silicones that don’t evaporate or dissolve can build up on the hair and prevent moisture penetration, and parabens can cause irritation and further dry the scalp.”

Vitamins and supplements are also effective ways to pack more nutrients into your hair.

Biotin, zinc, and selenium are all essential vitamins and minerals to support hair strength, growth, and repair, and Nutrition Geeks has a supplement, Biotin Growth+, that contains effective doses of all three of these things.

Click here for more information on great vitamins to improve hair condition.

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