Quit Over-Washing Your Hair!
Is your hair dry and frizzy? Is it oily and heavy? Is your scalp itchy? These symptoms - and more - are signs that you could be washing your hair too frequently and that it's time to start alternating your shampoo days. It’s a tough bandwagon to get on, but it’s well worth the effort – your scalp and strands will thank you! I want to explain why you need to quite over-washing your hair and, maybe more importantly, how. I understand that if you’ve been accustomed to daily (or more - gasp!) hair washes, this will be a mental and physical transition for you. Here are some answers to some commonly asked questions:
Why can’t I wash my hair every day?
Shampoo is designed to cleanse your scalp and hair. However, in doing so, that cleanser can actually strip away natural oils as it’s stripping away dirt and debris. We NEED those natural oils – they keep our scalp healthy and balanced and make our hair soft and shiny. Without the oils, our scalp starts getting dry and our hair loses its luster.
What if I have oily hair?
Think of your scalp like skin – because it is! When we wash our skin too frequently, we strip away those oils and you know how our skin responds? The sebaceous glands start producing MORE oil to compensate! So, in theory, when you wash every day, your scalp is actually producing more oil than it needs. Whereas, when you skip a day or two, your sebaceous glands chill out – they become more balanced and only produce the oil you need.
Will there be a transition process?
Yes, unfortunately there will. And I wish I could provide you with a hard and fast timeline but everyone is different. Prepare for some oily days (dry shampoo is your friend!). Your scalp is accustomed to producing a certain amount of oil. You can’t cut daily shampoos cold turkey and expect your skin to know what’s going on.
Other than healthier hair and scalp, what are the benefits?
As if you need any more?! But, I understand! First, you’ll be using less product. Yes, those expensive shampoo, conditioner and styling products are going to last you longer. Second, when you’re not washing as frequently, you’re not using heat as frequently and that is one of the BEST ways to keep your hair healthy. Third, your color investment! You spend so much time and money to get your hair professionally colored and it is such a bummer when it fades. Washing less frequently will help maintain that color, keeping it rich and shiny, for longer!
Okay, I’m on board – but how do I get started?
Hurray! Let's begin your journey:
Step 1: Look at your week ahead and assess which days you want to be your wash days for the first week. For instance, I work out in the mornings on Monday, Wednesday and Fridays so, typically, those are my wash days and sometimes I’ll do a mini-wash over the weekend or I’ll push through on Friday and wash Saturday instead. Whatever works for you – just set a schedule for this first week or two because it will help you not have a second-day hair day on a day you need it pretty and clean (side note: second day hair will be your favorite once your scalp is transitioned!)
Step 2: This is critical – you need to change HOW you shampoo. Before putting any shampoo in your hair, it needs to be wet – seriously. I know everyone says their hair is wet when they apply shampoo but I’ll bet it isn’t always – we’re busy people! So, stand under that water for a bit and make sure your hair is saturated.
Step 3: Apply a small amount of shampoo to your palm, emulsify it between your hands (add a tiny bit of water and lather it up in your hands) and then apply to your scalp. This first day, it may be fine, but, on future wash days, you’re going to have some oil and build-up after the break from washing. Therefore, work that shampoo through – even if it’s not lathering up. It’s okay, I promise it’s working.
Step 4: Rinse it out – thoroughly!
Step 5: Here’s the key: you’re going to shampoo again. This time, use a little bit more product than you used the first time. Emulsify in your palms again and then scrub it through your scalp. Do not worry about focusing on your ends too much – the key here is to cleanse your scalp. You can work the shampoo through to the ends just before rinsing it. Focus on your part line and your temples where the scalp tends to buildup the most. Then, rinse thoroughly and follow with conditioner.
*A little trick I discovered when I started this process: apply dry shampoo right before bed at the end of Day 1 – it helps absorb oil over night and makes hair much easier to deal with on Day 2.
Congratulations on taking a big step to a healthier, happier scalp and hair! Please let me know how it goes and, if you have questions, leave them in the comments section below.