We asked top trichologists how often you should wash your hair and the answer may surprise you
When it comes to how often we should wash our hair, we’ve heard it all. From whether you should wash your hair everyday to just once a week, there seems to be an array of contradicting info out there that can be overwhelming.
But we’ve got you, as two of the UK’s leading hair experts – trichologist and Afro hair coach, Enitan Agidee, and Philip Kingsley brand president and consultant trichologist, Anabel Kingsley – give us the lowdown on all you need to know about hair washing.
How often should you wash your hair?
When it comes to how often you should wash your hair, it turns out there’s not one rule for all.
"It’s totally dependent on your hair type," explains Anabel. "I recommend people with fine hair shampoo daily. This is because those with thinner textures have more oil glands on their scalp, meaning their strands become greasy faster. Those with medium-textured hair should try to shampoo every day to every other day."
Of course, this isn’t set in stone, and if you have fine hair but don’t experience a lot of build-up or grease, you might find washing your hair every other day is more than enough.
And what about those with thicker strands? "In my opinion, more curly, coily and kinky hair types can wash their hair once a week on average," says Enitan. "Washing too often can lead to a dry scalp, which could create flakes, itchiness or tightness."
However, that’s not all there is to it.
"How often you wash your hair also depends on what you do afterwards," says Anabel. "If you heat style every time you shampoo, the damage may outweigh the good. It’s about finding a balance."
Enitan agrees: "These are just averages. If your scalp produces excessive sebum [natural oils] or your styling products cause build up, you may need to cleanse more often, no matter your hair texture. Overall, there’s no definite answer to the frequency of washing – it’s dependent on the individual’s scalp needs."
What’s the longest you can go without washing your hair?
You know those times where we let our hair go for as long as possible to ‘give it a break’? Turns out, we may be doing more harm than good.
"Leaving your hair for anything more than 14 days may not serve the needs of healthy haircare practices," explains Enitan.
To the shower we go…
What is the correct way to wash your hair?
Using a hazelnut-sized blob of shampoo, apply directly to the roots and massage into the scalp, paying particular attention to the back of the ears and nape of the neck as these can get overlooked.
And don’t forget about the ends of your hair. "It’s important that you don’t ignore the ends when shampooing," says Enitan. "Be gentle, stroking the shampoo in a downwards motion along the length of the hair. It’s especially helpful for curly, coily and kinky hair to wash in sections. This will equate to less tangles and knotting."
Anabel also recognises the importance of being gentle with curly hair. "It should never be piled on top of the scalp when you shampoo, as curls can easily become matted."
What is the best water temperature for washing hair?
"The optimal temperature is lukewarm," explains Enitan. "Cold water cannot permanently flatten cuticles, but it can temporarily lower them to give a smoother finish. Hot water might create cracks in the cuticles, but will do a good job of lifting oils and products from the hair. Just stay away from extremes."
Should you wash your hair before dyeing it?
We’ve all been guilty of rocking up to our hairdressers with greasy strands in tow. Our excuse? It makes the dye ‘take better’. But it’s not a reason we can use much longer….
"Historically, hair dyes were formulated with harsh ingredients, so the advice was not to wash before applying because the hair oils and products create a buffer," explains Enitan. "Today, dye products give a much better experience, so it doesn’t actually matter if you wash before or not. Of course, if you’re doing it at home, follow instructions on the product or take your stylist’s advice."
Should you wash your hairbrushes?
We’re ashamed to say that washing our hairbrush doesn’t usually make our to-do list. Now, however, we’re considering it a priority.
"There’s a risk of fungal infection, because of the bacteria build up," says Enitan. "To help minimise the chances, wash your tools once a week."
"Invisible residue left on tools can also make your hair look dull," adds Anabel.
But is it enough to swirl your brush around in a bit of hot water?
"Remove hair left in the hair brush and follow by mixing two tablespoons of baking soda and two cups of warm water into a spray bottle. Spritz, then wipe clean. This will work to lift stubborn grime, such as dry shampoo," says Anabel.
Our pick of six of the best shampoos for all hair types
So, now that we’ve covered the basics, we hope you’re feeling better equipped when it comes to hair wash day. Read on for our top shampoo picks for every hair texture, from fine to full.
Best shampoos for fine hair
Andrew Fitzsimons Body Volume Shampoo for Fine Hair with Caffeine (£9)
• Size: 260ml
The biggest struggles for fine hair? Finding a shampoo that won’t weigh strands down while still providing volume. Luckily, this formula strikes the balance for clean, but gorgeously full-bodied-looking strands.
Best shampoos for medium hair
Bumble and bumble Hairdresser’s Invisible Oil Shampoo (£26.50)
• Size: 250ml
In need of a nourishing pick-me-up? This haircare wonder is amazing for medium-textured locks prone to frizz. Coconut and safflower oil combine for silky-looking strands.
Best shampoos for thick hair
Arkive All Together Now Co Cleanse (£13)
• Size: 300ml
• Certified B Corp
Textured hair can be more prone to dryness as it’s harder for the natural oils produced at the scalp to reach the ends. This nourishing co-cleanse from Adam Reed’s new Arkive range helps restore hydration and enhance curl pattern.