As a professional hair stylist, I make recommendations based on my client's lifestyle. Every person is unique and different according to their hair type and their day-to-day routine. In this blog, I am going to break down some suggestions on how frequently you should wash your hair and the best washing tips your specific hair type and daily routine.
Oily hair is a common concern for individuals with straight, wavy or curly hair that is fine or can be in-between finer hair and thicker hair density. Oiliness is caused when there are overactive sebaceous glands (where our natural oils and sweat build up from). Over reactive sebaceous glands also happen in the face and body when breakouts or acne occurs. The only difference with oily skin and oily hair is hair gets more of a "greasy feeling," when it is too oily. To prevent too much oil buildup and clogging of the hair follicle, it is recommended to shampoo at least 2-3x a week at most and shampoo twice.
The first shampoo breaks up any oil or product buildup and the second shampoo actually cleanses the hair. Cleaning the hair fully helps to penetrate ingredients from our products to add moisture, volume, repair, etc. Shampooing twice is the same concept of double cleansing the face from makeup or sweat buildup, so our skin care products can actually benefit our skin
It is important to find shampoos that are sulfate-free, as they are gentler on the scalp and less likely to strip away all or most of our hairs’ essential oils as well as keep color safe.
After shampooing, it is important to use a conditioner after washing your hair to help resurface the hair's natural oils and nourish hair strands while sealing the cuticle to add moisture and shine. Conditioner should only be used on the ends for oily hair to prevent hair from being weighed down since your scalp gives you enough oil in between washes to keep it moisturized. As long as you stick with proper hydration techniques such as weekly hair masks, and oils on your ends regularly, then skipping some washes won't be an issue.
Other key tips to avoid oiliness:
- Apply dry shampoo on clean hair. This will absorb the oils before they even develop, and you can go an extra day or two in-between washes. Blow-drying dry shampoo into your hair on the second day will help it absorb better and avoid a white cast.
- Blowout your hair instead of air drying. You are sealing the hair's cuticle and will get more shine and body to your hair. Your hair willl last longer with added volume and eliminate the need to shampoo because it's "flat.". Also blow-drying dry shampoo into your hair on the second day will help it absorb better and avoid a white cast.
- When you feel there is build up in your hair, try using an apple cider vinegar rinse, clarifying treatment or use a gentle deep cleansing scrub before your shampoo. The clarifying agent will act as your first shampoo to give it a deeper cleanse before your normal daily shampoo.
- Condition only the ends. Sometimes conditioners can be heavy and full of moisture. Since the scalp is already oily it is not necessary to add more moisture, or the hair will be flat and greasy appearing.
Curly hair is very different maintenance than wavy or straighter hair textures. The tighter the curl, the more moisture and natural oil it needs. This means that curly hair relies heavily on natural oils and cannot be washed often at all. Tightly coiled hair should be washed no more than once a week. The less curly hair is shampooed, the healthier it is. To some this might surprise, but some curly hair should not be shampooed, or rarely. Instead of shampoo tight wound curls should use what is called a co-wash. Co-wash is a conditioner that has cleansing agents, but do not lather like shampoo. Instead, a co-wash is applied the same way as shampoo, but gives more conditioning qualities to seal the curl, moisturize, and define.
Clarifying curly hair at least once a month is super important to avoid product buildup especially with overuse of oils. Curly hair is always thirsty for moisture which makes oils important to use even between washing to keep curls soft, healthy, and defined. On the other hand, clarifying at least once a month will help prevent buildup and clogging of the hair follicle from hair growth. In addition, the of oils, especially coconut oil, will cause brittleness and breakage if overused and not washed out. Usually, argan oils or products with oils added to it would give the perfect amount of hydration, as coconut oil is heavier and build up too much like a coat on the hair.
Curly hair can also follow the double shampoo method if they insist on washing once a week. This will help prepare your hair for the amount of product applied after the shampoo. For curly hair that is not washed frequently, make sure to follow the correct approaches to clarifying and cleansing treatments as necessary. If hair feels built up of product or oils, it is time to do a clarifying rinse or treatment.
Hot tips for washing curly hair:
- Start shampoo with an apple cider vinegar rinse, clarifier, or scalp scrub to rid of heavy debris and product build up so moisture can penetrate through.
- Make sure you follow up regular cleansing treatments with a deep conditioner or rich hair mask to replace lost oils caused by overused products.
- Find a brand that has science behind its products and is proven to revitalize curls. Make sure there are no harsh chemicals that may cause dryness or frizz. This is for shampoos, conditioners, as well as daily styling.
Dry hair or scalp issues is often caused by lack of sebaceous glands. This means the body is not providing enough natural oil to the scalp. Product quality and selection is very important. Other than wintertime some people suffer a dry scalp daily. Dry hair, as any hair type should not be washed every day because it will end up being brittle and breakage would occur. Tea tree or charcoal-based products with a cooling agent will really help rid of flakiness and dryness in the scalp. Alternating with a shampoo for a dry scalp and a moisturizing shampoo will help give the best results for moisture. The double shampoo method would still benefit someone with a dry scalp, it is simply a matter of product selection that is vital. For dry ends it is important to use a deep moisture hair mask weekly, apply light serums on the ends during the day, and make sure you are getting daily trims every 3-4 months to keep ends sealed and healthy.
Best tips for a dry scalp
- Exfoliate the scalp at least once a week with a scalp scrub to rid of flakiness and dead skin.
- Follow up exfoliation with a scalp mask to penetrate moisture.
- Use a scalp serum outside of the shower to nourish the scalp of missing natural oils.
- If necessary, apply a small amount of your daily conditioner to the scalp in the shower. A scalp mask would be more beneficial.
- Avoid overuse of dry shampoos that will absorb any natural oils that may be present. Unlike oily hair, a dry scalp should rely on these natural oils present to give moisture. The hair can at least go every other day without washing.
- DO NOT use dandruff-based products for a dry scalp, as they are different. A dry scalp consists of white flakes and dandruff consists of yellow like flakes. Seek out a dermatologist to confirm if you have dandruff or a dry flaky scalp. Using dandruff-based products on a dry scalp will reverse your results and set you back from achieving the results you want,