Over my two decade career as a barber, one of my most frequently asked questions is, “How often should I shampoo my hair?”. Well, if you're reading this article and ask the question, you’re in luck! Today I’m going to cover why you should shampoo, how to shampoo, what you should shampoo with and how often you should shampoo.
Why should I shampoo?
First and foremost, shampooing your hair is an integral part of good hygiene. Our bodies produce an oily substance called sebum. Sebum has many practical functions and is a vital part of having healthy hair and scalp. It not only conditions our hair and keeps our scalp from getting dry and flakey, it also staves off infection from scrapes and abrasions. However, too much sebum can leave our hair and scalp looking and feeling greasy. This is why it is important to shampoo your hair semi-regularly with a gentle shampoo that will not totally strip your hair of it’s natural oils and leave your scalp dry, itchy and potentially flakey.
How should I shampoo?
When shampooing your hair, be sure to choose a shampoo that is gentle and without any harsh ingredients, such as alcohol, which can dry your skin and hair, or parabens that can emulate the hormone estrogen. You may even choose one with conditioning properties such as Shampoo For Hair & Skin by Kingpin which works equally well as a body wash. If you have a sensitive scalp, or longer hair, it is especially important not to use hot water as this can lead to dry hair and scalp which could lead to dandruff. Be sure to use the pads of your fingertips to massage the scalp and break up any dead skin cells, dirt or debris. Always be sure to finish with a conditioning product. I personally prefer Serum For Hair and Skin by Kingpin. In fact, I have long hair and like to apply the serum before AND after I shampoo. Applying the serum from mid-shaft to ends prior to shampooing helps me to protect fragile hair ends from the potentially drying effects of shampoo and helps my wide tooth comb to glide through any knots. Once my hair has air dried, I then check to see if there is cause for a second application of the serum as a leave-in conditioner. While this technique is great for long hair, with shorter styles you may just want to rub in a few drops all over your hair post shower.
How often should I shampoo?
Now that we have covered the why and how of shampooing, it’s time to tackle the million dollar question, “How often should I be shampooing my hair?”. The cosmetic giants have been telling us for decades that we should be shampooing often as a means to boost usage of their consumable product. In actuality, this is drying our hair out but hey! the good news is that you can fix your dry hair with their conditioner! See what I'm getting at? Everyone’s body chemistry is different and requires an individualized approach. Some people say “I have greasy hair and need to shampoo everyday”. This is often a self perpetuating cycle. Your scalp produces sebum because it needs it. If you continually strip it away, your body will make more which can often lead to sebum overproduction. Given the chance, your scalp will likely regulate sebum production on its own. I typically recommend shampooing once or twice a week. It may, however, take as much as 6 to 8 weeks for your body to begin regulating sebum, though in most cases you should notice a drastic decrease in sebum production in 4 to 6 weeks. Some people may not get an oily scalp at all and have chronically dry scalp in which case they should follow the protocol for non shampoo days which I will cover in the next section.
What should I do on non shampoo days?
So what should you do on the days you don’t shampoo? Even on days you don’t shampoo, I still recommend rinsing your hair while you shower (which you should do daily) and if you tend toward having a dry scalp, rub in a few drops of Serum For Hair and Skin by Kingpin.
Phew, that was a lot! But now you have the same knowledge that I do, and can put it to good use on your own hair and scalp.