By Phemelo Segoe
A common misconception is that we need to wash our hair as often as possible to keep it clean and that oily hair is bad hair but the truth is, we do more damage by overwashing and oil isn't all bad. What do you know about your hair’s natural oils and do you know how often you should be washing your hair? In this article, we will be taking you through the ins and outs of keeping your hair from drowning as a result of overwashing.
First thing’s first, let’s be clear on one thing, the sebum your scalp produces is vital to healthy, shiny hair. When we overwash our hair, we can cause our hair to lose its natural shine resulting in Hair that is completely free of this natural oil leaving it feeling coarse and looking dull. Also resulting hair that is often difficult to style.
So what determines how often we should wash our hair? Turns out, quite a few things.
Oil is the biggest culprit behind why we wash our hair because excess oil is what leaves hair sticky and clumpy. How much oil you produce depends on your age, genetics, sex, and environment. Children and older adults do not produce as much sebum as teenagers or adults in their 20s and 30s. This means, even if you once struggled with an oily scalp, your scalp gradually becomes drier as you age.
If you have very fragile hair and a dry scalp, you should look at washing your hair every second-third week.
If you have a normal to oily scalp, washing your hair every 3 - 4 days will do.
2. Type of hair
Did you know that straight and thin hair needs to be washed more frequently than curly hair? Well, straight hair is easily coated by sebum, which means it looks greasy much faster while thick, curly hair tends to be dry since the oil doesn’t coat the strands as easily. Sebum is very important for the maintenance of beautiful, healthy hair that isn’t devoid of moisture. This is why, when washing your hair, you have to wash your hair with respect to your type of hair.
African hair doesn’t need to be washed frequently. In fact, overwashing, especially with harsh shampoos, can damage hair and lead to hair loss, especially when combined with chemical treatments or hairstyles like tight braids that tug at the roots. People with tight curls or textured hair should wash their hair no more than once a week or every other week.
3. Hair products
Hair products that build up on your hair and scalp often lead to irritation and even worse, hair damage. It’s important to remember that your scalp needs to breathe and product build blocks pores so if you have to use heavy products frequently, then washing your hair every week is going to be very important. Also, try to skip the heavy stuff from time to time and use water-based sprays.
This one is a no brainer. Sweat can spread sebum and make your hair look and feel dirty. So how much you sweat is important to gauge how much you should wash your hair. Sweat can also cause your hair to smell and no one wants a smelly head.
It’s recommended that after a high-sweat workout, you shampoo your hair to or at least rinse it so make sure you manage the oil build-up.
5. Dirt or pollen
This is something that we don’t always consider but gardening, cleaning, and other messy tasks may be cause for a wash. Dirt, dust, and pollen can all get trapped on the hair. Not only will these make your hair look dull, but they can also exacerbate your allergies.
When it comes to watching our hair and building a healthy-hair regimen, it really does boil down to understanding why you’re washing your hair when and also ensuring that you are keeping your hair’s natural oil production under control by not drowning your hair. When it comes to hair, less is more. We hope this will help in your journey to more good hair days. Love MPL!