The lowdown on overwashing


Photo by Eduardo Gorghetto on Unsplash


Is over-washing your hair a real thing? Is there such a thing as “too clean”. Well, experts say there is and overwashing actually leads to damage. Contrary to popular belief, you shouldn’t be washing your hair daily. The mark of healthy hair doesn’t rest solely on how thick or long your hair is but also how moisturised and shiny it is. That ‘shine’ we get from our scalp’s natural oil, sebum.


The sebum our scalp produces is vital to healthy, shiny hair. Hair that is completely free of this natural oil often feels coarse, appears dull and is difficult to style. Dermatologist Elizabeth Hughes, says that you should be washing your hair only when “it’s oily and feels unclean to the touch.”


It goes without saying that we live different lifestyles that can affect how often our hair needs washing. So what influences how often you have to wash your hair? There are several factors that can increase your need to wash your hair. Let’s unpack each one.


1. Oil

There are many factors that contribute to how much oil you produce. Factors like 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. While you may have once struggled with an oily scalp, your scalp can slowly become drier as you age. This means your hair care regime has to follow the season of your life. While some people produce enough oil to need to wash their hair daily, they are the exception - not the rule. Most people only produce enough oil to wash every couple of days.


2. Type of hair

As much as our afros love water, they do not need us overwashing them. Overwashing, especially with harsh shampoos, can lead to hair damage and in extreme cases, hair loss. Relaxed hair is even more susceptible to damage at the hands of overwashing because it’s exposed to alot of chemical processing. So if you have tight curls or textured hair, you should not be washing your hair more than once a week.


3. Sweat

Sweat can spread sebum and make your hair look and feel dirty. How much you sweat is a big factor in how frequently you need to wash your hair. It should go without saying that if you engage in high intensity workouts resulting in you sweating from head to toe, you should wash your hair afterwards. Another cue for when your hair needs washing is how it smells. If your hair doesn’t smell fresh anymore, it’s time for a clean. Wash your hair after a sweaty workout and anytime you wear a hat or helmet for extended periods of time.


4. Physical dirt or pollen

If you tend to your garden or dust your home, make sure you wear protective headgear. Dirt, dust and pollen can all get trapped in the hair resulting in you needing a wash. Not only will these make your hair look dull or feel dirty to the touch but they can also exacerbate your allergies.


5. Styling products

Styling products can build up on your hair and scalp. Frequent or heavy product use may mean that you need to wash your hair more frequently. To avoid this, try using creams and sprays.


One last thing, your shampoo is only meant to cleanse your scalp so don’t lather the ends of your hair with it. The ends of your hair are the oldest, most fragile portions therefore they need special care.


To clean, reasonably washed hair. Love MPL 🧡.


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