No one-size-fits-all solution
You wake up, jump in the shower, and lather up your hair. That’s your morning routine and has been for as long as you can remember. But it turns out you may be doing more harm than good by shampooing your precious locks daily. So how often should you wash your hair?
It seems like a simple question, but there’s no one-size-fits-all answer. Many of us are overdoing it, causing hair loss or breakage. Others are underdoing it, leading to flakes and oil build-up, says dermatologist, Dr Amy McMichael. “Generally, the hair and scalp should be washed at least weekly to every other week,” she says. But as with all rules, there are some exceptions.
Read on to find out just how often you should be hitting the (shampoo) bottle, based on your hair type, and you’ll have clean, healthy-looking hair in no time.
What is shampoo exactly?
Shampoos typically contain several ingredients to help remove oil, dirt, dead skin cells and other impurities, explains dermatologist, Dr Janiene Luke.
“Common cleansing agents, such as surfactants, bind these impurities and create a structure that can be easily rinsed away with water,” she explains. Common surfactants in shampoo include sodium laureth sulfate, ammonium laureth sulfate, sodium lauryl sulfate, and ammonium lauryl sulfate.
What else is in the bottle?
Water, for one. Without adequate water, the shampoo wouldn’t be able to pour out of the bottle. Foaming or lathering agents like cocamide or cocamidopropyl betaine give your shampoo that satisfying sudsy factor. Shampoo also contains silicones like simethicone, which smooth and shine your hair. Other ingredients, like panthenol, fatty alcohols and nut oils, are added to lock in moisture and hydration. Polyquaternium may be added as a thickening agent. And finally, there are the preservatives. These are added to make sure your shampoo has a decent shelf life.