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The Ins and Outs of Shampooing

My patients often ask me for recommendations on hair products. Since many of my patients come to me as a last resort with hair loss or hair breakage, I emphasize a healthy hair regimen with cleansing as a cornerstone of that regimen. The first step in building your hair care routine is determining your ideal washing frequency. Before you embark on your plan to optimize your hair regimen, you will need to optimize your shampooing frequency.

Moisture in your Scalp

Hair-washing is not a one size fits all type of routine. Sebum, the moisturizer produced from our scalp, really likes to attract dirt. It has a much easier time coating straight strands than wavy or curly strands. As a result, people with straight hair may notice their hair feeling limp and oily within 24 hours of their last shampooing. Women with really curly hair often have an issue with their hair feeling too dry, mainly because sebum has a harder time moving down the length of curly hair. For this reason, curly hair does not feel dirty as quickly as straight hair and also takes longer to feel limp. As such, it does not require frequent washing.

Long, Straight Hair

If you have long, straight hair but are suffering from breakage, you can try washing your hair every other day instead of every day or alternating between a regular shampoo and conditioner and washing with conditioner alone.

Thick, Curly Hair

Those with wavy hair may be able to get away with washing their hair 2-3 times per week, while those with curly hair may shampoo as little as once every 1-2 weeks.

Sometimes this changes as the seasons change and you may find that shampooing your hair more often is a must in the summertime, while you can get away with longer shampooing intervals during the winter months.

I do not recommend going longer than that between shampoos because deep conditioners and protein treatments tend to work better on freshly washed hair.

Considering adding a dry shampoo to your regimen?

Dry shampoos work well to sop up sebum and often contain ingredients like cornstarch or rice starch. Incorporating dry shampoos can be useful for occasional use as they avoid the damage that can occur from re-wetting the hair but will not remove heavier oils left on by styling products. However, over time the ingredients from dry shampoo buildup and may require removal with a harsher shampoo to clean the hair so I would not recommend them for curly hair.

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