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Hair: how often should I wash?
November 19 , 2013

To wash or not to wash seems to be the question.

Being a nappy head, I’ve had a lot of folks ask me how often I wash my hair. In the beginning, my answer used to be very simple. "I wash my hair while in the shower." It was that simple for me. I just turn on the shower, shampoo my hair, slather on rinse out conditioner and I’m good to go! It wasn’t until someone mentioned in passing that washing the hair daily could have adverse effects on the hair that I decided to do a little (okay, maybe a lot of) snooping around and in this post, I will share my findings. 


First of all, what makes your hair feel dirty? The sebaceous glands, darling. Those are the culprits. Sebaceous glands are connected to individual hair follicles on our skin and head and these glands secrete an oily matter known as "sebum", a natural oil that moisturizes (and waterproofs) your skin and hair and after a while of lubricating, your hair can feel or look dirty.

Now back to the reason for this post: How often should one shampoo her hair? Maybe not as often as you think, dermatologists and stylists say. How often you shampoo is a matter of personal preference. "It really depends on the scalp and hair type and what you do to the hair," says Paradi Mirmirani, MD, a Vallejo, Calif., dermatologist and specialist in hair research. "Hair is a fiber. Think of a wool fiber: The more you wash it, the worse it’s going to look. There’s no need to wash your hair every day either." 

Washing your hair may seem like simplest thing to do but you’ll be shocked to find out that you’re doing it all wrong. Washing your hair incorrectly can lead to scalp irritation, dandruff, lice and other scalp issues. 

Different hair types/textures require different approaches where shampooing is concerned. For example, women with processed hair (relaxed hair) can go longer between washes. This is because the oils from the scalp do not travel down the hair as quickly as it would with Natural locks, so the hair tends to be dry and requires less frequent shampooing. A TWA (Teeny Weeny Afro) or Short relaxed hair can be shampooed once in 2 days. For thick natural hair, daily washing is a bad idea because your hair could get way too dry (Ask me!) It also helps that you have the luxury of waiting a number of days until you feel like you need to wash your hair again. 

Lots of people obsess about shampooing their hair every day. I used to freak out myself at the slightest hint of dirt in my hair. Iíve learnt the only reason one should shampoo everyday should be for the fragrance it give your hair or if. Like me, you’re finicky about sebum, In which case, you may wash your hair daily if you so desire. However, there is a method to this. Below are 3 simple steps to lustrous shampooed everyday hair. It’s a system that works for me: 

1. Use a lightweight shampoo. (Lightweight shampoos are sometimes also labeled "everyday shampoos," they contain milder detergents than others.) 

2. Follow shampooing with conditioning. 

3. Oil your locks with Baby oil/Serum/Olive oil for good measure. We don’t want your hair looking like washed out wool now, do we? 

Stay beautiful. 


**You may also try Co-washing or dry shampooing. (Co-washing is washing your roots with just water and then conditioning with a rinse out product. It is a great option for those with thick, coarse hair.) Dry shampooing is a great option for those who have on weaves and braids. You can dry shampoo whenever your scalp feels dirty.

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Learn more about this author, X Uzoma.
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