How often to wash hair? Studies confirmed unexpected method

Deepak Gupta January 25, 2022
Updated 2022/01/25 at 1:39 PM

There are various arguments for and against the practice of keeping your hair and scalp clean. While you say that frequent washing is good, the others swear by infrequent washes. How often hair should really be washed in the end depends on you. However, several studies show at least that a special routine seems to be advisable. After all, both the experiences of the participants and objective factors speak in favor of it.

How often to wash hair? These studies know the answer

Actually, one thing should always apply: How often we wash hair should primarily depend on personal preference. In reality, of course, things are different, because different hair types require different care.

If you are still looking for the right routine, you can turn to science. According to the results of two studies published in 2021, one method could be confirmed as recommendable both subjectively by the participating subjects and also by objective control points: 5 to 6 hair washes per week.

This was examined on the subject of hair washing

To find out how often hair should be washed, the scalps of two Asian groups of participants without specific clinical pictures were examined. The researchers conducted an epidemiological study to monitor the effects of personal washing frequency.

This was accompanied by a controlled study of washing frequency. In both cases, the scientists used objective measures of the condition of the hair and scalp for the assessment, as well as the self-assessment of the participants.

How often to wash hair? Participant and objective observations agree

When conducting the epidemiological study, subjects showed the most satisfaction with the condition of their hair and scalp when they washed their hair 5 to 6 times a week.

In addition to the subjective assessments, this observation could also be objectively verified. The controlled hair washes also showed that an almost daily wash regimen was superior to a weekly routine in all cases. In addition, no harmful effects on the hair were evident at this frequency level.

As a conclusion, the scientists involved state that a higher frequency is both more advantageous and preferred among the Asian participants. Concerns about “overcleaning” were found to be subjectively and objectively unfounded, according to the results.

By the way: That’s how often Germany washes its hair

A 2016 survey on the subject revealed (via Vice) that (at least back then) one in three Germans actually washed their hair every day. Almost a third do this every other day. This means that the routine mentioned by the above studies is already practiced in many areas. Incidentally, men in particular (43 percent) are among the daily laundry fanatics. Among the women surveyed, it was only 24 percent.

What happens if I don’t wash my hair for 1 week?

There’s a movement among hair enthusiasts, the no-poo (short for “no shampoo”) movement, which swears that less is more when it comes to shampooing too. So there should be advantages to doing without it for a long time. One reason is that ingredients in many products such as Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLS), paraffin oils, silicones and parabens have a bad reputation.

Alleged advantages of less hair washing

  • The hair no longer becomes greasy so quickly
  • It only needs to be washed a maximum of once a week
  • Hair detoxification
  • Reactivation of your own self-cleansing powers

In the end, the hair should shine and look healthy again on its own. But before that, the first thing is important Phase without shampoo to survive. That should be at least two, but more four to six weeks last. Then the sebaceous glands gradually learn to produce less sebum.

What happens if I don’t wash my hair for a long time?

On the other hand, if you do not wash your hair completely for a while or, for example, only use dry shampoo, you could sooner or later have several problems. If you don’t actually wash your hair for a long time, your scalp dries out. Without regular cleaning, dirt will settle and rob your scalp of moisture. But other consequences are also conceivable:

  • Your scalp is itchy.
  • The hair starts to smell.
  • You lose volume.
  • Your hair becomes dull and the shine is lost.
  • You get headaches faster (the reason: greasy hair is often tied in a ponytail or bun. Since it is heavier due to the oily film, the hairstyle pulls more at the hair roots).

How good is dry shampoo for hair?

If you are fed up with only washing your hair with water, you can switch to dry shampoo. This saves time, absorbs excess fat, leaves the hair looking fresh and gives the hairstyle good hold.

But there are also divided opinions here. So some experts believe that the product is rather harmful to your hair. It is said to damage the scalp and can also lead to hair loss, as a friend reports.

There is a risk, but in extreme cases, i.e. if you only use dry shampoo in the long term. This clogs the pores and can cause inflammation.

Procedure when washing your hair: First, pay attention to your hair type

As is the case with studies, a few copies do not always represent the general scientific view of a problem. This is not a general rule. However, washing your hair every day is not harmful. Shampoos are now mixed with mild ingredients that are designed to do just that.

If you are still looking for a washing routine that is more individually tailored to you, you can take a closer look at your hair type. Depending on the structure, there are individual recommendations. The reason: Fine hair, for example, lies closer to your scalp and therefore comes into contact with sebum and skin fat more quickly. With curly and wavy hair it’s a completely different matter, because it stands out more from the scalp. On the other hand, curly hair is more prone to dryness, and frequent exposure to water can be harmful.

  • Dry hair: 1 to 2 times a week
  • greasy hair: every 2nd day
  • Fine straight hair: daily hair wash
  • Curls: 1 time per week

Other criteria that can affect your washing routine include length and color, your skin type, environmental exposure, and the products you use. They all affect how quickly your hair becomes greasy or dry.

Caution: Redheads may have a disadvantage when washing their hair

The following scientific finding may apply to people with red hair. Redheads are said to be more sensitive to hot and cold temperatures. At least that’s what a study from 2006 showed. When washing your hair, it might be advisable to pay attention to this.

Interestingly, according to the same study, redheads are significantly less sensitive to pain from electric shocks and needle sticks. In addition, they should react differently to painkillers and require a higher dose of anesthetic during medical interventions.

What is the best way to wash your hair?

In addition to the question of how often you should wash your hair, there may also be a question of how you should wash it. Experts give specific recommendations on this. Depending on the hair type, for example, there should be the best possible time for cleaning.

  • Oily and/or fine hair: Wash in the morning, apply shampoo especially to the roots of the hair and let the foam run into the ends
  • Thick hair/curls: wash in the evening when more time is needed for drying (in the morning all you have to do is restyle)

Even before you wash your hair: Do this

Before you even start the washing process, you can optimally prepare your hair for it. These include the following steps.

  • Comb well: If you want to remove residue from styling products, but also want to prevent tangles from forming during washing, comb your hair well beforehand.
  • Right shampoo for your hair type: If you don’t know which shampoo suits you, you can do a test. Don’t wash your hair for three days and see if it’s greasy or dry. After that you can choose which product you take. But whether your hair is colored, for example, also plays a role.
  • Pay attention to the amount of shampoo: Less is more, because a lot of lather doesn’t necessarily make your hair cleaner. And the intensity of care does not increase as a result. A small portion is usually enough.

How to Wash Your Hair Properly (Instructions)

If you still don’t have the right routine for washing your hair, you can do the following:

  • Dampen the hair with lukewarm water.
  • Lather up the small blob of shampoo. The size of an almond or hazelnut for short to medium length hair. If you have long hair, gradually pour small amounts into your hand and spread them on your head.
  • Massage this into the hairline, scalp and rest of the hair. Leave it on for a moment.
  • Rinse everything thoroughly with lukewarm water. There shouldn’t be any leftovers. If your hair “squeaks” when you knead it, it’s clean.
  • Then rinse with cold water, which closes the dandruff and stimulates blood circulation in the scalp.
  • Finally, you can use a conditioner that wraps around your hair like a nourishing protection. Rinse it off again with lukewarm water.

tip: If you wash your hair in the evening, you not only save time in the morning. Since the hair has more time to dry in the evening, you even protect it. The fast and hot blow-drying in the morning can be harmful.

What is the best way to care for hair? (Tip)

To prevent your hair from drying out too much after washing, you can apply hair products before actually drying it. There are now numerous of these, so finding the right one for you takes a lot of effort. For example, you can use hair oil for the ends or apply a leave-in hair treatment that seals the hair roughened by washing.

Drying hair properly (instructions)

After washing your hair, you have to dry it. Here, too, there are tips and recommendations from experts.

  • Wrap wet hair in a towel. Only press on, do not rub. The towel will absorb the moisture even without scrubbing.
  • Gently comb damp hair to loosen any knots.
  • If you blow dry your hair, make sure that the setting is not too hot.

tip: This is how often you should change towels

danger: Going to bed with your hair still damp can promote dandruff. Microorganisms then thrive better, which can lead to skin irritation.

Sources: Skin Appendage Disord: “The Impact of Shampoo Wash Frequency on Scalp and Hair Conditions“, activebeauty.at

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