Ask any hairstylist out there what’s the best way to keep your color fresh and hair shiny and moisturized and chances are they’ll tell you not to wash your hair every single day. For some, the thought of going a day without lathering up can seem downright unacceptable, especially if they have oily hair that requires daily washing. But truth be told, you’re better off NOT washing and conditioning every single day and here’s why.
“As a general rule, if you have fine hair , you should wash your hair every other day, medium hair should be washed every two days, thick hair can be washed once every three to four days, and for naturally curly hair , once a week is enough,” says Marc Mena , celebrity hairstylist and creative director of Warren-Tricomi. “Most women don’t follow this because of a lack of knowledge and education. The hair care market is categorized into three segments—fine, normal and thick hair. However, everyone’s hair is different with unique consistencies, textures, sensitivities of the follicle and differences in oil levels on the scalp. Your hairstylist will be able to tell you where your hair lands within these categories and how best to care for it.”
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Nunzio Saviano, owner of Nunzio Saviano Salon in NYC, says that overwashing hair can damage hair in more ways than one. “Shampoos not only remove buildup, but natural oils as well. While shampooing is beneficial for your scalp , it isn’t beneficial for the hair shaft and can cause it to become dry.” Add in the fact that so many of us rely on the use of blowdryers post-washing and you’ve instantly got the recipe for dry, damaged hair in the making.
To make matters worse, it’s not only the shampoo itself that can be harmful to hair, but also the water you wash your hair with. Danny Jelaca of the Danny Jelaca Salon Miami says that tap water is not great for hair and that you’re better of installing a shower filter.
If your hair is color-treated and you can’t go a few days without washing it, Saviano says that you are probably making your hair even drier by shampooing daily. “Washing the hair opens up the cuticle, which causes color to fade.”
Conditioning your hair, on the other hand, doesn’t play by these rules. “Conditioning hair isn’t damaging because it doesn’t strip away the oils. It’s not harmful to condition daily—you can rinse with water and condition. Just make sure to use a balanced conditioner with moisture and proteins to replenish the hair,” says Saviano.
So what should you do if your hair is starting to look and feel dirty or greasy but you’re trying your best to extend the life of your blowout? Take cue from what the experts say:
· “My favorite trick is to stock up on wax paper from the drugstore because it is fantastic at absorbing oil from the scalp,” says Mena. “Follow by using dry shampoo at the root to revive the hair.”
· “On days that you don’t wash your hair, try out a fun updo,” says Mena.
· Jelaca says to rinse your hair with just bottled water to help give it a clean feeling.
· Celebrity stylist Feisal Qureshi says to make a vinegar rinse using 1 ounce of apple cider vinegar and 8 ounces of water. “Apply, let it sit for a few minutes and rinse.”
The only time it’s OK to wash every single day without fail is if your scalp—not your hair—is truly oily.
And, when you do wash, make sure you use shampoos that are hydrating and gentle yet still effective at cleansing. “ Leonor Greyl Shampooing Crème Moelle de Bambou ($51) is the best gentle shampoo. It cleanses what you need and leaves the hydrolipic film restored for a healthy scalp.” Or, try Infusium 23 Moisture Replenisher Shampoo ($9), which helps hydrate dry hair and Pantene Daily Moisture Renewal Shampoo ($4), which doesn’t strip away natural oils and adds a dose of shine.