How often and how thoroughly you wash your hair shows in your crowning glory
Don’t stress over your tresses Just treat them right Photo: S.S. Kumar
Most of us dunk our
head under water, scrunch some shampoo into our hair, wash it off with just as
much water we think we need, and we are done. This is actually, the wrong way
to wash one’s hair.
Ultimately, though, your hair will reflect your life choices: what you eat, how
you live, as well as how well you wash your hair. Hair that gets too much
product residue left in it, hair that has been washed too thoroughly, hair that
has been washed with too severe or too mild cleansing product is not going to turn
heads. So set your hair wash patterns right and do a good job of the washing
Most of us also
follow that old rule of thumb: we wash our hair every time it feels it’s limp
and greasy. However, for a healthy head of shiny hair, you need to get the
frequency of washes right, too. Stylists across the world are united in saying the
scalp does not usually need to be cleansed every day. Too heavy use of
shampoos, followed by large glops of conditioner which is not properly washed
off, can leave too much product on your head, causing hair to go greasy within
24 hours. For the most part, most people need to wash their hair only every other day or so.
The sebaceous glands in our skin secrete an
oily/waxy matter called sebum which lubricates our skin and hair. These glands are connected
to the hair follicle, thus either stripping the hair of moisture or keeping it
well conditioned. Since the oil found in hair
plays a significant role in protecting it from damage, daily washing, it is
felt, can deplete this oil, leaving hair vulnerably dry. Then, many hair
products could end up irritating the skin on the scalp.
that determine our wash cycles, like our lifestyle, the products we use and
the climate we live in.
rules are in any case meant to be broken, the hair wash frequency chart, too,
comes with its own caveat. Trichologist Philip Kingsley, doyen of hair care in the UK and US, actually recommends washing one’s
hair daily. If you must do that, however, remember to use the mildest, the most
lightweight, the most gentle shampoo you can find.
The wiser among us calibrate their shampooing days to when the hair really calls out for a clean-up job. This goes for
people with very short haircuts, people who sweat it out on the sports field or
in the gym every day, women with gloriously long tresses. There is one exception,
though: swimmers must wash the chlorine off their hair after every session in
the water; a rinse should work well, sans shampoo.
Curly hair now, does not
accumulate oil too easily, so the general wisdom is that it can be washed every
three days. Less oil also means less dirt, so a judicious usage of hair product
can keep curly hair looking good till the next wash.
Long hair can be
washed less often because the sebum produced at the roots can take a while to
travel down the full shaft of the hair. As long as the hair has less oil, it
also has less dirt since the latter usually attaches itself to oil.
with an overly oily scalp need to wash it more often.
also plays its part in keeping hair well moisturised or dry as straw. During the colder months, one can safely leave
off hair washes to once in three days; this holds good during a spell of windy
weather, too. However, if you live in a humid climate, with smog and dust in
the air, more frequent washing can help keep hair cleaner.
One related tip: brushing one’s hair just before a shampoo helps dislodge and loosen sebum and dirt
particles, which can then be washed off thoroughly.
So much for the
frequency of hair washing. Now to the technique of proper hair
washing. Washing your hair incorrectly can lead
to scalp irritation, scalp infection, dandruff, even lice.
your hair well before you apply shampoo. Use just one large blob of shampoo but see that it is distributed all over the scalp. Use a gentle knuckling
motion and work the shampoo into the scalp, concentrating on the roots because
that is where hair gets greasier. Don’t apply shampoo to the ends of your hair,
it can dry out the already fragile area drastically. Wash thoroughly, and don’t
rush it. Product build-up can mean the ruin of a healthy head of hair.
between your shampoos, if you feel you need to wash your hair, go ahead and do
so…give it a water wash. Water
washing means that you massage your scalp using just water, no shampoo,
cleanser or conditioner. This is ideal to wash the smoke that got into your
hair after a night at a crowded pub, or to wash off that heavy gel you used to
style your hair the evening before.