To find out how to wash better, all we have to do is think about the most common mistakes that threaten hair health: overwashing, harsh products and too-hot water (especially tempting in the winter months). Flip the script on your routine and notice the difference right away.
Avoid washing too often.
Regardless of hair type, one thing almost always holds true: overwashing leads to dryness. For most people, washing their hair 2-3 times per week is ideal to avoid bacterial overgrowth and blocked follicles. For those with naturally drier hair, bi-weekly is better. Factors like age, ethnic background, hair type and activity level all come into play. Signs you’re washing too often might include brittleness, breakage and scalp irritation or itchiness. This can lead to premature shedding – which is exactly what we want to prevent.
What’s the best way to keep hair feeling clean and manageable between washes? You can use a light hand with a high-quality dry shampoo to absorb excess oil. And even on “off” days, it’s still a good idea to give the ends of your hair a little attention with conditioning treatments. To keep buildup at bay, avoid roots when applying conditioners or oils between washes. For a little extra cleaning power, you can introduce a clarifying shampoo twice a month for most hair types.
Choose gentle products.
Choosing your go-to cleansers and conditioners can be daunting, but the most important thing is that they’re gentle and nourishing for your hair type. Though there’s a ton of information out there on what to avoid, our general recommendation is to check shampoo labels for drying sulfates, formaldehyde, parabens, phthalates and dimethicone.
Instead, pick a nourishing formula made with naturally derived ingredients. When fragrance is added, make sure it comes from essential oils like peppermint, lemon and lavender as synthetic fragrances can be high in alcohol content, which could be drying for hair. Look for words and ingredients like “organic,” “naturally derived,” “gentle” and “cruelty-free”. Some of our favorite ingredients include aloe, coconut oil, chamomile, olive and jojoba oil.
Stick to lukewarm water.
Hot water can feel amazing, especially in the colder months, but it tends to have a stripping effect. It robs your hair of natural oils, leads to dryness and actually accelerates fading for color-treated hair. Even if you just have to use hot water on your body now and then (we get it), try to turn down the temperature when it’s time to wash your hair. Lukewarm or even cool water boosts shine and doesn’t dry hair out.