Unless your hair is supremely oily, washing hair every day is not only unnecessary, it can be damaging. Taking every other day off from shampoo – or even 2 or more days off if your hair is dry or damaged – gives your hair a break from the detergents and the inevitable roughness that comes with shampooing, both of which can rough up hair’s protective cuticle layer. A day away from shampoo also allows sebum – hair’s natural conditioner – to get a foothold in individual strands. And for those who are trying to live life more simply (read: use less stuff, shampooing less frequently means using less shampoo.
Most of us like suds, which is why shampoo manufacturers often make high-foaming formulas. Yet suds have nothing to do with a shampoo’s cleansing power. In fact, the lesser-foaming formulas are gentler on hair.
When I was a teenager, my friends and I never admitted to washing our hair any less than once a day – in fact, some of my friends used to brag about washing their hair twice a day. I told this story to a hairstylist once and he laughed. “For some strange reason, people get squeamish if you tell them to stop washing their hair every day. It’s as if they think easing up on the shampoo is going to make them unclean,” he said. After years of interviewing hairstylists and dermatologists, I’ve learned exactly what he is saying – and it has nothing to do with giving up bathing or showering.
Go ahead and get in the shower, go ahead and get your hair wet – just don’t pull out the shampoo. I think you’ll find that a good pre-shower brushing and a heavy dousing of old-fashioned plain water will do wonders for your hair. The brushing loosens up dirt, dead flaky skin, debris, and excess scalp oil, which the water then rinses away. If you’re worried about tangles, go ahead and work a bit of detangler or a light conditioner through wet ends then rinse out – again, just no shampoo.