Are You Washing Your Hair Too Much?
Shiny, healthy-looking hair is a source of pride for many people, men and women alike. What’s more, the appearance of your hair can sometimes make a difference in your social success and even your professional endeavors.
Therefore, it’s no surprise that some people tend to over-wash their hair. Most hair care products boast shiny hair, tons of volume, and delicious smells—who doesn’t want that? However, washing your hair too often can actually have detrimental effects on the health of your hair, even leading to hair loss in some cases.
Not sure what kind of hair washing schedule you should be sticking to? Here are a few signs of excessive hair washing to look out for:
Split ends and breakage
Though people with longer hair tend to experience split ends and hair breakage more often, these pesky symptoms are not unheard of for people with short hair. Over-washing your hair can cause your hair to dry out, making it more vulnerable to breakage (especially if you tend to brush your hair while it’s wet).
Much like ponytails, tight headbands, and other intense ways of handling hair, the process of hair washing is stressful to your scalp and hair follicles. Excessive washing can cause temporary alopecia or even trigger androgenetic alopecia, which refers to the genetic predisposition to hair loss in both women and men.
For many, dandruff is what leads them to wash their hair often with dandruff shampoo. However, this practice can actually lead to an even flakier scalp. Your natural oils need some time between washes to properly rehydrate your scalp and hair.
Just like dandruff, many people end up over-washing their hair trying to get rid of that oily feeling. This can end up backfiring since your scalp will become accustomed to the quick turnover of natural oils and start producing even more than usual, making your hair become oilier even faster between washes.
Frizzy and lackluster hair
If you’re thinking that there’s a theme between all of these excessive hair washing symptoms, you’re right—frizzy and lackluster hair are also commonly caused by lack of natural oils within your hair and scalp. Washing your hair too often strips your hair and scalp of these oils, causing the unsightly aspects of hair that most people who over-wash their hair are actually trying to get rid of.
If you get your hair professionally dyed, your hair stylist has likely already recommended a hair washing schedule and a series of products that will keep your color as intact as possible. However, if you dye your hair yourself and aren’t sure what your hair washing protocol should be, try to keep at least a few days between washes and shop for shampoos specially made to treat colored hair.
Even though the rate at which you wash your hair makes a big difference in its health and appearance, there are techniques relating to proper hair washing that can also improve hair health and prevent hair loss or breakage.
DHT blocking shampoo
Though it’s usually more prominent in men, the testosterone-related hormone DHT can cause follicle damage and hair loss in both men and women. Choosing a DHT blocking shampoo can help to reduce the body’s production of this harmful hormone, regulate the sebaceous glands in the scalp, and increase healthy hair growth. Plus, it leaves the hair feeling soft and hydrated after each use.
Decreased water temperature and cold rinses
While excessive use of hair products can cause dandruff and thin, lifeless hair, the water temperature of your shower or bath also plays a role. If the water is too hot, you run a higher risk of drying out your hair and scalp and putting unnecessary pressure on your roots.
This doesn’t mean you need to take a cold shower—just make sure your water temperature isn’t scalding. For even better results, consider adding a short rinse with cold water at the end of your shower or bath to help your scalp and hair destress and recover from the hot water exposure.
Avoid harsh treatments post-wash
In many cases, the steps you take after stepping out of the shower or bath can make just as much of a difference to the health of your hair as your hair washing routine. Never brush your hair when it’s wet, as this is its most fragile state.
Additionally, avoid aggressive towel drying post-wash or using a hair dryer too often. Neither of these actions are harmful once in a while when you’re in a rush, but don’t make a habit out of them—they could be contributing to dull, oily hair appearance, breakage, and hair loss.