Many of you men wash your hair every day, we’re betting. Shampoo, scrub, rinse, done. But like so many other things in life, it’s not quite that simple, and, in fact, that daily habit might just be doing you more harm than good. How often should men wash their hair? The easy answer is 3 times a week at a maximum – unless you use a detergent-free shampoo. But the real answer is this: it depends. Here are a few key factors to consider.
Your hair type
Hair types take many different forms. If you have thick hair you can wash infrequently as long as your scalp feels fine and you’re happy with the way it looks – this type is less likely to look greasy, compared to fine and/or sparse strands that tend to show oiliness more quickly and obviously – and few people are really okay with how oily hair looks.
Curly hair tends to be dryer and should be given a break between washing. It can also be washed less often without looking much different – oils produced by the sebaceous glands on the scalp take longer to travel down snaky strands and are more readily absorbed as they do. Less frequent washing can also help tone down frizzy hair if that’s a concern.
Straight and especially fine hair, however, may need to be washed more frequently than curls to look clean. But no type of hair should be washed with a detergent-based shampoo, and certainly not on a daily basis – no matter how it looks.
Your lifestyle and locale
If you’re a gym-goer, swimmer, work in grimy sites, or live in tropical zones, you’ll clearly need to wash more often and that’s yet another reason to ditch that detergent. Swimmers are advised to wear a cap for protection against chlorine (it makes you more hydrodynamic). If you live in a place with arid conditions where your skin and hair are subject to drying out, there’s even more cause to minimize the shampoo (yes, dry shampoo counts too!) and let your natural oils do their work to keep your hair and scalp in supple shape.
Your hair and scalp condition
The more you wash your hair, especially with detergent, the quicker your scalp responds by producing the oil you wash away each time. Ready for a little secret on how to grow hair faster for men?
You may think that you’re just an oily type, but the truth may surprise you: the less you wash your hair, the less urgently your scalp responds to replenish the oil.
Additionally, these natural oils encourage a healthy hair growth cycle. It is possible to train your sebaceous glands with new washing habits and normalize oil secretion. It may take a few weeks, but it’ll be worth it in the long run.
Your cleansing product
Detergents are designed to rid your scalp of dirt, dead skin, and sebum, but they can also make hair dry, brittle, unmanageable, and cause dry, flaky skin. This is exactly why some people – usually those with curly, wiry, or chemically-treated hair – only use conditioner or even sometimes use nothing but water because of the damaging effects of detergent. The risk here is not cleansing the scalp sufficiently and allowing fungi and bacteria to proliferate and lead to dandruff, or worse.
There is another, better way to properly clean hair without shampoo. The foundation of the Hairstory business is an intelligent, oil-based alternative called New Wash. The benefit is that New Wash allows the sebaceous glands to do their job(s) and function smoothly, not in an emergency mode after being assailed by suds.
Whether you use a conditioner
Most men can’t be bothered with conditioners and if you have short hair and get it cut regularly, you probably don’t need it. Women depend on it to keep long hair moisturized, especially at the ends, and to detangle it after washing. If your hair is on the longer side, you might have the same concern, and a conditioning product is a good idea to relieve stress on your strands as you comb. But we’ll give New Wash one more plug here because it acts as a conditioner while it cleans, prevents dry hair, and saves you the extra step.
How you style hair or color it
If your hair is processed by chemicals or damaged by blow-drying or styling it to add volume, it’s best to wash it as infrequently as you can manage. If you don’t use any grooming products, there’s no need to wash them out. If you love hair products and weigh pomade vs wax, or you rely on gel or dry shampoo daily, make sure to wash on a regular basis – especially if silicone is on the ingredient list – to prevent build up around the hair follicles that can compromise optimal growth. For color-treated hair, rinse with water and condition as often as you like, but go easy on the shampoo.
You and your preferences
Your stylist or barber is the expert, and many of them are wise to the perils of shampoo. Your dermatologist may have something to add if your scalp is particularly sensitive or if you are prone to an oily scalp. Experimenting with dialing down your washing frequency won’t do you any harm, and you may be surprised at how much good comes of it, especially if you have damaged hair. Listen to your hair to tell you what works best.