This is a great question that I am often asked. Keeping the hair and scalp clean is important in maintaining healthy hair follicles, a balanced scalp environment and a healthy head of hair! Since there is no one answer that fits every person, here are a few questions that you can ask yourself to help determine your individualized shampooing frequency:
What is my hair type?
There are five dominant hair type categories including kinky, coily, curly, wavy and straight. Kinky hair has the tightest curl pattern (80% shrinkage approx..), coily (65-80 shrinkage approx.), curly (curls form a full circle), wavy (s-pattern) and straight (no pattern). Most of us fit in one, if not two of these hair type categories. To determine your pattern, look at the natural virgin hairs on your hairline and select the closest pattern. Those with naturally straight, wavy and curly hair types often manage their hair at home and create opportunities to shampoo more often. If they wear wash and go hairstyles that have gels, puddings and drying ingredients, they shampoo to remove some of those product layers before applying more products. They may also choose to co-wash, but co-washing is not necessarily considered shampooing the hair because it does not fully cleanse the hair. Those with larger coils may choose wash and go hair styling as well, but they often switch between that and natural hairstyles (twists, cornrows, etc.). Those with kinky and coily hair types find that their hair does better with less manipulation. They often tend to wait longer periods of time between shampoos (not always the case).
Do I go to a salon to get my hair done or do it myself at home?
Believe it or not, some women never learned to do their own hair and must rely on a stylist. Salon visits can be costly and may prevent this type of client from receiving shampoos at a frequency that they may truly need. However, clients’ that can manage their own hair at home can create opportunities to shampoo more often (if needed) than those limited to one or two salon visits per month. I also have some clients that switch between salon and at-home care.
Do I have any scalp conditions that require frequent shampooing? Most dandruff, eczema, seborrheic dermatitis, psoriasis, itching and other scalp conditions can be reduced with an effective product and a proper shampoo frequency. Clean your hair and scalp well, and count the number of days that goes by before the itching, flaking or redness occurs. This can help you set a shampoo schedule and keep it under control. Advance scalp conditions should be addressed by a professional Dermatologist.
Am I experiencing hair loss that requires frequent medications applied to the scalp? Some types of hair loss can be reduced or prevented with a proper diet and a proper hair care regimen that includes an appropriate shampoo schedule that keeps the scalp clean and the hair follicles healthy. However, some hair loss clients choose to use scalp medications that assist. These medications can require daily application. Daily application of medication on top of previous days of medications can cause irritation and can cause the medication itself to become ineffective (build-up blocking it from working). In some cases, the client may just need to “spot clean” an area before reapplying medication versus shampooing the entire head.
Am I applying products frequently? Some products can cause build up on the hair and scalp. For example, if you are frequently greasing your scalp or frequently applying heavy oils or hair butters, you may need to shampoo more often. Clients that use lots o
f styling gels, setting lotions, hair sprays, styling waxes or hair puddings, may also need to shampoo more often. Additionally, layers of heavy products and poor ingredients that stay on the hair can require you to use a much harsher shampoo than you would like.