Apparently we wash our hair entirely too much.

Or so says this interesting NPR news item that covered some folks who are cutting way back on shampooing their hair.

Americans love to shampoo. We lather up an average of 4.59 times a week, twice as much as Italians and Spaniards, according to shampoo-maker Procter & Gamble.

But that’s way too often, say hair stylists and dermatologists. Daily washing, they say, strips the hair of beneficial oil (called sebum) and can damage our locks.

I don’t shampoo anywhere near as much as I used to because I shave my head, but back when I had a full head of hair I shampooed daily. If I didn’t my hair definitely got greasy because I’m cursed with very fine hair that was easily weighed down by the oil and almost impossible to style. In fact I started showering in the morning because if I washed my hair prior to bed it’d be back to greasy-sticky-outy-all-over-the-damn-place by the time morning rolled around. According to the article I should have just lived with the greasy hair:

“If you wash your hair every day, you’re removing the sebum,” explains Michelle Hanjani, a dermatologist at Columbia University. “Then the oil glands compensate by producing more oil,” she says.

She recommends that patients wash their hair no more than two or three times a week.

As I said before these days I tend to shave my head, but I only do that once every couple of weeks or so which allows my hair to grow out an inch or two between shavings. For the week or so I don’t bother using shampoo at all, but once it gets to an inch I start using small amounts every other day. Eventually it gets long enough that I have to go back to daily shampoos unless I shave it off again. All of which I suppose is a good argument to shave my head more often.

11 thoughts on “Apparently we wash our hair entirely too much.

  1. I have waist length hair. When it was shorter I would shampoo, like Les, almost every day. But as it grew longer I noticed that daily shampooing made my hair look dull and frizzled. Once I switched to twice weekly shampoos I noticed an almost immediate improvement.

    So my personal experience would tell me there is something to the idea that washing away all the sebum might not be a good thing, at least for us long hairs.

  2. Washing my hair every day made it greasy. It struggled to replace the natural oil I was stripping out. It took a while to adjust once I switched down to twice weekly but eventually it quit being a grease factory and I still stick to twice a week.

  3. It also isn’t a great idea to wash your face.  Just running hot water over it in the shower is enough.

    Hot water, DoF?  You Sybarite.

  4. A couple of years ago my beard was as dry as straw.  I stopped shampooing my beard and started just rinsing it with warmish water.  After just blotting my hair dry, I run a coarse comb through my beard.  After I stopped using shampoo, my beard started feeling much nicer and it started growing longer.  Occasionally I have to use shampoo to wash the food and grease out of my mustache and the beard under my mouth.

    My hair is a #1 buzz cut, so it really doesn’t matter what I do to it.

  5. I shampoo about once every two or three days. I generally just run warm (not hot) water through it while I’m in the shower. I also try not to scrub all over with soap when I’m showering. Following the advice of several doctors and dermatologists I’ve spoken with over time (due to some skin troubles I have) I usually only soap up in the armpits, groin, & ass areas. Water seems to do well with everything else.

  6. Duckhugger: In nurses training we referred to this as PTA bath. (pits, tits, ass)  grin

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