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The Art of Haircare: Why Washing Every Day May Be Doing More Harm Than Good

Updated: Feb 20


Do you wash your hair every day?  If so, STOP!!  



Yes, washing our hair is important, but doing it every day may hurt rather than help. Let's uncover the reasons why and explore the risks associated with daily washing.


"But Amanda, since my hair is dry, shouldn't I wash and condition it more?"



Well, yes and no... There are many ways to condition the hair without having to wash it first.




Allow me to explain...





The Natural Moisture Barrier:

Your body naturally produces oils that moisturize the body and scalp. These oils from the scalp are crucial in moisturizing the hair.  By washing your hair every day, you wash away this natural moisture barrier.  Brushing your hair from root to tip is the best way to distribute these oils, acting as natural hair moisturizers.



Dry scalp is not uncommon, and if you wash your hair and scalp every day, you may be more prone to it.  Washing off the natural oils your body produces removes a moisture barrier from which your skin, scalp, and hair benefit. 




Think about how dry and tight your skin feels when it lacks moisture.  Hair and skin have many things in common when it comes to self-care.  Like skin, our hair represents what is happening within our bodies.



Skin care company Dermalogica has a great Q&A on this:


"What is dry skin?

If you have a dry skin type, it means you’re lacking oil. You were born this way, and you’re dry everywhere else on your body including hands, scalp, legs, etc. When you put on moisturizers and lotions, chances are they soak up fairly quickly. You may also regularly experience regular flaking, cracking, sensitivity or issues like eczema."


"Does drinking water hydrate skin?

While we’re on the topic of water, it helps to know that skin is the last organ to receive the nutrients we consume, which means it’s the last to get the water you sip. It isn’t quite enough though; making topical products a must for skin that feels comfortably hydrated."



Like skin, Dry hair can result from various factors, and often, a combination of these factors can contribute to the issue. Here are some common reasons for dry hair:


1. Overwashing: - Overwashing your hair can strip away the natural oils that keep it moisturized. Using harsh shampoos or washing too frequently can lead to dryness.


2. Lack of Moisture: - One of the most obvious reasons for dry hair is a lack of moisture. This can happen due to insufficient water intake, environmental conditions, or inadequate hydration of the hair itself.


3. Genetics - Curly Hair... If you have curly or wavy hair, your hair will naturally be a little more on the dryer side because of its texture. Some people may have a genetic predisposition to dry hair. If your parents or grandparents had dry hair, you might be more prone to it as well.

4. Use of Harsh Hair Products: - Certain hair products, especially those containing sulfates and alcohol, can strip the natural oils from the hair, leaving it dry and brittle.


5. Excessive Heat Styling: - Regular use of heat styling tools like flat irons, curling irons, or blow dryers can damage the hair cuticle, leading to dryness and breakage.


6. Chemical Treatments: - Chemical processes like perming, straightening, or frequent coloring can weaken the hair structure and cause it to become dry and damaged.


7. Environmental Factors: - Environmental elements such as sun exposure, wind, and low humidity can contribute to dryness by stripping moisture from the hair.


8. Hard Water: - If your tap water is hard (contains high levels of minerals like calcium and magnesium), it can leave deposits on your hair, making it feel dry and rough.


9. Poor Diet: - Nutrient deficiencies, particularly in vitamins and minerals like biotin, iron, and omega-3 fatty acids, can affect the health of your hair and contribute to dryness.


What hair actually is... cells coming out... you are what you eat.



10. Health Conditions: - Certain health conditions, such as hypothyroidism or hormonal imbalances, can impact the quality of your hair and lead to dryness.


11. Aging: - As people age, the natural oil production in the scalp can decrease, leading to drier hair. Changes in hormone levels during menopause can also contribute to dryness.


12. Tight Hairstyles:  - Wearing hairstyles that pull the hair tightly, such as tight ponytails or braids, can cause stress on the hair and contribute to dryness, especially at the roots.



Addressing dry hair often involves a combination of lifestyle changes, proper hair care practices, and, in some cases, professional treatments. It's essential to identify the specific factors contributing to dryness to develop an effective treatment plan.


While hair and skin share similarities, they also have distinct features and functions. Skin covers the entire body and serves as a comprehensive protective barrier, while hair is localized to specific regions and serves functions such as insulation and sensory perception.  You can read more about the similarities between our skin and hair here...



So how do we keep healthy looking hair and scalp without washing hair every day?


Washing your hair every day may make you more prone to dry scalp. Removing the natural oils your body produces eliminates a moisture barrier benefiting your skin, scalp, and hair.


If you're looking for ways to style and have soft and healthy hair, there are several strategies and practices you can incorporate into your haircare routine. Here are some tips:


1. Deep Conditioning: - Use a deep conditioning treatment regularly. Apply a quality conditioner or hair mask that is rich in moisturizing ingredients. Leave it on for the recommended time to allow the hair to absorb moisture deeply.



2. Argan Oil or Coconut Oil Treatment: - Apply natural oils such as argan oil or coconut oil to your hair. These oils are known for their moisturizing properties. Warm the oil slightly before applying and leave it on for at least 30 minutes before washing.


3. Avoid Hot Water: - Wash your hair with lukewarm or cool water instead of hot water. Hot water can strip away natural oils from the hair, leading to dryness and frizz.




4. Use a Wide-Tooth Comb: - After washing, use a wide-tooth comb to detangle your hair gently. This helps prevent breakage and damage, contributing to softer, smoother hair.


5. Silk or Satin Pillowcase: - Sleeping on a silk or satin pillowcase can help reduce friction and prevent hair breakage. It also helps maintain the natural oils in your hair, promoting softer strands.


(Especially of you are one of those gorgeous heads of curly hair... I've heard from many of my curly haired clients that washing their hair is the only way they can brush it...  If this sounds like you, I understand that brushing your hair is difficult on its own if you don't want to look like a cotton ball.  That's why sleeping with a loose bun or pony and using a soft pillowcase helps.)


6. Trim Regularly: - Regular trims can prevent split ends and breakage, keeping your hair looking and feeling softer. Aim for a trim every 6-8 weeks, or as recommended by your stylist.


7. Protective Hairstyles: - Styles that protect your hair from harsh environmental elements, such as braids or buns, can prevent damage and promote softer hair.


8. Limit Heat Styling: Reduce the use of heat styling tools such as flat irons and curling irons. If you do use them, apply a heat protectant spray to minimize damage.


9. Choose the Right Shampoo and Conditioner: Use a sulfate-free shampoo and a moisturizing conditioner that is suitable for your hair type. Look for products that hydrate and nourish the hair.


10. Apple Cider Vinegar Rinse: An occasional apple cider vinegar rinse can help remove product buildup and restore the natural pH of the hair, promoting softness.


11. Protein Treatments: Incorporate protein treatments into your routine, especially if your hair is damaged. These treatments can strengthen and soften the hair.


12. Stay Hydrated: Drink plenty of water to keep your body and hair hydrated from the inside out.


Remember, everyone's hair is unique, and what works for one person may not work the same way for another. It may take some experimentation to find the routine and products that work best for your hair type and texture.


If your hair is dry, working in a hair oil, or conditioning serum into your hair care routine is essential.


Keep in mind that skincare and haircare have a lot in common...


"Dry and dehydrated skin may feel the same, but their causes are different: dehydrated skin lacks water, while dry skin lacks lipids"


If the strands that grow out of the follicle are dry, your body needs more h2o...


If the strands grow out of the follicle are strong and then get brittle along the way... your scalp is lacking sebum.



Using a leave in conditioner is always a sold way to add moisture back into the hair.  While usually using an oil is the best way to go, If using an oil, make sure that you are not applying it, then going out into direct sunlight too often.  If it is going to be a hot and sunny day, opt for the creamier conditioner, so you do not literally fry your hair. While warm oil is soothing, hot oil cooks.


Remember, everyone's hair is unique, and experimentation may be needed to find what works best for you. If your hair is dry, incorporating a leave-in conditioner is essential.




The frequency of hair washing depends on various factors, including hair type, lifestyle, and personal preference. Here are some general guidelines:


Here's a handy chart summarizing recommended washing frequencies based on different factors:



In crafting your haircare routine, remember that these guidelines are not one-size-fits-all. It's crucial to experiment and find the right balance for your unique hair type, lifestyle, and preferences. Remember, your hair is unique, and finding the right rhythm might take some trial and error. 


Here is a self-care tip:


Before washing your hair, treat your scalp with a luxurious and nurturing scalp oil, then brush it through your hair.  Let the product lay for at least 15 minutes, then wash your hair as normal.  This is a great way to nourish your scalp and condition your hair.  You should really feel and see a benefit.



In Conclusion -


Ultimately, there's no one-size-fits-all answer. Pay attention to your hair's needs, and experiment with different routines to find what works best for you. Washing too frequently can strip your hair of natural oils, leading to dryness, while washing too infrequently can lead to an accumulation of oils and potential scalp issues. It's about finding the right balance for your specific hair type and lifestyle.


Cheers to a journey of healthy and vibrant hair!

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