It’s the age-old question: How often should you wash your hair, really? Back in the day, we wouldn’t dream of going a whole 24 hours without some shampoo, but then we started hearing that it is bad to wash your hair every day—and there are even people out there who can make their blow-out last a whole week. So what’s the deal?
We’ve always known we need to wash our hair regularly, but it’s so hard to decipher what “regularly” actually means. We consulted hair experts for the ultimate hair washing intel.
Hair type matters
Is there a good rule of thumb for the magic number of days you can go without washing your hair? Really, it depends on your hair type. Hair that’s thicker and curlier can go without a wash for longer than hair that is fine. How processed your hair is will also come into play, because the oils in your scalp don’t travel down the hair shaft as quickly in hair that’s coarse, curly or processed as it does for gals with fine hair, says Marlene Montanez of Latest-Hairstyles.com.
For this reason, curly hair types should especially be careful not to wash hair too frequently—and avoid shampoos with harsh sulfates, which strip the hair of the natural oils. You can consider a co-wash (using a conditioner instead of shampoo) or use a sulfate-free shampoo if washing more than twice a week, says Jane Nyachiro of hair brand Jirano.
Lifestyle also plays a part. For example, if you workout daily, you’re going to need to wash your hair more often to feel clean after sweating. If you have an oily scalp and thin, fine hair, your hair will start to look flat and dirty after 24 hours. If your hair is pin straight, an oily scalp will show more easily too. The flip side is with thick, curly hair, you may be able to go three days without needing a shampoo.
There can be too much of a good thing
It’s pretty simple: Washing hair every day removes our natural oils and proteins, causing our hair to dry out quicker. Shampoo strips the oils from the hair, and we need those oils to help our scalp and hair to be healthy, says Emily Woodstrom of HAIRitage ‘Hous outside St. Paul, Minnesota.
Some people shampoo so frequently and strip the natural oil in their hair so much that it becomes very frizzy—and there day-after hair actually looks better when oil has accumulated on the scalp to tame these wild hair shafts, says Dr. Scott Rackett, a dermatologist and hair care expert. Often we apply product to calm the hair, when really just shampooing less frequently would improve the look of the hair and lessen the need for hair products.
The trick is to find a shampoo, conditioner, and a cocktail of products that balances your scalp and hair so you can wash every third or fifth day. “If one has hair on the finer side I’ll recommend a volumizing shampoo so the remains light and won’t get greasy too fast. Transversely, if a client comes to me with course, dry, thick hair I’ll recommend something that will moisturize and balance the scalp and hair. It’s a bit of a trial and error thing.
Work with your stylist to make sure you get what will work for you,” says Max Gierl, senior stylist at mizu new york salon. “The number one thing I tell all my clients is to keep conditioner off the scalp completely. Conditioner can make the scalp oily, which only makes your roots seem greasy faster. The scalp should produce enough sebum to properly maintain scalp health.”
The final verdict
At most, try washing your hair every other day. Every two days is even better and if you can make it an entire week, go for it! If your hair gets oily after only a day, try using some hair powder or dry shampoo on your roots to soak up some of that excess oil. There are also tons of products on the market for in-between wash days that will help your hair get some extra lift and smell fresh. After the gym, try spritzing a refreshing mist or do a rinse sans shampoo. If you must wash and shampoo each time after a workout, try a shampoo that’s made for daily cleansing—they’re usually less harsh on your hair.
Originally published October 2014. Updated March 2017.
Hey, we all have the best of intentions in the morning. You tell yourself you’re going to get your ass out of bed, take a shower, blow-dry your hair, try that cool, funky braid you saw on your co-worker, and finally look like a put-together human being. Then reality hits, and sleep calls you back to bed, and your hair gets thrown into the same topknot or ponytail it’s been existing in for the better part of the last year. We get it.
But trust us when we say that awesome-looking hair doesn’t need to take you 20 minutes to execute. And to prove it to you, we rounded up our favorite quick-and-easy hairstyles that really will take you a max of five minutes each…provided this isn’t the first time you’ve ever braided your hair or held a bobby pin in your life. Below, our favorite fast hairstyles for short hair, long hair, and everything in between.
Even braid newbs can handle this one. And no, you don’t need to use the fake hair to master the look on your own.
BRAIDED, TWISTED, AND KNOTTED UPDOS
Three gorgeous updos for natural hair that take approximately five-ish minutes each, and require absolutely zero prep beforehand.
Yes, you really can do something cute with your short hair, as long as you have a few bobby pins and an elastic on hand.
When in doubt, throw your hair into some double buns, which save pretty much every and any bad hair day.
If you can make a messy bun and twist your hair like a rope, you can pull off this shockingly easy updo in just a few minutes.
Maybe you ditched conventional haircare products years ago, or maybe you’re exploring more natural options. Whatever the case may be, essential oils for hair can be an integral part of everyone’s natural routine. Over the years I’ve found some favorite essential oils proven to strengthen and improve my hair, and they smell great too!
Best Essential Oils for Hair
I’ve always been careful to use essential oils safely and not ingest them unless suggested by a healthcare provider, but I love using them topically. Using them in my hair is one more way to get the benefits of essential oils safely.
A caution along these lines: Always dilute essential oils in the appropriate ratio in a carrier oil (or a beauty product containing oils) as essential oils do not dilute in water. The resources section in this episode of the Healthy Moms podcast gives several helpful charts as a guide.
Remember, it isn’t good to put straight essential oil directly on the hair or scalp, ever.
That being said, here are a few of my favorite essential oils for hair!
1. Ylang Ylang
This floral essential oil (I like this one) has aphrodisiac properties and a strong, distinct odor. It may be too overwhelming to use on its own, but it combines well with other essential oils for hair, like lavender and even lemon. People have been using ylang ylang to help grow their hair for a long time, as it was a popular hair growth remedy in Victorian England. This essential oil works by stimulating hair growth to treat thinning hair and also stimulates production of our scalp’s natural sebum to nourish dry, damaged hair.
Ylang ylang also offers aromatherapy benefits, as it works to relieve stress in the body. Since stress can sometimes cause hair loss, using ylang ylang is a great way to kill two birds with one stone. And for little ones who are frequently around other children, ylang ylang can also help to repel lice.
2. Tea Tree
Tea tree is one of the most popular essential oils for soothing damaged skin, but it’s also great for scalp health. Since this essential oil is antifungal, it’s been successfully used to treat dandruff. In this study, there was a 41% improvement in the severity of the dandruff as well as in the symptoms of itchiness and greasiness. Tea trea was also shown in this 2013 study to slow hair loss and increase hair growth and appearance, without the itching and inflammation that the control group had. And like ylang ylang, tea tree oil also treats head lice.
Lavender is another favorite essential oil for skin that doubles for hair care. This study found that lavender increased the number of hair follicles for a thicker head of hair. The hair follicles in the lavender group were also deeper, meaning stronger roots for less hair falling out. Lavender essential oil also showed significant help in hair growth in this study that used a combination of several different essential oils, all with no significant side effects.
Many guys like cedarwood essential oil because of its woody, more masculine scent. So if the man in your life objects to using more feminine-smelling oils like lavender and ylang ylang, then cedarwood may be a good option. It stimulates the hair follicles and increases circulation to the scalp to combat thinning hair. Cedarwood has also been helpful at improving dandruff symptoms.
Rosemary works well for dandruff due to its ability to minimize scalp itchiness and flakes. It helps to treat both dry, dull hair as well as overly oily hair and can help prevent split ends. In this study, rosemary essential oil was found to be just as effective against balding as the conventional treatment when it was used for at least six months. It helps to prevent premature baldness and stimulates the hair follicles.
As a citrus oil, lemon helps simulate circulation in the scalp for increased hair growth. It’s also helpful to reduce overly greasy hair. Since there is some concern for phototoxicity here, don’t slather your head in lemon essential oil and then go sunbathing. Use lemon at night (or at least twelve hours before sun exposure), or don’t use more than a 2% concentration. However, if you’re using a few drops in your shampoo then washing it out of your hair, there’s no concern for phototoxicity. I like this organic one.
Juniper berry has a fruity scent to it and blends well with both lemon and cedarwood essential oils. It’s helpful for overly oily hair and helps strengthen brittle strands. Juniper berry’s antiseptic properties help fight scalp conditions, and its astringent properties tone hair follicles to prevent hair loss.
You’re probably familiar with the fresh, invigorating scent of mint. This study showed a blend with 3% peppermint essential oil in a base of jojoba oil significantly increased hair growth thickness and length and deepened hair follicles for stronger hair. (Peppermint oil can safely promote hair growth, but this essential oil isn’t safe to use on young children.)
Lemongrass has potent antiviral and antifungal properties that make it useful for a variety of scalp issues. In this study, several hair tonics were compared, and the one with a 10% dilution of lemongrass had the best results against inhibiting dandruff caused by yeast.
How to Apply Essential Oils for Hair
Add a few drops to your shampoo or conditioner and lather as usual.
In all of the studies, results were seen after consistent use for at least six months. Most of the treatments were used daily until results were achieved.
Add some essential oils diluted in aloe vera to a spray bottle and liberally mist your hair. You don’t need to rinse your hair after this. (However, be sure to avoid using citrus oils and then going out in the sun.)
Dilute essential oils in a carrier oil and use as a leave-in deep conditioning treatment. After an hour, or even overnight, the oil can be washed out of the hair. Coconut oil and sweet almond both work well for a leave-in conditioning treatment. (If you’ve heard castor oil helps hair growth, bear in mind that this thick oil is hard to wash out unless diluted with other carrier oils.)
How to Do Scalp Massage with Essential Oils
You can do a scalp massage with essential oils for hair diluted in a carrier oil to help reduce the symptoms of dandruff, psoriasis, or stimulate the scalp for hair growth.
Part the hair and apply the oil treatment to the scalp in sections.
Take your fingers and press them firmly onto the scalp, moving the skin across the skull. Do not however allow your fingers to move across the scalp.
Allow the oil treatment to stay on for at least an hour before rinsing/washing out.
Do you use essential oils in your natural hair care routine? Is it something you can see yourself trying?
Months ago, a friend mentioned that she loved castor oil for hair and eyelashes. I was really skeptical because castor oil has a very thick and sticky consistency that I couldn’t imagine using in hair. I did some research and found out that I had been seriously missing out on a simple and really effective traditional beauty remedy…
Benefits of Castor Oil for Hair and Skin
Castor oil is an age old beauty treatment that has been largely replaced over time by fancier beauty products with more ingredients and a bigger price tag.
Castor oil has natural antibacterial and antifungal properties and is high in Vitamin E, minerals, proteins, and Omega 6 and 9 beneficial fatty acids. Its unusually high ricinoleic acid ratio makes it beneficial to skin and hair.
In fact, castor oil has traditionally been used topically for acne and other skin conditions, as well as hair loss, rashes and more. If you want to try it for skincare, I recommend this handcrafted castor oil cleansing blend.
What Does Castor Oil Do for the Hair?
Castor oil can be used on the scalp to help prevent and remedy hair loss and it is effective at this for several reasons. It’s antibacterial and anti fungal properties make it beneficial against follliculitus, dandruff and scalp infections and its ricinoleic acid content helps increase circulation to the scalp and improve hair growth.
Ricinoleic acid is also said to help balance scalp pH which can also help replenish the scalp’s natural oils and undo some of the damage of harsh chemical hair products (and even damage from no-poo, due to over alkalinity). The antioxidants in castor oil also support the keratin in hair and help make hair stronger, smoother and less frizzy.
“Three Times the Growth!”
There are hundreds of testimonials from people who used castor oil to increase their hair growth 3-5x the normal rate. A friend of mine was struggling with postpartum hair loss and even once her hair loss slowed, regrowing her hair was difficult.
She measured her hair growth for a month and it grew almost half an inch. The next month, after using castor oil hair treatments twice a week, her hair had grown almost 2 inches. She tested this again the following month and noticed the same result and that her hair was dramatically thicker.
There is a special type of castor oil called Jamaican Black Castor oil that has extremely good reviews. I tried it as well and it seemed to work about the same as regular castor oil on my hair, but it seems that it might provide additional benefit for those with thick or dry hair (my hair is fine/oily).
How to Use Castor Oil Treatments on Hair
Castor oil can be very beneficial for hair growth if used correctly. Small amounts of plain oil can be used for an all-over treatment. Like many things in life, more is not always better, and only a few drops are needed per treatment. The additional oils are completely optional.
I personally use this castor oil 1-2x per week. It can be used more often, though I didn’t see any increased results with using it daily.
When to Use
I’ve found that this treatment works better on damp but not wet hair. I keep a spray bottle of water in the bathroom and just spritz my roots before applying.
For maximum benefit, I leave the treatment on for several hours or overnight. After applying, I use a shower cap or towel to avoid getting the oil on furniture or a pillow.
How to Remove the Oil
Removing the castor oil can be difficult, especially with natural shampoos. I’ve found that using a small amount and leaving it on overnight will result in most of the oil absorbing into the hair and scalp and make cleanup easier. In fact, I’ve been able to dry shampoo and not wash on a few occasions. When I do shampoo, I use a natural shampoo or mud shampoo as normal.
An alternate way is to crack an egg and whisk until smooth and then massage the egg into the scalp. This helps break down the oil and adds additional nutrients to the hair. It is messy though, so I’d recommend doing this in the shower.
Another less-messy way is to condition your hair before getting in the shower, massaging conditioner into the scalp to help remove the castor oil. Then, shampoo as usual.
With any new oil, herb or product, test a tiny amount on your inner arm to make sure you don’t have a reaction to castor oil. While reactions are rare, some people will notice irritation from castor oil.
I’ve also used this in combination with my hair growth serum with great results (I use the serum first to dampen hair, then apply the castor oil)
Use the dropper to apply to the scalp. I part my hair right above the ear on one side, add a few drops of castor oil, part again about 1/2 inch from that part, add more castor oil, and so on until I’ve coated my whole scalp.
Then, I massage for 5 minutes to make sure entire scalp is coated and to help increase circulation.
Note: This will make enough for 5+ uses depending on the length of your hair.
Last year, when I was under extreme stress for a short period of time (finishing my book *ahem*), I noticed increased hair loss. My Hashimoto’s makes me more susceptible to hair loss when I’m under stress, and I was stressed about my hair loss (vicious cycle).
To combat this, I experimented with natural castor oil treatments both alone and mixed with other oils. I too noticed that my hair seemed stronger and that there was definitely less hair in my brush each day after a few weeks of castor oil treatments. Additionally, I started seeing tiny new hairs all around my hair line.
I split my head open when I was younger, requiring 8 staples in my scalp. Where the scar is, I have a patch of super-curly hair that falls in a perfect ringlet, even though the rest of my hair is wavy/straight. The castor oil seemed to help make this hair patch smoother, though it grew at a faster rate than the rest of my hair.
Now, I’ve made these castor oil hair treatments a regular part of my weekly routine and often do them at night, while wearing my blue blocker glasses and reading or watching a movie with my hubby.
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Ever used castor oil? What was your best oil blend?
It does not mean that just because you are busy you should not do anything with your hair anymore. This is one of the mistakes that a lot of girls make. They focus too much on their makeup and making sure that their outfit looks perfect but they forget about their hair. The way that a person’s hair looks will have a… Read More