Dishing the dirt on shampoo: How often should we really wash our hair?

Sudsy: Sure, you think that shampoo in your hair every day is helpful. But is it really? Dermatologists say that daily shampooing can be counter productive.
Sudsy: Sure, you think that shampoo in your hair every day is helpful. But is it really? Dermatologists say that daily shampooing can be counter productive.Courtesy cybertoad
Wash, rinse, repeat.

It’s the standard verbage that you find on every shampoo bottle. Comedians have a great time making jokes about it. But people who study hair closely are wondering if we’re actually washing our hair too much these days.

Here’s the complete NPR report on the matter.

There are plenty of people in the U.S. who wouldn’t think of going a day with out washing their hair. Americans, on average, wash their hair 4.59 times per week. Those who live in Italy and France scrub their locks about half that rate.

So what’s the right amount of washing for a person’s hair?

Back in the early 1900s, the rule of thumb among Americans was once a month. The short answer for this day and age is: it depends. But dermatologists note that less you wash your hair, the less our sebaceous glands create sebum oil, one of the oils we’re continually trying to wash out of our hair. As a general rule, the dermatologists in the report suggest shampooing your hair no more than two or three times a week.

The type and length of a person’s hair can matter in the frequency of shampooing, too. Those with long, straight hair will generally need to shampoo more often than those with shorter, curlier hair.

Of course, marketers and advertising wizards want to create an impression in our mind that we need to use shampoos more often. After all, they’ll make more money with the more shampoo we use.

The green movement is picking up on this idea, too. Here's a link to a blog by a woman who avoids shampoo – and many other products – for environmental reasons.

Are you foaming to weigh in with your opinions about shampoo? Share them here with other Buzz readers.

Your Comments, Thoughts, Questions, Ideas

JGordon's picture
JGordon says:

A good strategy for limiting your shampooing:

Live in a house with no shower. Crouching to get your head under the tap of a draining bathtub so you can rinse out suds is good motivation for... doing that very action as little as possible.

posted on Fri, 03/20/2009 - 4:10pm
Thor's picture
Thor says:

Or you could just shave your head bald.

posted on Fri, 03/20/2009 - 4:18pm
bryan kennedy's picture

I only wash my hair about once or twice a week. However, if I go to the gym a bunch in a week (a rare occurrence), I will maybe do it three times. During our Minnesota winters I think lots of people avoid the shower a bit more since it seriously dries out your skin in the already super dry environment. Well, that's probably more than you needed to know about me.

posted on Mon, 03/23/2009 - 10:06am
shanai's picture
shanai says:

When I was in high school I had a friend who very rarely washed her hair. Maybe once every few months she would lather up with shampoo and give it a good cleaning, but most of the time she just rinsed it with water.

The funny thing was that at first (when she stopped washing regularly) her hair was really greasy and gross, but after awhile, you couldn't really tell at all. Her scalp had stopped producing so much oil - and she started saving time and money (and the environment) by using a lot less soap and water.

Something to consider...

posted on Sat, 03/28/2009 - 4:46pm
bobdabobman's picture
bobdabobman says:

Thomas Johnson

That is POC i mean every one runnin around with stinky unwashed body Ur sick!

posted on Sat, 03/28/2009 - 5:04pm
bobdabobman's picture
bobdabobman says:

Thomas Johnson

I say wash Ur head take showers instead of baths.
Cause in a bath U just wade around in Ur own filth!
And if U don shower i agree with Thor, shave Ur bald head!

posted on Sat, 03/28/2009 - 5:07pm
Gene's picture
Gene says:

Or, you can wash your hair without water, using dry shampoo.

posted on Fri, 05/22/2009 - 8:33pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

Where would you find dry shampoo?

posted on Sat, 05/23/2009 - 11:41am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

That is so cool! Washing ur hair without water, who woulda thought?

posted on Sat, 05/23/2009 - 11:42am
shaunalynn10's picture

i only wash my hair once a week or every other

posted on Sat, 05/23/2009 - 2:45pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

I really think this articale is sorta useful >>> but i wish it would have mentioned the source thats alll...

posted on Sat, 12/05/2009 - 1:25pm
Liza's picture
Liza says:

There are links to the source material in the article. Look for the words in red, and click on them.

posted on Mon, 12/07/2009 - 10:55am

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