Our cleanse and condition ritual for our hair is the foundation of healthy hair. It’s where everything starts and we want to bring some attention and intention back to it. We know there have been a lot of conversations the last couple years that have talked about shampoo being “harsh” or “drying” and we’re here to tell you that may not be true!
What is the role of cleansing our hair?
Cleansing (or shampooing) is meant to gently remove excess sebum (oil), dirt, pollution and rebalance the scalp. It’s important to do this regularly, after all, our scalp is still skin, and you wouldn’t stop showering, right?
Conditioning helps to ensure that our hair stays well hydrated, smooth and ph balanced. It’s a vital step after your cleanse, as water and shampoo will not close the cuticles on the outside of your hair, like conditioner. Its role is to shut down the outer layer of your hair, ensuring less tangles, and keeping the hydration (aka WATER!) in.
Which brings us to...
Water hydrates hair
Did you ever wonder why your hair feels AMAZING on wash day and then gets brittle the longer you wait to wash it again? That’s because the hydration from wash day is slowly evaporating, leaving your hair wanting more! This can also cause flyaways, as your hair searches for hydration in the air on a humid day.
Hydration actually comes from the water that you use when you cleanse and condition. This is a vital step, thoroughly rinsing your hair throughout the entire process, and ensuring that you’re using products that won’t create a barrier between your hair and the water. These can be raw oils, butters, clays, silicones, waxes and even improperly processed natural ingredients. This is why we do not recommend putting raw butters and oils on your hair, since water beads and slides off that oil!
Moisture comes in as the conditioner to retain hydration within the hair strand. This is why we condition on wet hair, and use products that contain moisturizers and humectants, the longer the hydration is retained, the better off your hair will be.
Apply a leave in conditioner and/or your styling products on very wet hair, this will help!
Hydration and moisture go hand in hand, and we want both to maintain healthy hair.
Does shampoo dry hair out?
Using a good quality shampoo and conditioner will not dry out your hair. Period. A good cleanser will gently remove any impurities, but keep the condition of your hair healthy. This is why we are so specific with the lines that we recommend and carry.
So what can dry out hair?
- Excessively hot water
- Hot tools
- Buildup on hair
- Harsh products
We always recommend being mindful of the temperature of your water when you cleanse, the products you’re using and how much heat you’re putting on your hair.
How often should I wash my hair?
A consistent cleansing routine comes with so many benefits! If you have a high maintenance hair care routine, then washing more often probably doesn't sound very appealing, which is why we love turning it into a beautiful self care ritual (since we can’t have @holistichairexpert style our hair regularly, amiright?). We believe that finding the right cleansing routine is worth the effort as it will increase the overall health of your beautiful hair!
We aim for a cleanse ideally every 3-5 days, give or take. Everyone will be different and it's up to you to listen to your hair's needs and wants. Ideally, you want to get your hair wet before your hair develops signs of dehydration, like that dry brittle feeling. We don't just drink water when we're thirsty, we drink it regularly to stay hydrated to prevent becoming dehydrated, and our hair should be treated the same.
Signs it’s time to cleanse:
- Itchy scalp
- Painful scalp
- Brittle feeling hair
- Excess oil
- Excess products
Can I wash my hair too much?
Every scalp and hair has different needs, and that's going to depend on your scalp, texture, density, lifestyle and products. We don't usually recommend cleansing every day, but hey, some scalps just produce more sebum and that's ok! The more important piece will be ensuring you're using a quality cleanser and conditioner.
Most people however, will notice that when they go 2-3 days between cleansing, their scalp may rebalance. By cleansing slightly less, your scalp won't overreact and will stop over producing oils.
How to hydrate hair properly?
Keeping our hair hydrated from regular exposure to water is part one of the process.
1. Ensure you're using high quality haircare.
2. Use a leave in conditioner like Sweet Spirit, which will help lock in hydration with bee friendly honey!
3. Some hair types need a little extra help to seal it in and help it absorb well. Those with curly and tight curly hair often do well using a curl cream and a gel to moisturize and lock in the hydration.
4. Use a hair treatment or mask regularly if needed.
Browse all our dry hair favourites here!
The Bottom Line
Getting your hair wet more often will hydrate and restore the life of your hair. It's a journey to find the right balance, and it doesn't have to be strict and stressful. If you're struggling to figure out if your hair is either dry or dehydrated, explore with the amount of wash days per week and see how that goes. As well as researching more on your specific hair texture (scroll down for more info on that) and tried and true product routines to enhance what you already have.
These blog posts listed below provide details on different hair textures, and include all sorts of tips and tricks to get your hair health in check.