We're a very clean nation here in the UK. On average, each UK adult has a bath or shower 5.7 times every week. That's fewer than the squeaky-clean Aussies who take 7 showers per person, per week, but more than the French, only 47% of whom take a shower or bath every day. It's something most of us do without thinking every morning, and we automatically grab the shampoo and start to wash our hair. However, there is a growing school of thought that all that shampoo and chemicals is actually doing more harm than good, both to our hair and to the environment.
There are loads of old wives tales about hair and washing it. Some people believe that washing your hair too often will damage it, others believe that leaving your hair dirty will encourage nits. We've also all heard stories about people who don't wash their hair for years on end and it is beautifully shiny and clean. It's also worth pointing out that the cheapest supermarket value brand shampoo and the most expensive designer branded bottle is still basically the same mix of water and a cleaning agent. Rather than being swayed by the glossy advertisements and the celebrity endorsements, experiment with a few different shampoos to see which one works best for you.
One of the main factors affecting how often you need to wash your hair is your hair type. People with very straight or fine hair often find that they need to wash it every day to stop it looking limp or greasy at the roots. People who have very coarse textured hair, or those with curly hair, often find that washing their hair every two or three days is often enough. People whose hair is very long, very thick or very curly may only need to wash their hair once a week. Everyone's hair is different and everyone will have a different idea about how often it should be washed. People with Afro-Caribbean hair, which has a more open, porous structure, might only need to wash their hair every few months as they will oil it instead to keep it manageable.
If you find that your hair looks limp or dull shortly after it has been washed, this might be more to do with the sort of shampoo or conditioner you are using rather than the frequency of the washing. If your conditioner is too thick and rich for your hair type, it could be weighing it down and making it look lank and dirty. It can be bewildering to look at the huge range of different types of conditioner on the supermarket shelves, so either experiment with a few different types or take advice from your hairdresser about what products are most suitable for you.
It's never a good idea to wash your hair immediately before you get ready for a night out or are trying to style your hair for an important event. Newly-washed hair is very soft and slippery, and will not hold a style as easily as hair which has been washed the day before. If you are one of those people who simply cannot bear to go more than a day without washing your hair, plan on having an early morning shower if you are gearing up for a big night out as this should give your hair time to lose the softness and make it much easier to pin up or style.
It's not always practical to jump into the shower when you need to wash your hair, and there are a range of dry shampoo products on the market which are designed to be very quick to use and which will perk up your hair. Dry shampoos work by drawing out any oils from your hair, and are great for keeping in your handbag or for those mornings when you are running late. You can even make your own dry shampoo with natural ingredients using thinks like corn flour and cocoa powder for dark hair, or corn flour and a few drops of essential oils for blondes. Apply it to your hair with a large make-up brush and then just comb it through.