Green hair care: the less is more formula

January 3, 2014 4:27 pm

How often do you think you should wash your hair? Many of you reading this would estimate every day, or at least every other day. How many products do you think should be put on your hair? Shampoo, conditioner, products for dry ends, products for greasy scalps? The list could go on and on. Yet if you think about it, less is actually more when it comes to doing both of the above.

shampooingIn fact it’s scientifically proven that, if you wash your hair fewer times a week, it will be able to naturally maintain itself a lot better. If you think about the chemical concoction that you put on your hair if you wash it daily, then that too will only exacerbate any skin conditions that you have, not to mention increase the amount of chemical waste that is washed down our drain pipes and into our rivers and seas.

I’m going to suggest a radical idea. Why not try washing your hair twice a week? Just twice a week? She’s nuts, I hear you protest. Just try it. I used to wash my own hair daily and noticed that it easily lost its sheen and got greasy incredibly quickly. Having tried the less is more formula for one week I wasn’t wholly convinced; my hair was not used to being washed every Monday and Friday, and had forgotten how to maintain itself. But from the second week onwards, my hair was much, much better.

Scientists agree

There are plenty of benefits when you cut down on washing your hair. Despite the widespread scepticism, both stylists and dermatologists agree that the less is more formula actually works. When speaking to WebMD, dermatologist and expert in hair research Paradi Mirmirani affirms that, “Hair is a fibre. Think of a wool fibre: the more you wash it, the worse it’s going to look. There’s no need to wash your hair every day.”

Just with any fibre, your hair gets jaded with too much washing. It also makes your scalp produce too much of what Jeni Thomas, of P&G Beauty and Grooming, terms “nature’s conditioner” – sebum. When your scalp is at its optimum, the amount of sebum produced actually protects your hair from being too dry.

Yet over-washing hair eradicates this natural conditioner and results in the scalp overproducing sebum to try to counter this chemical stripping. This overproduction is what gives us greasy hair, and what tricks us into thinking that we need to wash it every day. This is confirmed by Melissa Capasso, an artist in Brooklyn, who told WebMD that if she shampoos her long, thick curls more than once a week, “my hair dries out, it loses its natural curl, and it gets frizzy and unmanageable.” That would be the excess sebum stripping.

Save time and know your hair type better

Think about how much time could be saved by simply not washing your hair every day. Instead of the daily hair-washing ritual, you could have an extra cup of tea, go for a run, or do whatever you like!dry-hair-tips-4

The lack of washing would also allow you to get to grips with your hair, by understanding your hair type better and, critically, allow you to utilise hair products to help your hair’s natural maintenance, not thwart it.

For instance, people with long and thick hair can shampoo their locks even less than its thinner, shorter counterpart. Heather Woolery-Lloyd of the University of Miami explains that this is because the sebum, “does not travel down the hair shaft as quickly, so the hair tends to be dry and requires less frequent shampooing.”

Health concerns about the typical supermarket shampoo

This article isn’t just about saving time, money or improving your hair condition. It’s also designed to warn against the potential dangers of overusing a simple product like shampoo on a daily basis.

Parabens, a class of chemicals that work as preservatives in shampoos, have been linked to cancer in studies since 1998, and have been found in breast tumour tissue. Other chemicals found in shampoos, like diethyl phthalate and sodium lauryl sulfate have been found by some studies to disrupt hormone levels, irritable to the skin and to be carcinogenic.

There are, however, many shampoos produced by environmentally and health-conscious online stores. It is highly recommended that, if you don’t like the sound of the less is more formula, you at least change the shampoo you use to a healthier one, for both yourself and the environment.

All in all, using less water and shampoo is good for your bank balance, hair, general well-being and environment. Try the less is more formula today and get shinier hair with fewer products – it really is win win!

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