Here’s Why Washing Your Hair Less Won’t Prevent Hair Loss

by | Mar 27, 2024 | Grooming

How often should men wash their hair? From twice-a-day to once-a-month, every man is different. Maybe you wash whenever it feels right. Maybe you’re worried about hair loss, so tend to shampoo less often.

The point is, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach. Hair type, length, thickness, greasiness, dryness and even pollutants should ideally determine your weekly routine. We spoke to two men’s hair care experts to find out more.

How Often Should You Wash Your Hair?

Jane Mayhead, trichologist at Harley Street’s The Private Clinic, says men should wash their hair at least once every three days, but ‘it depends on your hair type and how much exercise you’re doing’.

Any less can impact your scalp health, she adds. ‘Remember you are also washing your scalp, which is skin and needs caring for just like any other skin on your body.’

Ideally, Mayhead recommends shampooing every other day, and as a minimum wetting your hair daily (with water that’s not too hot) to maintain a healthy level of sebum (your hair’s natural oils) and PH balance.

Patrick Kidd, founder of male hair and skincare brand Patricks, adds that hair washing should be more about precision than a rigid routine.

‘While the baseline recommendation is to wash hair two to three times a week, there are nuances,’ he says. ‘Men with an active lifestyle or those exposed to urban pollutants might need to increase this frequency for optimal scalp health. If you’re hitting the gym hard or your scalp feels like an oil slick, by all means, wash away.’

’For curly hair, I would advise not washing your hair every day and using a sulphate-free shampoo, which will clean hair without stripping it of its oils,’ says Jane Mayhead, trichologist at Harley Street’s The Private Clinic

READ MORE: Effective Ways to Tackle a Receding Hairline

Why Hair Type Matters

If you’ve never thought about what hair type you have, it’s time you did. Hair type is the most important factor when deciding how often you should wash your hair.

Do you have straight hair? ‘Try to shampoo your hair daily to prevent the build-up of oils, which will make hair look greasy,’ says Mayhead.

For those with curly hair, Mayhead suggests shampooing just once a week ‘as you do not want to dry out your scalp or the hair’ and to use oils before washing to protect the hair follicles.

If you have thicker hair – and by that Mayhead means the thickness of the individual hairs rather than the amount of hair you have – you can get away with washing less often. ‘Men with very thick hair and curly hair will have more surface for sebum to spread so will need to wash it less,’ she says. ‘You could try twice a week and see what your hair looks like. Stress and hormones can influence secretions.’

The Best Shampoo for Your Hair Type

Fresh Cell Shampoo

Fresh Cell Shampoo is a convenient choice for daily use, catering to all hair types and scalp conditions, offering simplicity and potential benefits for hair health in a single product. Its versatility and gentle formula make it a practical option for those seeking a hassle-free hair care routine

Kiehl’s Amino Acid Shampoo

Kiehl’s Amino Acid Shampoo effectively cleanses hair with its creamy lather, providing thorough yet gentle cleansing while also enhancing body and fullness. Its moisturising components leave hair soft, shiny, and nourished, making it suitable for all hair and scalp types.

AESOP Shampoo

This shampoo is effective due to its blend of high-quality ingredients like Frankincense and Panthenol, which thoroughly cleanse both strands and scalp while promoting softness, shine, and a pleasant fragrance for your hair. Its sophisticated formulation ensures a rejuvenating experience, leaving your hair feeling refreshed and revitalised after each use.

The Body Shop

The Body Shop Ginger Anti-Dandruff Shampoo is enriched with invigorating ginger root, hydrating Community Trade honey, and strengthening panthenol, effectively refreshing and nourishing both the hair and scalp. This formulation ensures a revitalising experience, leaving your hair feeling refreshed.

Straight Hair

If you have straight hair, which is neither fine nor thick, nor overly oily or dry, Kidd recommends ‘a nutrient-rich shampoo that cleanses gently while infusing the hair with a blend of vitamins and antioxidants for overall hair and scalp health’. Kidd suggests something like Patricks’ Lite range, which he says does just that, while also containing a lower dose of the brand’s clinically trialled hair loss actives for preventing hair loss.

Curly Hair

While there’s more than one type of curly hair as a general rule, Mayhead suggests not washing your hair every day and using a sulphate-free shampoo, ‘which will clean your hair without stripping it of its oils’.

READ MORE: Ultimate Nose and Ear Hair Grooming Tips: Your Essential Guide

Applying a silicone-free conditioner will also help to moisturise the hair to help stop breakages’. Mayhead also advises against using styling tools and to use oils before washing in order to protect and lubricate your hair.

Hair Loss

Hair loss can often feel like you’re fighting a losing battle. While thickening shampoos won’t treat your symptoms, they can help you to achieve a fuller-looking head of hair in the short-term. ‘Thickening shampoos actually increase the size of your hair strands temporarily, helping to disguise signs of thinning,’ says Mayhead.

For a longer-term solution that has the potential to actually stimulate new hair growth, it’s worth exploring topical treatments like Minoxidil.

If you’re only just noticing the signs of hair loss, Kidd says it’s worth trying products that can help treat it early on. ‘You probably use hair products every day,’ he says, ‘so if you’re not using products that help block the formation of DHT and that are packed with high-grade active nutrients, you’re missing a big opportunity for thicker, fuller, stronger hair.’

Thick Hair

Every man wants a thick head of hair hair, so if you’re one of the few blessed with such genetics, it’s worth looking after it. For that, you’ll need a deep cleaning shampoo.

‘Guys with thick hair tend to use heavier styling products and it’s important to remove these for continued scalp and hair health,’ says Kidd. ‘A deep clean shampoo, like our SH2, will efficiently and effectively remove all products in one wash.’

READ MORE: Here’s Everything You Need To Know About The New TikTok Hair Trend

Long Hair

Long-haired gents, should go for something moisturising, strengthening and also sulphate-free, says Mayhead. This will ‘help to clean your hair gently but also maintain the natural oil and PH balance’.

Bald Men

And last, but certainly not least: bald men. Yes, you ought to use shampoo too. Kidd says to opt for something that focuses on scalp health, ‘featuring ingredients like sage and aloe to soothe and rejuvenate the scalp’.

If you’re looking to remedy flaking and itching in particular, ‘find a product that is clarifying to remove impurities and excess oil from the scalp’, says Mayhead.

Why You Need a Conditioner

We know what you’re thinking: conditioner is just an optional extra, a nice-to-have. But that’s where you could be going wrong.

‘Conditioner is a critical component of a comprehensive hair care regimen,’ says Kidd. ‘Conditioners restore moisture lost during washing, smooth the hair cuticle to enhance vitality, and provide a protective barrier against environmental stressors. Every man, regardless of hair length or type, should use a conditioner after each wash to maintain the hair’s integrity and appearance.’

That’s a pretty compelling case, and Mayhead’s advice further nails the idea home. While shampoo cleans dirt and oil from your hair and scalp, ‘conditioner helps provide nutrients and moisture to the hair’, she says. ‘It hydrates your hair and helps mitigate damage caused by styling, pollution or the sun, which all dry out hair.’

Conditioner also ‘helps stop the hair becoming too dry and especially for men with longer hair or curls’. Essentially, conditioner is ‘a must’ to help to keep your hair strong and healthy, Mayhead stresses. ‘It also assists in lowering PH, hair prefers slight acidic conditions and it keeps the cuticle flatter.’

Hair Loss and Hair Washing

If you’re concerned about hair loss, washing your hair less often won’t prevent or slow down the process.

Research supports this. According to a study on the impact of shampoo washing on scalp and hair conditions in Asian men, a higher wash frequency proved to be both beneficial and preferable to a lower wash frequency.

‘There’s a misconception that less frequent washing could prevent hair fall,’ says Kidd. ‘In reality, washing frequency has little impact on hair loss.’ He advises that men experiencing hair loss ‘should not’ reduce the frequency of their washes in the hopes of keeping their locks.

’Washing frequency has little impact on hair loss,’ says Patrick Kidd, founder of male hair and skincare brand Patricks

That’s because regardless of how often you wash your hair, it will continue to shed, says Mayhead. ‘I would instead suggest making sure your scalp has optimum health and your hair is groomed properly.’

If anything, it’s regular hair washing that will help to prevent hair loss, not the other way around. ‘It keeps the hair and scalp clean,’ says Mayhead. ‘You are also lowering your risk of infection or dandruff, which can lead to breakage.’

When shampooing, Kidd says men with hair loss concerns should focus on gentle handling and choose a high-quality shampoo specifically formulated to support the health and vitality of your hair and scalp. ‘Avoiding harsh chemicals and opting for mild, scalp-nourishing formulations can support overall scalp health, potentially mitigating hair loss.’

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