With so many getting behind the “No Poo” movement, and many other often-lauded suggestions about cutting down the frequency of washing (and conditioning) hair, there’s a lot of confusion out there. People want to know, what is really best for more consistent “good hair days”? Not only that, what can help us cut down our hair-time in the shower?
Some people swear by washing their hair every day. Some like to wash it every other day. Others find they only need to wash and condition about once a week.
The answer really depends on a number of variables. Ethnicity, genetic makeup and personal preference all play a role. For instance, I personally find that my hair looks best the day after it is conditioned. I never condition without first washing my hair.
Washing is essential to getting the cleanest surface for the conditioner to really get in to the cuticle and do its magical job of detangling and fortifying. Depending on how acid or alkaline your shampoo is, your conditioner may have a much cleaner surface which to adhere, which can improve its penetration and absorption into the cuticle where it does its smoothing magic.
I go about two days, maximum of three between washes. I find that when the conditioner wears off my hair, it’s time to wash and condition it again. I notice my hair starts looking lackluster on day three as if the color is washed out, and all of the sheen is gone. Conditioning brings it back to life, every time.
This is a really key point, because conditioner plays a major role in smoothing the hair and keeping it from going haywire in the humidity. Humidity can occur not only in the summer months, but also occurs in the dryer winter months as well.
Here’s what happens when the conditioner wears off…
Conditioner’s main purpose is to do two things. First, it tamps down the natural “scales” on the hair’s shaft which tend to open up like a pine cone throughout the day. Once the conditioner wears off, which is usually anywhere from 24-48 hours, this is when you start to notice the cuticle’s surface looking rougher.
At this point, the only way to smooth your hair down again is to use a leave in conditioner, or just shampoo and condition your hair again. Using a leave in conditioner can be tricky since it can just add to the buildup, but it’s a good stop gap for those days when you just don’t have time to get in the shower for a full washing and conditioning.
For me, I notice the conditioner starting to wear off after about 48 hours. Whether I take action and wash and condition again at that point is a gamble depending on my mood However, I definitely acknowledge that the more often I use conditioner, the better my hair looks and the better my scalp feels.
Grays – Those Pesky Unruly Rogue Hairs!
Do you have grays? I certainly do! Conditioning even seems to help tamp down those wiry, loose grays that tend to stick straight up on the crown and forehead area. Once I see a ton of those sticking up, I know it’s definitely time to condition!
Conditioning Brings Back Body, Life and Movement
Going too long between washes and conditioning treatments can also have another unexciting effect. The hair loses body and movement. Because the scalp tends to buildup oils and debris between washes, the root lift you get with a good cleaning and conditioning wears off. Root lift is essential to create shape and body. Cleaning and smoothing (conditioning) the hair creates the best basis for soft, manageable body.