Things we ponder when we're trying to fall asleep at night: the fate of the Starks in Game of Thrones, if vagina facials are a good idea, and the age-old question, "Is it bad to wash your hair every day?" People seem firmly divided on this issue. Some would never, ever go more than a day without washing their hair, and others can't imagine washing their hair more than once a week. So who's right? (Not that this is about taking sides, but like, we're on Team Wash Hair as Little as Possible.)
We spoke to Dominic Burg, chief scientist at Г‰volis Professional and a hair biologist, microbiologist, trichologist (basically, he knows what he's talking about) to get his take on this debate.
Meet the Expert
Dominic Burg is the chief scientist at Г‰volis Professional and director of operations at Cellmid Limited. Burg focuses on biotechnological advances in the world of hair and scalp health.
Your Scalp Microbiome, Explained
Here's the sitch: Your skin is covered in billions of good bacteria from about 1000 species, says Burg. These bacteria are helpful, and the collection of them is called your microbiome. "The population of microbes help maintain the skin pH and actually prevent bad microbes from colonizing the skin by competing for nutrients and also producing molecules that bad bacteria don't like," he explains.
Okay, so what does this have to do with hair? "Too frequent washing of the scalp with harsh cleansers can upset that microbiome, and an imbalance in the microbiome can lead to scalp problems," Burg says. Basically, washing your hair too much can throw off your scalp's microbiome, which can let bad bacteria and fungi take over and cause things like inflammation.
He recommends gently cleansing your scalp two to three times per week to help remove excess sebum.
You Could Be Using the Wrong ProductsdpHUE Apple Cider Vinegar Hair Rinse $35Shop
Here's the other part: Burg says if you feel like you need to wash your hair every day because it's dirty and/or greasy, you're probably using the wrong shampoo for your hair type. "Everyone's skin and follicles will produce different levels of oils, which is normal and actually good for hair. The main challenge is finding the right balance with the right products for you to maintain your style without disrupting your natural microbiome, pH, and natural oils," he explains.
He cautions against using shampoos with sulfates or silicones because they can be too drying or too heavy, respectively.
"Look for a gentle, sulfate-free cleanser that is balanced with essential oils so it won't strip out your hair's natural oils, and make sure you use silicone-free conditioners with natural essential oils and conditioning agents to ensure cuticle health," he recommends.
How Can You Tell If You're Over-Washing Your Hair?Ouai Haircare Repair Shampoo $28Shop
If your hair seems brittle and lifeless, you could be a victim of hair over-washing. Burg's prescription is using a hydrating, nourishing mask (and don't shampoo as frequently).
Our favorite shampoos:Hairstory New Wash $40Shop
A no-poo that both cleanses and conditions.ВAveeno Pure Renewal Shampoo $6Shop
A sulfate-free drugstore option that's safe for color-treated hair.ВMoroccanoil Hydrating Shampoo $23Shop
Algae and argan oil make this a deeply nourishing shampoo (that also smells divine).ВГ‰volis Promote Shampoo $28Shop
This hair-lengthening shampoo is enriched with natural actives and botanicals like baobab and goji berry.ВPlaya Every Day Shampoo $28Shop
This gentle shampoo is formulated with coconut-derived cleansers instead of sulfates.ВOuidad Advanced Climate Control Defrizzing Shampoo $22Shop
Safe for color-treated hair and formulated to help your curls look their best.ВCarol's Daughter Black Vanilla Moisture and Shine Sulfate-Free Shampoo $8Shop
With a blend of aloe and botanical extracts, this shampoo both nourishes and smells amazing.ВL'OrГ©al Paris EverStrong Sulfate Free Thickening Shampoo $8Shop
Okay, now that that's settled, check out the most common mistakes we make when shampooing our hair.