Hair March 10, 2016

Caring for Long Hair: Washing Routines

Woman washing hair

While the allure of fragrant shampoos and conditioners are a welcome addition to your daily shower routine, sometimes your hair just needs a break–especially when it’s long. Read on to find out why.

Long hair can be a pain: unless you’re born with perfect texture (who is, exactly?), you likely find yourself spending at least an hour or two per morning achieving a “look”. For instance, if you’re like lots of other women, your daily routine may look something like this:

  • Wake up.
  • Shampoo and condition hair.
  • Blow dry hair.
  • Heat style hair and set with hairspray.

And the next morning? Rinse, lather repeat. But this type of excessive styling and maintenance can be just that–excessive. Since the whole “no-poo” movement that’s gaining popularity may be off-putting to some (me), it’s easy to think that shampooing every day is the best choice. There is, however, a happy medium between never shampooing your hair (I still can’t believe this is a thing…) and shampooing every day.

To fully understand what happens when you shampoo and heat style your hair every day, it’s important to understand what exactly your hair is. Hair is, essentially, dead. And the longer your hair is, the “deader” it is–that’s why long hair is so prone to split ends, damage, and dullness. And, unfortunately, dead things do not have the ability to resurrect, so it’s extremely important to treat your hair as it is: fragile, a natural part of your body, and very prone to damage.

Our bodies naturally produce oil on our scalp that helps condition and strengthen our hair–that’s why it’s the first place our hair gets oily, and also usually where you’ll find the healthiest hair on your head. When you shampoo your hair daily, it gets rid of all that oil that your hair naturally produces. And your conditioner, the product that’s full of good things like ceramides, keratin, or other moisturizing and barrier-building ingredients, is very similar to the oil your hair naturally produces (it has to be, in order to actually be absorbed by your hair). So, if you shampoo and condition every day, you take away your hair’s natural oil, and replace it with a different one that smells and feels better.

The problem with daily shampooing and heat styling is that stops your hair from accumulating necessary oil and damages the (now unprotected) cuticle of your hair with heat. Doing this routine every once in awhile is fine, but doing it every day will leave you with fried strands–especially if your hair is long.

To get a good sense of where your routine should be, try holding off on washing your hair for one or two nights. Look into getting a nightcap or silk pillowcase that won’t damage your hair at night, so your heat styling lasts for an extra day or two. Dry shampoos will help any slickness or lack of volume throughout your waiting-to-shampoo journey as well.

It might take you time to adjust, but trust: your hair will thank you.

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