How Often Should I Wash My Fine Hair?

You can keep fine hair looking fresh and natural by skipping the daily wash.

Photo: Jupiterimages/BananaStock/Getty Images

There's a dirty little (true) secret that's been circulating among hair and beauty pros: You don't need to wash your hair daily. And actually, you shouldn't. That's right, you should ban the daily scrub and embrace you hair's natural oils. Like most of your hygiene practices, it's probably not one to go bragging about to your co-workers or your unexpectedly attractive blind date, but skipping a wash here and there can keep hair from drying out, frizzing and becoming flat and limp. Maybe the hippies were on to something -- but don't go banning your bra or anything.

How Often is Too Often?

Like all truly important beauty questions, there is no one answer to how often you should wash fine hair. That depends not only on your hair type, but also on how much oil your body naturally produces. You may be surprised to find that when you wash less often, your hair actually produces less oil. Oily skin types with fine hair may need to wash daily, though it won't do your hair any favors. To avoid daily washing of oily hair, use a clarifying shampoo rather than a moisturizing one. If this makes your hair feel dry, alternate use of a clarifying and moisturizing shampoo. If you have dry to normal skin and hair, however, shampoo your hair only every two to three days. Wash first with a clarifying shampoo to get rid of grease, products and other unmentionable gunk, and then wash with a moisturizing shampoo to avoid a straw-like texture.

Getting the Most Out of a Wash

You probably think you know how to wash your hair -- you've been doing it all your life, right? You may be surprised to find, then, that the way you wash may be causing your hair to become dirty faster. To make the most of each wash, shampoo only the roots and scalp. Work shampoo into your scalp, where oil is produced, with your fingertips the same way you wash your face. When you use conditioner, apply it to the shaft of the hair only -- not the roots and scalp. Keeping moisturizing products away from your scalp will keep hair looking fresh longer.

Make a Blowout Count

It may be ridiculous to ask you to nix all of your styling products, but try to keep things light. Avoid serums and other silicone-based products as much as possible, as these will build up in your hair. Mousse and volumizing spray, on the other hand, often contain alcohol, which can dry up oil, so they're OK to continue using. Save a buck and a bathing by cutting back the amount of product you use -- excess builds up, causing your hair to look oily and limp.

Defeat Oil at Its Roots

As soon as you spot oiliness, use a dry shampoo at your roots to neutralize it. Dry shampoos contain ingredients like cornstarch, which soak up oil, and fragrance so you feel and smell fresh. Some formulas also include volumizing ingredients to boost a blowout that's gone limp. Spray dry shampoo along your part and hair line, and brush to disperse it. If you've got a hair dryer handy, blast a little air to add volume and help work the shampoo through.

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