Shampooing Super Sleuthing
I'm a little over a month in since being back from quarantine, and I'm here to send out a friendly PSA:
Y'all are shampooing your hair too much!!!
It's because I care that I'm here with the tough love. :)
Telling someone to cut back is one thing, but let me give you a quick breakdown as to why reducing your shampoo frequency is best for you (and your hair).
Destination Tangle City
Struggling to get a brush or your fingers through your hair -- or maybe you find that it re-tangles as soon as you comb it out? Over-washing your hair raises the hair's pH level and leaves the cuticle wide open.
Healthy cuticles lay flat like snake skin, open cuticles mean the cells are raised (and look more like barbs or porcupine quills). This means hair strands will hook (and re-hook) on themselves and each other because they're not smooth and flat, making your hair full of tangles that are almost impossible to keep brushed out.
Even with a high-quality, salon shampoo, if you're washing too frequently, your color will dull and fade. This is partially because all hair color (permanent, toners, vivids) have a specific shelf-life when it comes to vibrancy...and also partially because the Willamette Valley has very hard, mineral-laden water that coats the hair every time it gets wet. Warm/hot water is also guilty of raising the cuticle so when you scrub your hair, more of the color molecules easily slip out of your hair shaft and down the shower drain.
If you're finding more "hair shrapnel " on the bathroom counter every time you brush, your hair is breaking off. Remember that raised cuticle thing? Brittle hair is not as pliable and is less-resistant to mechanical stress (ie: brushing). Wet hair is also more vulnerable to stretching, which is why -- after a vigorous brushing -- you'll find more hair in the brush than if you brushed it out when it's dry.
Is It Snowing?
Over-shampooing can also dry out your scalp. Cleansers are full of surfactants, which are designed to remove the protective sebum layer on the skin so that debris can be removed. Kind of like all of the hand washing we're doing these days, your scalp is skin and will become itchy and flaky if it's exposed too frequently to soap. The difference is that we can put lotion on our hands...our scalps, not so much. It's going to need some time to re-create those scalp oils in order to re-hydrate the skin.
It's Sooooo Oily
Over-shampooing removes the natural oils on the scalp. When your scalp is squeaky-clean, this signals to your sebaceous glands that your skin needs more oil...STAT. Your glands then start over-producing oils in order to replace the ones being constantly washed away. It's a tough process to retrain your scalp, but reducing the frequency of your shampoos will teach your oils glands to dial that production down.
We're back to that raised cuticle again. If a closed, snakeskin cuticle = smooth hair, the opposite would be true of a porcupine quill cuticle. Using smoothing products can help mask the problem, but until the shampoo frequency is reduced, no real headway can be made on that frizz.
It's Heavy and Matte
OMG with that raised cuticle thing! The tell-tale sign of healthy hair is a reflective luster and bounce. Smooth surfaces will reflect light, uneven surfaces absorb light -- if that cuticle isn't sealed down, it can't be as shiny as it could be.
Brittle hair -- because it isn't pliable -- will not have that bouncy movement that we all want. It will be stiff and will just "hang" there. Trying to replace the moisture is a great strategy, but often we over-compensate by using a conditioner that is too heavy and accidentally creating a quasi-greasy issue.
So What Are My Options?
Spreading out your shampoos is absolutely the best strategy for all of these issues. As you're retraining your scalp and healing your hair, there are some great options to get you through that process:
Using a co-wash or hair rinse in lieu of a shampoo will cleanse your scalp and remove product residue without drying out your hair.
Dealing with flakes? Try out a scalp exfoliator to re-balance your skin and removed that buildup without stripping color or oils.
Dry shampoos are a MUST for extending your washes. I promise there is a formula out there for you (and your color) -- I can even show you an off-lable trick to make sure you're able to use them to their most effective potential.
Revitalizing oils will help nourish your hair as it heals.
Dry conditioners are AMAZING and a lifeline during this process!
Haven't heard of some of these product categories before? I have got amazing recommendations for all of these SKUs, and chances are good I even have them in stock, ready for you to take home.