Back in elementary school, my mom would repetitively tell me to take a shower and wash my hair well every night. As I got older I began to question if this habit my mom created in my brain were actually good for my hair. My hairdresser began to tell me my hair was unhealthy and I needed to stop washing it so much. So which is correct, should we or shouldn’t we wash our hair regularly?
The consumer goods company found that Americans shampooed their hair on average 4.9 times a week which is twice as often as the people of Spain and Italy. Even more interestingly, 40 percent of American women report shampooing their hair daily. Angela Lamb, MD, an assistant professor of dermatology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City states, “Shampoo traps oils, so if you do it too frequently, you may dry your hair out, leaving it prone to breakage. Hair produces natural oil called sebum, and shampoo is an emulsifier that captures and traps excess oil, dirt, and product residue, which you then rinse out to clean the hair.” These oils that the shampoo removes are essential for healthy hair.
Two studies were conducted by Dr. Raymond F. LeRoy, MSc published in The Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine testing the negative side effects of washing hair. In the first study, ten randomly‑selected samples which were analyzed prior to washing were chosen. Each sample of hair was split into two equal portions and cut into lengths of 1 mm or less before the experiment had begun. The samples were then washed for 10 minutes in deionized running water, drained and then dried for three hours at 110 degrees Celsius. The samples were then taken out of the heat and were covered overnight. In the second study ten randomly‑selected samples which were uncut, were analyzed prior to washing were chosen. The samples followed the same procedure as in the first study, but there was no cutting involved. Directly after the washing and drying had occurred, the samples were cut into 1.0 mm lengths, or less, and then put through evaluation. These studies showed excessive loss of calcium, sodium, and potassium in the hair, and the results were even greater for females. In Study 1, females on average lost 21.6 percent of the calcium in their hair, 35.3 percent of the sodium in their hair and 25 percent of the potassium in their hair. Males lost significantly lower calcium, only loosing 10.5 percent, but they were similar in the results with sodium and potassium, loosing on average 31.75 percent sodium and 20.75 percent potassium.
One of the things I did not expect was that there is a drastic difference on the loss of minerals in your hair depending on when you cut it. In study 2, cutting the hair following washing it, women on average lost 49.5 percent calcium content in their hair and 36.5 potassium in their hair, although they lost less sodium on average, with a 22.5 percent loss. Males mineral loss were again much lower, with 15.83 percent loss of calcium, 18.83 percent loss of sodium, and 19.83 percent loss of potassium in their hair. This makes me question why hair salons wash your hair before they cut it.
Overall, It is important to decrease the amount of times you wash your hair, if you want to reduce breakage and have lively, healthy hair. Also, next time you go to get a hair cut, try asking your hair dresser to cut it before they wash it. This will conserve minerals in your hair and you will ultimately have a better outcome. Hair is essential to defining ones self, it is important to keep it healthy and lively!