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Here's what the experts think on whether you really need to wash your hair twice

Twice as nice or two times the hassle?

18 Dec 2018

Lather, rinse, repeat. It’s as intrinsic as ‘do not tumble dry’ isn’t it? But is it really necessary to lather up more than once?

Whilst most of us are finally au fait with the idea of a double cleanse (the premise being the first gets rid of oil-based grime such as makeup and sebum whilst the second tackles dirt and environmental gunk), less of us have the time or inclination to give our hair the twice over. Afterall, unless you’re suffering from an extreme Elnett habit it’s not really necessary. Or is it?

“You don’t ‘need’ to wash your hair at all, but it usually feels nicer once we do,” says Hairmedic director and consultant trichologist Iain Sallis. “If your hair is particularly dirty, the first wash may not get rid of all of the grease and grime especially if the shampoo is mild or it contains ingredients which affect the detergent part such as a conditioning shampoo. The second wash will lather up better and make your hair feel cleaner in some cases but there is no real reason to do this.” However he adds that the only caveat to this is if you have a scalp problem such as seborrheic dermatitis where you would need to wash your hair with a medicated shampoo more often.

It also makes sense in the salon of course; one wash is often not enough to get rid of product build-up, and if you’re having a hair colour change-up then two washes will ensure that all traces of dye/bleach are rinsed away.

But whilst the hair itself doesn’t necessarily need to be washed twice, your scalp is an entirely different proposition according to leading trichologist and Director of Communications at Philip Kingsley Anabel Kingsley. “I often wish the term ‘hair washing’ could be changed to ‘scalp cleansing’. This is because the main aim of shampooing is to cleanse your scalp, which is a living tissue. Like the skin on your face, it contains thousands of sweat and oil glands, sheds dead skin cells and is also exposed to the same environmental pollution.”

According to Kingsley we should ideally be shampooing daily to every other day - especially if you have medium textured or fine hair. But if you have very coarse or curly hair, shampooing daily is not going to be realistic and may even be damaging if you have to straighten your hair every time you wash it. However she warns that, whatever your hair texture, you should never leave more than three days between shampoos "It's simply not good for the scalp – and what's bad for the scalp is not ideal for your hair."

Which brings us back to the once or twice debate? “If you’re shampooing every day to every other day, there’s no need to shampoo twice. However, if you shampoo less than three times a week, you should double cleanse.”

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