Now, there is an article title that grabbed your eye, right? Fortunately for you (and me), while this is an article about bathroom habits, it is not about what your body produces. No, in this article, we are going to talk about picking a shampoo for your hair, and how often you should be using it.
While many of our readers have a collection of soaps, creams, oils, and various other accouterments for wet shaving, we generally do not give a lot of thought or consideration to what we use to wash our hair. We tend to use whatever is at hand, or was the cheapest, or that we have always used. While those are certainly good ways to pick a product, there is a certain lack of experimentation there that we see when it comes to our shaving products.
Think about shaving soap and razor blades. When you started out wet shaving, you did your research, got some recommendations, and then got your starter kit all set to go. If you compare what you use today to what you started out with, there are likely some differences. We like to tinker with our setups, experimenting with different soaps and creams, and work to figure out what blades work best for our faces and razors. Why would we not do the same with our other care products (in this case, shampoo).
When it comes to picking out a shampoo that is best for you, that is my first piece of advice – experiment. Grab a new bottle of something at the store (travel size can be ideal for this) and give it a go – check out how it makes your scalp and hair look and feel. Maybe even alternate between the new and the old so you can get a handle on which you prefer. Then, over time, you can check out other things. At some point you will settle into what is best for you, and of course, feel free to stick with that.
Time to Experiment
A major consideration for your experiment should indeed be what your hair is like, as well as your skin. Do you have thick, curly hair and normal skin, thinner, straighter hair and an oilier scalp? Some other combination? Depending on those factors (hair and skin type) will also guide you in the selection of your product. It also leads you to another question – how often should you actually wash your hair? As with all things on the internet, this is a topic on which you can find many articles, coming down on any part of the spectrum, from shampooing daily to only every now and again. I found two fairly comprehensive articles, one on WebMD and one on Business Insider of all places. Their answer? It depends.
It really depends on how thick (and/or curly) your hair is, and how oily it gets from your scalp. Of course, if you find yourself getting dirty or sweaty regularly (say, like working outdoors or a daily trip to the gym) then cleaning your head is probably a good idea to keep things from getting funky. Outside of that, we are back to experimentation. Start off by going to every other day, and see how your hair reacts. You can try extending that timeframe if things are going good, and you could get to the point where you might only need to shampoo once or twice a week. The other days, it is not like you’re not washing things – you will still want to rinse your hair off and massage your scalp.
What about a daily shampooing?
Why not just shampoo every day? The cleaner the better, right? As it turns out, shampooing daily can actually cause damage. It can cause your scalp to dry out, as well as stripping away the protective oils from your hair. And, on the topic of oil – as you shampoo, you are clearing away the oil (called sebum) that keeps away your hair and keeps it from drying out. Additionally, if your skin is more prone to the oily side of the spectrum, the daily shampooing can make the problem worse. Your scalp will pick up on the new dryness, and generate more sebum to make up for the loss, giving you the exact opposite result of what you were going for.
So far, we have two different experiments going on – trying out different products, and the length between shampoos. Depending on how adventurous you’re feeling, you may just want to do one or the other at a time. Then again, what product you use can certainly have an effect on how long you can go between. Why is that? Well, as this article mentioned, sodium lauryl sulfate (aka SLS) can be a bit agressive in stripping away the oils. In some of my other research, it was indicated that SLS is present in shampoos as a surfactant (ie, it helps breaks things down to wash away oils) as well as helping the shampoo get extra foamy (which, in the end, has little to no impact on how well it cleans). As far as whether or not you totally avoid SLS (or other sulfates) in your shampoo is up to you and your own research. If you find that it dries your skin out, or causes some other irritation, then that would be a factor to work to eliminate as try out other products.
Thinking about styling products
I will also mention that you will want to think about the styling products you may (or may not) be using as well. If you are in the habit of using something that is not water-based, getting it out of your hair without shampoo is going to be on the difficult side. That may be fine for you, but I know for myself, anything that’s been in there a day or more is not really helping things along. To that end, I have switched over to some products that are water-based, and those rinse out quite easily if it is a day I decide not to shampoo.
If you came in to this article looking for a be-all, end-all recommendation on the best shampoo to use, I’ll have to disappoint you. Really, everyone has their own preferences, and needs to figure out what works best for them. For me, I tend to sparingly use what the gym provides most days (aka mystery blue shampoo), and I am also partial to Dr. Bronner’s unscented soap, as it has a multitude of uses. That is all based from my own testing (on my scalp) and research. That all said, I am definitely curious to hear what our readers have to say – how often are you shampooing your hair, and what are you using?
Talking about shampoo might seem odd for a site that is based all around removing hair from our faces. I think it is a topic worth covering – we shave (or not, as my beard attests) to keep up our appearances. That extends to all of our personal grooming, not just shaving. So, give your shower routine some thought. While there are no guarantees in life (aside from death and taxes), odds are you can make some improvements to your kit and process that will yield benefits. If you decide to take on these experiments, feel free to talk to us about that as well, as I am sure your fellow Sharpologist readers are curious. Until next time…