Is Washing Your Hair Damaging? - Edge of Wellness

Is Washing Your Hair Damaging?

Sulfates Damage Your Hair

Inexpensive detergents are commonly used in cosmetic cleansers, hair shampoos, bath and shower gels, bubble baths, etc.  Most shampoos contain sodium or ammonium lauryl sulfate and/or sodium or ammonium laureth sulfate (ALS/SLSs) which dissolve the oils on your skin and hair byhair-worry-1
stripping the oils. Think if it as a degreaser which causes a drying, stripping effect. The Journal of the American College of Toxicology notes that SLS and other chemicals damages skin proteins, which causes not only irritation, but also allows environmental contaminants easier access to the lower, sensitive layers of the skin and, more important, hair follicles. Which is a leading cause of hair loss!

What Are the Options?

It’s still important to maintain proper hygiene when it comes to your body, including your scalp.  And, it is recommended that your wash your hair every 2-3 days.  Less if you have hair that is more coarse or dry and damaged or gray.

Sulfate Free

Sulfate-free or “no-poo” shampoos are a must use option and not relatively new to the market.  But because the cosmetic industry is unregulated, other cleaning chemicals are doing the work and may have some damaging effects on the hair if used in excess.


Co-wash, which is a conditioner wash only relies on conditioner to cleanse the hair.  If you have excessively oily hair or use styling products in the hair, co-wash may make your hair feel greasy, limp or weighed down.  You may need to use a deep cleaning shampoo every third wash to feel light and fresh again.

Reverse Washing– Condition Before Shampoo

What?!? Conditioning before you shampoo is great for adding nourishment to any hair type without weighing it down.  And if you do not rinse the conditioner before applying the shampoo it helps shampoo to distribute easier and more evenly.  Noticeably longer lasting blow drys and styles are also a benefit from the backward technique.

What if I simply don’t wash for a few days?

Even if you use any of these methods over-washing your hair can strip moisture and dry out the shaft of individual hairs resulting in excess or early breakage, damage, irritated scalp and dandruff.  Again, especially if you have coarse or curly hair or gray hair.  And, can you imagine what your hair will smell like three days after a sweaty spin class?!?

The Infamous Dry Shampoo

Dry shampoo is all the rave right now!  Especially for gym goers.  Dry Shampoos eliminate needing to wash the hair and can be used 1-3 days in a row.  They absorb oil, give your hair a fresh scent, and can even add volume or texture to help style your hair.  But remember, if it is coming from a can, there still is aerosol present.  Aerosol is alcohol and too much use can be drying to the hair.  This can be damaging if applied to the roots of the hair, your most important area for growth of hair.  See the article Battle of the Dry Shampoos for review of the most popular dry shampoos on the market.

Regardless of the technique or techniques you use, showering is just a part of life.  Use your best judgment and use some trial and error.  Read  product reviews and ask your favorite hair stylest to find the best fit for your lovely locks!