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Back to Basics: When to Shampoo & Condition

Back to Basics

Every hair type is different and requires a different approach to cleanliness. You want to be clean, but maybe you’ve heard it said that cleaning too frequently isn’t good for your hair? Don’t worry, we sat down with Baxter Finley’s expert barber, Erik Taylor, to get his pro take on the controversial subject.

It’s true that the shampoo and conditioner of yesteryear weren’t always the healthiest thing for your hair. The chemical compounds found in shampoo led to the excessive stripping of the hair’s natural oils, leaving hair dry and brittle.

To combat this, most modern shampoos have added moisturizing agents and the chemical formulas have gotten a lot gentler. However, shampoo is an emulsifier. This means it attaches to the oils in your hair and rinses them away. It’s gotten better, but it can still lead to dry hair. This still begs the question: how often to shampoo and condition your hair?

First thing, everyone’s hair care needs are different, and what works for one may not work for another. Personal preference, your specific hair type, and style will all impact this decision. Erik told us it isn’t unusual to encounter a variety of types in a given day: from guys who shampoo and condition daily, to weekly, or even not at all.

The reasons for ditching shampoo and conditioner altogether vary. Some guys are chemical-conscious and wash simply with water or all-natural ingredients. Others simply swear they can style their hair better without washing. We don’t think that’s a good idea. Take care of your mane, gents.

To get general, Erik gave us a few tips to guide us:

1. Wash daily to remove buildup, styling product, or just that dirt & grime you know you can’t avoid.

2. Curly, thick haired individuals can go longer between washes. Conditioning is always optional but recommended to smooth the cuticle.

3. Fine-haired people may want to wash more frequently. The reason being, your hair produces natural oils in between washes and that can lead to an oily, greasy look and feel. It’s more noticeable in thin, or fine hair.

4. If you’re working out or otherwise sweating a lot, you should wash your hair afterward, even if you already washed it earlier that day.

5. Heat styling (curling or straightening) zaps hair of its moisture. Shampoo can do the same. If you can’t quit the heat, stay out of the shower… at least for a few extra days to let your hair regain its moisture.

6. Some people may need to condition more often, depending on their hair type, but a good rule of thumb is to condition every time you shampoo.

7. Shampoo your hair before you come in for a cut. The conditioner is optional. This is good for the hair, though it won’t necessarily impact the haircut itself. Your barber definitely appreciates it.

8. Use a comb when applying conditioner to distribute the product evenly. The sitting time of the conditioner does not significantly impact its effectiveness, however; the key is making sure you’re working the product through from roots to ends.