Should you wash your hair before a colour? How often should you wash your hair? Answering some of the most commonly asked hair questions that we are asked in the salon. Commonly asked hair question #1I’m losing a lot of hair, am I thinning/going bald? While 40% of women will have visible hair loss by the age of 40, seeing more hair in your hairbrush could boil down to something much less concerning. I don’t ever take this question lightly, and my first question is does it feel thinner to you? If you are uncertain about the answer to this, but have just noticed more hair in the drain when you wash it, then it could well be a simple change in your hair routine that is making it appear that you are losing more hair than usual. On average we lose about 50 to 100 hairs a day, it is a very normal part of the hair growth cycle known as the telogen phase. If you are tying your hair back more than usual, you are not giving that hair that has fallen through the day anywhere to go. So when you do eventually take it down and brush it out you will see a lot more hair coming out than usual because normally that hair is freely escaping your head. The same situation occurs if you are washing your hair less frequently; that hair has come away from the follicle but until you give it a good washing, it’s just hanging around in your mane all waiting to make a break for the drain. Commonly asked hair question #2How often should I get my hair cut? My honest response to this the first time I cut a new client’s hair is that honestly, I can’t say for certain. If you’ve just had a fresh new ‘do, and you absolutely love it and want to maintain that length then on average it is recommended that you should get a hair cut every 6-8 weeks. If, however you are trying to grow your hair but want to have regular trims to keep it healthy I’d recommend a cut every 3-4 months. The reasoning behind this? Hair grows – on average – 1cm every 4 weeks. Therefore within 6-8 weeks your lovely haircut has grown a whopping 1.5-2cm. Which may not sound like much but if you have a hair cut you love and are managing well you will definitely notice this difference. This then also makes sense as to why I would suggest 3-4 months for growing hair, as a decent 1cm trim after this length of time will still leave 2-3cm that have grown since your last visit. If you have had a change in hair style – which is usually when people commonly ask this question – then it very much depends on how you manage the style at home. If you find that the first time you wash and style your hair it is perfect and does not get any better over the following few weeks, then you need an appointment every 6 weeks to maintain this super haircut. If, however, you find that it takes a week or two to get the hang of it (or ‘settle’, as some people like to say) then you can probably push to 8 weeks or more. Commonly asked hair question #3Should I wash my hair before a colour? There is an ongoing internet myth that you should never wash your hair the day you have it coloured, so let’s just break this one down. While a bit of natural oil on the scalp can help create a protective barrier from the hair colour, excessively greasy hair can slow down the colour’s process. First, understand the difference between lightener (commonly referred to as bleach, a term I refuse to use as that is what you put down the toilet) and a tint. Lightener is used in the blonding process, you may have it painted directly onto your scalp, or you may have it isolated in foils for highlights. A tint is commonly applied straight to the scalp often to darken or cover grey hairs. So let’s go through each example one by one. On scalp lightener. Prior to having this done I would not recommend washing your hair in the 48 hours prior to your appointment, as this is a very harsh process and your natural oil will be essential in protective your scalp from the inevitable burning sensation you will feel throughout this process. I would also recommend avoiding scratching, brushing or generally aggravating the scalp in any way 24 hours prior to your appointment as this can cause more irritation. Lightener in foils. If you have blonde highlights done this means you are having lightener placed on the roots as close to the scalp as possible and contained in a foil. This means that no colour is going to be coming into contact with your scalp, so there is no reason to need a protective layer of natural oils, therefore you may wash your hair the morning of your hair appointment if you feel necessary. I would suggest that you if you do wash your hair,then give yourself a gentle shampoo and don’t scrub the scalp excessively. This is just in case you do require a toner, but also as it will be getting a thorough wash after your highlights. Please also bare in mind that your stylist will be working on your hair for up to an hour without gloves on during the highlighting process, they will also have to get a good weave to achieve the best highlights. Therefore, please don’t every turn up with incredibly greasy hair for highlights, it’s highly unpleasant and makes it harder to work with the hair. Tint on scalp When having a tint on the scalp you can wash your hair up to 24 hours prior to your appointment. If you are prone to having a sensitive scalp, then avoid any scratching or brushing as these can lead to the tint giving you a mild irritation. Your hair does not need to be either dirty or clean for this service, but your hairdresser does have to be face to face with it so please don’t make it unpleasant for us. If you’ve had a particularly sweaty session at the gym that morning then washing your hair will not affect the colour itself, just make sure your hair is dry for your visit to the salon and avoid scrubbing too hard so not to causes any irritation. Commonly asked hair question #4How often should I wash my hair? This depends on a multitude of factors, but the golden rule is that you should avoid washing your hair every day. There are a few reasons for this, mainly because you build up natural oils on your scalp, washing every day will continuously remove these and leave your hair dry and dull. You will also find it will cause your colour to fade a lot faster, and it leads to more heat damage as you are then presumably drying and styling it every day. It also means you’re getting out of bed earlier each morning, need I say more? If you frequent the gym every day and feel you need to wash away the sweat, I would recommend giving your hair a good rinse and just applying conditioner to the ends. If you do it because it means you can dry and style more volume into your hair, try a dry shampoo every other day. I personally feel that washing your hair 2-3 times a week is enough with a good deep cleansing shampoo. If necessary, washing your hair every other day is not a problem, but if you are blow drying it each time then use a form of heat protection to avoid damaging your ends. That’s all for now. I hope that helps you in your quest to many happy hair days. If you have any more questions, contact us and we’ll be happy to answer them or add them to future posts.