Is Double-Shampooing Your Hair Necessary? Expert Advice from Dermatologists

16 April 2024 2833
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Many people maintain clean hair by simply washing their hair with shampoo and conditioner once. But could “double shampooing” provide better results and promote healthier hair?

Double shampooing, as the name suggests, entails washing your hair with shampoo twice during one shower. This method is gaining popularity online, with many praising its effectiveness on platforms like TikTok.

Proponents say that the first wash removes buildup and residue from the hair, while the second wash does a deeper cleanse on the scalp. This method could improve the cleanliness and health of your hair, but experts say it is not suitable for all.

Here is what you should know about double shampooing, who should try it, and dermatologists' advice on maintaining clean and healthy hair.

Whether or not to implement double shampooing depends on factors such as hair type, activity level, and personal hair care needs. Melanie Palm, MD, a board-certified dermatologist, explains that double shampooing can effectively remove oil, dirt, sweat, and product residue from the scalp and hair. It can also help to clear the scalp and hair of dead skin cells, microorganisms, and odor.

This method can be particularly beneficial for people with curly or coarse hair, or those who do not wash their hair regularly, but might not be ideal for everyone. Double shampooing could cause more harm than good for some individuals.

“This method is best for those who don’t wash their hair daily or every other day, as you run the risk of stripping or drying out your scalp and hair,” Palm said. Over-washing can remove too much oil, which can make the hair more susceptible to breakage or heat injury. It could also cause dryness, dandruff, or flaking for people with sensitive scalps.

Double-shampooing is designed for effective removal of buildup and oil from hair and scalp, but the same approach applied on conditioner likely won't yield the same results. Excessive usage of conditioner may even counteract the effects of double shampooing.

“I don’t usually advise double conditioning,” Palm said. “Using conditioner once per wash day for the recommended time—typically between 3 to 5 minutes—is more cost-effective than using it twice.” If you're not satisfied with the results from your conditioner, switching to a more hydrating formula can be considered.

Choosing how to shampoo your hair cannot be generalized; it varies based on factors like scalp oil level, dryness, hair type, hairstyle, and more. “Your hair-washing frequency should also cater to your lifestyle and levels of activity,” Palm said, adding that shampooing frequency varies among individuals.

As a rough guide, Palm recommends people with straight hair to wash their hair every two to three days, while those with curly, coarse, or coily hair—which tends to be drier and more porous—can shampoo every four to seven days.

Besides shampooing regularly, other measures can also be taken to ensure healthy hair growth.

For personalized advice on hair care—especially those suffering from hair loss or reduced hair density—Palm recommends consulting a dermatologist.