Want healthy hair? Stop shampooing so much. That’s right — Dermatologists say that shampooing your hair more than two or three times a week strips your scalp of sebum, the beneficial oil your body produces, and can damage your hair.

NPR took a closer look at this hairy issue yesterday, to find that back in the day, people used to only wash their hair once a month! A 1908 New York Times article then advised readers that shampooing every two weeks worked for some people, but that “from a month to six weeks should be a better interval if the hair is in fairly good condition.”

Times have certainly changed, because the daily “lather, rinse, repeat” mantra’s got many Americans using ostensibly 30 times the shampoo that people were using 100 years ago. Standards for personal hygiene may certainly have changed over the century, but all those shampoo and hair product commercials must have also played a role in shaping those standards and our individual bathroom habits.

Does more shampooing beget more and more spending on hair care, be they scalp conditioners, hair conditioners, sprays, gels, and the like? One NPR listener points out that because so many people put so much other gunk in their hair, frequent shampooing kind of becomes inevitable. Another opines that if we weren’t washing our hair so much to begin with, our hair wouldn’t be so overstripped and in need of all these other products to do the work our bodies’ natural oils should be doing.

Want to wean yourself off the daily shampoo habit? Scale down gradually, maybe by switching to shampooing once every other day. Don’t stress out too much if your hair seems greasy at first; your scalp will start producing less oil as it adjusts to the new hair care routine.

Your new shampoo schedule will not only save you money and time, but also get you more compliments over time! Hair savvy fashionistas know that hair actually tends to look better on the second day after a shampoo.

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