This week Kim Kardashian revealed a surprising beauty secret, claiming that she only washes her hair once every five days. As a result, the question that everyone's been asking is how often should you wash your hair? And could over-washing or under-washing lead to hair loss? In this special hairlossANSWERS we ask two of Belgravia's specialists for their expert advice.
In an interview with website Into The Gloss, the reality TV star explained her hair care routine, which she follows with the help of her 'glam squad' beauty team.
Saying, "For my hair, I don’t wash it every day. We start out with a blowout on day one, then we go into a messier vibe the next day, and then we flat iron it and do a really sleek look on day three since that requires a little oil in the hair. Day four could be a slicked-back ponytail, and on the fifth day is when you wash it."
As Kim has naturally thick hair, she does not need to wash her hair as often as people with other hair types, particularly those with thinning hair whose hair tends to look fuller when it is clean.
We spoke to hair loss experts Leonora Doclis (LD), trichologist at Belgravia's flagship hair loss clinic opposite Victoria station, and Daiva Valioniene (DV), a senior hair loss specialist nurse at our City of London centre to bring you the best advice on how often you should wash your hair.
LD: "How often someone should wash their hair depends on the individual needs of a person. For instance, someone with greasy hair should wash it daily, whilst many black women cannot, and do not need to wash their hair as often due to the nature of their hair type. The average person tends to wash their hair three times a week."
DV: "I also advise clients on an individual basis for these reasons, also if people exercise they may need to wash their hair up to twice a day as they can get a sweaty scalp."
Given she has thick hair, is it ok for Kim Kardashian to wash her hair every five days?
DV: "Yes - for thicker hair, like Kim's, it takes much longer to look oily because of the amount of hair. It's quite common for people with thick hair to wash their hair only once or twice per week but, again, if they have an active lifestyle then they may need to wash more often due to sweating. People who have scalp conditions, from mild dandruff to Psoriasis or Seborrhoeic Dermatitis, would be advised to wash their hair more often due to faster than normal build-up of dandruff. Although Kim has psoriasis, she has only mentioned it affecting her legs so this would have no bearing on her scalp and how often she needs to wash her hair."
LD: "Agreed. Although her scalp does not get smelly I suppose? Some people need to wash their hair more often as after a while it can start to give off a rancid smell."
LD: "Washing frequently if you have a scalp condition, as Daiva mentioned before, is beneficial."
DV: "If you have thinning hair, washing it more often would be a positive because it can look fuller once it is washed. Thin hair only takes between a few hours and one day to look oily after being washed, so it is advisable to wash thin hair more often simply to feel better about yourself as it is already very stressful once you start to notice signs of hair loss, so having it looking its best can be a confidence boost."
Are there any disadvantages to washing your hair often?
DV: "In general there are no advantages or disadvantages connected to how frequently people who have no hair loss or scalp issues wash their hair. They can wash as required depending on their hair and lifestyle needs. But for people with hair loss conditions they need to understand why they are losing their hair and the fact that it is to do with an underlying medical condition or genetics - it has nothing to do with how often they are washing it."
LD: "Peoples' scalps vary; some can have flaky and itchy scalps because they do not wash their hair enough. The hair does not look so cosmetically presentable if it is greasy too."
Can over-washing or under-washing exacerbate hair loss?
LD: "No, the frequency of shampooing does not affect hair loss or hair growth. Most people affected by hair loss reduce the frequency of their hair wash. However, this results in more hair shed by the time they was their hair due to the cumulative effect. The same amount of hair in total sheds in a week whether or not you wash it daily or once a week."
DV: "We find that people tend to associate washing their hair with hair loss as they notice the shedding more when they see hair in the shower tray or bath plughole. This can mean that people with thinner hair may only wash their hair once a week as they become scared to wash it more often due to the many myths about hair loss. The less they touch their hair and the longer they leave it between washing, the more hair fall becomes noticeable when they do wash it but the hairs that fall after shampooing would have shed and fallen from the scalp anyway, it is nothing to do with the water or hair care products, it is because of an underlying condition that requires professional diagnosis."
However often you choose to wash your hair, make sure you use the right hair care products for your hair type and lifestyle needs. The Belgravia Centre's professional range of shampoos and conditioners is specially formulated to cleanse and nourish hair of every type. Furthermore, these products are often included free of charge with our comprehensive hair loss treatment courses so, if you are concerned about shedding, make an appointment with a hair loss expert who can discuss your condition and provide personalised advice on the best treatments, as well as how often you need to wash your hair.
The Belgravia Centre is a world-renowned group of a hair loss clinic in Central London, UK. If you are worried about hair loss you can arrange a free consultation with a hair loss expert or complete our Online Consultation from anywhere in the world for home-use treatment.
View our Hair Loss Success Stories, which includes the world's largest gallery of hair growth photos and demonstrates the level of success that so many of Belgravia's patients achieve.