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how to wash hair men

A Guy’s Guide to Washing Your Hair

We asked stylist Luke Kalat to clarify a few things about the supposedly easiest part of our grooming routine. With 15 years of experience—the last eight as a senior stylist at Seagull salon in New York—the guy knows a thing or two about hair, and certainly how to wash it.

BB Man: Is it true that washing your hair can actually accelerate oil production?

Kalat: Everyone has different hair types, but generally the more you wash your hair, the more your scalp produces sebum. Sebum is an oil secreted from the sebaceous glands to protect and waterproof your hair and your skin. If you shampoo too much, you can dry out your hair and scalp and your glands will go into overdrive to protect you. It can be a vicious cycle, especially for guys shampooing every day or more. Lots of guys think they are dirty if they don't shampoo, but if they just 'slow their roll' the scalp will balance itself out.

BB Man: So how often do you recommend a guy use shampoo?

Kalat: Twice a week is great. After about a month, your scalp will adjust and not produce as much oil. If you’re someone who works out every day, washing twice a week might sound like a bad idea. Similarly, if you have thinner hair, oil can make it look even thinner. But instead of shampooing each time you shower, I tell a lot of my customers to rinse their hair thoroughly with warm water and massage in a light conditioner to break up oil and sweat.

BB Man: Are there any natural alternatives to shampooing that you might recommend in between the days a guy uses shampoo?

Kalat: Using baking soda on your mane will cleanse the scalp and also deodorize. A quick rinse with apple cider vinegar will close down the cuticle of the hair and add shine. Of course, this does not feel the same as a luxurious shampoo lather, but it gets the job done. Some guys use talcum powder in their hair, but it can clog pores and applying it can be messy and uneven. Kevin Murphy makes a dry cleaning spray product called Fresh Hair. It’s great for absorbing oil and it has a nice scent.

BB Man: When should a guy use conditioner?

Kalat: Conditioner is beneficial if your hair is dry, course, curly, or color-treated. The purpose of conditioning is to bring back oil and moisture to the hair.

BB Man: What’s the most common mistake you see guys making when it comes to washing their hair?

Kalat: Using drugstore dandruff shampoo when they don’t need it. Most of the time they don't have dandruff and are just making their scalp dryer by shampooing with harsh agents. Dry scalp is usually the culprit, and the solution to that can be as simple and not shampooing as much, using a mild shampoo, and drinking eight cups of water every day.

Learn how to pick the right shampoo for your hair type.

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