How Much Shampoo Should You Use? - Public Goods

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How Much Shampoo Should You Use?

Knowing how much shampoo to use is important, not only because it will make sure that your hair is well-cared for, but also to reduce product waste and plastic waste.

woman with long brown hair in a black and white dress

What’s good for us is often good for the environment. And if you’re really into sustainability, you can go with a zero-waste shampoo bar.

We chatted with Jess Bolella, a professional stylist and owner of Society 201 Salon, to figure out how much shampoo your hair really needs. Once you know what to do for your hair type, caring for your scalp properly can be as easy as wash, rinse, repeat.

When talking about how much shampoo you should be using, it’s important to consider two factors: how much shampoo you use each time you wash your hair and how often you’re washing your hair in a given week. These two factors are then influenced by your type of hair: textured, thick or thin.

When you’re shampooing your hair, you should be using a dollop of shampoo that is about the size of a nickel. If your hair is denser, you can increase your shampoo use to about the size of a quarter.

Bolella said, “Everyone is different. It all depends on how much hair you have.”

This means that your amount of shampoo is related to the actual number of hairs on your head. Your shampoo use shouldn’t change much with the length of your hair, as the product should be worked through the roots only as opposed to the lengths of hair.

This nickel to quarter dollop of shampoo might feel like it’s too little, but Bolella instructs everyone to “make sure your hair is soaked. Not just a quick dip under the shower head. It needs to be soaked through. This helps spread the shampoo throughout your hair so that there is no waste.”

If you frequently style your hair, especially using products, Bolella suggests, “Shampoo twice. The second shampoo gives you a super deep cleanse. This extends your blowout or style.”

Now that you know how to apply the shampoo, the big question is how often you should be doing it. The answer completely depends on your hair type and your lifestyle.

Regarding the frequency of washing your hair, Bolella said, “This doesn’t apply to everyone, but I recommend 2-3 times per week.”

This range of frequency is going to change depending on your hair type. If your hair is thick, meaning the individual strands are bigger and coarser, or textured, Jess recommends only washing once a week using a gentle shampoo. She says that textured and thick hair is “naturally deprived of moisture” and that “over-washing can do severe damage to it.”

For thinner hair — regardless of the number of hairs on your head — you might need to trend toward washing every other day. Bolella attributes the need for more washes to the production of natural oils at the scalp.

“Fine hair has a tendency to produce the most moisture at the root,” she explained. She also stresses that “when you condition, you want to apply conditioner to the mid-lengths of your hair,” not the roots.

If you’re not sure what type of hair you have, Bolella says to ask a professional: “They know your hair the best… they will help you.” In general, fewer washes per week and a small amount of shampoo per wash will do the trick.

Jess says, “This will help to not strip the natural oils from hair, but give a gentle cleansing.”

Like many parts of life, shampooing is all about balance, self-care and taking a few words from the wise.

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Comments (2)

  • I have thinning hair, mostly white. For ease of care,I have a haircut to keep my hair short, about once a month, from the best hairdresser in town. The shampoo bar has been a revelation,simple to use and resulting in squeaky clean hair. I was surprised to read in an earlier post that someone had found it resulted in oily hair because my experience is the opposite. My hair is left very clean and not stripped of the natural oils. I had never thought about it as leaving nothing to recycle, but now I like it even more! It amuses me to watch a new bar slowly take on the shape of my head as I continue to use it.

    • Hi Amanda! Your comment about the shape of the bar made me laugh, so thanks for that.😆

      I’m glad to hear you’re loving the shampoo bar so far! It’s definitely a plus that you can avoid all of the plastic waste from a traditional brand. Thanks so much for commenting! 🌱😊

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