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Are You Double Shampooing? Here’s Why Experts Say You Should for a Deep Cleanse

Plus, the best shampoos to double cleanse with

If you’re like us, you’ve probably wondered if you’re truly getting your hair squeaky clean with just one lather. Perhaps after seeing the shampoo bottle instructions of lather, rinse and repeat, you’ve wondered, “do I really need to double shampoo my hair?” If you wash once or a couple of times a week, use a lot of hair styling products or work out a few times a week, your hair can benefit from an extra suds session. And double shampooing can be a game-changer for many hair types. While not an everyday necessity, this technique offers surprising benefits, from removing stubborn product buildup to achieving the ultimate shine. But is double shampooing right for you? Let’s dive into the why, who and how of this cleansing method, along with tips from hair experts about maximizing your double shampoo experience and choosing the perfect products for your hair’s unique needs.

Is double shampooing necessary?

woman pumping shampoo into hair

In short, no, but it’s not a one-size-fits-all answer either. For some background, “cleansing the hair is not like cleansing the body,” says trichologist Bridgette Hill. “Shampooing hair should not be considered hygienic in the same way we consider cleansing our bodies. Hair is a fabric and must be handled as so. Think more dry cleaning — delicate fabrics rather than laundering towels and sheets.”

That’s why shampoo frequency and if you should do a single or double wash is very individual. A hair care routine requires a more tailored lineup that keeps in mind the health, lifestyle and hair type of the individual, explains Hill. “Shampoo frequency should be based on lifestyle, product use, hair type and texture. Rinsing or wetting the hair daily is not the same as shampooing.”

But to loop back to the questions above, “double shampooing should only be done as a necessity to remove build up, debris and hair product from the scalp,” says Hill. “I professionally do not encourage double shampooing unless necessary. The risks of over-shampooing are dry, brittle hair, dry, flaky scalp and an onslaught of unhealthy bacteria that trigger folliculitis. Over-shampooing can lead to hair breakage, shedding and thinning.” So double suds with caution and only when your hair needs a deep cleaning.

Related: Shampoo or Conditioner First? Pros Settle the Hair Washing Debate Once And For All

How to determine if you should try double shampooing

James Pecis, celebrity hairstylist and founder of Blu & Green says that when it comes to double shampooing, the big question here is how dirty is your hair. He says to consider how often you wash it, what kind of products you use and how often, as well.

“If you are washing every four days to a week or more, you might need a double shampoo,” says Pecis. And “if you shampoo your hair and it does not lather up the way it normally does, then you probably need a second shampoo — unless it’s a shampoo that does not foam,” he adds. Lastly, he notes that “if you wash your hair every few days or longer and you use a lot of styling products, then you might need that second shampoo.”

The benefits of double shampooing

back of woman washing hair

Scott Fabian, a hairstylist at Sally Hershberger NoMad Salon, says “two shampoos is very cleansing! I recommend doing it when your hair is extremely dirty — like, if you’ve overloaded on product or depending on how long ago your last shampoo was.” And as mentioned previously, double shampooing doesn’t have to be a regular thing.

As far as the benefits of this hair care practice, Fabian counts removing buildup and oils from your scalp as two important pros of double washing. And Pecis adds that if your hair has a lot of product build up, pollution, sweat or pool chlorine, then you might want to work in a double shampoo into your weekly routine.

The biggest benefit of double shampooing though, it creates a healthy scalp environment. And this is important because it boosts hair follicle health, which can factor into hair growth and its growth cycle.

Related: Hair Experts’ Top 5 Tips for a Healthy Scalp to Help Reverse Hair Loss, Dandruff and More

Should all hair types double shampoo?

“All hair types can, but thicker and curly texture hair benefits more from two shampoos than finer, thinner hair,” notes Fabian. And Pecis adds that usually people with curlier hair will shampoo less often to keep the quality of their curls.

Tips for double shampooing

1. Shampoo the roots/scalp only

“Remember to focus on the root to get the scalp clean and exfoliate all the dead skin,” says Pecis. To help with this, Hill advises: “Consider transferring shampoos into applicator bottles so shampoo is applied directly to the scalp versus the hair fibers to protect them from over-cleansing.”

2. Choose your shampoo wisely

Keep in mind that not all shampoos are created equal. “Some brands have weekly detoxifying cleaners that are more abrasive, so one wash could work, but check that it is color safe,” advises Pecis. “If I am going to do a double shampoo, I will use something that is less abrasive because I know I will be doing it twice,” Pecis says. “Or, you can start with detox shampoo and follow it up with your normal daily shampoo that is less abrasive.”

Also smart? Try a pre-shampoo treatment before double shampooing. Hill says this will help not to disrupt the scalp’s microbiome or unnecessarily deplete the hair fibers of moisture.

Related: The 9 Best Apple Cider Vinegar Shampoos That Make Hair Look Thicker and Healthy After Just One Wash

3. Use a hair mask post-shampooing

Fabian recommends that you use a moisturizing hair mask after two shampoos to raise the pH level of your hair and to open your cuticle. “A good mask will help rebalance your hair,” he says. “Use cooler water — if the water is too hot it is likely to dry your hair out, and avoid sulfates, as these contain heavy sudsing chemicals.”

Pecis agrees with adding extra moisture, saying that if you have a designated wash day and need to do a double shampoo, make sure you balance it with a deep conditioner or treatment. He recommends the Weekly Repair Mask by Blu & Green.

The 10 best shampoos to use for double shampooing

So many shampoos on the market for double cleansing, so little time. Here are some of our experts’ top picks, along with a few of our own for good measure.

L'Oréal Paris Ever Pure Sulfate Free Moisture Shampoo for Hydrating Dry Hair
L’Oréal Paris

L’Oréal Paris Ever Pure Sulfate Free Moisture Shampoo for Hydrating Dry Hair

Even dry hair can benefit from a double cleanse every once in a while, and this rosemary oil-infused formula is under $9. It lathers beautifully without over-cleansing your strands.

Shu Uemura Color Luster Shampoo, one of the best double shampooing formulas
Shu Uemura/Violet Grey

Shu Uemura Color Luster Shampoo

If you have color-treated hair, Fabian likes this luxe formula to double shampoo with. It boasts musk rose oil and refining lipids to hydrate the hair and keep color from fading.

Odele Clarifying Shampoo

Odele Clarifying Shampoo

For a shampoo that is inexpensive yet has a luxurious lather, look to this option from Odele. This salon-grade deep-cleansing wash smells divine and removes buildup and hard-water deposits on the hair.

Rene Furterer Karite Hydra Hydrating Shine Shampoo, one of the best double shampooing formulas
Rene Furterer

Rene Furterer Karite Hydra Hydrating Shine Shampoo

This shampoo is one that Hill recommends for keeping hair hydrated and shiny when double shampooing. It contains shea oil to moisturize strands and leave them with a youthful shine.

Philip Kingsley Body Building Weightless Shampoo
Philip Kingsley/bluemercury

Philip Kingsley Body Building Weightless Shampoo

A favorite of Hill’s, this is a gentle cleansing formula. And it’s especially great for those with thin or fine hair as its keratin leaves tresses looking thicker and fuller.

Saltair Moisture Bound Shampoo

Saltair Moisture Bound Shampoo

This is a good option to try if you struggle with dryness or damage, especially if you heat style your hair more than once a week. Its blend of natural oils not only hydrate hair but also repair any damage or daily wear and tear done to strands.

SACHAJUAN Curl Shampoo, one of the best double shampooing formulas

SACHAJUAN Curl Shampoo

For those with curly or textured hair, this formula is a favorite of Fabian’s. That’s because it’s loaded with wheat protein that nourishes and strengthens hair, reversing any damage.

Ouai Fine Hair Shampoo

Ouai Fine Hair Shampoo

Fabian is a fan of this shampoo for finer hair, as it amps up volume without drying out strands. Thanks goes to its blend of biotin, keratin and chia seed oil that plumps strands so they appear thicker instantly.

Blu & Green Daily Shampoo
Blu & Green

Blu & Green Daily Shampoo

Pecis says that this one is his go-to for both single and double washes. “The shampoo leaves the hair completely clean without residue or unnecessary silicones. But it is also soft enough to preserve the hair quality over time.”

Oribe The Cleanse Clarifying Shampoo, one of the best double shampooing formulas

Oribe The Cleanse Clarifying Shampoo

“If I want to use a weekly cleanser that can do a double wash in one go, I use this one,” Pecis says. What makes it so great? Its volcanic ash and green tea extract work together the gently cleanse the scalp without stripping it or hair of natural oils.

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