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Is Double Shampooing Worth a Try? Expert Advice to Help You Decide

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  • Post last modified:September 26, 2023

In the endlessly entertaining realm of TikTok, dance challenges and lip-syncs are just a few of the content you can discover. The app has quickly evolved into a platform full of invaluable beauty advice, with professionals, creators, and enthusiasts alike constantly exchanging information and beauty secrets. One particular subject that has captured the attention of many is the practice of double shampooing. With over 1.7 million views, the hashtag #DoubleShampooing is evidence that A. people enjoy receiving advice from peers, and B. the technique (which technically isn’t new) is gaining popularity due to its apparent ability to enhance scalp and hair health.

However, is double shampooing truly a game-changer or just another passing trend? To navigate this subject and provide a professional perspective along with expert tips, we consulted a board-certified trichologist, a celebrity hairstylist, and the Co-Founder of Act Acre, Helen Reavey, as well as a Celebrity Hairstylist and founder of the eponymous haircare brand, Kim Kimble.

What Is Double Shampooing?

Double shampooing, as the name implies, involves shampooing your hair twice in one washing session, offering a deeper and more thorough cleanse. As Reavey explains, “Double shampooing can help thoroughly cleanse the scalp and hair, particularly if you use styling products or have oily hair. The first shampoo removes surface impurities and product buildup, while the second round ensures a deeper clean.”

Kim Kimble agrees with Reavey, stating that “Double shampooing can be advantageous for the hair and scalp. With double shampooing, you can cleanse the hair and eliminate product and oil buildup. This technique resets the hair. If you want to remove all of your buildup and achieve squeaky clean strands, one lather may not suffice.” For those dealing with specific scalp issues, this technique could be a revelation. Double shampooing provides a comprehensive solution for concerns such as dandruff or an oily scalp, according to Reavey. Essentially, the initial wash prepares the hair and scalp, while the subsequent one ensures a thorough cleanse.

What Are the Potential Benefits and Drawbacks of Double Shampooing?

Both Reavey and Kimble endorse the double cleansing method, acknowledging that it is not without its flaws. Reavey cautions against potential pitfalls “depending on the shampoo being used,” especially when using shampoos with harmful ingredients or high levels of protein— in these cases, double or excessive cleansing can be risky. Excessively shampooing may strip away natural oils, leading to dryness and irritation, especially when using sulfates-based shampoos, Reavey warns. Additionally, an overload of protein can cause hair to become stiff and brittle. While some individuals find relief from scalp issues like dandruff with the double shampooing method, selecting the right products is crucial.

Kimble echoes these sentiments, cautioning that “If you’re dealing with arid, impaired, or chemically processed hair, your strands are already in a delicate and susceptible state, and excessive shampooing can highlight that.” She also advises ensuring you’re using sulfate-free, hydrating, and moisturizing shampoos when double shampooing.

Are There Different Methods or Techniques for Double Shampooing?

Both experts agree that hair isn’t one-size-fits-all, and neither should the double shampooing method. Reavey recommends a couple of double shampooing combinations to cater to diverse hair needs:

  • Clarifying Hydrating—Best for those grappling with greasy hair or scalps plagued by product buildup. Begin with a clarifying shampoo, targeting the scalp to eliminate excess oils and stubborn residues. Follow up with a hydrating shampoo in the next round, aiming to replenish moisture and establish a balanced state, ensuring your hair is not stripped.
  • Soothing Balancing—An optimal combination for individuals with a sensitive scalp or facing challenges like dandruff. Your initial step should involve a mild, soothing shampoo, focusing on alleviating irritation or inflammation. Round two should include a balancing shampoo (such as Act Acre’s Cold Processed Hair Cleanse Shampoo) that’s formulated to address concerns like excessive oil or dryness.

Conditioning post-double shampooing is also crucial, especially to restore moisture and ensure hair remains manageable. Reavey’s advice is straightforward—focus on the scalp when shampooing and use a good conditioner or hydrating mask for the lengths and tips of the hair, particularly if it’s prone to dryness.

How Does the Double Shampooing Method Impact Different Hair Types?

As mentioned, Reavey often emphasizes that when it comes to shampooing, it’s less about the hair and more about the scalp. “Naturally, your ends will be cleansed as your rinse out, but unless there is product build-up, this should be the focus,” she says. For those concerned about the fragility of their hair, Reavey suggests applying conditioner from the mid-length to the ends while concentrating the shampoo on the roots.

Kimble adds her insight, saying, “Shampooing is based on hair type, lifestyle, and scalp condition…If you are someone with fine, dry hair, double shampooing may honestly not be for you

However, if you are an individual who possesses thicker, more compact, or rougher hair and has a higher inclination towards accumulation, the act of double cleansing can prove to be remarkably efficient.

Below are Reavey’s specific guidelines for shampooing twice depending on the condition of your scalp and hair. 

Greasy Hair/Scalp

For those with an oily scalp, shampooing twice can make a big difference. The first shampooing session is important for removing dirt, excessive oils, and product residue. Using a clarifying shampoo can provide a deeper cleanse, while using a balancing or oil-control shampoo afterward ensures that oil production is regulated without being too harsh.

Dehydrated Hair

When it comes to dry hair, the aim is to clean the scalp without stripping the hair. After shampooing, it’s crucial to bring back moisture. This can be achieved by using a hydrating conditioner or, for extra hydration, switching to a hair mask. 

Kimble adds, “If you have dry hair, the idea of shampooing twice may seem unnecessary. The key to effectively shampooing dry strands twice is to use a moisturizing shampoo like the Kim Kimble Healthy Hair Repair & Renew Daily Shampoo with Avocado & Jojoba Oil.”

Curly Hair

People with curly hair often struggle with build-up from styling products. Double shampooing can greatly improve scalp health in this case. The first cleanse aims to address this product build-up, while the second focuses on purifying the scalp.

Hair with Color Treatment

For those with colored or bleached hair, the principle remains the same—cleanse the scalp, not the hair. It’s essential to follow up with enough hydration after the cleansing process, whether it’s using a regular conditioner or opting for a richer hair mask. This ensures that the hair remains shiny after washing.

The Conclusion

Reavey’s insights make it clear that double shampooing, when done correctly, can indeed be beneficial. However, as with any beauty or haircare routine, individual needs vary. The key is to understand your hair, choose the right products, and always handle your hair gently. Kimble agrees and emphasizes the importance of “listening to your hair.” She adds, “There may be times when shampooing twice is necessary, and there will also be times when your hair doesn’t need it. Always pay attention to your hair’s needs and nourish it with the best ingredients.”

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