There are certain beauty rites of passage in life that we all must pass to reach peak beauty and today we bring you one that’s been long lauded but often ignored: the rinse and repeat (or double hair cleansing). We know what you’re thinking: “really?” After all, the more washing we advise you to do, the more time it takes to carry out quite a menial day-to-day task. But, when we can guarantee impressive results – i.e. that bouncy, reflects-light-like-a-mirror hair that is only usually possible post-hairdresser – the maths all adds up.
What is double hair cleansing? Instead of shampooing your hair once, you shampoo it twice. This is the only way to effectively remove the residues that build up in your hair throughout the day. “The first cleanse works hard to remove these residues, which include dead skin cells, natural oils, and atmospheric pollutants, while the second completely eliminates them and boosts hair health,” says Steve Shiel, Director of Scientific at L’Oreal UK. Much like double cleansing your face ensures it’s squeaky clean – and therefore radiant – doing the same for your hair leaves the scalp in its optimum condition, leaving hair as shiny as humanely possible.
For the most effective clean, consider a hair oil on your first wash. Though it might feel like you’re adding more dirt and oils to a scalp that’s already laden with it, as Shiel points out ‘like dissolves like’: “The oily residues on the hair and scalp, like sebum and some types of styling product, are easily dissolved by the oil,” he says, so when you wash it out, it takes all of that unwanted dirt with it. And it won’t make hair any oilier. Just massage the oil onto the scalp and down dry hair for smooth, nourished locks.
Some of the best oils include Kerastase’s new Aura Botanica Concentre Essential, a blend of samoan coconut and argan oils which you can also use on your body (win win), and Living Proof’s Nourishing Oil which absorbs really quickly and can also be used pre-styling to battle frizz, particularly that exacerbated by humidity. One that’s not for your everyday double hair cleanse is Rahua’s Hair Detox and Renewal Kit which is designed to be used every few months and helps remove the really stubborn dirt build-up, making it ideal post-festival or city weekend break.
Lathering up with a shampoo for your second wash will dissolve any residual grease or grime and can be used to target certain hair or scalp conditions. If you’re already using any medicated shampoos to help with, say, dandruff or psoriasis, the first wash will help these penetrate the scalp much better. If you’re not battling bigger hair woes, it’s really worth getting a shampoo that is formulated to address different hair concerns. For example, if you’ve got fine hair, you might try Bumble and Bumble’s Thickening Shampoo which is super light so won’t weigh hair down (and also contains Aloe Leaf juice to restore broken hair); those with a more sensitive scalp should try Kiehl’s Amino Acid Shampoo which not only smells amazing (coconut, enough said) but also deeply moisturises hair. Kerastase’s Aura Botanica Bain Micellaire is a great all-rounder. To brighten colour or supercharge shine, try Christophe Robin’s Clarifying Shampoo with chamomile and cornflower which gets rid of excess pigment from strands, leaving a halo of hair in its wake. Whichever you choose, your head will feel so fresh and so clean that it’s unlikely you’ll ever look back.
In theory, you should be able to wash your hair far less often because it’s being given a deep clean every time. But that’s just in theory and it doesn’t always work that way. Those who use lots of styling products, whose hair is particularly oily, or who lives in a city should be double cleansing more often than those with a drier scalp or head of hair. Once or twice a week is optimum but it’s more about finding the right balance for you.