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The UK’s Hair Washing Habits

Answering the most commonly asked questions when it comes to hair washing.

Blog
Monday 29th November 2021

When it comes to washing your hair, how regularly do you shampoo and condition?

Research shows that on average, Brit’s shower daily, but wash their hair every 2-3 days. But what do the experts say about this? We’ve worked with Abbas Kanani, a Pharmacist at Chemist Click to answer your frequently ask questions about how often you should wash your hair, as well as diving deeper into the different types of hair and heir needs.  

We’ve also looked at where the hard water capitals are around the UK and how much it costs to shower in each city.

The most searched for hair washing questions – Answered

How often should you wash your hair?

Yearly UK search volume: 156,000

There are several factors to consider, such as what shampoo you use, the type of hair you have and how much oil your scalp produces. Most people can go 2-3 days without washing their hair, however, if your scalp produces excess oil, it may need washing every 1-2 days. Those with thinning hair or straight hair are more prone to oily hair. This is because thin and straight hair lack texture, allowing oil to coat hair strands. Afro hair should be washed less, around 1-2 times a week. This is because afro hair is prone to damage from drying out. Oil is required to keep hair soft and curly.

After a workout where you have produced sweat, you should wash your hair to remain hygienic. The same applies to other physical activity that has caused your hair to become dirty. However, to avoid damage to the hair, you should avoid using shampoo with every wash and use water on its own.

How often should men wash their hair?

Yearly UK search volume: 3,600

The same rules apply to men. 2-4 times a week is what is recommended, however, if you are using hair products, this can clog pores and reduce the amount of oil produced. Lack of oil can dry out and damage hair. Shampooing hair on a frequent basis is not likely to contribute to baldness.

How often should you wash your hair if you have dandruff?

Yearly UK search volume: 1,800

Most of the time, dandruff is caused by a dry scalp, so in theory, frequent washing is likely to make dandruff worse. However, infrequent washing can cause scalp itchiness, which can make dandruff worse. My advice would be to use a medicated anti-dandruff shampoo 2-3 times a week and rinse your hair with water 2-3 days a week to get rid of the flakes.

How often to wash hair for growth?

Yearly UK search volume: 600

The frequency that you wash hair is unlikely to have an impact on your hair growth. The only added benefit the heat drawn to the head, which can help to stimulate growth from follicles, but this can be done without a shower. In fact, harsh chemicals from certain shampoos and chlorine from shower heads may cause hair damage that can contribute to poor hair growth. Invest in a hypoallergenic or natural shampoo, and a shower filter (to reduce the chlorine levels in the water). Massage your scalp frequently, you can use a gentle comb to do this, and avoid heat from straighteners and hair dryers, as this can also damage hair follicles.

The cities with the hardest and softest water

Water softness is measured in milligrams of calcium (Ca) per litre. However, factors such as the source of the water can also affect the softness of the water.

Hard water does not have any serious effects on your body; however, it can contribute to dry skin and hair! Regular washing of hair using hard water can lead to an itchy scalp. You can find out more about hard water vs soft water in our blog post.

So, which cities in the UK have the hardest water and which have the softest? Find out in our tables below showing the top five cities for each.

The hard water capitals of the UK

Rank

Location

Water Level (mg/l)

Water Hardness Level

Supplier

1

Ipswich

368

Hard

Anglian Water

2

Hull

358

Hard

Yorkshire Water

3

Stevenage

356

Hard

Affinity Water

4

Luton

342

Hard

Affinity Water

5

Reading

338

Hard

Thames

The soft water capitals of the UK 

Rank

Location

Water Level (mg/l)

Water Hardness Level

Supplier

1

Plymouth

25

Soft

South West Water

2

Manchester

30

Soft

United Utilities

3

Cardiff

60

Soft

Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water

4

Liverpool

65

Soft

United Utilities

5

Middlesbrough

80

Soft

Northumbrian Water

 

The most expensive cities to shower in

Did you know that for every cubic metre of water used, this equates to 28 showers, on average. Based on this, we have worked out the cost of showering in different cities around the UK. We’ve taken the average cost per cubic metre for different water suppliers and assumed the average person showers daily.

Find out the top five most expensive cities for showering below.

1. Bath – Average yearly shower bill: £25.73

The average yearly showering cost in Bath is £25.73, equalling a cost per shower of seven pence. The water comes under the hard category and the water level is 267 mg/l.  

2. Plymouth - Average yearly shower bill: £25.21

The average yearly showering cost in Plymouth is £25.21, equalling a cost per shower of six pence. The water comes under the soft category and the water level is 25 mg/l.

3. Exeter - Average yearly shower bill: £25.21

The average yearly showering cost in Exeter is £25.2, equalling a cost per shower of six pence. The water comes under the moderate - soft category and the water level is 268 mg/l.

4. Manchester - Average yearly shower bill: £24.12

The average yearly showering cost in Manchester is £24.12, equalling a cost per shower of six pence. The water comes under the soft category and the water level is 30 mg/l.

5. Liverpool - Average yearly shower bill: £24.12

The average yearly showering cost in Liverpool is £24.12, equalling a cost per shower of six pence. The water comes under the soft category and the water level is 65 mg/l.

If the water is hard in your local area, you may start to see a build-up of limescale. Feel not as we have covered how to deal with limescale and remove it from your showerheads, taps and more in our blog.

Methodology and sources: 

We’ve analysed the most searched for questions when it comes to hair washing and included the average yearly search volume for each term. We combined seed lists showing the UK cities with the hardest and softest water and sourced the water level for each in mg/l. We also researched the average cost per cubic metre for various water suppliers across the UK. From this data we could then work out the cost of showering everyday for a year for different cities in the UK. Figures are based on the average costs per cubic metre from various suppliers. Data pulled November 2021.  

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