Turns Out, ‘Lather, Rinse, Repeat’ *Isn’t* a Myth—Here’s Why You Should Be Double-Cleansing Your Hair

Photo: Getty Images / AleksandarGeorgiev
We’re all likely familiar with the shampoo-bottle edict to “lather, rinse, and repeat,” but is this catchy advice just a marketing ploy to get you to use more product... or is it actually the optimal way to wash your hair? Macee Bahrik, a hairstylist at Mae Studio in Birmingham, Alabama, says this method of double-cleansing is popular with many hair stylists and likely part of the reason why your hair looks so good after leaving the salon.

“From a stylist’s point of view, doing a double wash helps remove all of that extra build-up of hair products and oils on the scalp,” says Bahrik. “It’s essential in my opinion to double wash at home as well, especially for clients who only wash their hair once or twice a week.”

Experts In This Article
  • Macee Bahrik, Macee Bahrik is a hairstylist at Mae Studio in Birmingham, Alabama.

Bahrik says that she washes her hair weekly, which means her mane sees some major dry shampoo build-up over those seven days. Double-cleansing each week ensures all of that residue is removed to leave you with healthier, more voluminous hair. Plus, this extra wash step helps keep Bahrik’s hair feeling clean all week long so she doesn’t have to wash as often. And the good news is that this process is really as simple as it sounds.

How to double-cleanse your hair

Unlike double-cleansing the skin, you don’t need to use two different products to find success. However, Bahrik does recommend investing in a clarifying shampoo to do most of the leg work on the first cleanse and then finishing up with your regular shampoo that addresses your most pressing hair needs, whether that’s color preservation or boosting moisture.

The first step is all about ridding the scalp of buildup from oils, dirt, and styling products, so you’ll want to use more shampoo here. The second wash is more about ensuring a deep clean so it can handle another week's worth of styling products or simply look better between washes, meaning you can use less in this round—about half as much.

If your scalp is in need of some serious deep cleaning, you can step up your double-washing game with a clarifying scalp massager. You can find them for less than $10 on Amazon, and they can be used during your first round of shampooing in place of—or alongside—a clarifying shampoo. Plus, who doesn’t love the excuse for a mid-shower scalp massage? However, if you are on the lookout for a second shampoo that will tame a dry, itchy scalp; soothe dandruff, and eliminate every lingering ounce of dry shampoo, Briogeo’s Scalp Revival Micro-Exfoliating Shampoo ($40) uses detoxifying charcoal, plant-based micro-exfoliants, and soothing oils to moisturize. Your at-home blowout will have never looked so good.

Who shouldn’t try double-cleansing

While most people will benefit from occasional double-cleansing, particularly after using a lot of styling products, those with very thin and/or dry hair may not benefit from making it part of their weekly routines. All of the intense cleansing can actually strip too much of your hair’s necessary oils, leaving the hair feeling brittle and overdry instead of looking fresh from a blowout. If this is the case, you may want to experiment by only trying this method once every few weeks or monthly to reap the benefits of double-cleansing while keeping hair healthy and shiny.

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