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We tend to pay far more attention to the type of shampoo we use, instead of the amount. Using the right shampoo is important. But using too much – or too little – has an effect on how healthy your hair and scalp are.

Using too little shampoo has obvious consequences: hair that isn’t cleaned properly, leading to problems like dandruff and itchy scalp and residues left on the scalp are left to break down into potentially irritating substances.

Using too much shampoo, on the other hand, presents an entirely different set of problems.

If you have dry or damaged hair, washing too frequently can:

  • fade your hair colour faster than usual as it’s exposed to more water than normal

  • remove too much of your hair’s natural oils, making it rough and frizzy

Using too much shampoo when you wash can:

  • Stop the shampoo from building up a good lather

  • Make it difficult and time-consuming to rinse product out

There’s one more problem that using too much shampoo causes, and it’s got nothing to do with your hair.

The more shampoo you use, the quicker you’ll finish the bottle, and the more it will hurt your wallet.

Damaging hair with too much shampoo

The natural oils in your hair are an important part of keeping it healthy.

If your hair is already dry or damaged, using too much shampoo can remove the moisture your hair needs.  This makes your hair even more vulnerable to damage.

This problem can become even worse with harsher shampoos, such as clarifying and volumizing shampoos.

It’s important to take extra care when using these kinds of products.

If you are choosing a volumizing shampoo, make sure it still has conditioners in it – this way you can still moisturize the hair and keep it looking healthy.


Too much shampoo – diminishing returns

This might sound counter-intuitive, but adding more shampoo won’t necessarily make your hair cleaner.

At some stage you’ll get past the point where you’re using just the right amount of shampoo – at which point, adding more will do nothing to aid to cleaning power. 

You can tell you’re using too much shampoo if the product feels like it’s coating your hair and is difficult to lather.

If you’re worried that your shampoo isn’t doing a good enough job at cleaning, it may be time to switch to a deep cleaning shampoo that works.

Ideally, a good shampoo should give a great clean with just 10mL of shampoo – that’s less than a tablespoon, so not a huge amount.

If your hair is particularly oily or dirty, you may need to repeat it a second time, but this is plenty for most people.

How much shampoo should I use?

So, too little shampoo leaves you with dirty hair, and too much shampoo can be drying. How much is enough?

The amount of shampoo you should be using depends largely on the length and type of hair you have:

  • For short or fine hair, an amount about the size of a small cherry tomato or roughly a teaspoon full

  • For longer or thicker hair, you might need to use as much as a walnut-sized portion

More hair care tips and advice

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