Showers are great. Hot steam helps to open and cleanse your pores.

Hot water is especially rejuvenating in the winter months.

Plus, we all know the satisfaction that comes with belting out a favorite tune while scrub-a-dub-dubbin’.

The thing is, I used to shower every single day. I would shampoo and condition seven days a week.

Then I heard that washing your hair every day can be bad.

Eventually I reduced my shampoos to a meager one-to-two times a week.

Now, my dad calls me a “dirty hippy” for my infrequent use of the shower, but my hair has never felt better.

Philip Bergeron / Graphic Design Editor

Philip Bergeron / Graphic Design Editor

While I keep clean throughout my days, most people are shocked when I tell them that I only shampoo one or two times per week.

According to research done by the Moen’s Consumer & Market Insights group, Americans take approximately 6.7 showers per week.

Of those showers, on average, Americans wash their hair 5.7 times per week.

While it would appear that cleansers are doing our bodies well by keeping them squeaky clean, this is not the case.

We have somehow become a culture that is so obsessed with ‘cleanliness’ that the excessive cleaning can actually become harmful to our bodies.

Josh Clark, a writer for howstuffworks.com, has done research to break some myths about showering.

He clarified that each time you shower with soap and a scrubbing device, especially when the water is hot, you are actually damaging your skin.

He continued, stating that the scrubbing harms your skin’s horny layer and that the more frequently you shower, the less time your skin has time to repair itself through natural oil production.

As a result, too many showers can lead to irritated and cracked skin.

It was interesting to learn some of these things while trying to uncover the truth behind showering too often.

I was sick of my hair feeling overly-oily by the end of each day and I was determined to fix the problem.

I was set on figuring out the science behind how often someone should shower. I wanted to make sure I was treating my hair with the proper care.

Sonya Collins published an article on WebMD that implies that we are falsely informed by shampoo advertisements to believe that lathering up with a foamy hair product will leave us with the cleanest hair.

While we often associate the bubbles from shampoo with cleanliness, the suds are actually residue left by the harshest ingredients — sulfates — and as Collins stated, these added chemicals are not actually necessary for cleansing the scalp.

According to experts, foaming agents, which dehydrate the hair, are only in cleansing products because people expect to see bubbles.

What I began to realize when I started to shower less was that my hair looked better a few days after I washed it.

The day I wash my hair it always seems a bit limp. It falls flat and straight and lacks body.

I realized that maybe my hair was better off if I gave it a break from constant washing and shampooing.

My experience has been reinforced by Collins’ research as she stated that excessive shampooing can require excessive styling.

The whole process is a vicious cycle, because while your hair requires more product to style, it becomes dirty again and forces you to shower sooner.

I avoid putting anything in my hair that leaves it sticky or dry.

I only use hydrating oils to bring my hair to life, leaving behind the old aerosol cans of hair spray that make you wheeze.

When I need my hair to hold a style I use a little sea salt based hair spray to texturize.

In between shampoos the only portion of my hair that really tends to look dirty is the hair closest to my scalp.

When this hair becomes too oily, I just use a touch of dry shampoo to spruce up the area, saving the rest of my long hair from the harshness of shampoo.

At first when I decided to decrease the amount of times I shampoo a week, I noticed my hair was getting really greasy.

After a couple of weeks my hair adjusted to the new routine and began to look healthy and beautiful. The results I had been hoping for all along were finally starting to come through and I was pleased with how my hair both looked and felt.

Although the frequency of showers and shampoos required are subjective to each individual, I think it is wise for people to reevaluate whether they are bathing too often.

Common misconceptions about how to keep your hair clean and healthy may prove to be more damaging than helpful.

By adjusting your cleaning habits you may find yourself with spare time and money, alongside better looking locks.

Arline Votruba can be contacted at avotruba@keene-equinox.com