“How often should I wash my hair? I’m tempted to do it every time I hit the showers, but I’ve heard that regular shampoos can damage my hair.”

Paul, via email.

Like most things in a man’s life, Paul, the art of hair washing is a balancing act. Too much and your hair loses natural nutrients, too little and you risk looking like a Harry Potter villain. So, what’s the real number?

Remember that your top of the crops naturally produces something called sebum – an oil secreted from glands in the scalp that act as the body’s ready-made conditioner. Which in itself is fine. The problem with sebum is that one, it looks pretty greasy in excess, and two, if left to fester, soaks up pollution and bad smells like a piss cake in a public toilet. So the automatic response would be to wash it. The big question is how often.

Since we’re guessing you’re a functioning adult that hasn’t quite hit peak Stig Of The Dump, it can be difficult to assess whether your hair needs a soak. Generally speaking, twice a week is the recommended amount. However, this depends on both your hair type and your lifestyle.

(Related: 23 Expert Hair Care Tips For Men)

Finer hair, while more delicate at the roots, is prone to looking thinner and clump at the slightest sign of oil, so perhaps a more regular wash will keep your locks shining – three times a week, if necessary. A choice, nasties-free conditioner will restore moisture and nutrients lost, so if your hair isn’t the thickest of thickets, make sure it gets the goodness it needs.

Meanwhile, denser heads can afford to ease off on the shampoo, limiting washes to twice a week. For the in-betweens, simply wet and scratch your scalp in the shower. This will exfoliate any dead skin cells and excess oils without the use of sulfates – an ingredient in most shampoos that’ll strip hair of natural nutrients.

Now Paul, if you’ve been at the gym and you’re about to head out for dinner, a light shampoo will suffice – nobody wants to date Frank Gallagher, after all. Just don’t feel the need to do it everyday, lest you risk dulling the shine of your presumably luscious locks.