How Often Should I Be Washing My Hair? Asking For a Friend...
How often you should you really be washing your hair? After learning how often we need to be conditioning our strands to keep them vibrant, healthy, and looking their best, we paused to revisit the frequently asked question of just how often we should be shampooing our hair. What we came to discover is that there are in fact a lot of common misconceptions around how we care f or our strands on the daily.
Shampooing our hair isn't just about washing off the sweat from our last workout. It's a matter of caring for our scalp and keeping our hair healthy, starting at the roots (your scalp is skin, afterall). We use serums, exfoliants, and moisturizers on our skin, but there's still this recurring disconnect when it comes to caring for our scalp.
Is It Bad to Wash Your Hair Every Day?
Unfortunately there is no set answer for this, what it comes down to is personal preference, daily habits, hair texture, and scalp health. We do, however, want to caution you against using shampoo too often. How shampoo works is that it traps dirt and oil residues, which then rinse away. Our scalp naturally releases oils to protect and moisturize our strands. Over-shampooing will strip too much of the necessary oils and can lead to dry, brittle hair and breakage.
To determine how often you should wash your hair you can look at your skin type. For example, if you have oily skin, consider washing your hair two to three times per week. If you have dry skin, only one or two times per week. In addition to skin type and oil glands, age plays a role. The younger you are, the more active your oil glands are. As such, younger people may feel the need to wash their hair more in order to avoid a messy mane.
Another thing to consider? Your lifestyle. No matter your age, find a routine that makes your hair feel healthy. For example, if you work up a sweat with workouts every day and can't stand the feeling of oily or sweaty hair, you'll end up probably shampooing every day. To decrease oil production, keep your hands out of your hair and avoid over-brushing. Dry shampoo can also be your best friend when used correctly.
Does Hair Texture Play a Role in How Often You Should Wash?
Let me just start off by saying, we are living in a time when many of us take pride on how little we shampoo our strands. The most important factor to consider in terms of determining how often to wash your hair is your hair texture. Depending on what kind of hair you have—thick or thin; straight, wavy, or curly; brittle, coarse, or silky—you can either go without washing for a few days or need to stick to a more consistent routine.
In general, thicker, coarser hair, as well as curly hair, can go a couple of days without washing. Because curls and coarser hair tend to be a bit drier, it takes a longer amount of time for your oils to spread out and coat the hair. Depending on the individual, you could go anywhere from two days without washing to even just once a week. Like we said before, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to hair care.
Although thicker manes can get away with washing less frequently, it doesn't mean skimping in other areas is permissible. With less washing, people often brush the hair less frequently. All of this combined reduces circulation in the scalp area and growth can slow down. Your scalp needs some TLC, no matter how often you choose to shampoo, even if the frequency of shampooing is slim to none.
Unfortunately, people who have reduced the frequency of washing often layer dry shampoo and over-use dry shampoo, which can cause clogging of the hair follicle. Dry shampoos are not a replacement for wet shampooing. Only shampooing can remove all the build-up, and environmental pollution on the scalp.
If you have thin fine hair, you may want to consider washing it every day or every other day. Most people with fine hair need to shampoo fairly often as oil and debris will weigh down the hair and make it look flat and greasy. Despite what's trending in shampoo talk, thin hair generally needs a more frequent cleanse.
For fine and thin hair, try pairing with a volumizing conditioner, made specifically for fine strands and never too heavy for added fullness to keep those cuticles lifted up and off the scalp.
Find Products That Work for You (and Your Hair)
If you want healthy hair, not to mention hair that can go longer between rinses, you must take care of your scalp. To make sure your scalp is getting the moisture and nutrients it needs, you need to curate your own cocktail of hair products.
The key to getting clean hair is to find the right combination of shampoo, conditioner, and product for your hair. Almost all shampoos and conditioners are labeled with guides for which texture it is best for. You can also try adding powders and dry shampoos to your arsenal if you don't want to wash every day. Experiment with how long you can personally go without washing and see what you feel is best.