How Often Should You Wash Your Hair?

Updated

Many people are confused about how often they should wash their hair. It’s common to hear that you shouldn’t wash your hair every day because doing so strips away natural oils. At the same time, it’s common to hear that you should wash your hair every day to keep it clean and fresh. So what’s the deal?

It Depends on What Type of Hair You Have

Most hair experts agree that the frequency at which you should wash your hair all comes down to one thing: What type of hair you have. Is your hair dry and coarse? Curly and frizzy? Fine and straight? Or is it a combination of several of these?

In addition to knowing your hair type, you also should understand what type of shampoo to use when washing your hair. By using a shampoo that’s suitable for your hair type, your hair will be thoroughly cleaned from the scalp to the hair ends. To clear up any misunderstandings about hair washing frequency, we’ve put together this guide. 

We’ve structured this guide according to hair type. Simply look for your hair type to find out how often you should be washing that mane of yours! But before we get into the nitty-gritty of hair-washing frequency, we’ll explain why your hair needs to be washed in the first place.

The Root of the Issue is Sebum

When you step out of the shower after washing your hair, a few things start to happen. Your scalp gradually gets shinier, darker, and more oily. Why does your scalp change and get yucky? It’s because of sebum.

Sebum is produced by the sebaceous glands. These tiny glands are located under the layer of skin called the dermis. Sebum is a substance that builds up on your scalp to make it darker, oily, and shiny. As the glands are secreting sebum, the oily substance makes its way to the hair follicles. This is how sebum emerges from the skin to make it to your scalp and hair.

The sebaceous glands also produce sebum on your face to make your complexion oily. So sebum is the culprit. It’s responsible for both your oily face and greasy hair!  It’s also the primary reason why you need to wash your hair regularly. If you were to never wash your hair, it would be a dark, greasy, and disgusting mess.

Now let’s get into the reason you’re here: To find out how often you should wash your hair.

Fine, Flat Hair

Hair that’s fine and flat becomes oily fast, and it’s visible too. If you have fine, flat hair, you’re probably tempted to wash it every day. However, it’s best not to wash your hair daily because doing so can make your hair look more oily.

You should be washing your fine, flat hair every other day using a volumizing shampoo. This type of shampoo will lift those flat strands of hair to boost volume. On the days you’re not washing your hair, you can use a quality dry shampoo to keep the oil at bay.

Thick Dense Hair

If you’re blessed with thick dense hair, you don’t have to wash it so often. This is because your thick hair follicles hide and distribute oil better than thin hair. Your goal should be to wash your thick hair once a week. A good shampoo to use is one that deeply cleanses the roots of your hair. Look for a shampoo containing tree tea oil. This ingredient will give the shampoo more umph! You’ll get an invigorating and thorough cleanse of your thick hair.

Wavy Hair or Loose Curls

Heavy shampoos weigh down waves and big curls. Over-washing wavy hair or loose curls can cause limpness too. However, waves and curls do need some hydrating.  Therefore, you should wash wavy hair or loose curls every other day. Don’t use a heavy shampoo made for regular hair. Look for a sulfate-free shampoo that offers some moisturizing ingredients. This way, you’ll get buoyant body and clean hair!

View Recommended Shampoos for Curly Hair

Dense, Tightly Coiled Hair

Dense hair that’s coiled tightly causes oily roots and dry ends. The ends of your coiled hair dry out because the oils have a hard time making their way down the curly hair shafts. If you have this type of hair, t’s likely that your hair feels dry. You should be washing your hair every three days.

Look for a nourishing shampoo that’s packed with goodness. Almond oil and avocado oil are two good ingredients to watch for. It’s important to make sure styling product residue doesn’t build up in your coiled curls. To avoid this use a clarifying shampoo once every other week.

Damaged Hair

Is your hair damaged from over-processing or using too much heat? Maybe you’re in the habit of over-brushing your hair. Perhaps you can’t go without using a curling iron or hair straightener every day. Whatever the reason is for your damaged hair, it needs help. To avoid doing any more damage to your locks, only wash your hair every three days.

Try to find a shampoo made for damaged hair that will repair, strengthen, and hydrate your hair. This type of shampoo will take care of split ends, breakage, and other types o damage your hair has endured.

Natural Black Hair

Natural black hair is often dry. This means it’s not a good idea to wash this type of hair too often. A good rule of thumb to follow is to wash your hair once every 7 to 19 days. This way, you’ll nourish and hydrate your hair. You’ll also be washing away styling products and environmental dirt and grime.

Use a shampoo made for natural black hair. This type of shampoo doesn’t contain any drying sulfates like sodium lauryl sulfate. A quality shampoo for black hair is one that will cleanse well. It should also provide ample moisture, and pamper your curls or waves. Steer clear of those shampoos containing unnatural chemicals. These shampoos can strip your hair of moisture.

Oily Hair

If you have oily hair, you know the struggle. That oil builds up quickly. What do you do? You grab the shampoo every day and wash your hair. The problem is, the more you fight the oil, the more oil your scalp produces. This happens because your naturally-oily scalp is trying to compensate for the lack of oil after each washing. To get a grip on your hair, try to wash it every other day.

Use a shampoo made specifically for oily hair. This type of shampoo contains a stronger surfactant. That’s the ingredient that removes excess sebum from hair strands. An oily hair shampoo also has fewer conditioning ingredients compared to shampoo for normal or dry hair.

Normal Hair

Normal hair isn’t fine, oily, thick, curly, or dense & tightly coiled. It falls somewhere in between. If you have normal hair, you should wash it every other day. There are lots of shampoos out there for normal hair. The best normal hair shampoos don’t contain harsh chemicals or sulfates that strip your hair. Instead, they use natural ingredients to cleanse and nourish your strands.

Color-Treated Hair

When you spend time and money to color your hair, you want that color to last. You should never wash your color-treated hair every day. If you do, your color will fade fast and your hair will dry out and become dull. 

To keep your color sealed in, only wash your hair when needed, and according to your hair type. Just look for your hair type in the guidelines above, and set a schedule according to your hair type.

Color-treated hair should always be washed using a shampoo designed for colored hair. This type of shampoo will clean and moisturize without stripping away color. A good color-treated hair shampoo also offers some UV protection. This will ensure the sun can’t rob you of color.

Shampoos for color-treated hair come in many varieties. Some are color-preserving formulas while others are made for specific hair types. Read labels carefully to find one that ticks all the boxes for you.

We Hope This Helps You 

There is no single right answer to the question “How often should you wash your hair?”. How often you should wash that head of hair of yours depends upon the type of hair you have. Use the guide above to determine how often you should lather up. Then it’s just a matter of using a shampoo that’s made for your hair type.

It’s super important to understand your hair and know what works for it. Don’t forget that your hair is your most prized accessory. It goes with you everywhere and everyone sees it. That’s why you should take great care of it.

Most hair care experts agree that washing your hair every day isn’t necessary. In fact, it can damage your hair by stripping away natural oils. Treat your hair like you treat your skin. Keep it clean, soft, hydrated, and nourished. Make sure to check our article on how often should you wash your hair.

Both men and women care about their hair. While some people put more effort into hair maintenance, everyone wants healthy, good-looking hair. To achieve great hair, you’ve got to know your hair well and not overwash it. Be smart about your hair and treat it well so it’s healthy, beautiful and soft.

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