October 22, 2021
Few parts of our daily routine feel as incredible as a freshly washed mane. The smell of shampoo. The impeccable shine. The sense of peak cleanliness. It is hard to beat a good scrub.
But believe it or not, many consider washing your hair more than once or twice a week detrimental to overall hair and scalp health. That’s a surprising conclusion for those who grew up with the habit of daily shampoo.
So, how often should you be washing your hair? With experts saying everything daily, to weekly, or even never, what is that magic number?
Honestly—it depends. We know that’s less than a satisfying answer, but it’s the truth. Let’s dig into why there’s no hard and fast rule to washing your hair and how you can find out what works best for your locks.
HOW DOES SHAMPOOING AFFECT YOUR HAIR?
How could something as straightforward as shampooing your hair cause controversy? Likely, everyone’s scalp is different, and those hair care gurus want to claim that they know the key. However, the simple truth is that what works to perfection on one head might cause a flurry of dandruff on another.
Unless you have excessive grease, it is unlikely that you should be washing your hair every day—though most experts suggest much more than never. We all know how satisfying good shampooing is, but the fact is that it strips the natural oils required for a healthy scalp. This leads to dry, fragile hair that’s more brittle and susceptible to breakage. Essentially, while shampooing does take away that dirt and grime, it also takes away all the good stuff that your head craves.
For optimum hair health, our hair needs those oils. Without it, our skin and hair would be dry and flaky; natural oil keeps your scalp and mane happy.
THE SCIENCE OF SHAMPOOING
That stuff we typically know of, like oil and grease, is called sebum. Gross as it may be, sebum has an essential purpose. Eliminating it from our scalps severely dries it out and increases the chances of excessive flaking, brittle hair, and breakage.
Biologically though, we are all different. Some people produce less sebum than others. Also, the texture and thickness of your hair can significantly affect this greasiness. Thick, curly hair will suck up that sebum like a sponge, which often means fewer washes. On the flip side, thinner, straighter hair means fewer places for that sweat and grease to hide, so more shampoos are often necessary to keep the hair from appearing greasy.
WHAT’S THE VERDICT?
For most people, a good shampoo every 2–3 days is ideal. Of course, you should try out different periods to see what looks and feels best for you. When switching from washing your hair every day to every three days, it may take some time for your hair to adjust. Give it a couple of weeks before deciding that you’ll need a more regular shampooing—or that you can even spread that time out longer.
However, if you work out strenuously or sweat heavily, you may need to shampoo more often. Keep in mind that shampoo should be concentrated on the scalp, whereas conditioner should be applied to start your ends with your hair.
Also, don’t think skipping a shampoo means skipping the shower altogether. It’s only the shampoo you should avoid daily. The rest of your body can usually handle daily washes without a problem. Daily conditioning—especially at the ends of your hair—can help maintain an optimal moisture amount.
If you’re determined to cut down on washing your hair but just can’t get over the extra greasiness, try out a dry shampoo. Instead of washing away all those healthy, natural oils, a dusting of this powder soaks up any excess sebum build-up. It’s a perfect solution for those “in-between” days.