When it comes to beauty, there is arguably nothing that consumes our time more than our hair. No matter the color, length, curl type, or density of your hair, whether you buzz off all your hair or cover it with a wig or a headscarf, hair is on our minds on a daily basis.
As someone who has run the gambit with a variety of hairstyles and lengths, ranging from (naturally) brunette to pink, silver, red, and blond and a variety of hair lengths, from buzzcut to below-the-shoulders, I have had to change up my hair washing routine a number of times. Here’s the tea on how often you should really wash your hair and some methods you can use to ensure your haircare routine is at it’s most optimal.
How Often Should You Really Wash Your Hair?
There are a number of factors that determine how often you should wash your hair; hair/type density, age, usage of hair-styling products, and heat/color damage.
We reached out to celebrity hairstylist and overall beauty expert Franco Della Grazia for his recommendation on the proper number of times to wash your hair per week. Grazia recommended that curly hair should be left alone when possible to retain the hair’s moisture.
“If your hair is naturally dry, I recommend not over washing the hair, naturally dry, curly can be washed once a week with shampoo. If need be, you can was your with water and go through the motions of washing but without shampoo…The less you wash naturally curly dry hair, the better! Too much shampooing of curly hair will strip the hair if it’s natural oils and this is detrimental to the quality of the hair. Try once a week if need be, but in between you can still go through the motions of washing your hair in the shower but use water instead of shampoo, then re-apply conditioner on the ends and then rinse. Curly hair should always be treated with the utmost respect,” Grazia emphasized.
While thin hair tends to get greasier more quickly, it is a misconception that it’s better to wash your hair more often as it may strip away your hair’s natural moisture. Try to avoid products that will weigh down the hair and go in with a hair mask and other conditioning treatments once a week.
New York-based hairstylist Anike Rabiu touched in on the matter as well.
“The frequency of when you wash your hair depends on your hair texture, your lifestyle and the condition of your scalp. I find that consumers tend to place more focus on the hair and not so much on scalp care. I would not recommend cleansing your hair or scalp daily but every 3-4 days, as cleansing the hair and scalp too often will cause dryness resulting in damage . A cool/warm water rinse under the shower won’t hurt if you are one that enjoys water on the scalp to rinse off the day but that’s if you have the time… Ideal wash week: Wavy or curly hair textures should also refrain from daily shampooing daily. Depending on your scalp need, shampoo every 3-5 days. For coily, kinky hair, shampooing the hair 7-10 days is ideal to remove product buildup,” Rabiu explained.
Age: The older you are, the less active the oil glands in your scalp will become and the less often you will need to wash your hair.
Usage of hair-styling products: If you use a hair-styling products like mouses or gels, those products will gradually build up between washes and may cause your scalp to feel greasy or create an uncomfortable heft to your hair (depending on your hair type).
Heat/Color Damage: If your hair is constantly treated by heat (hair straighteners, intense blow dryers, etc.) or coloring treatments (bleaching, dyeing, etc.), your hair is more damaged and more susceptible to breakage, meaning you need to wash it less often.
How Can You Tell If You’re Washing Your Hair Too Often?
As explained earlier, the number of times you should really wash your hair is sensitive on a number of factors that it’s hard to give a concrete number. Instead, here are a few ways you can tell if you’re overwashing your hair.
According to the Cleveland Clinic, if you are overwashing your hair you are likely to experience these symptoms:
- Dry, brittle hair
- Hair breakage
- A dry, irritated, or itchy scalp
The baseline answer is that you should try to wash your hair once a week. If you are worried about residual buildup of product or your hair feeling greasy, here are a few methods to try out.
- If you are concerned about dandruff or other residual buildup, we recommend going in with a clarifying shampoo once or twice a month, followed up with a regular wash of your shampoo and conditioner.
- For those with thinner and oiler hair types, make dry shampoo is your best friend in between washes.
- If you truly can’t stand how your scalp feels in between washes, shampoo the roots of your hair only as that are gathers oil more quickly than the rest of your hair and wash the rest with water.
- Your scalp produces sebum (a type of oil) produced by glands in hair follicles that keeps the skin moist and forms a barrier to protect the skin from infection. While many of us are conditioned to think the more often we shower and wash our hair the better, it’s not what’s best for your scalp or your hair. Simply wash your hair to a level that feels comfortable for you and your hair type.
MEET THE EXPERTS
- Franco Della Grazia is a world-renowned hairstylist with over 40 years in the industry. Grazia has worked all over the world and has owned and operated in salons in Australia, London, Montreal, and New York City. He is also the founder of Franco & Co, a brand that creates professional-grade hair care tools and products.
- Anike Rabiu is a New York-based cosmetologist with a speciality in hairstyling and a hair-and-makeup artist for See Management. Her work has been featured in a number of publications including Essence, Vogue, Cosmopolitan, Grazia, and many mor