Washing your hair is one of the basic tenets of a good hair care routine. But figuring out how often you should wash your hair can be tricky and maybe even a little bit stressful.
There is no one size fits all answer for hair washing. Your hair is just as unique as you are, so your hair washing routine should be too. While this guide will give you an overview of how often your hair should be washed, don’t be afraid to experiment by going longer or shorter intervals between washes to find what works best for you.
Understanding Your Hair
When we’re talking about hair washing, it’s important to understand the different parts that need to be washed. First, we have your scalp (this is the skin on your head). The hair root grows out of the scalp. The rest of the hair is called the shaft.
Each of these elements has slightly different needs when it comes to washing frequency. Whereas the scalp will need to be washed most often (because that is where oil is produced), the ends of your hair can get dried out if you shampoo them too often.
Finding the perfect balance between too much and not enough is vital.
Washing Based on Hair Type
How often you should wash your hair depends on several factors, but most importantly on your hair type. Your hair type refers to the texture of your hair. Is it straight, curly, or somewhere in between?
Here’s a general idea of how often you should wash your hair based on hair type:
- Straight hair - every 2-3 days
- Curly hair - every 3- 4 days
- Coily hair - once, maybe twice per week
If you have very greasy hair, you may want to wash more frequently. Dry hair may go longer between shampooing but still will need to be conditioned regularly.
Who Should Wash Daily
Women who have extremely greasy hair may need to wash daily. If you have fine hair, oil will show more easily and make your hair seem flat, so regular shampooing is a must. You may also need to shampoo your hair daily if you sweat easily or if you are exercising in a way that makes your scalp sweat.
In general though, most women will do better only washing every other day. In fact, if you have been washing daily for a long time, you may think you have greasy hair when you actually don’t. According to Healthline, “washing more than once a day can cause your glands to overreact and produce more oil to make up for the extra shampooing.” Giving your scalp time in between washes may help your hair be less greasy over time.
The Max Amount of Time to Go Between Washes
It’s not a bad thing to give your scalp time between washes. However, the maximum number of days you can go without washing will depend on your hair type and how oily your scalp gets. So long as you don’t have any scalp problems, you can comfortably go up to a week between washes.
As a rule of thumb, you should not go more than 14 days without washing. The natural oil your scalp produces can start to build up. Combined with dead skin cells, your scalp’s pores can get clogged. This can make your scalp really itchy and irritated and can even lead to hair loss.
If you want to get your hair to go longer between washes, start gradually. Your scalp is conditioned to produce oil at intervals based on how frequently you wash, so when you begin washing less your scalp will still produce oil at the same rate.
Your hair will need time to adjust to washing less, so you’ll have greasy hair for a few days between washes. Give your scalp at least a few weeks to get used to the new schedule.
Does Overwashing Damage Your Hair?
Short answer: yes.
Overwashing is not good for your hair at all. First, by stripping your scalp too frequently of its natural oils, you leave the skin vulnerable to dryness and flaking.
The natural oils in your scalp also coat the shafts of your hair and keep them strong and flexible. When you wash too frequently, the hair shafts don’t get enough natural moisture and become more prone to breaking and splitting. And if you’re trying to grow out your hair, then you definitely don’t want to overwash.
Like we mentioned above, shampooing too frequently can also cause your scalp to overcompensate on oil production and leave you with greasier hair. While washing less frequently will not necessarily make your hair grow faster, it will help it be healthier.
The natural oils produced by your scalp are not water-soluble (meaning they don’t dissolve) and therefore can’t be washed out of your hair with just water. Shampoo is a hair cleaning product containing surfactants that help break down oils and strip them from your hair.
How Does Shampoo Work
Shampoo works much in the same way dish soap works on greasy dishes. When you apply shampoo, the surfactants allow the water (from the shower) to bond with the oil in your hair and on your scalp and be washed away.
Am I Shampooing Too Much?
If you are shampooing every day, then you are probably shampooing too much. Unless you have extremely greasy hair or do work or exercise that causes you to get sweaty, your hair will most likely do better with less frequent shampooings.
You may also be using too much shampoo when you wash. The amount you need varies by your hair length and the amount of natural oil, but generally a nickel to quarter sized amount is plenty.
Choosing the Perfect Shampoo for You
Finding the right shampoo can be tricky and will definitely require some trial and error. As you try different types of shampoos, test them for at least a few washes before deciding. This will give your scalp some time to adjust and give you time to see the results of the shampoo on your hair.
As you go about selecting a shampoo, consider carefully what your hair needs. If your hair is dry and prone to breakage, then you probably want a shampoo that moisturizes. On the other hand, women with really greasy hair should avoid moisturizing shampoos and go for ones that strip oils.
Is It Okay to Wash with Just Water?
Washing with water alone is not dangerous. But it may also not work for you. Many women are attracted to the idea of washing only with water because it can save you money on shampoo, and it is more natural since shampoos can contain harsh chemicals.
Washing with warm water may loosen up the oils on your scalp and rinse away some of the dirt and buildup. However, it does not strip away oil like shampoo does and may leave your hair feeling and looking greasy. Washing only with water may work best for those with dry hair.
Wash with Eluxe
How often you should wash your hair is highly personal and tailored to you, so your shampoo should be too. Eluxe’s special shampoo naturally promotes hair growth to help you combat thinning and obtain thicker, fuller hair.
Order your first bottle of Eluxe shampoo today.