Written by Tenley Haraldson.
To wash or not wash your hair? That is the question.
We all know how often you should wash your body, but hair is a bit more complicated. However, the dermatologists and hair stylists we spoke to agreed on one thing: Most people shampoo far too frequently.
Is It Bad to Shampoo Everyday?
When most of us see oily hair, we tend to hop in the shower ASAP. But sebum produced by the scalp is there for a reason: It naturally distributes down the hair shaft and adds necessary moisture.
If your hair washing schedule is a bit too frequent, you can strip away these important oils, leaving dry, lifeless hair that’s more prone to breakage. And everyone wants healthy hair, right? Obviously.
So How Often Should You Shampoo Your Hair?
While some folks need to shampoo every day (like people with fine hair, regular exercisers, and those who sweat excessively), the optimal frequency of hair washing largely depends on five factors:
1. Hair Type
People with thick, wavy, coarse, and/or curly hair have a slight advantage here: They normally need to wash less frequently. These hair types also tend to be drier since sebum has a harder time reaching the ends. According to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), some people with dry and/or curly hair may only need to shampoo their hair every 7 to 10 days.
Oil is obviously more noticeable on straight, thin hair. If you have excessively oily hair, you might need to shampoo every other day (or even every day) to keep oil under control.
2. Chemical Treatments
People with chemically-colored, straightened, curled, or hairstyles that pull unnaturally at the roots should try to avoid washing their hair every day.
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3. How Much Oil Your Scalp Produces
Scalp sebum production differs based on factors like age, gender, and genetics.
Teenagers and young adults tend to produce more sebum than older adults. So if you happened to have excessively oily hair during puberty, that doesn’t mean you’ll have the same issue when you’re older.
Most people with normal oil production can probably get away with washing every few days.If your hair gets greasy after one day, however, try scrubbing your scalp with plain water each morning or evening.
4. How Much Sweat You Produce
Some of us are super sweaty or live in hot, humid climates. When sweat spreads, sebum can quickly cause hair to look dirty or even smell stinky. Hats and bike helmets can produce even more sweat and oil.
After substantial workouts or heat waves, we recommend shampooing. But if your hair isn’t overly sweaty, a simple water rinse should be good enough.
5. Your Styling Products
If you use chemical-based products in your hair (e.g. mousse, gel, hairspray), you probably need to shampoo more frequently. These products can cause buildup over time and may cause scalp irritation.
How Often Should You Use Conditioner?
It’s important to use conditioner after every shampoo. Not only does it seal split ends, but it also combats static electricity and free radical damage. But what should you do between washes?
“Co-washing” means using rinse-out conditioner without shampooing (though you can also stick to rinsing with plain water). While conditioner might weigh down oily and fine hair, co-washing can infuse curly, dry, and/or coarse hair with extra moisture and shine. To avoid waxy buildup, we recommend sticking to a silicone-free conditioner.
Remember: Conditioner is only meant for the fragile tips of your hair. Applying it to the entire length of your hair can make it look limp and lifeless.
Develop a Healthier Hair Washing Schedule
Switch up your hair-washing routine by cutting out one or two washes per week. For the next month, keep notes about how your hair looks and feels. Remember that it takes about 2-4 weeks for your hair to adapt to a silicone-free hair regime.
During the second month, start tweaking your hair washing routine to determine how often you need to shampoo, rinse, or co-wash.
Extend Your ‘Do (Without Shampoo)
No one wants greasy-looking hair, so here are a few extra ways to make your hair look its best between washes:
1. Dry Shampoo
Dry shampoo is the #1 obvious recommendation here.
2. Blot, Blot, Blot
Blotting paper (the kind you use for freshening your face) can also be used on your scalp and hair to soak up excess oil.
3. Break out the Blow Dryer
Excessive blow-dryer use can damage hair, the heat can help dry some oil while adding volume. Flip your head over, turn on the lowest setting, and get to styling.
4. Cover Up
Cute hats and headscarves are excellent ways to disguise your hair if you’re running errands. Or you carry that look amazingly well.
5. Hands Off
Try to avoid touching your hair during the day. Our fingertips are covered in oils – and traces of everything else we touch.
6. Speak to a Professional
If changing up your shampooing routine doesn’t change things – and you’re frustrated about oily hair – consider booking an appointment with a board-certified dermatologist.
Why Your Shampoo Matters
Most conventional shampoos and conditioners contain ingredients like parabens and sulfates which can strip hair of its natural oils and cause scalp irritation. Since the wrong pH balance has been known to disrupt the balance of your scalp, we also recommend reaching for pH-balanced haircare. Like ours.
Puracy Natural Shampoo and Conditioner was developed alongside PhD scientists and salon owners to be the best plant-based hair care duo anywhere. Our goal wasn’t just to improve shine and manageability: We wanted to extend the time between washing. That’s why – for most hair types – you can count on 3+ days between shampooing.
What’s not to love about that?