Ssomething we all learned as children: good hygiene requires frequent bathing. But the lines tend to fade when shampooing. After all, shower caps exist for a reason— so are we meant to shower every day and only wash our hair once a week? Twice a week? Than?
Logically, you would think that the more often you wash your hair, the healthier and more beautiful it gets—but that’s not always the case. There is, of course, a camp in favor of the need to use soap every day, but these days it seems most people are looking for bragging rights about how long they can use between washes. And when someone claims that they only wash their hair once a week (or even less), they tend to get compliments from their hairstylist and become the envy of their friends. Which brings us to the question du jour: Why doesn’t anyone agree on how often we wash our hair?
To try to answer this common beauty conundrum once and for all, we asked a hairstylist, a colorist, a dermatologist, and a hair therapist to share. share their expert opinion—and it turns out yes To be There is no one answer that fits all. “There is no single rule as to how often to wash your hair,” says Shab Caspara, a hairstylist and hair expert.
For the most part, hairstylists and colorists will make the mistake of washing less often, just washing once or twice a week is enough as hair and physical color tend to look and style better the way they do. there. However, from a clinical perspective, dermatologists and trichologists would say washing their hair more often is better, as they focus primarily on the scalp and they want to encourage people to keep the scalp clean. and healthy.
“Usually, I find patients need to wash their hair one to three times per week,” says Tiffany Libby, MD, board-certified dermatologist at Brown University. She explains that where you fall on that spectrum largely depends on four key factors. Keep reading to find out exactly what they are and how you can use them to find the magic number for your own shampoo.
The ‘Big 4’ factor determines how often you should wash your hair
1. Hair Type and Texture
People with frizzy, coarse, or curly hair need fewer weekly washes because these hair types need to hold as much oil as possible for proper moisture retention. Washing once a week, or even every 10 days, is recommended (though keep in mind that some of the other factors listed below can increase that number). On the other hand, people with straight or very thin hair need to wash their hair more often, because even the tiniest bit of oil left on the scalp or added through the product can quickly turn shiny. greasy. You may need to wash these textures daily or every other day, and if that’s the case, make sure to use a mild shampoo that doesn’t leave your hair greasy.
2. Scalp Oil
If your scalp tends to get oily easily, you may need to wash your hair more often, says Caspara. However, that doesn’t mean every day is a must. She says: “Washing every other day is an ideal approach and recommends using products with glycolic acid, which can help curb excessive oil production. She loves The INKEY List’s Glycolic Acid Scalp Scrub ($13).
It’s worth noting that your oil levels can vary from season to season and year to year, which means you’ll need to adjust your shampooing routine accordingly. “During the summer months, you may need to increase the frequency of washing your hair, but then you may need to reduce that frequency in the colder, drier months,” says Dr. Libby. Also, you may remember from skin care 101 that our bodies tend to produce less oil as we age, so people who previously had oily scalps may find that they don’t need to wash. The head often gets old.
3. Activity Level
Some experts would say that every time you sweat, you should wash your hair, but the four we spoke to weren’t so adamant – it’s more of a preference. Dr. Libby says that if you choose to wash your hair daily, you can, but Adam Reed, a professional hairdresser and founder of ARKIVE Headcare, says you really don’t have to. Personally, I exercise daily and rely on the cool setting of my Dyson dryer to make my sweat go away after my workout.
When it comes to dry shampoo—aka everyone’s post-workout beauty BFF—remember it can be “one “This is a product that absorbs oil from your hair and scalp quickly,” says Dr. Libby, but “does not replace shampooing and certainly does not cleanse the scalp,” says Dr. Libby. So while you can absolutely use it between washes, you want to make sure you’re taking precautions to avoid a build-up of this substance that can clog hair follicles and create many hair problems, such as thinning and oily hair. Reed recommends starting with dry shampoo before you really need it (ideally on second day hairs), so you don’t pour it on your already super greasy hair but spray it on the comb instead of spraying it directly onto the scalp and roots. “Combing helps to keep hair moisturized [with the oils from the scalp] and to maintain mass and body, he explains. Finally, if you’re an enthusiast, it’s important that you wash your scalp thoroughly every time you use it. really shampoo.
4. Hair color
Justin Anderson, celebrity hair colorist and co-founder of dpHUE, warns: “Too much washing is the number one way to fade your hair color. “It also contributes to dullness and removes essential oils that your hair and scalp really need.”
Reed agrees, saying that chemically dyed hair has been treated in a way that changes the hair’s tone, which can wash off with frequent washing. For these reasons, Anderson says washing your hair once or twice a week is enough and recommends ACV Hair Conditioner ($37) from his line as a shampoo replacement on those days when You may still want to “wash it off”, just don’t use foam. It is also great for removing product build up on the scalp, which is a concern that Caspara encourages people to keep in mind.
How to tell if you’re washing more (or less)
To determine if you’ve hit your weekly Goldilocks (aka “just right”) number of washes, pay attention to your hair’s response. An inflamed, dry and flaky scalp as well as dull looking strands are all signs of over-washing your hair; while thinning hair, dandruff and itchiness are signs you need to wash your hair more often.
Since balance is key here, you can make some regular adjustments if you need to cut down on weekly washes… starting with literally cutting back on weekly washes. According to Reed, washing your hair every day can strip your hair of its natural oils, causing the scalp’s sebaceous glands to produce oil, making your hair look greasy faster. He explains that when you reduce shampooing, your hair doesn’t need to produce as much oil and it gives the glands a chance to rebalance themselves. Another thing to give up: touching the hair, especially the scalp, as that can also lead to excess oil production.
All in all: when it comes to how often you should wash your hair, do what works for you. Follow the instructions above and get cues from your scalp and hair strands—when they tell you they need a wash (or don’t!), you’ll want to listen.
Our editors independently select these products. Purchases through our links can earn Good+Good commissions.