How Often Should You Wash Your Hair?

Woman washing hair in shower

How Often Should You Wash Your Hair?

If you wonder how often you should wash your hair, join the club! Many From Hair On clients ask the question, particularly if they are experiencing excessively oily or dry hair. For the purposes of this article, “hair washing” includes shampooing. If you Google the question, you’ll quickly see that there is no one-size-fits-all answer to the hair washing frequency question, because there are many factors that can cause your locks to become dry or oily, including: hair length, hair texture, the environment, how physically active you are, what products you use on your hair, and how often you have your hair cut or styled.

Because there are so many possible contributing factors to hair dryness or oiliness, it takes awareness and a little trial and error to find out how many times per week you should wash your hair.

Problems Caused by Hair Washing Frequency

Too much hair washing can cause your hair to become dry and damaged. Shampoo strips the hair of its natural oil (sebum). While a good conditioner and other hair treatments can replace that natural oil, too frequent hair washing can lead to a dry scalp and dry, brittle hair. The way you wash and dry your hair can also cause dryness and damage. “Rubbing in” shampoo and vigorously towel drying your hair are common causes of split ends and frizzies. Gently massage your scalp and hair when you shampoo and when you towel dry before blow drying, pat your hair dry with a towel rather than rubbing the towel on your hair.

Too little hair washing will usually cause your hair and scalp to become oily. The build up of sebum (natural oils near the hair follicle produced by the sebaceous gland) can result in an itchy scalp, dandruff, scalp pimples, and a thickening waxing layer of sebum and dead skin cells.

The Bottom Line on Hair Washing Frequency

In a WebMD article, Carolyn Goh MD, Assistant Clinical Professor of David Geffen School of Medicine, suggests that only those who have fine hair, or who live in a humid climate, or exercise frequently, may need to wash their hair daily.

People with “normal” hair (not excessively dry or oily) can wash their hair every other day or every two or three days.

Curly hair or long hair: wash less frequently because sebum produced at the follicle won’t affect the entire length of your hair. Curly, wavy, or long hair doesn’t appear dirty or greasy as quickly as shorter hair as a result.

Straighter or shorter hair: may need more frequent washing because sebum effects the entire length of hair.

While the generalizations above are a good starting point, you’ll need to experiment.

Using shampoo and conditioner recommended for your hair type (normal, dry, oily), try the following:

  • Wash your hair daily for a week. Make a mental note (or actual notes) about the condition of your hair and scalp during that week.
  • Wash your hair every second day for week. Make notes as above.
  • Wash your hair every third for a week. Make notes as above.
  • Wash your hair once per week. Make mental notes as above.

It may seem like a lot to go through, but this approach is really the only way to find out the how often you should wash your hair. Besides, you only need to do this experiment once and you’re set!

Dry or Oily Scalp or Hair? From Hair On Can Help

If you live in the Tricities, we invite you to book an appointment for a haircut and style at our Port Moody hair salon. From Hair On stylists are haircare experts who can help you determine the best frequency of hair washing for your hair type, scalp and hair condition. Our stylists can recommend shampoo, conditioner, and hair treatments for optimal hair and scalp health. From Hair On uses and sells organic haircare products made by Surface, a Canadian company.