How Often You Should Actually Watch Your Hair

Getting to the Root of This Haircare Conundrum

It’s the question that leaves everyone – beauty experts included – scratching their heads: How often do you really need to wash your hair?

The answer, of course, isn’t so simple. The frequency with which you should shampoo depends on a number of factors ranging from your hair type and your lifestyle to personal preference. Wash too often, and you’ll strip your hair of its natural protective oils – drying it out and making it more prone to breakage. Not washing enough will cause those natural oils to build up on the scalp, leading to greasiness, itchiness, and other scalp issues. In fact, going too long between washes can even impede hair growth. 

woman shampooing her hair

First, it’s important to understand the role shampoo plays in your haircare routine. Just like your body, your hair gets “dirty” over time thanks to things like sweat and air pollution. Shampoo is a cleansing agent that removes impurities (think: dirt, dust, and product buildup) from your hair. Finding the best frequency for using shampoo will help you sport a clean mane without stripping it of its natural oils.

So, how often should you wash your hair?

Some people can go two or three days between washes. You may want to lather up more frequently if: 

  • You have thin/fine hair.
  • You have oily hair.
  • You live in a humid environment.
  • You exercise/sweat daily.
  • You use a lot of styling products.


On the other hand, some people can wash less frequently without any issues. This might be you if:

  • You have thick hair.
  • You have textured hair.
  • Your hair is dry or damaged.
  • Your hair is styled (for example, a blowout).


One other factor to consider is age. As you grow older, your hair follicles tend to produce less oil, meaning hair is more likely to feel dry – and your frequency in hair washing should decrease accordingly. In other words, your haircare routine in your 20s will probably look a little different than when you reach your 40s and 50s.

No matter your hair type, age, or environment, if you notice your hair getting visibly oil, grimy, or smelly, you could probably benefit from a shampoo. And, according to cosmetic experts, you shouldn’t go more than 14 days without a wash. The longer you go without shampoo, the more dirt, excess oil, and air pollution build up on your scalp. 

As you can see, washing your hair isn’t a one-size-fits-all process. Determining the right frequency for you may take some trial and error, but it’s important to maintaining a healthy head of hair!


Dos and Don’ts for Washing Your Hair

Ready to lather up? Make sure you’re washing your hair correctly with these tips.

Do focus on the scalp.

A common mistake, many people spend time massaging shampoo into their strands, when scrubbing the scalp is key to an effective shampoo. After all, you need a healthy scalp to grow healthy hair.

Don’t overdo the product.

Chances are, you’re using more product than necessary – and that’s just money down the drain. For most people, a dollop of shampoo roughly the size of a raspberry will suffice.

Do find products you like, and keep buying them.

Hair appreciates consistency, so there’s no need to mix it up when it comes to your go-to shampoo. Any claim that hair gets “used to” a certain product after using it a while – therefore becoming ineffective – is simply untrue.

Don’t forget the conditioner.

If you’re regularly skipping the conditioner, think again; conditioner nourishes your hair and helps to protect it from damage. Just remember that it only needs to be applied to the bottom two-thirds of your hair.

Do finish with a cold rinse.

This will help you lock in moisture, resulting in shinier, smoother hair.

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