How often should you wash your hair?

So, if you are like me, you have probably asked yourself this question a lot or even jumped online and done a search for this exact topic. There is so much information out there on this and sometimes it can become overwhelming with what you should do, so I am going to offer you some of the advice and tips I have come across that have helped me.

Let me start by telling you about my hair, it is dry, super curly and average length. Plus, I was someone who did not embrace the curl so tended to use a lot more product than most.

A build up of product was something I wanted to avoid so it was always a shampoo in a hot shower daily, sometimes twice a day, as this is what I thought was good for my hair. Every day it was a good shampoo until my hair was squeaky clean and very rarely did I throw some conditioner in. If there was a shampoo and conditioner product in one, then I had hit the jackpot.

The downside of this routine for me was my hair was super-dry, brittle, and very ‘frizzy’ so was always showing similarities to Cosmo Kramer from Seinfeld when waking up or letting my hair just dry naturally. And then the cycle of using heaps of product started again and just as the shampoo bottle said, wash, rinse, repeat.

Taking on the advice from a hairdresser, I started to wash my hair every second or third day and would just rinse in the shower. I also dropped a few degrees from the water as well even though the rest of the body was not happy with that decision. But to get behind the reason I tried these things then there is a little science involved.

So, our hair and scalp have a naturally occurring oil called, Sebum. Every time you wash this is stripped from your hair which is why over-washing your hair can cause more harm than good. It is also said that a hot shower will exaggerate the issue and for some can be one of the causes of dandruff as this causes a drying-out effect on your scalp. You need to find the balance of what works well with your hair style and hair type, as this will make how you manage your hair so much easier. With a good level of Sebum in your hair this can change the behaviour, texture and feel of your hair and can sometimes become a lot more manageable than before.

One of the big changes I made was to change what styling products I was using. This will drastically affect the frequency of your shampooing schedule if you use something that builds up and does not wash out with water. Find a product that washes out with plain water and you can avoid having to do a full shampoo in the shower.

Some things that you can consider in helping you with this question:

  • Do I use a lot of styling products and can these be changed to more water-soluble products?
  • Is the shampoo I am using a good quality one that is suitable to my hair type?
  • Do I live a very active lifestyle?

And the biggest one for me was, are you embracing the hair that you have or fighting against this to the detriment of your hair and scalp health?

If you wash your hair daily, then try going for a day without a shampoo and see what happens, take notice of the feel, and look of your hair. Then try going 2 days. You will find what works for you and maybe like me you will accept that your hair is healthier by doing less.

For most people there is no one-rule that fits all type of solution to this problem. There will be some trial and error as to what is best for you as your lifestyle can also affect how often you should wash your hair. If you go to gym a lot and sweat excessively then you will need to wash more often than someone who may not. If you have thinning or receding hair, then using a good stimulating shampoo can help reduce these affects.

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It is only through experimenting with cleaning and styling products will you find what works best for you, your hair, and your lifestyle.

- K