How Often Should You Wash Your Hair?

How Often Should You Wash Your Hair?

Posted July 20, 2020 by Tiana Carlyle
how often should you wash your hair

Let’s be honest…most people don’t spend much time thinking about their hair washing routine. But if you’re on a self-care journey like mine, you’ve probably started thinking about aspects of your routine that you never thought about before. And now you’re up at 2 a.m. googling “How often should you wash your hair?”. Well, I’ve done some research and compiled everything you need to know to improve your hair washing routine.

Why is it Important?

It is CRITICAL to know how often to wash your hair because washing your hair too often or not often enough can easily damage the health of your hair. If you wash your hair too often you may notice your hair become dry and brittle over time. This can lead to breakage and severely tangled hair. On the flip side, if you do not wash your hair often enough you may experience issues with a greasy, itchy scalp and clogged pores (aka build-up). Either way not washing your hair at the proper frequency can lead to the detriment of your hair growth and health. 

Simple Answer:

There is no universal answer to the question “How often should you wash your hair?”. The simple answer is that you should wash your hair whenever there is visible oil, dirt, or flaking, or you are experiencing an itchy scalp. The ultimate verdict will require you to learn and experiment on your hair to determine what works best for you. Here are some additional factors to consider when determining how often you should wash your hair.

Factors That Affect How Often You Should Wash Your Hair

Hair Type

Oily Hair: wash every other day 

Sebum is a natural oil that is naturally produced by the body to keep our hair and scalp hydrated and protected. Some people produce these oils more than others. It’s perfectly normal. But those individuals will notice their hair quickly becomes flat and usually feels greasy to the touch. If this is you, you will probably want to wash your hair every other day. 

Dry Hair: wash once a week

If you are like me, you may struggle to keep your tresses hydrated and moisturized. Having dry hair can be very tricky to manage. Individuals with dry hair should wash their hair much less often than people with oily hair. You need to be very careful about overwashing your hair. Overwashing your hair can result in more brittle, tangled, and damaged hair. So if this is you, you should only wash your hair no more than once a week. 

Hair Texture

Fine/Straight Hair: wash every other day

Even if your hair isn’t oily, people with fine or straight hair will notice oil and grease more quickly than other hair textures. It’s annoying and unfair, but it’s just the facts of life. If this is your hair texture you will want to wash your hair more often – usually every other day. 

Wavy/Curly Hair: wash 2-3 times a week

People with loose waves or curls in their hair fall somewhere in between all of the hair mayhem. They don’t experience oily hair quite as quickly, but their hair also doesn’t feel dry as quickly either. Lucky them. If this is your hair texture you will need to wash your hair 2-3 times a week. 

Coily/Thick Hair: up to once a week. 

It is normal for people with coily or thick hair to also experience dry hair. This is because the natural oils from the scalp can not travel down the shaft of coils as easily as they can straight hair. If this your hair texture, you should be especially careful about overwashing your hair. Usually, washing your hair every 1-2 weeks is ideal for coily and hair textures. 

Lifestyle/Physical Activity

Physical activity is also a major factor in determining how often you should wash your hair. Sweat and dirt can quickly build up in the scalp of a more active person. So, if you’re someone who works out several times a week, you’ll likely want to wash your hair a little more often than normal. If you’re a swimmer, you may want to wash your hair more often to get rid of the damaging chemicals in the water.

Hairstyling

Have you ever tried to style your hair and it just wouldn’t cooperate? If so, you already know how crucial it is to style your hair on fresh, clean hair. If you style your hair often, you probably use a lot of product on your hair. Oils, mousse, sprays – all of it builds up over time and needs to be removed. I don’t even have the time to style my hair regularly. So if you do, I envy you, but make sure you wash your hair to get all that product out. 

The Scratch Test

When I’m trying to decide whether or not I need to wash my hair, I’ve found it helpful to do what I like to call “the scratch test” on my scalp. I use my fingernail to scrape my scalp, not too hard. Then I look beneath my fingernail to see if there’s any buildup. If there is, I know it’s definitely time for me to wash my hair. 

Use these factors mentioned, in addition to the scratch test to determine when and how often you need to wash your hair. 

Finding the Right Shampoo For You

Have you ever stood in the middle of the hair care aisle, cluelessly staring at a million different shampoos and conditioners? Believe me, I feel your pain. It can be overwhelming to sort through all of the different products and identify which one will work best for you. I get it and I’m here to help. Here are some things to consider when navigating your way through the hair care aisle. 

Hair Type and Texture:

Individuals with fine or thin hair should avoid creamy shampoos, and go for gentle volumizing ones instead. On the other hand, people with coarse, thick hair should reach for gentle, moisturizing shampoos.

Ingredients: 

Let’s face it, if we examine the back of a shampoo bottle, odds are we can’t pronounce 90% of the ingredients. And that’s okay, I guess. The main ingredient that you want to avoid is sulfates. Sulfates are the ingredient that makes the soap lather, but it can strip our hair of its natural oils. Don’t worry though, it’s pretty easy to distinguish the sulfate-free shampoos. Here are some other ingredients you should try to avoid:

Parabens

Fragrance

Triclosan

Polyethylene Glycol

Price Point

Deciding how much you want to spend on your shampoo is completely up to you. There are some people who absolutely love the $3 Suave shampoo at Walmart. But if you are someone who wants to spend $30 on a bottle of shampoo I don’t judge. The most important thing is that you find something that works for you and your hair. What you spend on it is determined by you and your budget.

The Condition of Your Hair

Knowing the current condition of your hair is also a key part of finding a shampoo that will work for you. If you are someone experiencing dandruff, you will want to buy a shampoo specifically to remedy dandruff. Someone with dyed hair will want to get the shampoo specifically for color-treated hair. And, someone with damaged hair will want to reach for shampoos with restorative properties. 

I know it’s a lot to think about! But keeping these things in mind when it’s time for you to purchase a shampoo can save you a lot of time and money in the long run.

How to Properly Wash Your Hair

I know, I know. I don’t want to sound all technical but….there is a proper way to wash your hair. Washing your hair properly makes everything else (detangling, styling, etc.) that much easier. I’m not going to bore you with step by step instructions, but here’s how it’s properly done:

Tip #1 Use Warm Water 

Using warm water will open your pores and make it easier to lift the dirt from your scalp

Tip #2  Use Side to Side Motions

I know it’s tempting to move your hair in circular motions. However, doing so will cause your hair to tangle- and you don’t want that. 

Tip #3 Wash Your Scalp Only

It’s totally unnecessary to wash the ends of your hair. Wash your scalp and when you rinse the soap will get the rest of your hair clean. 

Tools That Make Wash Day a Breeze

Detangling Brush

If you have curly/coily hair you will love this brush. You can easily detangle your wet hair without ripping or damaging your hair.

how often should you wash your hair

Scalp Massager

Let me tell you! This scalp massager is perfect for scalp stimulation which encourages hair growth. Plus it feels so good!!!

how often should you wash your hair

Hair Dryer Brush

Drying your hair is a part of wash day too! And this tool is a game-changer! This brush is perfect if you want stretched hair, especially if you plan on styling your hair with heat after. 

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