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The truth is that several factors influence how often you need to wash your hair. From your unique hair texture to daily activities and lifestyle choices, hair-washing requirements aren’t one-size-fits-all,

In this article, we’ll delve into valuable insights from hair care professionals, aiming to guide you in customizing your hair-washing routine. The goal is not just to help you keep your hair clean but to ensure it maintains its health and vibrancy.

Washing Tips by Hair Type

The first step to figuring out how often you should wash your hair is understanding the needs of specific hair types and textures. As dermatologist Dr. Harikiran Chekuri, medical head of ClinicSpots, and founder of Redefine Clinic put it, “There is no universal rule for how often you should wash your hair, but some general guidelines [exist].
Below, our experts have outlined what to consider when establishing your hair-washing schedule.


Oily, Fine, Straight Hair

Individuals with oily, fine, or straight hair should consider washing their hair every two to three days, if not daily, suggests trichologist Anabel Kingsley. “When you have finer hair, there’s more room on your head for more follicles,” explains Kingsley. More follicles mean more oil production as each follicle is attached to an oil gland— this means more frequent washing is needed unless greasy hair is your thing. Dr. Chekuri concurs, noting that the most effective way to remove the excess oil and dirt from the hair and scalp is to shampoo your hair.

Thick Hair
Of course, when you have thick hair, the tune changes from that of fine hair counterparts. Kingsley advises, “If you have thick hair, then washing your hair at least once or twice a week should be enough.” Unlike fine or straight hair, this hair type is slower to show oil buildup, offering more flexibility with washing schedules.

Coarse or Curly Hair

Coarse or curly hair requires a unique approach. “You may be able to get away with washing once per week,” notes Kingsley, “but you’ll run a greater risk of developing scalp issues such as dandruff.” She emphasizes the importance of not letting too much time pass between washes to prevent buildup and other complications.
Crystle Jones-Bond, a licensed cosmetologist of Classic Care Boutique, also weighs in, particularly on the topic of co-washing (using conditioner only). She cautions that while co-washing can refresh curls, it shouldn’t replace regular shampooing entirely, as it doesn’t provide the same level of cleansing.

Other Considerations
Dry Hair

Dealing with dry hair means your routine (washing and otherwise) needs to include lots of moisture. Overwashing can strip the hair of its natural oils, leading to further dryness. According to Dr. Chekuri, those with dry hair should “incorporate hydrating ingredients like glycerin or hyaluronic acid into your routine to help retain moisture.” Additionally, limiting the use of heat styling tools, applying deep conditioning treatments, and using hair oils can contribute to healthier, more hydrated locks.

Color-Treated or Damaged Hair

Color-treated hair requires extra care to preserve its health while maintaining vibrant color. Damaged hair, whether from chemicals, heat, or manipulation (ie. harsh combing and brushing) also needs to be treated with TLC to avoid additional stress. Using products specifically formulated for colored hair, avoiding harsh chemicals, and reducing the frequency of washes are just some ways to help. “Protect the integrity of your color and overall hair health by applying regular nourishing (conditioning) treatments,” adds Dr. Chekuri, noting heat protectants and leave-in conditioners can help mitigate damage from styling tools and beyond.

Scalp Conditions

Managing scalp conditions, whether dandruff, psoriasis, or sensitivity, requires another layer of care when washing your hair. In the case that you’re dealing with a scalp condition, it’s best to seek an expert for advice on shampooing and treating in general, whether it be with medicated shampoos or another course of action.

Additional Hair Washing Tips
Choose the Right Products

To select the right shampoo and conditioner, you must understand your hair’s specific needs. For example, Kingsley notes that while many people opt to stay away from sulfate shampoos, not all sulfates are overly harsh. In fact, shampoos that include it in the formula can sometimes more effectively remove buildup, dirt, and oil. However, Dr. Chekuri warns, “Sulfates can strip the hair of its natural oils and moisture, leaving it dry, brittle, and prone to breakage.” This is especially true for those with curly, coily, dry, damaged, or color-treated hair, who might find sulfate-free shampoos, packed with nourishing proteins, oils, and botanical extracts, more beneficial.

Conversely, shampoos that are super nourishing or hydrating, packed with ingredients such as oils and shea butter, may be too heavy for fine or straight hair that tends to get greasy easily. These rich formulas can weigh the hair down, leaving it looking flat and lifeless. Instead, individuals with this hair type might prefer lightweight, balancing shampoos that provide essential moisture without excess residue. It’s all about finding a product that maintains a healthy scalp and hair balance, catering specifically to your hair’s texture and condition.

Select the Right Temperature

Washing your hair with the water temperature is also crucial for maintaining its health. Dr. Chekuri recommends lukewarm water (approximately 100°F) as it efficiently dissolves oil and dirt without damaging the hair shaft. Using too hot water can strip your hair and scalp of essential oils, leading to issues such as breakage, frizz, and inflammation. On the other hand, too cold water complicates the cleaning process, potentially causing residue buildup, dandruff, or fungal infections due to inadequate cleansing. Opting for lukewarm water strikes a balance, allowing for gentle cleansing that preserves your hair’s natural moisture and oils, making it more manageable post-wash.

Focus on the Scalp

Kingsley emphasizes the importance of scalp health when washing your hair. Maintaining a healthy scalp promotes healthy hair growth and retention, she says. Any suds created while cleansing your hair will naturally run through your hair, so you don’t need to massage shampoo into the lengths of your hair unless your hair is extraordinarily dirty. Massaging the scalp during washing is a step that goes beyond mere cleanliness—it stimulates blood flow and supports overall hair health.

Take Your Lifestyle Into Consideration

In crafting your hair care routine, your day-to-day activities need as much consideration as your hair type. Dr. Chekuri emphasizes, “Your lifestyle can dictate the frequency and intensity of hair washes needed.” For instance, regular workouts, living in humid conditions, or exposure to environmental pollutants may require more frequent washes.
Finding the best hair-washing routine means considering your hair type, daily activities, and the weather where you live. Experts stress that in addition to following guidelines based on hair type, texture, and scalp condition, paying attention to your hair needs is the key to keeping it clean and healthy.

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