Whoever you talk to, they’ll probably have a different opinion on how often you should wash your hair. Some people might swear by washing it every day to keep oil at bay, and others might just wash it once a week.
You’ll probably already know how long you can leave your hair before you start to feel the need to wash it. But could you be over-washing your hair? Or maybe you’re not washing it enough?
We investigate what the best time is to leave between washes and what it could mean for your locks if you’re washing too much or not enough.
How many times a week should you wash your hair?
Experts say that, as a general rule, we should be washing our hair every two to three days. However, your hair type, its condition, and your lifestyle will all affect how long is best for you to leave between washes.
What’s the problem with under-washing your hair?
Regular washing helps us to keep our scalp and hair healthy by removing excess dirt and oils that can clog our pores and cause irritation and even hair loss. You might have heard the theory that you should barely wash your hair at all, as your hair will learn to clean itself. However, if you don’t regularly remove the build-up of products, pollution, and oils, you could find that your scalp becomes itchy and even produces visible flakes. If you have particularly fine hair, not washing enough will leave you with a greasy sheen, and those with thicker hair types will probably see a combination of dry ends and greasy roots.
What’s the problem with over-washing your hair?
Over-washing your hair can also cause problems. When you wash your hair, you strip it of its natural nutrients, which can lead to breakages. When you wash your hair every day, you don’t give your hair a chance to replenish itself with natural oils. Also, our hair is weakest when it’s wet, so when you’re regularly styling, brushing or drying wet hair, you’re more at risk of breakages. When you do wash your hair, you should choose a shampoo that can help to nourish your hair instead of strip it. You should also make sure to use a deep conditioning treatment regularly to keep your hair soft and shiny. This is really important for colored hair, which is more prone to drying out.
How often should you wash fine hair?
If you have fine hair, you might find it better to wash your hair every day. This is because those with finer hair will often find their hair gets oilier quicker, as they have more oil glands on their scalp.
If you have to wash your hair every day to keep it from getting very greasy, it’s important to use the right shampoo and conditioning treatment to keep your hair healthy and glossy. You should also try not to use heat-styling every day as this can really damage your hair.
How often should you wash medium hair?
Those with medium hair will probably find that the washing every two to three days rule works well for them. However, you should keep in mind your lifestyle – if you’re working out every day, or if you live in a city where the air is polluted, you might want to wash it more often to clear away the extra dirt and oils, as these can damage your hair if it’s left to build up.
How often should you wash thick and afro hair?
Coarser hair types don’t show grease as much as finer hair types, so you can probably go a little longer between washes. Plus, if you over-wash coarse hair, it will really start to dry out, so you’ll want to avoid washing it too often. People with Afro hair type 3a to 4c should wash their hair every two weeks to remove the build-up of excess dirt and oils on the scalp. However, just as with every other hair type, your individual routine doesn’t need to be rigid – if you regularly go to the gym, it might be better to wash your hair every week to keep your scalp healthy. As part of your hair care routine, you should find the right hydrating and conditioning treatments for natural hair, to keep your hair nourished.
The best hair washing routine for you
You might need to experiment to find your golden window between washes, where your hair is able to stay nourished and hydrated but not greasy. You should think of your hair in the same way as you think of cleaning your face – you’re taking both to the same places after all, and you probably wouldn’t go weeks without washing your face!
Whilst over washing with the wrong products can dry your hair out and damage it, washing with the right hydrating and nourishing products will leave your hair silky soft and fresh. If you think you’re over-washing your hair, try cutting out one wash a week and see how that works for your hair. If you find that you always have greasy hair, try adding in an extra wash and see if that helps to keep things fresh. Whatever adjustments you make to your hair care routine, experts advise that you try it out for at least a month before you decide whether it’s working or not.