There’s plenty of advice on the Internet on how to shampoo and condition your hair and what products to use, but when it comes to how often to wash your hair, people have different views on it.
While some people like to shampoo and condition their hair daily, others prefer to wash it twice or thrice a week. (1)
So, if you’re wondering how often you should shampoo and condition your hair, then keep reading.
How Often to Shampoo and Condition the Hair?
The frequency of washing your hair depends on factors such as your hair type, how active you are, and your ethnicity, among many others. For example, you should wash your hair when it feels oily or dirty or when there’s a lot of buildup on the scalp.
While shampooing your hair, work the shampoo to the scalp to capture the excess sebum, oil, and product residue. (2)
Everyone’s hair and scalp are different and different factors determine when to wash the hair. One study found that washing the hair 5–6 times a week gave superior results to once-a-week cleansing. (2)
Factors That Impact When to Wash Your Hair
Here are some factors that determine how often to shampoo and condition your hair:
1. Hair type
If you have curly, dry, and coarse hair, you can wash it twice or thrice a week because frequently washing it can strip its natural oils and render it drier and more prone to hair damage.
Colored hair needs less frequent shampooing as cleaning it daily can cause the color to fade.
Moreover, if you have seborrheic dermatitis or dandruff, you must wash your hair frequently to avoid a buildup of bacteria and flakes that will worsen the condition.
If you have fine or thin hair, you should wash your hair daily as it can look flat. Use a sulfate-free and paraben-free shampoo and go for natural shampoos that contain ingredients such as coconut oil, bhringraj oil, almond oil, onion juice, and curry leaves, as these have antimicrobial properties and can nourish and hydrate your hair well. (3)
Age has a role to play in oil secretion by the sebaceous glands in the scalp.
The oil glands are controlled by androgens (male sex hormones); that’s why younger people with highly active hormone glands have more oily scalps.
Women who have experienced menopause have a decrease in androgens, leading to little oil production. It is the same for men who have less active glands and less oil production after a certain age. (3)
If you lead an active lifestyle or love playing sports, you should wash your hair daily with a mild shampoo, as your scalp will produce more sweat and dirt.
Wash your hair after working out, as the sweat in the hair can cause a foul odor and make your hair look dirty. (4)
4. Hair length
As the sebaceous glands that produce natural oil are in the scalp, it takes a long time for the oil to go all the way down to the ends of the hair to moisturize it. The longer your hair is the more the time it takes for the sebum to reach the hair ends. (4)
Another factor that impacts how often you should wash your hair is ethnicity. For instance, African people have dry hair, which, if washed often, can become coarse and brittle and can lead to hair breakage. (5) Thus, for this hair type, washing it regularly is not recommended. (6)
Signs That You Are Overwashing Your Hair
Some signs of you washing your hair too frequently are:
- Dry and brittle hair
- Hair breakage
- Irritated scalp
- Dry scalp
Ways to Avoid Washing Your Hair Too Frequently
- Use dry shampoo – Dry shampoos are not a replacement for traditional shampoo, but you can use them sparingly to freshen and dry your hair in between showers. (7)
- Use styling products sparingly – Gels, hair spray, creams, and serums can cause buildup on your scalp if you use them regularly. If you apply many styling products, you will need to use a clarifying shampoo on your hair. (8)
- Use deep conditioning treatments – If you don’t want to wash your hair but want to nourish it, then go for deep-conditioning treatments that work on the lengths of the hair rather than the scalp. Use natural ingredients such as coconut oil, olive oil, or jojoba oil for optimum results. (8)
General Queries on How Often To Shampoo and Condition Your Hair
Can you shampoo and condition your hair every day?
While your hair requires both, you don’t need to shampoo and condition your hair daily as these will make your hair brittle and lead to hair fall.
Consider the above-mentioned factors or consult a dermatologist to find the answer.
Should I use conditioner on my oily hair?
Yes, you must use conditioner after every wash, even for oily hair, as it helps to nourish and hydrate the hair from the roots to the tips.
Which natural ingredient is good for hair growth?
You should oil your hair with coconut oil before shampooing it, as it helps in hair growth.
Everyone’s hair has its own personality and requirements that make it unique. What suits your friend’s hair may not work for you. So pay attention to your hair’s type and needs and follow the guide above in washing your hair with shampoo and conditioner.
- Asifa N, Kusagur MS, SugaReddy. Prevalent practices and perceptions in hair cleansing. International journal of trichology. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5596653/. Published 2017.
- Punyani S, Tosti A, Hordinsky M, Yeomans D, Schwartz J. The impact of shampoo wash frequency on scalp and hair conditions. Skin appendage disorders. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8138261/. Published April 2021.
- Tips for healthy hair. American Academy of Dermatology. https://www.aad.org/public/everyday-care/hair-scalp-care/hair/healthy-hair-tips.
- Gao J, Liu C, Zhang S, et al. Revisiting, in vivo, the hair regreasing process by the SEBUPRINT method. Skin research and technology : official journal of International Society for Bioengineering and the Skin (ISBS) [and] International Society for Digital Imaging of Skin (ISDIS) [and] International Society for Skin Imaging (ISSI). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7379596/. Published January 2019.
- Quaresma MV, Martinez Velasco MA, Tosti A. Hair breakage in patients of African descent: Role of dermoscopy. Skin appendage disorders. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4857843/. Published September 2015.
- Tanus A, Oliveira CCC, Villarreal DJV, Sanchez FAV, Dias MFRG. Black women’s hair: The main scalp dermatoses and aesthetic practices in women of African ethnicity. Anais brasileiros de dermatologia. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4560533/. Published 2015.
- Draelos ZD. Essentials of hair care often neglected: Hair cleansing. International journal of trichology. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3002407/. Published January 2010.
- D’Souza P, Rathi SK. Shampoo and conditioners: What a dermatologist should know? Indian journal of dermatology. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4458934/. Published 2015.