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How Often Should I Wash Hair: Simple Hair Wash Routine

The one question I get asked the most by my readers is “how often should I wash hair”? If only the answer to this question was as simple as once a week or twice a week or even every other day. Unfortunately, that isn’t the answer and neither is it that simple.

Since everyone has different hair types and needs, the amount of time they wash their hair will also be different. Some people need to wash their hair daily while others can extend their wash day to a week. What determines when you should wash your hair?

There are quite a few factors that need to be considered before you are able to figure out a hair wash routine that works for you. I will explain what these are in this post and how you can make your own simple hair wash routine to allow your scalp to breathe!

Choosing the right shampoo is equally important! My personal favorite is the Extreme Hair Strengthening Shampoo by Crisan Beauty. I love it because it is absolutely organic, sulfate & cruelty-free, contains no parabens or silicones, and is made with 55 vital oils for hair. It is gentle on all types of hair and it removes dirt without stripping hair of its natural oils. A huge PLUS!

>>Grab Crisan’s Strengthening Shampoo While Quantities Last<<


This post may contain affiliate links and I may earn a small commission when you click on the links to make a purchase, at no additional cost to you. I only recommend products I would use myself and all opinions expressed here are my own. You can read my full disclosure here.


How Often Should I Wash Hair?

Since there is no one-size-fits-all answer to this most-asked question, telling you that “here, this is a routine you must follow” is just not going to work for everyone.

Instead, the important thing to note here is that your washing schedule is going to be different from other people and that is totally OKAY. The idea is to align it to your hair needs without overwashing or underwashing it.

If your hair is thin and gets greasy on the next day of washing and you need to wash it again, it’s fine to wash daily. That is what your hair needs. If your scalp starts to dry out and itch like crazy, then it’s telling you it needs to be washed!

Whatever the case is, how often you should wash your hair really depends on your hair type, your styling choices, the kind of lifestyle you lead, and your personal preferences.

For example, someone who has a naturally oily scalp or an outdoorsy lifestyle (more on this later) is going to need to wash their hair more often. Similarly, someone who uses multiple different hair styling products are also going to need to wash more frequently to remove the build up.

Alternatively, stretching out wash days could be a personal preference; some may or may not want to wash their hair daily.

Sometimes washing every day could lead to overwashing and this could have a negative impact on your locks.

Are You Overwashing?

How Often Should I Wash Hair

How do you know if you are overwashing your hair? Is that even a thing?

Yes, it totally is.

There is a misconception that hair must be washed twice at one time with shampoo in order for it to be clean. We are, in fact, conditioned to do so. Our mothers tell us when we are young, we see it on commercials on TV, and it is even written on the direction labels at the back of our shampoo bottles: Shampoo twice!

LIES, all lies!!

The main purpose of shampoo is to remove excess oil and dirt from the scalp. Rinsing out the shampoo from the scalp, cleans out the hair as it runs down to the ends. However, rubbing the hair with shampoo, even once, is harsh enough to damage the hair. Imagine doing it twice, every time on wash day! Horrifying!

Read my other articles on hair washing basics: Shampoo Stories

Dry and brittle hair is a sign of overwashing. Similarly, dandruff and itchy scalp can also be a symptom of dry scalp caused by overwashing.

If you must wash daily, do so but please keep in mind to use a mild shampoo and focus only on the scalp, not the hair.

Determining When To Wash Hair

Knowing your hair type and listening to your scalp are two crucial steps in determining when to wash your hair. Let’s dive deeper into each.

Know Your Hair Type

As a general guide, it is recommended to shampoo your hair once every three days at the most. This is considered ideal for people who have normal to dry hair as well as wavy hair.

Women with thick or curly hair, however, can get away with washing less often as their hair tends to stay on the dry side.

If you have thin or straight hair, chances are it will get oily quicker. In that case, it is recommended to wash every day or every other day.

Lastly, African American hair needs to be washed the least, according to the American Academy of Dermatology, as it is super fragile and can easily be damaged. For this reason, dermatologists recommend them to wash their hair once a week or every other week to reduce dryness caused by product build-up.

Listen To Your Scalp

Your scalp will literally tell you when it is time to wash your hair. But how do you know it’s excess oil and not dirt or sweat?

Oil

Natural oils or sebum is produced by the scalp to protect and moisturize hair from its roots down to its tips. The amount of sebum your scalp produces determines how oily your scalp gets and how often you should wash.

Generally, as you get older, your scalp gets dryer. This means, you don’t have to wash it as often as an adult (in your 20s or 30s) than if you were a teenager.

However, this may not be true for everyone. Adults over the age of 30 who have very oily scalp may need to shampoo daily.

Dirt & Debris

How long you spend outdoors, especially if you are gardening, hiking, or even cleaning out your garage, can mean you need to wash more frequently.

Dirt, debris, pollen, & pollution all accumulate on your scalp and can clog up your pores. For this reason, you should wash your scalp more often.

Sweat

For those of us who tend to sweat more on our scalp must also wash it out before it dries up. You wouldn’t let your sweat dry up on your body so why would you allow it to do so on your scalp?

High intensity workouts can cause a great deal of sweat to form on the scalp. If you frequently wear a hat/cap or a headscarf for long periods of time, you may be prone to a sweaty scalp. Sweat can cause your hair to smell and look greasy and dirty.

Sweaty Scalps Must Be Washed More Often

Product Build Up

Your hair styling products (sprays, creams, serums, etc) can cause a great deal of irritation and scalp allergies. These irritations are a result of buildup from the various kinds of products you use on your scalp and hair.

The more frequently you use these products, the more you will need to wash your hair in order to remove what they leave behind.

Building Your Routine

Ideally, you want to train your scalp to correctly regulate it’s sebum production so that you can achieve hair that is naturally healthy, smooth, and grease-free. A clean, healthy, and balanced scalp leads to healthy and stronger hair growth.

Keeping your scalp healthy could mean stretching out your wash days. If you feel like you are washing too often, try cutting back on ONE wash per week and slowly increase the time between washes every week until you feel your scalp has reached its desired natural health back.

This may be confusing at first and also may take some time getting used to. Your hair will need to go through an “adjustment period” or a detox in which it will get worse before it gets better!

It normally takes 3-5 weeks for the scalp to adjust to any new hair washing routine. Please be patient during this time before you decide whether the schedule is or isn’t working!

Here’s a guide you can follow in order to build your own schedule.

WEEK 1
MONDAYWASH
TUESDAYSKIP
WEDNESDAYWASH
THURSDAYSKIP
FRIDAYWASH
SATURDAYSKIP
SUNDAYSKIP
WEEK 2
MONDAYWASH
TUESDAYSKIP
WEDNESDAYSKIP
THURSDAYWASH
FRIDAYSKIP
SATURDAYWASH
SUNDAYSKIP
WEEK 3
MONDAYWASH
TUESDAYSKIP
WEDNESDAYSKIP
THURSDAYSKIP
FRIDAYWASH
SATURDAYSKIP
SUNDAYSKIP
WEEK 4
MONDAYWASH
TUESDAYSKIP
WEDNESDAYSKIP
THURSDAYSKIP
FRIDAYSKIP
SATURDAYWASH
SUNDAYSKIP

As you can see, the idea is to reduce the times you wash your hair every week.

What To Wash Hair With

Now that you have managed to create your own wash schedule, it is important to know what to wash hair with. Traditional shampoos contain toxic ingredients that can be detrimental to hair health.

Thankfully, there are alternatives to commercial shampoos that work the same way, if not better.

Shampoos

Crisan Shampoo Promotes A Healthy Scalp

It is no secret that shampoos contain harsh chemicals that strip hair of its natural oils or sebum. Protect your hair and choose a gentle shampoo that cleans the scalp without drying it out. Choose shampoos that are free of sulfates and parabens, but contain wholesome, organic ingredients that cleanse or clarify the scalp.

>>Get Chemical-Free, All-Organic Strengthening Shampoo Here<<

Alternatively, you can make your own shampoo at home that is sulfate-free or DIY herbal shampoo that is also free of harmful toxins.

Co-Wash

This is gaining a lot of popularity lately but what exactly is a co-wash? In simple terms, it really just means a conditioner that has cleansing abilities. In other words, a conditioner that washes hair. Get it?

A co-wash is ideally recommended for curly, wavy, or dry hair. This type of hair requires the most amount of hydration.

A co-wash replaces your traditional shampoo and works in the same way, minus all the detergent-like ingredients. Also, you don’t need to use it as often as a shampoo either. Once a week is good enough.

Dry Shampoo

This doesn’t exactly clean the scalp. Instead, what a dry shampoo does is that it soaks up all the excess oils on the scalp and prevents hair from looking greasy and clumpy.

Dry shampoo is another great way to extend time between washes. Be careful though, overusing it can create product buildup.

Water-Only Washing

No Poo Method Means "No Shampoo"

Supporters of the No-Poo lifestyle advocate the importance of ditching shampoos and washing hair with only water.

They also boast about the many benefits of not washing hair daily. While this could work for some, depending on where you live in the world, water doesn’t exactly moisturize or condition the hair.

If you choose to wash your hair with just water, do consider using a leave-in conditioner of some sort to close out the cuticles.

Check out my articles on hard water to learn more about the impact water has on hair.

Keeping It Simple

With everything you have just read, you can see that there is no universal approach to the most-asked question: how often should I wash hair. Your hair wash routine will be unique to your hair type and your lifestyle and personal preferences.

However, it is possible to train your scalp to reduced washes in order for the scalp to stay clean and balanced. You can build out your own hair wash schedule if you feel like you need to cut down on how many times you wash your hair.

Keep it simple and remember that you will need to wash more, the dirtier your hair gets.

When was the last time you washed your hair?

Do you follow a hair wash schedule? If so, how different is it from the one I provided in this post?

Please let me know if you have any questions or feel free to leave me your feedback! I love hearing from you!:)

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16 Comments

  • Monique Richie

    Hello, Sasha, thank you so much for this article. It is amazing how many people have problems with how often they should wash their hair! I also get many questions about this. We were on a circumnavigation, and we washed our hair with saltwater. Nobody believed it, but if you dry your hair immediately and eat healthy: nuts, fruits, and lots of veggies, your hair stays in a good condition. Of course, I use only natural shampoos and conditioners. I turn 60 in July, and my hair is still long, shiny, and healthy.

    Monique

    • Sasha

      Hey Monique, I am surprised to find out you were washing your hair with saltwater! I will look more into this. Wouldn’t saltwater be too harsh on hair and dry it out? 

      Having a healthy diet (and staying hydrated) definitely makes a difference to hair health. 

      I am super inspired by you: to be 60 and have healthy hair is a dream!! 

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts! 

      Cheers,

      Sasha

  • Matt Lin

    Hi Sasha,

    It’s interesting to read your article on a sunny weekend. You share a new way to look through our lifestyle(daily haircare routine), and I love the schedule you provide here to give people a better understanding. I wash my hair every day and would love trying to skip one night and more step by step.

    I know the shampoo has many chemicals to hurt the hair and scalp, so I change to wash my hair with soaps. Do you think it’s a good idea? Are there more tips for using soaps to wash the hair?

    Cheers,
    Matt

    • Sasha

      Thank you for leaving your thoughts, Matt 🙂 There are soaps you can use for hair and they are called shampoo bars. I personally haven’t tried any yet but I know people who make their own and love using them for their hair. I feel like as long as they are all-organic, they should be good for hair. Try to avoid using traditional soaps you find in the supermarkets as they are usually filled with parabens and other harmful chemicals that are bad for not just your hair but your body as well!
      Hope this helps! let me know if you have more questions! 🙂

  • Alyse

    Great article on how often to wash my hair. I think I’ve been doing it all wrong. I wash my hair everyday because I like the way it smells. But I’ve noticed that its dry and brittle looking. This shampoo you recommend seems like a great option to help with healthy hair and I like that its chemical-free and an all-organic strengthening shampoo. I will definitely be trying it out.

    • Sasha

      Hey Alyse, washing everyday is so additive if you love how your shampoo smells! However, keep in mind that it smells that way because it contains chemically made perfumes that may not be the best for hair! I do not mean to scare you but have a look at my article Is Shampoo Bad For Hair for more info on this!

      Crisan shampoo does not contain any added perfumes but it still smells really good! Do check it out and I hope you love it as must as I do! 🙂

  • Leah

    I am one of those people who usually washes my hair every day. Lately I’ve been reading so much about how you should wash your hair least frequently though!

    Recently, I starting trying dry shampoo to be able to skip more days of hair washing. Do you have any good dry shampoos you would recommend trying?

    • Sasha

      Yup, it was the same for me! The more I washed, the more oily my hair got and the cycle just viciously repeated itself. So, I totally get what you mean!

      For a good dry shampoo, I would recommend you try Drop Dead Gorgeous Dry Shampoo. It is chemical, paraben, & talc free and comes in different formulas for different hair colors. Cleans & refreshes the hair 🙂

  • Andrea

    Very informative post Sasha! I ended up on this page and found myself rummaging through all your other articles!
    There are a lot of tips and how-to’s here that made me realize I was washing my hair wrong all along. Thanks so much for the instructions – I think my hair will start to grow much healthier with these tips!

    • Sasha

      Haha thanks for checking out other posts on my site, Andrea! I hope you enjoyed those tips and found them useful! Thanks for stopping by!:)

  • Femi

    Sasha, its been lovely reading this article. I have asked myself how often I should wash my hair out of curiosity and today I get to know the answer. I totally agree that the nature of your hair and your hair type helps you know often you need to wash your hair. Paying attention to your scalp also helps you do the right thing. I remembered a friend who had long hair complained of dry and brittle hair and I guess she might have washing her hair too often and was stripping all the oil off her hair which wasn’t so good.

    I will definitely share this article with her. She could definitely learn a thing or two. Thank you and keep up the good work.

    • Sasha

      Thank you Femi for thinking of sharing the post with your friend! Yup, overwashing can definitely make the hair dry and brittle looking but there are of course, other reasons for hair dryness as well. Thanks again for sharing your thoughts!

  • Trent523

    I like the fade in effect with your site. Nice touch Sasha.  I loved your video explaining the application of it, and your children look adorable by the way. 🙂   I enjoyed the explanation on your main page about washing your hair.  Great job Sasha. I work in a warehouse, handling packages for FedEx every morning, so a daily shower, even for the hair is mandatory for me due to all the sweat. 🙂  No ifs, ands, or buts about it.  I condition only biweekly though, as I heard it could damage the hair if used extensively.  Great job on your site!

    Trent523

    • Sasha

      Trent, that is not me, nor is it my family!! Haha. The lady you are talking about with gorgeous long hair is Ariana and I am just recommending a shampoo from her company that I love! Sorry it was confusing for you but you definitely made me LOL! 

      Awesome to know that you have healthy hair-wash habits! 

  • Ceci

    Thanks for this informative article Sasha.
    I totally agree with you that hair wash routine will be unique to hair type, lifestyle and personal preferences, so there really is no “cookie cutter solution”, but your general guidance and tips really make sense. After all we are appllying these chemicals to our heads on a more prolonged basis if we wash our hair every day or in some cases weekly.

    I found that when I decreased the frequency of washing, my scalp fared much better and my previously “over-pampered” hair which i had been doing everything possible to get to grow, suddenly started to grow like a weed!

    Ceci

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