How Often Should You Shampoo Your Hair? For years, I shampooed my hair twice per week. I washed twice per week because my scalp was constantly itchy and the only way to get relief was to shampoo. I already had a problem keeping my hair moisturized and the frequent washes did nothing to help that. Among my Black girlfriends twice weekly was considered too frequent, because they could often go a couple of weeks without a shampoo, longer if they had braids or weaves. However, among my non-Black friends, twice weekly shampooing seemed like I was skimping on my hygiene because they washed every time they showered. Obviously the balance for hair washing between both groups of my friends lies somewhere in the middle but it will definitely be different for each person.
Bianca Arussi, Stylist and Owner of J’Adore Salon Beverly Hills, shares some insight for all who currently shampoo daily.
There’s a laundry list of things that can deplete hair of moisture. The usual suspects include winter weather, hot styling tools and artificial hair color. What most women don’t realize is that the real culprit may be daily shampooing. Though it seems harmless, shampoo strips hair of sebum, which is essential for healthy locks. To compensate, your scalp overproduces sebum, which leads you to lather up more often to counteract this oiliness. You are now stuck in a vicious cycle of over-washing, making hair greasier and drying out ends, and repeating.
The only solution? Don’t wash your hair and use these coping mechanisms to get you through this awkward stage and set you on the path to healthier, more low-maintenance hair.
- Patience is key – it may take a while for hair to adjust to being washed less often, but the reward in the end is healthier hair and less time spent blowdrying per week. Start out by going a full week without washing, and take it from there
- The goal is to wash your hair no more than three times per week
- When you do shampoo, use a gentle, sulfate-free formula that won’t compromise hair’s color or texture
- Apply conditioner to your ends only – your scalp will take care of the roots and mid-shaft
- Find a good dry shampoo – it will be your savior in between washes
- During the initial adjustment period, and on no-shampoo days thereafter, try a textured style like braids to conceal grease
- Skip slick formulations like shine serums that can weigh hair down
- Take the time to get a quality blowout, whether it be at home or at the salon. When blowdrying hair yourself, make sure hair is completely dry and finish with a shot of cool air to help lock in your style and control frizz
- Invest in a good shower cap to block out moisture and humidity on days you aren’t shampooing
- Don’t try to conceal greasiness with headwear – “hat head” will just exacerbate the issue
Women of color often have the opposite of oily hair, especially if they chemical process or color their hair. If they are anything like me with course, tight coils, the constant struggle is to get and keep hair moisturized. Frequent shampoos are the enemy of moisture for exactly the reasons mentioned above by Bianca.
Here are my Tips for Natural or Relaxed Hair Moisturized
- Wash hair no more than once per week
- Use a low sulfate shampoo or cleansing condition and focus washing on the scalp and roots of the hair
- Deep condition hair at least twice per month and take care to not add conditioner to scalp
- Apply moisturizing products to hair while hair is still wet
- If heat styling hair, always use a heat protectant
- Invest in styling tools (blow dryer and flat iron) with adjustable heat settings and find the lowest possible heat setting that gets you the desired result (Felicia and I both use this Salon Tech blow dryer.)
- Use a proper shower cap during showers to lock out humidity and keep hair from getting frizzy and/or reverting
- If you wear your hair straight, a dry shampoo can be used if hair gets too greasy.
- Cover hair at night with a silk scarf or bonnet. Cotton pillow cases will absorb the moisture from your hair and can cause tangles and breaks. Another option is to use a satin pillowcase.
Wherever you fall on the spectrum of hair washing frequency, if you don’t like the result you are currently getting, try playing around with the frequency of wash, the products you use and your styling tools and you will soon find the perfect combination to get desired results.
How often do you wash your hair?
Do you have any healthy hair tips to share?