How Often Should I Wash My Hair? Two Experts Weigh In
If you've ever asked yourself, "How often should I wash my hair?" you're not alone. There is so much conversation about how often we should be shampooing for optimum scalp and hair health, and yet there isn't a clear conclusion.
I've done my research, I've read articles, I've even gone without shampoo for long periods for the sake of experimenting with how often I should wash my hair. Despite all of this, I'm still not 100% sure. Should I shampoo every other day or should I be going weeks without shampoo the way I've seen other people do? Should I stop washing my hair completely?
For the sake of all hair out there, we asked two experts for their advice. Keep reading to see what they had to say on the subject so you can stop second-guessing your washing routine.
How often should you wash your hair?
According to certified trichologist Ky Smith, how often we should shampoo depends on a few different variables, including natural oil production, product usage, and hair type.
Matt Rez is a celebrity colorist and Redken brand ambassador whose clients include Lili Reinhart, Chiara Ferragni, and Eiza Gonzalez. As a general rule for maintaining hair health, he recommends shampooing no more than two to three times per week.
How often should you wash colored hair?
"If colored or highlighted, I would lean more towards the third-day washing,"says Rez. "Especially hair that has been bleached and or highlighted—shampooing less will help your natural oils repair hair over time."
What else can affect how often we should wash our hair?
It also comes down to the specific products you're using. "If a person has an oily scalp they may shampoo more to remove oil buildup, and a person with a flaky scalp may have the urge to shampoo more to remove scales and to relieve the itchiness," Smith says. "The difference between the two isn't necessarily the frequency of shampooing, but rather the products they're selecting to get the job done."
She recommends selecting a product that's specific to your scalp needs and another that's specific to your hair's needs. "What works for the scalp is not necessarily what works for the hair," she says. "It is not uncommon to use one shampoo for the scalp and another one for cleansing the hair."
What happens if we wash our hair too often?
Rez says to be wary of over-washing, as it might make your hair look oilier over time. "In my 15 years of experience, I have seen that when we remove oil excessively, more oil will be produced naturally to make up for the loss, but I also know that no one wants greasy hair! Dry shampoo is key in between full washes."
What can we do to keep our hair fresh in between washes?
Rez recommends using Redken Deep Clean Dry Shampoo. "This formulation will keep you feeling fresh up to day three and help preserve your color for longer, too."
If you love dry shampoo and hate the feeling of product buildup accumulating on your scalp, Smith recommends turning to an exfoliating product.
"Basic shampoos cannot remove all of the accumulated debris from the scalp, hence causing clogged follicles that prevent new hairs from emerging," she explains. "Exfoliating the scalp is essential because it aids in healthy blood circulation, the removal of old skin cells, and encourages the uptake of nutrients into the scalp. A healthy scalp is the foundation of healthy hair." She recommends using a scalp scrub on an as-needed basis but suggests doing it once a month.
At the end of the day, it's up to you how often you shampoo your hair. If you're still unsure about which frequency works best for you, experiment a little bit. Try washing your hair more often than you normally would one week, then less often the next. However often you decide to shampoo, just be sure to take your lifestyle, hair type, and scalp health into account.
If you're still at a loss, consult an expert. "I always suggest consulting with a professional to gain an understanding of what your hair needs based on its current condition," Smith says. "This regimen can consist of shampooing with a moisturizing, volumizing, strengthening, or medicated shampoo depending on the needs of your hair and scalp."