How Often Should You Wash Your Hair? For Each Hair & Scalp Mood
As if our self-care routine needed any more rules and regulations, but yes, you read the title right, our hair does need its own schedule.
The thought of a long, steaming shower sounds like the ideal start or end of any day, especially getting to take a deep dive into washing your hair, however, proper hair care is often neglected in comparison to skincare and overall self-care. Although a few sprays of dry shampoo can help us get by during a busy week, it is a temporary solution to a much larger problem.
Whether you are the type of person who likes a daily wash or can pull off a high pony every day for 2 weeks, there is a best solution for everyone.
Getting to know your scalp mood can seem a bit confusing, after all, your scalp is covered in hair! However, figuring out your mood can make the difference between a brittle and luscious or irritated and relaxed scalp. So, how often should you wash your hair?
How to Find What’s ‘Just Right’?
Washing your hair too much or too little can cause damage that you may not see or feel, but can lead to long term effects. In short, washing your hair too much can leave your scalp dry and irritated by stripping away the natural oil barrier. Washing it too little can cause a buildup of bacteria and lead to flakes and itching. What’s most important is that you understand your scalp mood so that you are taking efficient steps to a comfortable and beautiful scalp.
Different Schedules for Different Scalps
Each scalp mood has a different reaction to shampoos and conditioners and therefore determines how often you should wash your hair.
1. Dry, Flaky Scalp
Having a dry, flaky scalp can mean a few things. Most often, a dry scalp can be a sign of an unhealthy scalp. This buildup of bacteria can be a result of overwashing. Overuse of shampoo can strip away the natural sebum your scalp needs to self-lubricate. Depending on the thickness of your hair, washing your hair anywhere from every 3 days to a week can show improvements in hair moisture and texture.
However, waiting too long can also cause irritation. To create a sort of “blank slate” for your scalp, there are a few tips to reversing dry, flaky scalps. Quick changes such as lukewarm (instead of hot) showers, taking breaks from heating products, trying exfoliating and tea tree oil products can make all the difference in your hair health.
2. Oily Scalp
Oily scalps can also be hard to balance if not treated properly. Traditionally, oily scalps are often associated with “greasy” or “dirty.” However, natural oils on your scalp create a barrier of protection from bacteria and irritation. Scalp moods that are prone to oil can be taken care of in a way that results in a matte finish while also maintaining natural oils.
With oily hair, washing your hair every couple of days is the standard but can be extended to 5 days if monitored properly. Pro tip: washing just the root of your hair with shampoo will allow the product to gradually make its way down your hair while stripping less oil and creating the perfect finish. (2)
3. Suffering from Eczema or Itchy Scalp
Suffering from eczema or itchy scalp can be a challenge to navigate in itself. The most common type of scalp eczema is known as seborrheic dermatitis, which causes itchy and inflamed skin. Managing it can be tricky, but there are ways to control it and prevent painful flare-ups. The key to managing an itchy scalp is to clean it without drying it out. Using lukewarm (not hot) water can help calm the scalp along with using only a dollop of shampoo. Using these gentle methods in tandem with washing your hair every 3-5 days can help repair and rebuild irritated skin. (3)
4. Thin vs Thick Hair
If you have a fairly moderate scalp and none of the above moods apply to you, it can be easiest to base your regimen on the weight of your hair. Typically, those with thinner hair should wash every 2-3 days while those with thicker hair can get by without washing anywhere from 1-2 weeks at a time.
The main exceptions to this rule are if you either have extremely thin hair, exercise/sweat excessively on a daily basis, or live in very humid areas. In these cases, a daily wash can help prevent unwanted dirt and oil buildup. As a general rule though, daily washing is a no-no when trying to preserve natural sebum. (4)
Let’s Get Clear!
As annoying as it may seem, the answer to how often you should wash your hair is that it depends. However, like skincare and self-care, hair care deserves attention and a maintainable routine. You are the true determiner of how often you should wash your hair because understanding your hair is just as valuable as how you treat it. Life can be messy and unpredictable more times than not, but having a clear scalp (when best suited for your scalp mood) can be just as therapeutic as a clear mind.
Written by Daniela Rodriguez