Two experts share how often you should be washing your hair
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 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 I wash my hair?”—A trichologist answers.
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.
“Scalp hygiene is essential to hair growth, so everyone will have a different regimen that is based solely on how much sebum (natural oil) and sweat secretion a person has daily,” she says. “One should also take into consideration how much product they’re using on their hair as this can cause unwanted build-up on the scalp and hair.”
The key isn’t just frequency, however. 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 build-up, 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 specific to your hair’s needs. “What works for the scalp is not necessarily what works for the hair. It is not uncommon to use one shampoo for the scalp and smithed shampoo for cleansing the hair.”
“How often should I wash my hair?”—A hair colorist answers.
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.
“If colored or highlighted, I would lean more towards the third-day washing,” he says. “Especially hair that has been bleached and or highlighted—shampooing less will help your natural oils repair hair over time.”
He also recommends being 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 for in-between full washes.” He 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!”
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If you love dry shampoo and hate the feeling of product build-up 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 it 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.”
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