How Often Do You Need to Wash Your Hair?

Photo (cc) by thejbird

How often do you wash your hair?

Perhaps it comes as no surprise, but you are likely to hear many different answers to this question. Some people believe they should shampoo daily, but experts say the optimal frequency depends on you and your hair.

Should you wash hair daily?

Michelle Hanjani, a dermatologist at the Columbia University Medical Center’s Department of Dermatology in New York, tells National Public Radio that she advises patients to shampoo two or three times per week at most.

“If you wash your hair every day, you’re removing the sebum,” Hanjani said. “Then the oil glands compensate by producing more oil.”

Hairstylist Alli Webb, founder of Drybar, tells WebMD it is OK to go a few days without shampooing. “For hair that’s normal in terms of oiliness and medium weight, I sometimes tell my clients to go as long as they can without shampooing,” she says.

However, some experts, like dermatologist Jeffrey J. Miller, say a daily shampoo may be OK.

Miller, who also teaches dermatology at the Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine in Hershey, tells Good Housekeeping there is no harm unless it leads to hair breakage, as evidenced by a lot of flyaways and “baby hairs” around the crown of the head.

Plus, there is an exception to every rule.

According to the American Academy of Dermatology, how often you should shampoo depends on how much oil your scalp produces. For people with oily scalps, that could mean daily washing.

For women who feel greasy without a daily shampooing, New York-based dermatologist Francesca Fusco tells Self she recommends shampooing every other day and incorporating a dry shampoo into your routine — yet she said it’s “absolutely fine” to shampoo daily if that is what people prefer.

Factors in hair washing frequency

Other factors that impact how often you should wash your hair include:

  • The hair’s texture
  • The hair’s strength and growth rate
  • The climate in which you live
  • Your race and ethnicity

Columbia Health’s “Go Ask Alice!” initiative says you should wash hair “regularly,” and adds that defining that frequency is up to you. According to the site, “As a basic guideline, people with normal to dry hair can wash once or twice a week, while those with oily hair can probably wash more frequently.”

Celebrity hairstylist Jasmine Anna Galazka tells Harper’s Bazaar that hair texture is a factor.

“Finer hair needs to be washed daily or every other day. Thicker or coarser hair can get washed every second day or even twice or once a week,” she said.

Fusco agrees that how often you wash your hair is up to you, calling shampooing frequency “truly a matter of personal preference.” At the same time, however, she says “you should make sure to cleanse the scalp at least twice a week to avoid too much oil and product buildup.”

What do guys and kids need?

Most hairstylists and dermatologists don’t differentiate between men and women when opining on how often you should lather your locks.

However, barber Shorty Maniace, owner of San Francisco’s J.P. Kempt Barber & Social, tells Men’s Fitness that guys should shampoo weekly and condition daily.

“Over-shampooing strips the oils from your scalp and hair. And when that happens, the sebaceous gland is going to either pump out way too much oil, which makes your hair super-greasy, or say, ‘(Forget) this, Jack: I’m not going to pump any oil out — it’s too dry already.’ Then you get dry scalp and dandruff,” he says.

For kids, the American Academy of Dermatology has devised a three-step questionnaire to help parents determine how often to shampoo Junior. In addition to scalp oiliness and hair texture, factors include age and activity level.

What about you? How often do you shampoo? Is the frequency working for you or leaving you with flyaways or dandruff? Let us know in our Forums. It’s the place where you can speak your mind, explore topics in-depth, and post questions and get answers.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

Read Next
15 Ways Retirees Can Make Their Savings Last Longer
15 Ways Retirees Can Make Their Savings Last Longer

Study these strategies to make your golden years gleam.

5 Ways to Get Amazon Prime for Free
5 Ways to Get Amazon Prime for Free

Hesitant to drop $119 a year on an Amazon Prime membership? Here’s how to get it for free.

8 Things I Always Buy at Target
8 Things I Always Buy at Target

I grew up shopping at the original Target store and am a lifelong fan. Here are my favorite purchases.

7 Reasons to Carry Mortgage Debt Into Retirement
7 Reasons to Carry Mortgage Debt Into Retirement

It often makes financial sense to not pay off your mortgage before retiring.

8 Things You Should Rent Instead of Buying
8 Things You Should Rent Instead of Buying

You may think you’re looking at a must-have purchase. But do the numbers and think twice.

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Most Popular
7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco
7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco

Even if it seems you save a bundle buying Costco’s Kirkland Signature brand products, they may not be the bargain they appear to be.

How to Buy Gas At Costco Without a Membership
How to Buy Gas At Costco Without a Membership

The warehouse club often has some of the cheapest gas in town. Here’s how you can get it as a nonmember.

10 Things to Stop Buying If You Want a Clutter-Free Home
10 Things to Stop Buying If You Want a Clutter-Free Home

If you like to keep things simple, avoid these purchases.

Prices Are Soaring on These 7 Items
Prices Are Soaring on These 7 Items

Some surprise price jumps are making life more difficult for consumers.

A Simple Way to Silence Robocalls Today
A Simple Way to Silence Robocalls Today

A few steps can keep your phone from ringing when a spammer calls.

If You Find This Thrift Shopping, Buy It
If You Find This Thrift Shopping, Buy It

This iconic dinnerware is prized for everyday use as well as reselling for profit.

This Company Makes the Best Tires in America
This Company Makes the Best Tires in America

Driver satisfaction with tires is at an all-time high, but one brand stands out.

This Health Issue Can Hint at Dementia Years in Advance
This Health Issue Can Hint at Dementia Years in Advance

One type of pain is especially associated with cognitive decline.

Can I Switch to Spousal Social Security Benefits When My Ex Dies?
Can I Switch to Spousal Social Security Benefits When My Ex Dies?

Knowing when to claim can help you maximize benefits.

Medicare Will Not Cover These 6 Medical Costs
Medicare Will Not Cover These 6 Medical Costs

Don’t let these health care expenses catch you off guard in retirement.

7 Home Improvements That Cost a Lot More in 2021
7 Home Improvements That Cost a Lot More in 2021

These projects will take a bigger bite out of your budget than in the recent past.

8 Things You Should Always Buy on Amazon
8 Things You Should Always Buy on Amazon

The giant retailer shines when it comes to these things, from basics to hard-to-find specialty goods.

Beware This Hidden Ingredient in Rotisserie Chicken
Beware This Hidden Ingredient in Rotisserie Chicken

Something foul may lurk in those delicious, ready-to-eat birds.

5 Ways to Fill Your Pantry With Free Food
5 Ways to Fill Your Pantry With Free Food

Anyone can take advantage of these resources.

5 States With the Worst Health Care for Retirees
5 States With the Worst Health Care for Retirees

All of these states are located in the same region of the nation.

7 Big Purchases You Should Never Make
7 Big Purchases You Should Never Make

Sometimes a big-ticket purchase is nothing more than a big waste of money.

3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free
3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free

With a little ingenuity, you can cut Office costs to zero.

6 Reasons You Should Stop Hiding Cash at Home
6 Reasons You Should Stop Hiding Cash at Home

Stashing money around the house is anything but harmless.

5 Products You Should Never Buy Generic
5 Products You Should Never Buy Generic

Sometimes the brand-name version is clearly superior.

View More Articles

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Add a Comment

Our Policy: We welcome relevant and respectful comments in order to foster healthy and informative discussions. All other comments may be removed. Comments with links are automatically held for moderation.