How Often Should You Wash Your Hair?

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There’s no right answer, even when you break things down by factors like hair type and oil production. Keep in mind how often you exercise, whether you dye your hair, and even your age plays a role in how often you should wash.

If you are super active, sweat can build up and help capture dirt in your hair, so you would need to shampoo more often. On the flip-side, chemically-treated hair usually needs to be cleaned less to avoid fading color. And, as you get older, your scalp makes less oil, so you may not feel the need to suds up often.

Here is a good washing guide to follow for most major types of hair:
  • Oily hair: Wash daily or every other day.
  • Dry, coarse hair: Wash once a week. The dry and coarse hair usually do not need to shampoo as often as the hair doesn’t produce as much oil. Some people prefer to simply rinse their hair with water and use just a conditioner every few days instead, a method known as “co-washing.”
  • Fine hair: Wash daily or every other day. Fine hair is easy for sebum to cover, and it can look greasy faster than thick hair.

There’s still some trial and error involved here. The look and feel of your hair will help. If your strands feels dry and brittle, dial back your shampoo schedule by a day or two. If your hair is always oily, add a day or two back into your routine.

What should you look for in a shampoo?

The right shampoo makes all the difference in your hair and scalp health, so choose a product that’s designed for your hair type.

This is more important than you’d think. “Some of the shampoos designed for dry hair may end up weighing down fine hair, making it feel limp. Clarifying shampoos (which work to remove build-up on your scalp and strands) can be overly stripping for people with dry or coarse hair.

Most shampoos have surfactants, a soapy substance that helps remove oil and dirt. Other products are then added to give shampoo its scent and feel. Shampoos for oily hair will have more of the soap, whereas those for dry hair are more gentle. If you color your hair look for something that’s free of sulfates which tends to be gentler.

If you have been shampooing the right way and your hair is still not looking its best, reach out to your dermatologist.

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