How often should you actually wash your hair? Can your hair be too clean? Yes. It absolutely can.

This is quite a likely one of the most commonly asked questions asked of me in the salon. The answer is super simple, believe it or not.

Woman washing her hair in shower - wash your hair
Woman washing her hair in the shower – PhotoAlto/Frederic Cirou/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images

Ready for it?

Wash your hair as infrequently as possible.

Are you rolling your eyes at your computer screen yet? What does that actually mean as infrequently as possible anyway?

Let me start off by saying that shampooing your hair is not just about cleaning your hair. It’s mostly about maintaining a healthy scalp, and a squeaky clean scalp every single day is unfortunately not a terribly healthy scalp.

Soap (shampoo) strips your scalp of the oils that your hair needs to remain healthy. When you strip your scalp of healthy oils your scalp gets angry and just makes more oil. Then you feel all greasy and gross so you wash your hair again. The revolving cycle is annoying and greasy, so you wash your hair every day.

I know you’ve heard all this before.

What’s the Big Deal About Washing Your Hair Every Day?

So many of my clients tell me that they just have to wash their hair every day.

They can’t stand the greasy feeling. They can’t handle the oily scalp. I feel you ladies, I really do. I was a daily hair washer until I was 35 years old. So here’s a list of all the terrible things that happen when you wash your hair every single day:

  • Dry scalp: shampoo can dry your scalp causing it to be itchy and flaky.
  • Hair color fade: washing your hair daily strips your hair of artificial hair color faster.
  • Lots of extra time in the bathroom styling your hair every day
  • Increased damage, split ends, and breakage: caused by dryness from over shampooing.
  • Increased shampoo usage: shampooing more frequently will find you using more shampoo and spending more money on shampoo
  • Higher water bill: rinsing shampoo daily gets expensive.
  • Higher electricity bill: hot water heaters, hair dryers, and more time in the bathroom adds up.
  • Unhealthy scalp leading to:
    • hair that doesn’t grow as fast
    • hair that doesn’t grow as thick
    • hair that loses it’s luster
    • decreased body

What’s the Magic Number?

There’s no real magic number on how many times per week that you should wash your hair. Everyone’s different, and everyone’s scalp and hair requirements are different as well. Finding your magic number will definitely take time and a deeper understanding of how often the oils on your scalp should actually be removed.

I recommend starting by washing your hair every other day and gradually increasing the time between shampoos as your schedule allows. I truly never imagined I’d be a once-a-week shampoo kind of girl, but after working on decreasing the time between shampoos I now wash my hair every 4 to 6 days (on average).

The key is figuring out how to style your hair on “dirty” hair days and getting used to the feeling of your hair not being squeaky clean. Like I said, it takes time, but eventually, you’ll hate the feeling of your clean hair and plan your clean hair days for days when you don’t have to be seen in public instead of the other way around.

Tips for Extending Your Shampoo Day Further

Getting used to the way your hair looks, feels, and behaves when it’s not clean is one of the hardest things to get past when you’re learning to not wash your hair every day. The use of dry shampoo or a texture powder can take the look of greasy hair away (it absorbs the oil), but the feeling of dry shampoo can take a little getting used to. It’s really a lot like getting used to new textures in food. It’s just something different.

I’ve put together a few tips with my favorite products and tips to get you started on your dirty hair journey:

  • My Favorite Dry Shampoos
  • My Favorite Texture Powders
  • How to Wear Dirty Hair (even after the gym)
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