But Really Though—How Often Should I Wash My Hair?



I do it every two to three days, but I have some friends who do it every day (and others who can go a week or more without doing it). I’m talking about washing hair, of course… “How often should I wash my hair?” is a question that has cropped up a lot over my 12 years working in beauty. The thing is the answer isn’t the same for everyone—your hair type and texture, your lifestyle and even where you live can all affect how often you should be lathering up. To get to the crux of it, I asked Kevin Moss, senior stylist at John Frieda Salons and creative director at Color Wow, along with Hershesons stylist Harry Johnson, to reveal all.

Individual Needs

“If you work in a city, you may feel the need to wash your hair more, but it really is up to the individual,” says Moss. “Fine, flat hair may need to be washed daily or every two days, whereas coarse or curly hair can look better if washed less—weekly or so. It really depends on two things: how fine the hair is and how oily the scalp is.”

The Pros and Cons of Washing

Besides the obvious—cleanliness—Moss says fine hair benefits from washing because it adds volume and body. On the other hand, he says, afro or more coarse hair types get fluffy and unruly if washed too often. And Johnson agrees: “Washing every day can start to strip the hair of its natural oils. It’s almost an vicious cycle—you wash it, you strip the oils, the oils go into overdrive, so you wash it again and it just gets faster and faster because the hair is trying to do what it wants to naturally do.”

Colour Care

You may think bleaching or colouring your hair can affect how often it needs to be washed—the drier the hair, the less it needs washing, right? Moss says that as long as your hair is in good condition, bleaching shouldn’t change a thing. But beware: “If hair is compromised after a big colour change, it can become dry, coarse and fluffy—in this instance, it’s so important to use a gentle shampoo and a treatment (like Color Wow Kale Cocktail Bionic Tonic, £22) on the mid-sections and ends to rebuild hair’s strength.”

But, I Have to Wash My Hair Every Day!

“It’s fine to wash hair daily, although my advice is to be careful about your shampoo selection,” says Moss. “In the last few years, shampoos have been made with a huge amount of additives (volumisers for fine hair; de-frizzers and moisturisers for dry hair), and they have ingredients that stay behind on the hair and scalp. … If you wash your hair daily, buildup on the scalp can happen quickly and clog hair follicles.” And Johnson agrees: “I go to the gym, and I wash my hair every time when I get home. To be honest, as long as you’re using the right shampoo and conditioner, you’ll be okay—when people start washing their hair every day with products that aren’t gentle and strip the hair, that’s when things get bad.”

Moss recommends looking to shampoos with fewer ingredients that won’t cling around, like Color Wow’s Security Shampoo (£17). Shampoos should just clean the hair and scalp; for benefits like volume, he suggests looking for volumising stylers instead. Same goes for shine, detangling, beachy texture, etc. Love your current shampoo but think you may be getting product buildup around the scalp? If you’re noticing your scalp is itchy or flaky, look to a weekly scalp exfoliator like Christophe Robin’s Cleansing Purifying Scrub with Sea Salt (£19) to help lift away any residue.

Try a Fauxpoo

If you’d rather leave longer gaps between your hair washing, there are some tricks you can employ to eke out the life of your blow-dry. “Using a gentle shampoo that won’t strip the scalp (causing excess oil to be produced) or with ‘stay behind’ ingredients will help to extend the time between washes as hair is left properly clean after washing,” says Moss. “Always thoroughly rinse hair in lukewarm water. If you feel hair is looking lank between washes, rinse it in lukewarm water without shampoo, adding conditioner to the ends if needed.”

Johnson also finds that people condition wrong: “I see some people put conditioner right on the roots and comb it thorough to the ends. No need! Work it through the mid lengths and ends—remember the roots are where all your natural oils are anyway.” If dry shampoo isn’t your thing—Johnson tells me he uses it as a styling tool for a “cooler look” rather than as a refresher—Moss suggests just shampooing your hairline or fringe, and then quickly blow-drying to refresh the hair without washing it all.

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