Of all of life’s big questions, “How often should you wash your hair?” certainly has to be one of the most enduring and perplexing. You’ve probably changed up your shampooing routine many times over the years to address your hair needs.
Maybe you washed your hair every day as a teen to ward off excess oil, but as you got older, you noticed your once oily hair started getting dry from overwashing. Or perhaps after years of heating, dying, and bleaching your hair, it seems to have become weaker and thinner, making you think you should wash it less. Or maybe your hair seems oilier after years of hair care product buildup and you feel like you need to wash it on a daily basis.
Needless to say, everyone’s hair is different. One friend’s curly hair tip for washing once a week doesn’t quite match up with those who have thin straight hair that builds up oil quickly. Whatever hair type you have, it’s important to have a washing routine for your specific hair needs and natural hair texture. Let’s explore how often you should wash your hair based on your hair type and other considerations you should know about.
How Often Should You Wash Your Hair If It’s Oily?
If you have oily hair, you’ve probably heard conflicting information about how often you should be washing it. When dealing with greasy strands, you might be itching to wash it every day than dealing with the oiliness that can occur in between shampoo days. But before we get into the details of your hair washing routine let’s do a quick dive into the causes of oily hair.
In general, oily hair is the result of overactive sebaceous glands, which produce sebum (the waxy substance you interpret as grease). These glands are found throughout our bodies, particularly the forehead, back, and scalp. There are many factors that can contribute to excess oil production, including genetics, diet, hormones, and lifestyle. Another common culprit? Product buildup. Yes, all that mousse, hair spray, heavy conditioner, and other styling products can take a toll, clogging your hair follicles and leaving your hair feeling like an oil slick.
To keep your oily scalp under control but still prevent damage caused by overwashing, it’s best to limit hair washes to two or three times a week. You want to use a sulfate-free shampoo that can soothe, cleanse, and clarify your hair without stripping away beneficial oils. Sulfates are chemicals that are used as cleansing agents in a variety of haircare and skincare products, but they can strip away natural oils, leaving you with straw-like strands (and moisture-starved skin).
With this in mind, make sure you lather up with a gentle shampoo that hydrates your locks without any harsh ingredients. For instance, Function of Beauty’s sulfate-free shampoo lets you customize your own product to address your specific needs and personal preference. (You can even choose your own scent!) It’s paraben-free, vegan, and cruelty-free so you can look good and feel good. It’s also gentle enough to use every day if you really struggle to keep your oil under control and feel the need to wash that often.
How Often Should You Wash Fine Hair?
Having fine hair comes with many benefits: it tends to have a silky, soft texture and can dry very quickly. (Bye-bye, blow dry!) The downside is that it can lack volume and depth. (Hello, flat hair!) Also, oil can easily build up since it’s just a straight shot from the hair follicle down the hair shaft — quite the opposite of curly or coily hair.
Many fine-haired folks feel the need to apply tons of products and wash their hair every day. But the key to managing fine, thin hair is to avoid daily washing and use styling products with naturally derived ingredients that won’t muck up your mane.
As mentioned, shampoos with harsh ingredients strip your hair of its natural oils and shouldn’t be used for frequent washing. If you use the right type of shampoo for your fine hair, you won’t feel the need to lather up more than two or three times a week. It’s best to employ a shampoo with naturally derived ingredients such as:
- Sweet almond extract: Rich in protein, vitamin E, and omega-9 fatty acids, which can promote healthy hair
- Rosemary leaf extract: Promotes healthy-looking and stimulates scalp circulation, which can positively affect hair follicles
- Quinoa extract: Packed with essential amino acids to help strengthen scalp and hair, and enhance the appearance of thicker, fuller hair
How Often Should You Wash Coarse Hair?
While thick, coarse hair often goes hand-in-hand with bountiful volume, it can also be prone to dryness. That’s because tight curls or a coily texture have a hard time circulating the natural oils in the scalp down the length of the hair shaft. As such, if you have coarse hair, you may often experience dry hair, breakage, or even flakes. But with the right hair products and washing routine, you can help balance your natural oils and achieve a replenished, healthy hair look.
So how often should you wash your hair if it has a coarse texture? According to the American Academy of Dermatology, no more than once a week depending on the hairstyling products and tools you regularly use. If you tend to use thick oils or stiffening products to manage your thick hair texture and neutralize frizz, you may want to wash your hair once a week. This assures that you’re properly washing out all the product buildup in your hair and aren’t leaving any excess to clog up your hair follicles.
If you use heating tools to define your curls or frequently straighten your hair, you may want to limit your hair washing to twice a month. This gives your hair time to recover from the heat and re-establish its natural oils.
Keep in mind that just because you’re getting your hair wet doesn’t mean that you have to actually shampoo it. Wetting your coarse hair can actually help it stay nourished if you use a product formulated for your specific hair needs, like Function of Beauty’s custom hair mask. These masks are formulated with key ingredients such as:
- Argan oil: Highly moisturizing oil that may prevent split ends and other hair damage
- Japanese sake extract: Contains glyceryl glucoside, a molecule that is known for moisturizing dehydrated skin
- Jojoba ester oil: Loaded with fatty acids that condition and protect the scalp from dryness and heat damage
Use this intensive deep conditioning treatment to help nourish and hydrate dry, damaged, or lackluster hair. Plus, it can make it easier to go a few days without washing your hair. While our hair masks are mainly intended for people with dry, damaged hair, you can use them no matter what your hair type is.
Shampooing for Different Hair Types
How often should you wash your hair? As you’ve learned, it really depends on your specific hair type. If you have an oily scalp or fine strands, shampooing every other day is best. Washing more than that can strip your hair of its healthy natural oils.
If you have thick or coarse hair, it’s best to analyze your styling habits and product usage to determine your ideal frequency. If you tend to use a lot of products, once a week should work best. But if you often use heating tools or tend to experience dryness, washing twice a month should suffice.
Function of Beauty understands that there’s no one-size-fits-all solution for how often you should wash your hair. No two people are exactly alike, and therefore, no two shampoos, conditioners, or other hair products should be exact duplicates. Our 100% customizable formulas deliver an optimal blend of nutrients to help give your hair the specialized care it needs while also providing an added dose of long-lasting hydration that won’t weigh your hair down.
When you take our custom hair quiz and create your specific hair profile, you can create the best shampoo and conditioner combination to help you maintain a healthy hair routine and achieve your specific hair goals one strand at a time.