How Often Should You Wash Your Hair? We Investigate

Written by Nishtha BhallaAug 18, 2022
How often should you wash your hair? We investigate

Washing your hair is perhaps one of the most basic things you can do when it comes to hair care, but shampooing isn't as easy as it sounds. There are a bunch of questions that come along with regular shampooing, including how often you should wash your hair, if you should ditch the shampoo and adopt the ‘no poo' movement, and how you should shampoo your hair in the first place. Luckily, we're here to answer them all for you. Ahead, we're giving you a definitive guide on hair washing that will resolve all your burning questions, and hopefully, give you a gorgeous-looking mane in the process. Read on...


Why Is It Important To Wash Your Hair?

How To Wash Hair Properly

First up, let's talk about why there's a need to shampoo your tresses in the first place. Before we tackle how often you should wash your hair, let's look at why you need to wash your hair in the first place.

01. Removing Grime

As you go through the day, your hair — just like your skin — collects a lot of dirt, grime, and impurities that may be hard to get rid of with just a simple water-rinse. Shampoos have specific cleansing agents that help get rid of these impurities effectively, thus making them an essential part of any hair care routine. Letting these impurities just rest on your crown can often have a negative effect, BTW — it could lead to scalp infections, dandruff, or even hair loss.

02. Sebum Control

The sebaceous glands present in your scalp secrete sebum, which is a natural oil that keeps the hair moisturised. For the most part, having a healthy amount of sebum in your hair is healthy, and even encouraged, since it's important for your mane's nourishment — however, if left unchecked, sebum can make your hair look oily, and act as a food source for microfauna, which can feast on it and cause dandruff.

How To Wash Hair Properly

03. Reducing Product Buildup

Most modern day hair products contain silicones, which can make your hair look shiny the first few times, but then weigh heavily on it, making it look dull and oily. You need to reduce the product buildup and get rid of it from your scalp using clarifying shampoos every now and then, otherwise you could be subjecting your scalp and your mane to permanent hair damage.

04. Lessening Odour

You know how you get body odor if you don't bathe for a couple of days? Well, if you don't wash your hair, your hair is going to smell bad — and that makes it a breeding ground for bacteria. If you're not about that artificial fragrance life, you'll be reassured to know that most shampoos now contain natural fragrances that won't dry out your hair, but will make your tresses smell divine — after all, no one wants to hang out with someone who has a case of smelly hair!

How To Wash Hair Properly

05. Improving Scalp Health

ICYMI, the scalp is a part of your skin — and just like with the skin on your face and body, the scalp also has dead skin cells which tend to build up. The prolonged buildup of dead skin cells can clog hair follicles, and cause a number of problems ranging from scalp acne to hair fall. Most shampoos are designed to help get rid of the buildup, thus proving that washing hair is actually super important.


How Often Should You Wash Your Hair?

How To Wash Hair Properly

Now that we've established why it's important to wash your hair, let's move onto the burning question — how often should you wash your hair? The answer to this depends entirely on your hair and scalp type, and varies from person to person. Some people may need to wash their hair every other day, while others could do with just one wash a week. Ahead, we're listing down all the factors that impact how often you should wash your hair — and recommending the number of times you should do it as well.

01. Oily Scalp

If you have an oily scalp, chances are that your hair gets greasy only a few hours after your wash. How often you should wash your hair without stripping your hair of its natural oils is a hotly debated question. Generally, you may feel the need to do it every other day. But we suggest you don't do it every day, since that could cause damage in the long run — and if your hair gets particularly greasy, you can rinse it with water to keep it fresh.

How To Wash Hair Properly

02. Dry Scalp

Having a dry scalp and dry hair generally means that your hair is unable to produce natural oils to keep it looking moisturised. Since you wouldn't want to dry out your hair any more than it already is, washing it weekly should keep your mane looking fresh and healthy, without taking away the moisture. If your hair is particularly dry, you should also consider using a moisturising shampoo, applying conditioner on non-wash days, and even spacing out wash days by a couple of days.

03. Thin Hair

Straight, thin hair requires more frequent shampooing than thicker, wavier hair. Thin hair has a tendency of absorbing more sebum, and can therefore end up looking much greasier than coarse, textured hair. To keep it fresh-looking and grease-free, you should shampoo your hair every couple of days.

How To Wash Hair Properly

04. Thick Hair

Thick hair is generally more voluminous and can be drier than thin hair since the natural oils don't coat the strands as easily as they would thin hair. Thanks to the coarser texture of thick hair, it can dry out easily as well, so wash days need to be spaced out to once every 3-4 days so that the hair doesn't become overly greasy or overly dry.

05. Textured Hair

Textured, natural hair needs an extra amount of TLC, since it's generally accompanied by curls that can frizz out, if not provided with enough moisture. People with textured hair or tight curls need a lot more moisture in their strands to prevent frizz, so they should stick to washing their hair every week, or every other week.

06. Post-Workout

Sweat can mess up the hair by spreading sebum and making your mane look dirty. If you're big on workouts, how often you should wash your hair can entirely depend on how often you exercise and sweat. Regularly working out can add a lot more sweat to your mane than you would want, so it's best to wash after every sweaty workout.

How To Wash Hair Properly

07. Treated Hair

Chemically treated hair or coloured hair needs a lot of special care, and tends to be a lot more damaged and dry than regular hair. Unless it's a specific treatment which requires a certain amount of washes, treated hair should be subjected to the same number of washes as dry hair, which is every week or every other week.

08. Scalp Conditions

Scalp conditions like psoriasis or parasitic infections can lead to the need for shampooing for medical conditions, and would need a specific hair care regimen to treat it. If you have a scalp condition, you should consult a dermatologist to check how often you should wash your hair.

What Happens If You Never Wash Your Hair?

Well, a lot of people actually do go without washing their hair, and as mentioned before, if you don't wash your hair, you could be subjecting your mane to numerous conditions ranging from scalp acne, dandruff, hair loss and infections, to smelly, dirty, and greasy hair.


How To Wash Hair Properly

How To Wash Hair Properly

While it may seem easy to wash your hair properly, it's actually a technique that requires a little bit of mindfulness. Ahead, we're listing down the steps you need to make sure that you're getting the most out of your hair washes.

Step 01: Instead of jumping straight to applying shampoo, first make sure that your hair has been wet thoroughly.

Step 02: Then, take a tiny amount of shampoo. The amount of shampoo that you need can depend on the type of hair you have — if your hair lacks moisture, you may need a pea-sized amount, but if you're an oily-scalped person, you may need a coin-sized amount to shampoo your hair. Make sure you're not taking an absurd amount of shampoo; trust us, your hair doesn't need that much, no matter how oily it is!

Step 03: Massage the shampoo onto your scalp gently, making sure that you're thorough. You don't need circular or harsh motions, since that can tangle your hair up and damage the follicles — just do it gently, without your nails digging into your scalp.

Step 04: Once you're done, rinse your hair thoroughly to ensure there are no suds remaining, since that can lead to scalp buildup in the future.

Step 05: Apply your conditioner on the mid-section and ends of your hair. Let it sit for a few minutes, and then rinse it out with cold water for a gorgeous looking sheen on your mane. Proceed with drying out your hair as usual, and you're good to go!


01. Is it good to wash your hair without shampoo?

If you have particularly oily hair but don't want to subject your hair to shampooing every day, you can turn to rinsing it with water. Alternatively, using dry shampoos, leave-in conditioners, and even powders can help maintain your hair between washes.

02. Is it okay to wash your hair with just water everyday?

Only if your strands need it! If you have dry hair, washing with just water can dry it out even more, so it's best to use a conditioner if you're using water to rinse out your hair. If you have oily hair, a water-rinse can help maintain the freshness of your hair between washes. However, just water isn't a substitute for regular shampooing.

03. Why is my hair greasy after just 1 day?

It's probably because you have an oily scalp! While a number of factors such as sweating profusely can contribute to the grease in your hair, having an oily scalp is probably one of the biggest reasons. Another could be that you're washing too frequently and your hair is overcompensating for the loss of natural moisture — hence, you should follow our guide on how often you should wash your hair.

04. What foods prevent greasy hair?

A diet that's rich in vitamin B, especially vitamin B2 and B6, along with leafy green vegetables and pulses can help regulate sebum production, and stop the hair from being greasy.

05. Can I wash my hair during early pregnancy?

Unless you have been prescribed a medicated shampoo, you don't need to make any changes to your hair wash routine during early pregnancy. If you do have a medicated shampoo, consult your doctor about switching it.

Nishtha Bhalla

Written by

Nishtha is a freelance writer who loves all things beauty, fashion, culture, and lifestyle. With content covering a variety of topics, she brings a holistic, nuanced perspective to her writing. In her free time, she can be found watching reruns of The Office, reading anything she can get her hands on, and experimenting with astrology.


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