How Often Should You Wash Your Hair?

There are really no hard and fast rules when it comes to washing hair. The  principle purpose of washing hair is to get rid of excess oil and the dirt that  binds to it. A second reason for washing hair is as part of a styling routine. With this in mind, the general guide is wash your hair when you need to!

Daily / Every 2-3 Days

This suits a variety of groups including,
-very short hair (under 4 inches)
-daily exercisers or jobs involving a lot of physical activity/dirt
-oily hair (any length)
-for medical reasons (for example dandruff management)

Why: Daily washing can be very taxing to hair which is not oily. Oil plays a role in protecting hair from damage as well as protecting it from moisture loss. Daily
washing can deplete this oil and additionally many shampoos and soaps can irritate the skin on the scalp. Therefore daily washing is suited generally to oily hair as  well as short hair where oil can be distributed easily to the full length of hair. Daily exercisers can simply rinse their hair well with water to rid it of sweat but if a full wash is preferred, this is perfectly fine. Swimmers should ideally wash hair after swimming in chlorinated water.

Precautions : Consider alternating shampoo with co-washing for hair that is not particularly oily. For those with longer hair, consider protective styles or braiding/twisting free hair during the wash as well as during exercise to reduce the sweat contact.


This is one of the most popular washing frequencies for curly hair. It generally fits in with the time point when hair starts to really feel dry and it is also convenient for most jobs (i.e the weekend = more time).

Why: Generally curly hair does not tend to get oily (there are exceptions!), as a result less oil means less dirt attracted to the hair and therefore less need to wash hair.

Precautions : For those who choose to co-wash, alternate with an occasional shampoo wash to avoid build up. For people who are exercising frequently, again you can choose to just rinse your hair to rid it of sweat and stick to a weekly shampoo and condition.

Fortnightly/ Every 3-4 weeks

This is particularly suited to
– medium length to long hair (9 inches plus)
– hair that is not oily (any length)

Why: Some people think that it is unhygienic not to wash hair at least once a week but in truth the frequency of washing should really be determined by how much oil/dirt your hair accumulates. The reason why long hair can be washed less often lies in the fact that sebum produced at the root can take a while to travel down the full shaft of the hair. As long as the hair has less oil, it also has less dirt (which attaches itself to oil). If you live in a fairly clean town/city, the chances are you may be able to wash your hair much less .

Precautions: Don’t ignore your hair if you feel that it is dry, there is no reason why you should not wet your hair as often as you like even if you are waiting  two weeks or longer between washes. Additionally if hair requires extra softness, opting to co-wash in between is perfectly fine.

How frequently do you wash?

The Natural Haven

The Natural Haven

Scientist on a hairy mission!


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92 thoughts on “How Often Should You Wash Your Hair?

  1. Two or three times a week, imo, if they never straighten their hair (some people might want to keep the look for longer).

    I have to wash my hair at least twice a week or as needed (scalp irritation goes crazy after three or four days, it depends).

  2. If it itches-needs treatment for mange/fungal dermatitis/allergic dermatitis.If it is not itching,check for malnutrition/deficiencies.Deworm and give multivitamin-mineral supplement,even humanhealth drinks can be used.References : I am vet

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  5. I wash my hair every other week until about July when the rainy season in Barbados really starts to kick in along with the heat then I HAVE to wash once a week to avoid the smell of sweat, dirt, and God-knows-what-else knocking me out.

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  7. How can i treat my hair at home with less spending…it itches alot especially wen i sweat…cos i sweat alot..i go tru alot stress tru d day..nd it aint growin but breaks alot wen i comb it..
    Tank u

    • You can make a baking soda paste to wash with. It is a wonderful neutralizer and gets your hair clean without leaving residue. I would recommend also doing research on essential oils that you can use for moisturising. They are wonderful and can be diluted with other oils. Coconut oil is my favorite and it is wonderful for your hair. Mine is below my rear end.

  8. Hi, I’m 16 and 5 months into my transition. As of late I have been washing my hair weekly because I have been using a large amount of gel to lay down the new growth. I have complained about some drying around my edges but no where else and my mom has heard some of these comaints and has taken to yelling at me about how I should do as she does and wash my hair once a month. My mom’s hair is gross so I dpn’t plan on doing that but I do realize that I need to wash less. I thinking about alternating between cowashing and shampooing but idk. Do any of yall have suggestion as to what I should do to keep my edgea from drying out.

    • When my edges are dry I use a leave in conditioner cream and seal it with oil, usually castor oil. Depending on your hair type, you may want to use a lighter oil so it is not weighted down, or a heavy oil or butter. I am a 4C and my hair likes the heavy oils and butters for sealing in the moisture. I usually do this at night so the hair is moisturized and ready to go for the next day. Good luck on your journey, so proud to hear of a young lady embracing her natural hair, self and heritage.

  9. I stopped using chemical relaxers about 6 months ago-can you say new growth!! I wash my hair weekly and keep in conditioned and trimmed. I absolutely cannot wait more than 10 days to wash my hair. It becomes a greasy mess even though I don’t use hair grease (only natural oil blend and select areas).

  10. I have no edges what are some useful products to try and use? How much should I wash my hair. I hate to straighting it. I just begin my transition process and it’s difficult but I’m not changing for society. I have begin washing my hair once a week, wrapping it at night leaving a leave in conditionar and oiling with castor oil. Any more advice or suggestions ?

  11. I’m almost 6 months in transitioning whooohoo! But my hair is doing very well ! I did a lot of research before I started transitioning . And my hair is very strong and very soft. All I do is co wash and deep condition weekly . I don’t apply heat to my hair I do it like once a every 3 months . I usually get sew-ins though. I use the water bottle with leave in condition and oil & apply it to my scalp and hair 2 times a day. So far everything’s been doing fine :) can’t wait till it gets longer

  12. I have locs and live in the southern United States. In the cooler months, I only shampoo them about once a month. If I feel they need freshening between, I just rinse with water. Also, in the cooler months I give them a drink of olive oil with vitamin E oil and tea tree, eucalyptus, and rosemary essential oils. I use that mixture as a hot oil treatment after shampooing. I leave it all in, but only apply it lightly because of my texture. Don’t want the excess to build up and get yucky in my locs. I give them just enough to drink up and absorb.

    In warmer months, I shampoo about every other week and rinse in between when I feel I need to. Where I am it gets really hot and extremely humid. The humidity is great for hydrating my skin and hair, but the heat makes my head sweat. So cleansing more often is a must. In the hotter months I substitute coconut oil for olive oil. I love coconut oil, but when it cools it stiffens, so I really don’t like dressing my locs with it in the cold. I like my locs to be soft and shiny :-)

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