How many of you read­ing this wash your hair every 5 days with­out fail?

If you respond­ed “yes,” I’d ven­ture to guess (though I may be incor­rect) that you wash your hair that often because its cur­rent­ly at a length you con­sid­er man­age­able, or your scalp accu­mu­lates oil neces­si­tat­ing a wash, or you wear wash and go styles. How­ev­er, for those of you who don’t have to wash your hair due to an oily scalp or any oth­er issue, what is the max­i­mum amount of time you should go with­out wash­ing your hair? Everyone’s hair and scalp are dif­fer­ent but I offer a few guide­li­nes that I’ve used in my hair reg­i­men.

Wash­ing vs. Cleans­ing

First things first: When I say “wash­ing,” I am specif­i­cal­ly refer­ring to the use of a cleans­ing agent (prefer­ably a mild one) which aids in the break­down and removal of oil and dirt from the hair and scalp. For me, this means using my Shea Mois­ture Raw Shea But­ter sham­poo or African black soap. My scalp doesn’t pro­duce much sebum; so it real­ly isn’t nec­es­sary for me to wash my hair every sin­gle week. I add mois­ture by spritz­ing water and seal­ing the length of my hair with oils. You may find that you can also go longer than one week with­out using a sham­poo or oth­er cleans­ing agent. Still, con­sid­er­ing the pol­lut­ed envi­ron­ment in which most of us live, wash­ing your hair with a gen­tle cleanser at least twice a mon­th, or every two weeks, will remove build up that accu­mu­lates over time. This doesn’t mean, how­ev­er, that you should not cleanse your hair soon­er.

I refer to “cleans­ing” as the use of only water to clean your hair and scalp. Con­di­tion­er can be used to soft­en the hair, but I prefer to cleanse with only water and then apply a leave-in con­di­tion­er after. Why can cleans­ing be use­ful in between wash­es? Well, think of your hair as a fab­ric. Unless you keep it cov­ered, it is reg­u­lar­ly exposed to the ele­ments, absorbs odor, dust and dirt. Cleans­ing your hair can be as sim­ple as sec­tion­ing your hair, rins­ing it in the show­er and then apply­ing a leave in mois­tur­iz­er. If you are not going to vig­or­ous­ly rub the scalp (as usu­al­ly done dur­ing wash­ing), you might be able to avoid lengthy detan­gling ses­sions and sim­ply remove shed hair with your fin­gers. Ide­al­ly, I think it’s a good idea (though not nec­es­sary for every­one) to light­ly cleanse your hair  in between wash­es if you wait more than 10–14 days to wash your hair.

Why Wait to Wash?

Some of you may read this arti­cle and won­der: Why would any­one wait longer than a few days to wash? Well, if you have high­ly tex­tured hair, the longer your hair grows, the more time con­sum­ing it can be to wash and style your hair. Deep con­di­tion­ing twice a week when you have a TWA is one of the ben­e­fits of short­er hair that I miss. I washed my hair at least three days a week when I first went nat­u­ral. Now, with waist length hair, it sim­ply takes too much time to wash mul­ti­ple times a week if not nec­es­sary. More­over, I’ve found that wash­ing my hair too fre­quent­ly can leave my hair feel­ing brit­tle and dry. It takes a few days for my hair to absorb the nat­u­ral oils pro­duced by my scalp and I find that this ben­e­fits the health of my new­ly grown hair with­out the need to add oth­er oils like jojoba direct­ly to my scalp.

Like any part of your hair rou­tine, you want to bal­ance your lifestyle with a reg­i­men that suits your tastes and needs. Going beyond two weeks with­out wash­ing or cleans­ing the hair might have a neg­a­tive impact on most wom­en, due to scalp or hair dry­ness. In my opin­ion that would be con­sid­ered “too” long. Some of you may dis­agree. Share your thoughts.

How often do you wash your hair?  What is the longest you can com­fort­ably go with­out a wash?


Island girl raised in the most roy­al of NYC’s bor­oughs. Proud nerd, social sci­en­tist, edu­ca­tor and recov­er­ing awk­ward black girl. When not lis­ten­ing to NPR, try­ing to grow spir­i­tu­al­ly, or detan­gling my fro, I’m search­ing for the best shrimp and grits in the Queen City.

Leave a Reply

27 Comments on "Why I Only Wash My Natural Hair Every 2 Weeks"

Notify of

I’m white, with nat­u­ral­ly curly hair…and I straight­en it and wash my hair twice a mon­th. The longer I wait, the bet­ter I like my hair. I keep it fresh with dry sham­poo.


Inter­est­ing.. I used to wash my every week & I noticed that it broke quick­ly. So I also decid­ed to was them twice a mon­th. I feel bet­ter now & it grows so fast.