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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?

Gen

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.

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

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Black Girl With Long Hair

I am deleting this comment and I’m sorry it even got through. I must have missed it during comment moderation. This commenter is clearly a piece of shit and shouldn’t even be here.

Tameka

First of all you racist price of shit. Black people aren’t nasty. Our hair is just way different from other races you damn dummy. Smh

Black woman that smells like cocoa butter
Black woman that smells like cocoa butter

Praying for you. This was so unnecessary, re read this and look in the mirror and ask yourself how did you benefit from it.

Anonymous
I bet your a woman with straight hair because you truly don’t understand what we woman with curly hair go through on a daily basis, we constantly have to detangle our hair and give the right moisturizer for our hair to make it look nice while you straight haired woman can just get out of bed brush your hair and walk out the door, “we smell funny” bc unlike you we like to take care of our hair bc it doesn’t get dirty as fast as yours! So you watch what you say! And we are not nasty we shower… Read more »
H E K Y M A

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.
http://WWW.HEKYMA.COM

CK

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.

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[…] Natural hair is not required to be washed every day because it does not preserve moisture as well as other hair textures. However, contrary to popular […]

lady bee

I have relaxed hair and I wash it every three weeks. I also dont put any heavy oils on my scalp. I only oil my hair. The last 10 years it has been healthy and grows at a pretty decent rate so I keep it trimmed.

Christina Guillot

I only wash my hair twice a month but in between washes I make sure I condition or deep condition my hair

Diamenrose

My mom used to be angry when I would wash my hair once a week. When I wore a weave in December I obviously washed my hair less than before.
When I removed the weaves I noticed that my scalp was in better condition. My scalp hasn’t itched that much . Now I will try to wash my hair every two weeks. It prevents me from itchy scalp 🙂

Tashamay

I co-wash my hair every 2weeks and wash once a month with Shea Moisture Jamaican Black Soap shampoo only because any kind of shampoo is very drying to my hair & scalp. My 3c/4a hair is just touching mid back length now so this method has been working for me since my big chop 2years ago.

Vicki Picki

I wash my hair typically every three days and deep condition every third wash day. It takes me about an hour, sometimes less to wash, detangle and style my hair which is approaching Bsl but past Apl length. I can’t imagine going longer than that to wash my hair. First of all my scalp is oily and second of all, I’m sure that my hair, just like my body collects dirt and grime from the environment. Washing my hair any less often than that just seems pretty gross to me.

No

I’m sorry but anybody who exercises daily will have to wash their hair about twice a week.

Toniette

Agreed. I exercise 4 to 5 days a week. I rinse on days 1 and 2 but by day 3 shampoo is necessary. The goop and dirt already start accumulating. I combat dryness by applying warm coconut oil & olive oil for 30 min to loosen the dirt. Then I wash with diluted shampoo (I don’t have to dilute if it’s Trader Joe’s Tea Tree Tingle). Always clean and never dry!

lottie b!

I’ve found that it is best for me to shampoo about every 2-3 weeks as well. Like Geniece I have a lot of hair and cannot shampoo as frequently as when my hair was shorter. I typically use this regimen in the winter months because the cold dry air makes my hair dryer and more brittle. During the summer I’ll shampoo at least every 10-12 days. In between times I swear(it’s not nice to swear but hey…)by BRONNER BROS. Daily Doctor and BRX conditioning spritz. It moisturizes without oil and keeps my scalp hydrated.

Cynthia

There is no way on God’s green earth I could go that long without washing my hair. I would look like a hot mess. My hair is dry and I have to put some type of moisture on my hair, which makes it limp after a day or two. I have to cleanse it for it to have any type of body. I wish I could go without all the washing but I can’t.

KinkyKhemist

I am slowly coming out of my twa phase & the more my hair grows, the less frequently I wash it. I used to wash twice a week, now I am starting to wash every week & a half to two weeks. I will moisturize & gently detangle my hair a few times a week to reduce the amount of time spent on wash day. If I do cleanse my scalp, it’s usually on a day when I’ve worked out.

tiffdizzle

I wash once a month, my hair is too thick to be doing it every week, once upon a time when I first big chopped I did was every week, the longer it got the less time I spent washing it, I rinse out product on a daily though, if I used a lot of gel or something, I rinse it out in the shower, and in-between washes I do co-wash 2-3 times a month, so its not like my hair is dirty.

Miss Elisa K.

I am a two-weeker also!!! I feel better about my regimen and less like a natural hair slacker 😉 Great post!

Gen

It depends on the reason for the itching. If the hair is oily, then you should wash weekly. I also find that some products can contribute to itchiness. I find that using an oil on the scalp right before washing limits my scalp from feeling dry and itchy. I will also oil the scalp (esp in cold weather) with a light oil like jojoba. for some reason heavier oils will make my hair feel itchy within a week.

Herlucidsky
Well as long as I don’t put anything on my scalp and use simple products like oils, shea butter and CG approved products, then I can easily get away with 2-4 weeks without washing. Especially if I keep my hair in a bun or braids vs wearing it down frequently. And since I don’t thoroughly detangle until wash day, the downside to detangling every 2-4 weeks is having to deal with the long detangling sessions. Waiting that long results in a great accumulation of shed hairs which tends to tangle up on themselves and the others hairs, which then results… Read more »
D

Would cleansing my hair with water help to stop itching? I try not to wash my hair every week, but the itchiness gets so bad.

Kecia

Thanks for the post! Recently, I was so desperated and didn’t want to do a complete washing process, but my scalp was super itchy after 1 week from my last wash. So, I used hot/warm water in a spray bottle and went straight to the scalp (massaged in)…felt good n worked wonders! I don’t remember itchiness again at least for a few days. (My style was two-strand twists). I also recently tried co-wash w/ Carol’s Daughter cleansing conditioner n was a plus on moisture which I realized a couple days later. 😉

The One
I think that depends on why your scalp is itching. If it’s itching just from the build up, water cleansing might help. But if you’re scalp is like mine, water alone on my itchy scalp makes it flame up even worse until I wash it, condition, and oil my freshly cleaned scalp. Sometimes I can get away with just conditioner if I need a midweek refreshment, but that is definitely just a temporary fix that lasts maybe 3-4 days before the itchiness comes back.The longest I can go without washing my hair is 2 weeks before I start itching incessantly.… Read more »
CaribbeanCurl

What I do depends on my hairstyle for the week. If it’s in simple twists mid-week I will simply stand below the shower and gently run my fingers through, sometimes with conditioner.At the end of the week I repeat but this time definitely with conditioner. At the next weekend, I wash and deep conditioned. If it’s on a serious protective style like crotchet braids, then only every 2 weeks will I put my head willingly under water.

Barbara

I wash my hair every week sometimes times a week. If I go longer my scalp itches like crazy. My hair is at the length where it doesn’t take much time to wash/deranged (I have shoulder length hair). I doubt though the number of times I wash my hair will change because of my scalp but I shall wait and see.

Kaila P

I don’t have the time to wash it every week or every two weeks for that metter. I usually go 4-6 weeks without washing and my hair thrives in that situation. Fortunate;y my scalp and hair don’t rebel when I don’t wash it

Carlee

I at lease “cleanse” my hair every day, occasionally skipping a day or two. I “wash” my hair once a week. I use a rhassoul clay rinse to “wash” my hair. I use water only to “cleanse” my hair. My rhassoul clay rinse is like a wash and a conditioner at the same time. It’s so awesome for my 4c hair. It completely eliminated my chronic dryness problems and it defines my curls like crazy (through hydration).

hellajerica

I wash my hair every two weeks also, sometimes three. In between I also cleanse with water, especially when I have no time in the morning. I cowash atleast twice a week and detangle my hair.

hair6G

wow you look like the First Lady and her older daughter…

Gen

LOL. If I had a dollar for everytime I heard that…

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