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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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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…

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 »
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