Is It Actually Bad To Wash Your Hair Every Day?

By Simone Sydel··  10 min read
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Is it actually bad to wash your hair every day? Or is that just a myth?

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"How often should I wash my hair?" is a debate that has been raging for decades, with answers ranging from every day, to once a week at most. However, the answer to this is a little more complicated because how often you should wash your hair depends on many factors, including the texture and condition of your hair, your lifestyle, and even the haircare products you use.

So, with an increased interest in long-term hair and scalp health and not just finding a quick solution in the form of an $100+ hair oil, we need to take many things into consideration.

Is It Bad To Wash Your Hair Often?

In short, yes, washing your hair too often can be bad for your hair. Over-washing can strip your hair of its natural oils, which can lead to dryness, breakage, frizz, and scalp irritation, especially if you aren't using a good-quality shampoo or you’re going extra harsh while rubbing it in.

However, the habit of not washing your hair regularly also has its downsides and can lead to issues such as oil buildup on the scalp, dandruff, and itching, as well as inflammatory conditions such as seborrheic dermatitis. This is why finding a good balance, as well as using the right products, is key to clean and healthy hair.

How Often You Should Wash Your Hair Based on Your Hair Type

It's known that most people don't need to wash their hair every single day, but how often you need to wash it depends on a few factors, including your hair type, what products you use, and your lifestyle. So, let's break down the major hair types (and two major hair concerns) and how often you should wash your hair if you fall into one of these categories:

Fine Hair

If you have fine hair, chances are your hair becomes oily more quickly than other hair types. This is because individuals with fine hair have more hairs per square centimeter – and each hair has an oil gland attached to it. As a result, the scalp produces more oil, and your hair becomes greasy more quickly.

However, even if this is the case, daily shampooing won't do you any favors, as dehydrating the scalp will only trigger the sebaceous glands to produce more oil to compensate for the dryness. Therefore, shampooing your hair 2-3 times a week is a happy medium for those with this hair type. Additionally, using a high-quality shampoo designed for fine hair can also help you extend the time between washes.

Product To Try: OUAI – Fine Hair Shampoo ($30)

Medium Hair

Medium hair is considered the "ideal" hair type. This is because it's not as prone to oiliness or dryness as other hair types, and individuals with medium hair can often get away with washing their hair just twice a week. In fact, if you have medium hair, you might even get away with washing your hair once a week, especially if you live in a non-polluted area and you don't participate in activities that make you sweat a lot. If this is the case, use a good exfoliating shampoo once a week, and you will maintain perfectly healthy hair with minimal effort.

Product To Try: Christophe Robin – Advanced Purifying Shampoo ($38)

Thick Hair

Unlike other hair types, thick and coarse hair doesn't become (or show) much greasiness, meaning it doesn't fall flat under the weight of scalp oils as quickly. It can also become drier and more difficult to manage if over-washed, so washing it more than once a week can do more harm than good.

Again, if you use a good exfoliating shampoo on your scalp and an excellent conditioner to bring back moisture to your strands, your hair will definitely thank you and show it. Another great option is to use a silicone shampoo brush, which can help remove scalp buildup and evenly distribute the product.

Product To Try: Briogeo – Scalp Revival Charcoal + Coconut Oil Micro-Exfoliating Scalp Scrub Shampoo ($42)

Dry and Damaged Hair

Dry hair and damaged hair are two major hair concerns that most of us have had to deal with at some point in our lives. And while bouncing back from this stage may seem impossible, it's definitely achievable with the right amount of washing and using the right products to help repair the damaged strands.

How often you wash your hair generally depends on the severity of dryness and damage, but shampooing less frequently will definitely help. This is why you should try shampooing the scalp every five to seven days and using ultra-nourishing conditioners, masks, serums, and even oils on the rest of your hair to help repair the damage and bring your dry, brittle hair back to life.

Product To Try: Moroccanoil – Moisture Repairing Shampoo ($25)

Signs That You're Washing Your Hair Too Often

You’ll know you’re washing your hair too often if you start noticing the following symptoms:

  • Dry, brittle hair.

  • Hair breakage.

  • Uncontrollable frizz due to moisture loss.

  • A dry, irritated, or itchy scalp.

  • An oily and itchy scalp due to overactive sebaceous glands from continuously stripping your natural oils.

If you start noticing these signs, it's time to consider shampooing less frequently, changing your hair products to fit your hair type and hair concerns, keeping your hair care routine simple, and minimizing the number of products you use (particularly on your scalp).

How Can I Go Longer Between Washes?

If you’ve noticed some signs of over-washing and you want to bring your hair back to its healthy and natural state, then going longer between washes is a good place to start. Here are five tips on how to make this the least uncomfortable experience with the best results:

Don't Condition Your Roots

Conditioner is fantastic for adding shine and moisture to your strands, particularly your ends. However, applying conditioner to your scalp can actually make your hair look greasier as it will add moisture that will pull the hair down rather than lift it. Therefore, avoid applying conditioner on your roots if you want to go longer between washes.

Apply Baby Powder Instead of Dry Shampoo

Dry shampoos can be great for extending the time between washes, but they can also build up on your scalp and weigh down your hair. Not to mention the itching that follows when you don't wash your hair for a couple of days after applying dry shampoo. Instead, try applying a little bit of talc-free baby powder to your roots. This will help absorb any excess oils and give you the same results as dry shampoo without the scalp irritation.

Avoid Touching Your Hair

We're all guilty of running our fingers through our hair or playing with our hair when talking, reading, or watching Netflix. Not only does touching your hair transfer sweat and oil from your fingers onto your hair, but it also distributes the hair's natural oils from the root throughout the strands, causing it to get greasy faster. If you find yourself constantly touching your hair, try wearing it up in a bun or ponytail to keep your hands away from your strands.

Protect Your Hair with Satin Wraps While Sleeping

Wrapping your hair in a silk or satin wrap before bed is great for the hair as it can help protect it from friction damage and keep it from getting tangled overnight. Silk wraps will also help prevent your hair from soaking up the oils from your pillowcase, which can lead to a greasy scalp and limp hair and help you go longer between washes.

Product To Try: Muaves – All Satin Hair Wrap ($55)

Experiment with Different Hairstyles

There are some hairstyles that work better with third day hair and will help disguise your roots alongside working with the texture to give you a sleek and polished look. Hairstyles such as a sleek low bun, model-off-duty bun, glossy pony, and half-up bun (a.k.a., the hun) are perfect as they work with the shine of your hair and don't require a lot of volume.

Braids are also another great option to help you build texture and disguise your roots, as well as adding hair accessories such as hats, chunky headbands, scarves, and trendy claw clips to elevate your look.

Product To Try: Scrunchi – Barrel Claw Hair Clips ($4)

Tips for Keeping Your Hair Clean and Healthy

Besides washing less frequently, here are five more tips on how to keep your hair clean, healthy, glossy, and strong:

Oil Your Hair Properly

Oiling your hair before a wash is an excellent way to improve hair growth and density. Start by applying a good hair oil on your scalp and massaging it into the skin for a few minutes before wrapping it in a microfiber towel and leaving it for 2-3 hours before rinsing.

Product To Try: Fable & Mane – HoliRoots™ Pre-wash Hair Treatment Oil ($34)

Only Shampoo Your Scalp

When shampooing your hair, only apply the product on your scalp and not on your strands, as this can cause them to become dry, brittle, and damaged. Also, make sure to give your scalp a good massage, as this will improve blood circulation in the area and help with hair growth.

Product To Try: Briogeo – Scalp Revival™ Stimulating Therapy Massager ($18)

Condition the Rest of Your Hair

After shampooing your hair, make sure to condition the lengths and ends of your strands, as this will help add moisture and prevent split ends.

Product To Try: Briogeo – Superfoods™ Avocado + Kiwi Moisture Leave-In Conditioner ($25)

Nourish Your Hair after Washing

After washing your hair, apply a leave-in conditioner or hair mask to help nourish and hydrate your strands. You can also add a few drops of softening hair serum or oil to your leave-in conditioner to help lock in moisture and give your hair a healthy shine.

Product To Try: Moroccanoil – Moroccanoil Treatment ($34)

Dry Your Hair Naturally

Whenever possible, try to air dry your hair as this will help prevent heat damage. If you must use a blow dryer, make sure to use the lowest heat setting to prevent frizz and keep the dryer moving so that it doesn't focus on one area for too long.

Product To Try: Bio Ionic – 10X Ultralight Speed Dryer ($295)

Closing Thoughts

Washing your hair frequently has both its benefits and its downsides. This is why you should make your decisions based on what works best for your hair type, lifestyle, and hair goals. However, if your goal is to have healthy and strong hair, washing your hair less often is the way to go, as it will help prevent damage and keep your strands hydrated. Putting our tips into practice will also help you achieve and maintain clean and healthy hair, no matter how often you decide to wash it.

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