How Often Should You Wash Your Hair?

How Often Should You Wash Your Hair?

How often do you wash your hair? Everyone wants to know the magic number in order to keep it healthy, but the real answer actually depends on your hair type. Each hair type has its own structure, and therefore needs its own unique maintenance. When considering how often to wash your hair, it can take a lot of trial and error to find a schedule and products that work for you.

    What are the factors that influence how often you should wash your hair?

    When deciding how often to wash your hair you need to take several factors into consideration.

    Firstly, your hair type. Do you have type 2, type 3, or type 4 hair? The different curl patterns have varying characteristics that require a personalized cleansing routine.

    Secondly, your lifestyle. For example, do you work out a lot or live somewhere with a very humid weather? If so, you may need to wash your hair more often. Gentle shampoo or co-washes are the best option in these occasions, to keep the scalp clean without stripping out the hair's natural oils.

    Seasons could also affect how often you wash your hair. In summer, when the weather is hot, we all tend to wash our hair more often.


    Which products should you use in your wash day routine?

    As well as wondering how often to wash your hair, you need to think about what you are washing your hair with. For curly hair, no wash day is complete without using a combo of hair cleanser and conditioner.

    Hair Cleansers

    There are different types of cleansers which should be used with different frequencies:

    • Co-washes, like our Curl Quenching Conditioning Wash, are an alternative to shampoo that has taken the curly hair world by storm. Co-washes are conditioners with a little bit of cleansing ingredients inside. They are the most gentle cleanser you can use, they do not foam and they are designed for frequent or everyday washes. Because the product doesn't strip away natural oils like traditional shampoos, you can use this everyday if needed. Co-washing can be very beneficial to people with curly, wavy, or coily hair because of its gentle and moisturizing nature.
    • Low-poo or gentle shampoos, like our Vivid Tones Shampoo, Shine Shampoo and Core Strength Shampoo, are more cleansing than co-washes, but they are still gentle enough to be used frequently. They foam like traditional shampoo but they don’t contain sulphates or harsh cleansers that can strip the hair out.
    • Purifying or clarifying shampoos, like our Wash & Scrub, are the most cleansing type, and they should only be used every 4-5 wash days to really detox, prevent build-up, and improve your scalp health.

    Shampoo and co-washes have different properties, but they should both be used the same way. When washing your hair you should be gently applying it to the hair roots and not through the full length. Targeting the root and massaging the cleanser in allows to lift and remove build-up, without drying out the lengths. The soapy water that will flow over the ends when rinsing your cleanser out is enough to keep that part clean.

    Hair Conditioner

    Since curls are dry by nature, you should never shampoo without following up with a suitable conditioner. Conditioner serves two purposes:

    • Detangle the hair: you should only brush or detangle your curls when they are wet and they have a conditioner on. Dry detangling (unless you have a looser curl pattern) can lead to hair damage and breakage. Instead, if your hair is wet and it has a conditioning product on, the brush will glide through the curls much more easily, avoiding pulling.
    • Moisturize the strands: conditioners are packed with moisturizing ingredients that will help keep the hair soft, glossy and manageable. This is particularly important after you have removed that moisture with a shampoo.

    As well as with cleansers, there are multiple types of conditioners that serve different functions:

    • Rinse-out conditioners, like our Shine Conditioner, Glow Perfecting Conditioner and Calming Conditioner, are great for your regular washes. This type of lightweight formula will provide hydration without weighing the hair down.
    • Deep conditioners, like our Double Cream Deep Quencher and Hydro Creme Soothing Mask, are better used every once in a while, weekly for example. They provide intense moisture and hydration, and they're a great treatment to keep your curls soft and smooth.
    • Leave-in conditioners are not used during your wash, but they are key to keep your hair moisturized in between washes, especially if you don't wash your hair very often. There are many different formulas, depending on what your hair needs are: the finer the hair, the lighter texture you should choose.
    • Multi-purpose conditioners, like our Multi-tasking Conditioner, are designed to be used in different ways, both as rinse-outs, leave-in and deep treatments.


    How often should you wash your hair based on your Curl Type?

    Although it can take a lot of trial and error to work out your optimum curly haircare routine, once you find out what works for you it will be easy to keep it up. The unofficial rule of thumb for how often to wash each hair type is as follows:

    Wavy Hair: Three to four times a week.

    Wavy hair is easily weighed down and can lose its shape faster than other curl types. By washing it more frequently you can help reduce build-up and help the waves spring back. Clarifying regularly is key for all hair types, but this is especially true for wavy hair. Add a clarifying shampoo into your routine every 4-5 washes to make sure all build-up is properly melted away.

    Curly Hair: Two to three times a week.

    When washing curly hair you want to use gentle products that won’t strip the hair of its natural oils. Co-washing throughout the week can help gently cleanse the curls while keeping them moisturized.

    Coily Hair: Once or twice a week.

    Washing coily hair often is less necessary because of the structure of its tresses. The twists and turns of the hair mean that the natural oils don’t coat the hair as easily as the other hair types. Therefore, people with this hair often experience dryness at the ends. Going longer between washes and using a gentle shampoo can help keep the scalp clean without stripping out the ends. However, make sure you're not washing it too little, like only once a month, or your scalp health could be at risk.

    How often should you wash your hair if it's oily?

    Sometimes oily hair is due to genetics, and in this case you may need to wash it more often than what's recommended for your curl type.

    However, oftentimes people who believe to have oily hair are just experiencing the symptom of a wrong cleansing routine. Using harsh cleansers like sulfates may strip the hair of its natural sebum, leaving it lacking moisture. The scalp would then produce more oil to compensate for this loss, and it could become a vicious cycle. Using clarifying shampoo too often, even if it is sulfate free, could have the same results.

    If you think you have oily hair, before increasing weekly washes, try using sulfate and silicone free products for a month. Adjusting to a new routine might take some time, but we suggest to pursue the new changes for one month to really understand whether it is helping you. If your scalp still feels oily after that, you may need to wash it more often, as often as daily or every other day. By washing the hair daily you can reduce build up in the follicles, making the hair appear less greasy.


    Is there such a thing as washing your hair too much?

    Washing your hair regularly is imperative to keep your scalp healthy. If you don't wash it enough, sebum and product build-up can accumulate, ultimately suffocating your hair follicles. This can lead to conditions like itchy scalp, flaky scalp, or in the most extreme cases even hair loss.

    However, not every hair type requires a daily wash. This is true especially for curly and coily hair, which are drier than other hair types. In this case, washing too often could strip the hair of the natural oils produced by the scalp. These oils are key to keeping the strands healthy and moisturized. By washing hair too often, you may find your hair becomes dry, feels rough or even difficult to style.

    Is it Bad to Wash Your Hair Everyday?

    There is no real definitive answer. This will depend a lot on your hair type, your specific needs and your lifestyle. The important thing is to use the correct cleanser and conditioner combo depending on your wash needs. If you are using a very gentle cleanser like a co-wash, then washing your hair every day may not be a problem, but you don’t want to be using a clarifying shampoo every day.

    How to create the perfect wash schedule for your needs

    Listening to your hair and looking out for how it reacts to changes in routine is really key to create the perfect curly regime. If you are washing your hair everyday and you start noticing it becomes drier and more prone to frizz, try washing it less often, change the type of cleanser or deep condition more. It's all about trial and error, and if you're not sure where to start take our curl quiz to discover the best product for your needs!

    Sharley Viola
    Curlsmith’s Lead Educator

    Textured Hair Specialist with a vast amount of experience delivering education both nationally and internationally. A self-confessed product junkie committed to spreading her wealth of knowledge amongst the curly hair community and beyond.

    Sharley Viola
    Curlsmith’s Lead Educator

    Textured Hair Specialist with a vast amount of experience delivering education both nationally and internationally. A self-confessed product junkie committed to spreading her wealth of knowledge amongst the curly hair community and beyond.