It seems simple, right? Take a shower and wash your hair daily. Wrong! Washing your hair may seem simple, but you would be surprised how many people do it incorrectly.

Washing your hair incorrectly can lead to scalp irritation, dandruff, and other scalp issues. How often someone decides to wash their hair is a personal choice, although a standard can be set according to lifestyle and hair type. I wash my hair with shampoo once every two weeks and co-wash it weekly to refresh my strands. I can do that because of the products I use and my lifestyle, but that can change with changes in my habits, too. Certain hair types and textures only require washing once a week, while others feel best when washed 2-3 times a week.

Thick, Coarse Hair or Tight Curls and Coils

How Often Should You Wash Your Hair?
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With this hair type, shampooing can be the last thing on your mind since you need to wash your hair no more than once a week or once every 2-3 weeks if your hair does not feel dirty. Daily washing is a bad idea as this would be too drying for your hair.

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Try co-washing your hair with water and conditioner or water wash to refresh between washes. Water washing means you massage your scalp using water, not shampoo, cleanser, or conditioner. Some people do this in between their co-washes and shampoos.

Medium Curls and Waves

How Often Should You Wash Your Hair?
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You can afford to shampoo once a week. If you skip a day or two, no need to worry because your curls will look great with a little refreshing. Curls can work well when they have a small amount of oil. You may need to co-wash in between shampoos if you work out frequently. You can also water wash between co-washes.

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Fine Curls and Waves

How Often Should You Wash Your Hair?
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With a fine texture, your hair may seem oily by the evening, mainly when you use styling products daily. Depending on your scalp, you may find that co-washing makes your hair appear oily the first few times you do it. Experiment with co-washing over time, and you may find that the oiliness subsides. If it’s not for you, try to prolong the time between shampoos using dry shampoos or sticking to light stylers and refreshing with water rather than a product. At the very least, reduce daily shampoos and minimize your wash days to once every 2-3 days.

Of course, your hair type is not the only contributing factor to how often you should wash your hair. For example, your porosity and your city’s water quality will also affect what might be best.

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Image Source: @deliagorenco_

There is never one correct answer regarding hair care – which can lead to confusion. We constantly get questions on this topic, like this one from our reader posted this question in Curly Q&A:

“How often should I wash my hair? I usually wash my hair once a week, my hair doesn’t stink, it doesn’t feel dirty, it doesn’t look dirty…..I don’t really like it. Also, I wouldn’t say I like to do anything like twisting or just anything new until the day before I wash my hair or the day I wash my hair (Saturday). So is washing it once a week necessary?” –NaturalDude

When Should You Wash?

No, washing weekly is not necessary for everyone. That weekly standard is for people who find it fits into their lifestyle. Here are three easy rules to guide you towards a wash day decision.

1. Wash when hair is dirty

There is no need for a wash day schedule just because we are used to one. Wash your hair when it is dirty, and that can be anywhere from 1-3 weeks for some, although for many, two weeks are just fine when you have oily hair. “Washing” means cleansing with a shampoo or cleansing conditioner, not just re-wetting hair and running conditioner through it. Many run conditioner through their hair to refresh it and to keep it going until cleansing is necessary. Some months may require more washing (when you are working out more, swimming, etc.), so do not need to stick to a wash schedule if it does not work for you.

2. Wash when you have buildup

The buildup is not always dirt. Oftentimes it is product buildup. Like putting hair in twists the day before wash day, I do something similar when using silicones. I know it will cause buildup by day two, so I do not use it until I wash my hair. I don’t want to walk around with buildup for a week, so I schedule certain hairstyles according to my wash schedule.

3. Experiment with washday schedules

The best way to determine if two weeks would be a better fit for you is to try it. If washing weekly is too much, stop and go longer, like a week and a half or two weeks. Going longer than that may be such a great idea, but knowing that just because you are not washing so often does not mean you cannot wet your hair and moisturize it. Do not lock yourself into a regimen out of habit but more out of a fit into your life. If your hair is not dirty, go an extra week and see how it fares.

This article was originally published in 2011 and has been updated for grammar and clarity.

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