How Often Should You Wash Your Hair? – SELF
There’s no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to washing your hair. It’s all about finding what works for you and your hair type. Some women can go a week or more without sudsing up, while others feel the need to shampoo every day. Here are a few dermatologist-approved tips to help you determine if you can go one more day before washing or if you need to lather up stat.
If You Have Fine, Thin, or Oily Hair
Wash every day or every other day, Maryanne Makredes Senna, M.D., a dermatologist at Massachusetts General Hospital, tells SELF. Everyone’s scalp produces oil, but those oils (called sebum) travel more quickly down the hair shaft when you’ve got fine or thin hair, giving it that greasy appearance sooner. If you’ve got an oily scalp but don’t want to shampoo daily, use an anti-dandruff shampoo, even if you don’t have flakes, says Senna. Anti-dandruff shampoos cut down on grease, and less grease means fewer washes.
If You Have Medium-Thick or Dry Hair
Wash every two to three days. Any more than that and you could strip your hair of the natural oils that keep it looking shiny and healthy. “Sebum provides strength and pliability to the hair, making dry hair less prone to breakage,” says Senna. If you don’t want to go that long without a wash, try a sulfate-free shampoo, which is gentler on your hair. You can also give your hair a quick rinse with water and apply conditioner to the ends.
If You Have Thick or Curly Hair
Wash once or twice per week. The oils your scalp produces will take longer to travel down the super-thick or tightly coiled hair, so oiliness won’t be as noticeable. Bonus: Those extra oils can help calm frizz and give coarse hair a smoother look. But don’t go too long between washes—too much oil can be just as bad as not enough. “Excess oil can clog up the hair follicles, making the scalp more prone to infections,” says Senna.
Pro tip: Your lifestyle matters, too.
If you work out and sweat a lot, you may want to wash your hair more often, regardless of texture. The same goes for people who use lots of products or live in a highly polluted area. On the flip side, if you want to extend your no-wash streak an extra day or two, try dry shampoo. Make sure you apply it to the roots so it can soak up the extra oil, and steer clear of the ends—dry shampoo can make them look dull.
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