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You are here: Home » Blog » Beauty and Skin Care » How Often Should You Wash Your Hair?

How Often Should You Wash Your Hair?

by Editor on January 21, 2010 · 10 comments

How often should you wash your hair?

I get a lot of emails from our readers who ask this question. I researched quiet a bit and here are the answers.

First, a personal story. I was born in Eastern Europe, and although I am not certain what “hair washing rules” eastern Europeans adhere to these days, back then, women washed their  hair about once a week. I know what you may be thinking: “Women in Eastern Europe must have grease ball heads”.

On the contrary, my hair showed no evidence of being greasy for at least 5 days from the wash day.

But how?  The trick is, your hair glands adjust to how frequently you wash it. If you wash less frequently, it signals to the body that there is enough beneficial oil(sebum), and that the hair is protected.   The body then adjusts to release oil in smaller amounts over a longer time.

“Sebum” is a beneficial oil that keeps the hair & skin moist and protects it from drying out. According to dermatologists, washing hair daily strips our hair from much needed sebum and leaves hair unprotected.

It takes a willingness to experiment and a dash of will power, but if you wash your hair less frequently, you’ll notice that over a few weeks, it will take longer before the hair looks greasy between washes. (Washing more frequently signals that you are short on sebum and your hair glands respond by producing more oil).

Facts: According to Procter & Gamble, Americans shampoo 4.59 times a week, twice as much as Italians and Spaniards.

So, how often should you wash?

According to the dermatologists you should wash 2 to 3 times per week. Some individual nuances to consider are whether yo have straight or curly hair.  It has been stated that  people with curly hair can go longer without lathering up.   Personally, I wash my hair 3 times a week. It works very well for my naturally wavy, chemically highlighted, heat iron straightened hair.

Myth or Truth: I once heard that washing hair has been invented in the early 1,900 by hair product companies (ahem..Johnson & Johnson) to increase bath products sales.

Truth: According to NPR.org, frequent hair washing craze started with an article published by New York Times on May. 10th, 1908, that advised women to increase hair washing to two times a month instead of once a month shampooing that was customary at the time.

The trend, accelerated by Madison Avenue ads and TV commercials of girls swooshing silky, gorgeous hair after using one or other shampoo product,  catapulted into more and more frequent washes. By the end of the century it became customary to wash hair daily.

Celebrity Reference: According to New York Times, Jessica Simpson washes her hair once a month.   Ken Paves, a celebrity stylist who does Jessica Simpson’s, Eva Longoria’s, and Lady Gaga’s hair, suggests washing hair from once to 2 to 3 times per week, depending on the hair type.   Apparently, Jessica Simpson can get away with washing her hair as infrequently as once a month.   Not sure if I can go that long.

A word of caution: whatever your preference is for washing hair, make sure you use natural shampoos.   Most over the counter shampoos contain parabens and other harmful chemicals that have been linked to cancer.

Recommended natural shampoos: These shampoos are safe, made from natural ingredients and received customer’s raves.

1.Jason Natural Products Shampoo Biotin

2.Kiss My Face Whenever Shampoo for Frequent Use

3.Jason Natural Cosmetics – Hair Thickening Shampoo

4.Moroccan Oil Hair Treatment - last, Ken Paves recommends this amazing Moroccan Oil Hair Treatment to restore moisture & shine for colored, processed or damaged hair.

How often do you wash your hair?  Will you experiment and lather up less frequently?   Do you already use natural shampoo that you love?  Please share in the comment section.

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

1 nancy January 22, 2010

I wash mine every 2 days

2 Lizzie January 22, 2010

I have been trying to wash my hair less, but the longest I can really go is 3 days, maybe MAX 4 but I am miserable!

I cannot believe that Jessica only washes her hair once a month?!! How it that possible!

Great post though :)
.-= Lizzie´s last blog ..Ray Bans at Beyond the Rack! =-.

3 Christine January 22, 2010

I, for one wash 2/week. This came from a recommendation from my stylist who recommended I cut back due to dryness. Since I have cut back on washing my hair is dramatically healthier and so long. I find it hard to believe that Jessica Simpson only washes her hair once a month. It would get greasy and probably start to smell especially if she works out. I know that my hair gets gross due to working out. I think I will try that Moroccan Oil hair treatment – it probably makes hair smell great.

4 Nicole January 22, 2010

I wash about 2-3 times a week. That’s how it’s always been for me. The reason I do this is because sometimes I like to curl my hair & I find that hair that hasn’t been washed that same day holds curls much better. The natural oils in my hair keeps the curls longer when I dont wash it too often.
.-= Nicole´s last blog ..saucyfbaby: @Qb_Ducky lmsfao. why do ppl keep sayin that? Is it cuz of his "on to the next one" vid??? =-.

5 Dianne January 23, 2010

I have to wash my hair every other day because if i don’t,my air looks oily.Yuck.

6 Heather January 23, 2010

I wash once a week, my hair seems healthier with less breakage and damage since I started washing it only once a week almost three years ago.

7 Sara January 26, 2010

I love this post. The girls and I were just talking about it at work and debating on how often you should wash your hair and then I can across this post. Good Timing! I am going to try to wash every other day and see if that improves my hair. I also heard if you put a little baby powder in your hair it stops it from looking greasy in-between washes. Just a tip!

8 fh February 4, 2010

Thanks, Sara. Glad you find it informative. Let us know if less frequent washes work for you.

9 Adriana April 9, 2010

I have been washing (shampooing) my hair once a week since Christmas 2009. it was reeeally hard at first girls!! my hair was sooo oily and smelly, but i persevered (and was on sabbatical from work, so it didnt matter) and after 3 or 4 weeks it got better. my hair was quite oily beforehand and i would find that after washing my hair in the morning, the next morning it would be a little bit oily and limp. my hair is awesome now that i only wash it once a week.
I generally shampoo and conditioner on Friday morning or Friday night. its clean all weekend and on Monday is still good, but i will do a light spray of Klorane in it. Mon night or Tue morning i will wash with warm water to spread the oil to the ends of hair, and i will conditioner. hair is soo clean with just water! then Wed i will do a light spray of Klorane again, then Thu morning wash again with water and then condition..it needs to be rinsed with water otherwise it gets smelly!! and then thats how i make it last! my hair is awesome now..and i have bleached blonde hair and NO breakage anymore.

10 Elizabeth March 17, 2011

I found this review very helpful as a women with african american thick kinky natural hair, I use to only wash my hair once a month because it took a long time to detangle. It stayed somewhat clean and didn’t smell. When I work out which isn’t often I don’t sweat. But when my hair reached to about 13 inches my hair started getting build up and became extremely dirty in the scalp. So I had to wash my hair more like twice a week or once a week. After all the washing and conditioning and detangling it started to stress my hair and I started having more split ends and knots at the end. I recently decided to relax my hair with phytospecific relaxer and my sclap already isn’t as dirty and I don’t have severe build up. I’m cutting away the split ends and knots every other day and gave my self a small trim. I’m hoping I can go back to washing just once a month to eliminate heat damage and the stress of shampooing. Maybe my hair can just be washed with the conditioner on the ends and a little shampoo in the scalp. I believe it depends on the person’s lifestyle, products, length, styling tools and genes that determines our hair’s success, also staying away from shampoo’s that strip the hair.

Just my opinion.

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