Is It Bad to Wash Your Hair Every Day? Experts Weigh In

Hair pros share the ideal frequency for how often you should wash your hair.

<p>globalmoments / Getty Images</p>

globalmoments / Getty Images

Ah, the age-old debate of just how often you should wash your hair. Some people swear that going three, four—or more!—days between shampooing works for them, while others can’t imagine letting 24 hours go by stepping into the shower for a good hair washing session. So what’s the answer? Is relying on dry shampoo a detriment to your strands? And is it a bad idea to wash your hair everyday? We consulted pros for the answer.

RELATED: 7 Common Shampoo Mistakes That Can Cause Hair Loss (and Other Scalp Issues)

Is Washing Your Hair Every Day Bad?

No, washing your hair every day isn’t inherently bad, but that still doesn’t necessarily mean that you should hit the shower every 24 hours for a shampoo. In the same way that there’s no one-size-fits-all facial cleanser or skincare regimen, every ideal hair care routine ultimately varies from one person to the next.

“Some hair types will need washing more than others, everyone’s hair is different,” says celebrity stylist Jay Birmingham. “Even small lifestyle decisions, such as sleep, can affect your hair and how frequently it needs to be washed.”

That said, if washing daily works for you—and your scalp and hair are balanced, healthy, and shiny—then keep on keeping on. The ideal shampoo frequency is all about what works for you, your hair type, and your lifestyle—all of which can change even on a week-to-week basis.

Which Hair Types May Need To Wash More Often?

Hair types that tend to require more frequent washing include people with thin or fine hair, untreated hair, and those with pin-straight strands. Master stylist Gregga Prothero says that in these cases, “oil just slicks down because the smooth hair shaft doesn't possess natural texture or wave, nor does it have hair dye to absorb oils.” She adds that

Those with diagnosed scalp issues may also need to wash more frequently.

So, What’s The Ideal Hair Washing Frequency?

While washing daily works for some, many hairstylists actually argue that it’s typically best to shampoo once every two to three days versus every day.

“Daily hair washes are asking for a one-way ticket to greaseville,” Prothero says. “When you overdo it, your scalp's like, 'Let's oil up!' But guess what? Your ends are over here screaming, 'I'm parched!' The result? Split ends and breakage, and we don't want that.”

Birmingham agrees, adding that your hair and scalp require some time to renew oil and skin cells. “Excessive washing does not give your scalp the chance to breathe and can lead to a build-up of oil,” he says.

Signs You’re Overwashing Your Hair

  • Oily scalp but dry hair (especially toward the mid-shaft and ends)

  • Stringy, oily hair within hours of shampooing

  • Irritated scalp (it may be both flaky and oily)

  • Increased breakage and split ends

  • Dull hair

Adjusting Your Shampoo Schedule to Wash Less Frequently

If you’ve been washing every day and would like to decrease the frequency, it can be done. However, you might experience a bit of an adjustment period as your hair adapts to a new schedule. The key is to stay the course, and your hair will eventually balance out and produce less oil.

“Try to use dry shampoo when you can. On days you'd normally wash your hair, this will help to build a routine that doesn't involve washing your hair as frequently,” Birmingham advises. “You can also play around with different hairstyles when your hair might usually need a clean. For example, you can try a slicked-back bun or a headband.”

Using texturizing powder prior to styling your hair can also help absorb excess oil throughout the day, minimizing that dreaded greasy shine that usually prompts you to run to the shower. You can also try brushing your hair with a bristle boar brush, which helps redistribute oils accumulated at your scalp and toward the top of your hair down the hair shaft.

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