There are really no hard and fast rules when it comes to washing hair. The principle purpose of washing hair is to get rid of excess oil and the dirt that binds to it. A second reason for washing hair is as part of a styling routine. With this in mind, the general guide is wash your hair when you need to!
Daily / Every 2–3 Days
This suits a variety of groups including,
‑very short hair (under 4 inches)
‑daily exercisers or jobs involving a lot of physical activity/dirt
‑oily hair (any length)
‑for medical reasons (for example dandruff management)
Why: Daily washing can be very taxing to hair which is not oily. Oil plays a role in protecting hair from damage as well as protecting it from moisture loss. Daily
washing can deplete this oil and additionally many shampoos and soaps can irritate the skin on the scalp. Therefore daily washing is suited generally to oily hair as well as short hair where oil can be distributed easily to the full length of hair. Daily exercisers can simply rinse their hair well with water to rid it of sweat but if a full wash is preferred, this is perfectly fine. Swimmers should ideally wash hair after swimming in chlorinated water.
Precautions : Consider alternating shampoo with co-washing for hair that is not particularly oily. For those with longer hair, consider protective styles or braiding/twisting free hair during the wash as well as during exercise to reduce the sweat contact.
This is one of the most popular washing frequencies for curly hair. It generally fits in with the time point when hair starts to really feel dry and it is also convenient for most jobs (i.e the weekend = more time).
Why: Generally curly hair does not tend to get oily (there are exceptions!), as a result less oil means less dirt attracted to the hair and therefore less need to wash hair.
Precautions : For those who choose to co-wash, alternate with an occasional shampoo wash to avoid build up. For people who are exercising frequently, again you can choose to just rinse your hair to rid it of sweat and stick to a weekly shampoo and condition.
Fortnightly/ Every 3–4 weeks
This is particularly suited to
— medium length to long hair (9 inches plus)
— hair that is not oily (any length)
Why: Some people think that it is unhygienic not to wash hair at least once a week but in truth the frequency of washing should really be determined by how much oil/dirt your hair accumulates. The reason why long hair can be washed less often lies in the fact that sebum produced at the root can take a while to travel down the full shaft of the hair. As long as the hair has less oil, it also has less dirt (which attaches itself to oil). If you live in a fairly clean town/city, the chances are you may be able to wash your hair much less .
Precautions: Don’t ignore your hair if you feel that it is dry, there is no reason why you should not wet your hair as often as you like even if you are waiting two weeks or longer between washes. Additionally if hair requires extra softness, opting to co-wash in between is perfectly fine.
How frequently do you wash?