It seems like it should be straightforward, but one of the most frequently asked questions in beauty is how often you should wash your hair. While some people choose to shampoo daily, lathering up too often can actually do more harm than good because it will strip your strands of their natural oils. When you factor in texture and hair type, there isn’t a set number of days that universally applies to everyone.
InStyle turned to Celebrity Stylist Jenny Cho to break down how often you should wash your hair based on your hair type.
“Fine hair tends to get greasy quicker and lose its shape, so washing every day is usually a must,” says Cho. When picking which shampoo and conditioner to wash with, she suggests choosing products that use the words “volume” or “thickening” in their descriptions since these formulas are lighter and won’t weigh hair down.
For thick or coarse hair, a wash every two days is more than plenty. Cho suggests brushing your hair often so that your natural oils make their way to your ends. As far as shampoo and conditioner goes, opt for formulas that contain argan oil or shea butter.
“Oily scalps require a wash every other day,” says Cho. “This can be hard for some people, but it’s important to help stabilize the overproduction of sebum that causes this condition. When conditioning, make sure to keep product on just the ends to avoid adding to the problem.” Pick shampoos and conditioners that are infused with gentle cleansing ingredients such as peppermint, eucalyptus, and tea tree oil.
Cho says it’s crucial to choose a sulfate-free, paraben-free shampoo and conditioner to prevent your color from fading. “Colored hair responds well to keratin and proteins as this is usually found in the hair strand but wiped away by the bleaching or coloring process. Using products infused with either of these will help restructure your hair,” explains Cho.
“Using lighter shampoos and conditioners on straight hair is best as hair devoid of texture tends to look stringy or greasy much quicker than a curly girl,” says Cho. “Usually, washing every other day is plenty to keep the hair healthy and glossy.” Opt for a formula enriched with kelp extract, sea salt, and coconut oil to promote body and shine.
When it comes to curly or textured hair, less is more. “Every three or four days is usually enough to keep your curls intact and moisturized,” says Cho. “Using a conditioner in the shower in-between shampoos is also a great way to help keep your curls bouncy and hydrated. Make sure to comb your conditioner through in the shower and not again after to maintain that natural curl pattern and keep frizz at bay.” Look for shampoos and conditioners loaded with argan or coconut oils.
The bottom line: Everyone’s hair is different, so there’s no right or wrong answer for how often you should be washing your hair. But, this guide can serve as your reference that will keep you from over-washing it and using the wrong products for your hair type.