Scalp Care: How Often Should You Wash Your Hair?

For some people, washing their hair is part of an everyday routine. After all, there is nothing quite like the feeling of warm water flowing over your scalp as you lather your hair with thick, luxurious suds.

But maybe you have heard that washing your hair too often can cause damage, and you are wondering, "how often should you wash your hair?”

Experts say there is no single answer to how often a person needs to wash their hair, and the frequency differs for every individual. In addition to personal preferences, a variety of factors can impact how often you should shampoo.

Shampoo and Its Effects

While keeping your scalp and hair clean is essential, it's also vital to understand the effects shampoo can have on your hair. Shampoo is a mild detergent formulated with a variety of additives. Some chemicals are added to treat hair and scalp conditions, such as dandruff and a dry or oily scalp. Still, others are purely cosmetic, adding shine and ensuring a rich, luxurious lather.

The primary purpose of washing your hair is to remove dirt and dead skin cells, which combine with your hair's natural oil, leaving it limp and lifeless. However, while washing your hair is necessary, the oil your scalp produces is vital to healthy, shiny hair. Shampooing too often can strip your hair of this natural oil, causing it to become dry, coarse, and difficult to style.

If you are washing your hair too frequently, you may experience:

  • Dry, brittle hair.
  • Hair breakage.
  • A dry, irritated or itchy scalp.

While not washing your hair often enough can cause a buildup of dirt, skin cells, and oil, a dry scalp may lead to increased hair shedding.

Factors That Affect How Often You Should Wash Your Hair

Everyone's hair is different, and the length of time a person should go between washes varies. For example, some people need to shampoo their hair daily, while others can go two or three days or longer between washes. Several factors can impact how often you should shampoo, including:

  • Age
  • Ethnic background
  • Hair length
  • Hair type
  • Activity level


The oil produced by the glands in your scalp is primarily controlled by male sex hormones known as androgens. As you age, your body produces less hormones, causing the oil-producing glands to be less active. Conversely, since hormone levels are higher in younger people, their glands are more active and produce more natural oils.

Ethnic Background

Another major factor that determines how often you should wash your hair is your ethnic background. Typically, African Americans have extremely dry hair, which, if washed too often, can become dry and brittle, leading to breakage.


The glands that produce oil are only present in your scalp. The oil they produce must make it all the way down each strand of hair to protect and moisturize it. Since washing removes this oil, shampooing too often can make it more challenging to keep the ends moisturized.


Curly, coarse hair is usually much drier than straight, silky hair. Like long hair, with curly hair, the oil must travel along the entire strand to moisturize the ends. As you would expect, if your hair is naturally dry, you should wash it less often.

Activity Level

If you lead an active lifestyle and sweat heavily, you might think it necessary to wash your hair after every workout. However, even with daily exercise, it's important to consider your hair type, texture, and the amount of oil your scalp usually produces.

How Often Should You Wash Your Hair?

A variety of factors determine how often you should wash your hair. While some people need to wash their hair daily, most people need only wash their hair every two or three days or longer. However, washing your hair too often can cause dry, brittle hair that breaks easily, leading to thinning hair. At Mane Image, we are experts in the care of all hair types. If you are experiencing issues with your hair or have questions about how frequently you should be washing your hair, we can help. Contact us today and schedule your FREE initial consultation.