You simply have to wash your hair everyday, right? Keep it extra clean so that it can’t get smelly or unkempt? Have you ever considered that maybe, just maybe, you’re washing your hair a bit too much?

So, how often should you wash your hair?

Actually, the answer is a bit more complicated. Hair research specialist and dermatologist Paradi Mirmirani agrees that the frequency with which you wash your hair depends on a number of things such as the nature of your scalp, the quality of your hair and what you prefer doing to your hair while washing it.

As it turns out, there may be a chance you could save yourself a lot of time and trouble by washing your hair less regularly.

Even though I’m the first one who isn’t going to stick to an infrequent hair wash routine, I ‘m happy to present you some facts that might haven’t crossed your mind up till now.

It’s not me telling you to skip washing your hair. It’s science.

Paradi suggests that we treat our hair like what it really is – fiber. Think about wool, which is also a fiber. Would you wash a woollen sweater daily? Of course not, you want it to retain its luxurious, firm look. So then why would you consider a daily shampoo for your hair necessary?

Wash hair with shampoo. Retro photo


Basically, if your hair is longer, thicker or more processed then you may need to wash your hair less regularly. Ethnic hair expert at University of Miami, Heather Woolery-Lloyd, says that natural oils secreted from the scalp tend to take much longer to travel down the shaft of longer hair and thus the tips are naturally dry. This means that less cleaning or shampooing may be required. Good news if your hair is like this!

Women generally have longer and thicker hair so most tend to shampoo much less frequently. This also depends on the type of hair in question but African-american men may shampoo their hair once a week or even every alternative week.

However, most guys tend to have their hair cut short and barely ever tamper with it so there’s a good chance your hair is short, unprocessed and a little thinner. If that’s the case you may need to wash more regularly but you can still skip a couple of days in between. This depends on the amount of oil you feel your scalp is producing. If you believe your scalp is oily like the rest of your skin then shampoo your hair more frequently.

Another reason you may want to try shampooing daily is for the fragrance and fresh feel of washed hair. Though if you are shampooing daily you may want to get milder shampoos for use on your hair to avoid causing damage.

Lastly, shampooing your hair on a regular basis may depend on the hairstyling products such as hair pomade or wax that you apply on your hair. This is why again, it’s better to use milder hair shampoos since there are high chances that you prefer having your hair clean from any hairstyling product before you go to sleep.

Talcum Powder?

So, if washing your hair depends entirely on the amount of oil your scalp produces naturally why not counteract oil another way? You could try using either dry shampoo or talcum powder on your hair to absorb all the oil and spare you the wash. You’ll be surprised how many people do this and how effective it actually is.

Note: It’s good to keep in mind that there is a controversy about the use of talcum powder and the possibility of being carcinogenic.

Nevertheless the powder is not supposed to replace shampoo. It’s like a convenient option to have.

What’s wrong with shampoo?

Isle with shampoo


The thing about shampooing is that the bubbles created when doing it gives the impression that the hair is being thoroughly cleaned. Actually, these bubbles in average shampoos are caused by the harshest ingredients such as sulphate and other foaming agents. These are not particularly necessary to clean your scalp and may actually be doing you more harm than good. The worst part is these foaming agents are not even necessary in shampoos. Manufacturers tend to add these substances since most people equate bubbles with cleanliness and expect their shampoo to create such a feeling.

To solve this, switch to a sulfate-free, milder and better quality shampoo. Similar thing applies to beards as well. Investing in better products will certainly pay off in the long run. Look out for shampoos with more natural ingredients which tend to leave less residue and are better for your hair the next time you venture out to the supermarket to buy your products.

Is never an option?

Some adventurous souls have abandoned shampoo all together. It’s not jugs dirty hippies doing this either. Many professionals are now using alternatives such as lemon juice or beer to clean their hair. Some are also using baking soda. Leaving out shampoo all together may give some people better feeling hair. You could experiment with these if you find shampoo is making your hair frizzy and you would be better off without it.

The bottom line.

To put it very simply- Ideally, wash your hair twice or even once a week.

Any lifestyle or grooming change works best in moderation. We’ve already explored the potential harmful effects of shampooing too frequently. Also, not shampooing or cleaning is not an option for most. So try to limit yourself to that one or two thorough hair washes a week.

A good tip is to exfoliate the skin on your scalp while showering by running your fingers through your hair under hot water. Make sure you use mild and foam free shampoos when you do wash eventually. And above all, pay attention to how your hair looks, feel and smells throughout to decide what suits you best.


Image Courtesy: Di Studio/