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There’s nothing like running your hands through your freshly washed hair—especially after a vigorous yoga practice or workout leaves you feeling a bit sweaty. But some research shows that a daily lather, rinse, repeat might not be best thing for the health of your tresses. So, how often should you wash your hair? Well, it depends.
A daily hair wash might work great for some people and not for others. Why? Multiple factors are at play here, including your age, hair type and length. Let’s dig in.
How often to wash your hair, according to its type and length
As a general rule of thumb, the drier your hair is, the less frequently you want to wash it. The American Academy of Dermatology Association (AADA) says that those with oily hair may need to shampoo every day. But if you have drier hair, especially if it’s color-treated, you should shampoo less frequently—only a few times a week.
If you have textured hair, the AADA recommends washing once a week or once every other week. The length of your hair should also be considered. Khetarpal says individuals with long hair typically also have drier hair, since the scalp’s natural oils have to travel much further to nourish each strand, which means fewer hair washings are needed. On the flip side, if you have shorter hair, you’ll want to shampoo more often.
But how do you know if you’re shampooing too often? Khetarpal says if you’re experiencing excessive hair breakage or a dry scalp, you might be washing too often. Try scaling back your number of weekly washes and you may see some improvement.
Beyond hair type and length, your lifestyle may contribute to how frequently you suds up. While you don’t necessarily need to wash your hair after every workout, if you are sweating it out on a regular basis, you may want to wash your hair a bit more frequently than what is typically recommended for your hair type.
And remember—you don’t necessarily need to wash your hair every time you shower. It’s certainly OK to rinse off without sudsing up.
How age impacts how often you should wash your hair
Your age impacts your hair more than you think. And no, we’re not talking about hair loss. According to the Cleveland Clinic’s Dr. Shilpi Khetarpal, younger people tend to have more active oil (or sebaceous) glands in their scalps. As people get older, the scalp’s oil production tends to slow down, which in turn dries out your hair. The result? Fewer hair washes needed.
But that’s not all. There’s also a correlation between how often you wash your hair and how active your oil glands are. Laura Collins, a hair stylist based in Raleigh, North Carolina, says that washing your hair every day can actually strip your hair of its natural oils. This, in turn, causes the scalp’s sebaceous glands to produce even more oil. This cycle happens every time you wash your hair. (Yes, every time.) So, if your hair still feels oily despite washing it every day, it’s not in your head—your daily shampooing might be the cause.
But, what about conditioner?
This is an easy answer. The AADA recommends using conditioner after every shampoo. Conditioners help strengthen your hair, increase shine, and even improve the overall look of your hair. And who doesn’t want shiny, strong, and beautiful hair?