If you’ve wondered, “Do black people wash their hair?” The short answer is yes. This article will detail the reasons behind this misconception, the differences between “black hair” and “white hair,” and other related questions.
Do Black People Wash Their Hair?
Yes — Black people wash their hair, and black hair needs to be kept clean. Like all hair types, washing black hair helps eliminate excess dirt, oil, debris, and buildup from styling products.
However, some may choose not to wash their hair as often as some white people due to the differences in how their hair interacts with their scalp’s natural oils.
This guide will explain:
- The key differences between African hair and other hair types
- Why black people typically don’t need to wash their hair as often
- How often black people should wash their hair
- What factors impact the frequency of hair washes
Read on to understand more about black hair, debunk certain myths, and answer any related questions you might have.
What Is Black Hair?
Black hair, or natural African and African American hair, spans various hair types itself; not all black hair is the same, but its curly or coily texture usually characterizes it.
There are different hair types to explain varying curl patterns — 1A being the straightest hair type and 4C being the curliest hair type, which is more kinky than curly.
Typically, Asians and Caucasians have 1A to 2C hair types (oily and sometimes frizzy); Asians, Caucasians, and Africans may all have 3A-3C hair types (sometimes frizzy and occasionally dry); and Africans have 4A-4C hair types (sometimes dry and brittle).
But other factors beyond hair type are important for characterizing hair, such as hair density, porosity, greasiness, diameter, and elasticity.
All of these factors combined play a role in how oily your hair gets, how thick your hair is, how much moisture your hair can retain, and, ultimately, how often you may choose to wash your hair.
Why Black Hair Does Not Require Too Much Washing
Now that you know about the differences between African hair types versus Asian and Caucasian hair types, namely the curl pattern, let’s discuss the root of the matter when it comes to hair washing: oiliness or greasiness.
What makes hair oily is sebum. Sebum is the oily, waxy substance our sebaceous glands naturally produce. Sebum does not spread as quickly or evenly on coily or kinky hair as on straighter and thinner hair types.
This is why Caucasian and Asian hair tends to get oily more quickly. Thus, it’s more common for white and Asian people to wash their hair more frequently, such as every day or every other day.
One of the sebum’s roles is to prevent drying, so although black scalps may produce this oil as much as white scalps if the hair follicles don’t “soak up” the oils as easily, this results in black hair typically being drier. So instead of needing to wash it every day, black people tend to opt for moisturizing it more frequently.
Of course, everyone’s hair routine is a matter of individual choice and preference, and this article does not speak for everyone. Some people with straighter hair types may also choose to wash their hair less frequently — perhaps because they live in a drier environment.
Similarly, some people with curlier or kinkier hair types may choose to wash their hair more frequently — perhaps given a more active lifestyle or living in a more humid environment.
Read Next: Save time by taking our “How Often Should I Wash My Hair” Quiz!
How Often Should Black People Wash Their Hair?
Again, hair washing is a matter of individual choice. Hair curl pattern, density, greasiness, porosity, hairstyle, scalp sweating, and other factors will likely play significant roles in influencing someone’s wash cycles.
However, the AADA (American Academy of Dermatology Association) recommends people with black hair wash their hair once a week or every other week.
This differs from their recommendation for straighter and/or more oily hair types, which they recommend washing as often as daily.
Factors Impacting the Frequencies of Hair Washes
Several factors might influence whether somebody wants to wash their hair more often or less often within the recommended time range.
Since the average range is between one week and two weeks, washing it more often means washing it every three to seven days, while washing it less often means washing it every 14-20 days.
If someone has a more active and adventurous lifestyle, their scalp will likely be sweatier, and their hair is prone to getting dirtier.
In this case, they may choose to wash their hair more frequently and simply moisturize it more often to prevent the dryness that may come from these frequent washes.
One thing to note about washing black hair is how different styles may impact the need to wash hair more or less. Having a protective hairstyle, such as box braids or Senegalese twists, might influence someone to wash their hair less often than they usually would.
This is because their hair is protected from much of the dirt and styling products it would otherwise interact with. However, they will still wash their hair, especially their scalp. However, they may choose to do it less frequently given the lower need.
Hair Product Use
Some black people use more hair products than others. These products may include:
- Styling gels
- Hair creams
- Oil-based products, etc.
If somebody uses many of these products, they may want to wash their hair more frequently than those who use few or no products. This is because the buildup from these products can make the hair appear greasy and lead to scalp irritation.
Hair porosity is the measure of how well your hair can absorb and retain moisture. There are three types of hair porosity: high, low, and normal.
High porosity hair is more likely to absorb moisture but has a more challenging time retaining it, while low porosity hair has a harder time absorbing moisture but can retain it for longer.
If someone has high porosity hair, they may need to wash their hair more frequently to prevent it from appearing frizzy. If someone has low porosity hair, they may need to wash their hair less frequently to prevent it from becoming dry and brittle.
Pro Tip: Take our “Hair Porosity Quiz” to learn how porous your own hair is!
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are a few commonly asked questions regarding black hair and hair washing.
Do African Americans wash their hair?
Yes, African Americans wash their hair. However, they may choose to wash their hair on a weekly or bi-weekly basis instead of every day, given that their hair tends to get less oily and greasy.
How often should a black person wash their hair?
The American Academy of Dermatology Association recommends black people or people with kinky, coily, or drier hair wash their hair once a week or every other week.
Why can’t black people wash their hair a lot?
Black people may not want to over-wash their hair because kinky and coily hair thymes are more prone to dryness and breakage.
Are black people supposed to shower every day?
While some black people may choose to shower every day, others may only shower every other day to prevent getting rid of good, natural oils.
How long can you go without washing African American Hair?
A good rule is going 7-10 days without washing to balance maintaining natural oils with erasing excess buildup. However, some African American hair types, lifestyles, and hairstyles can go up to two weeks without washing.
So, Do Black People Wash Their Hair?
How often black people wash their hair is a matter of individual preference. Some people may wash their hair once a week, while others may wash it every other week.
Several factors may influence how often someone washes their hair, including their hairstyle, lifestyle, and the products they use. Ultimately, it is up to the individual to decide how often to wash their hair based on what works best for them.