How often should I wash my hair? Quiz time! Answer 5 simple questions to learn what your hair type’s ideal shampoo schedule looks like. Do you need to wash once a week, every 2-3 days, or daily? Find out by taking the quiz!
Wondering How Often You Should Wash Your Hair? Start Here.
Shampooing regularly helps keep your strands clean, lightweight, and free from buildup, but washing your hair too often can take your mane in the wrong direction.
Every hair type has an ideal shampoo schedule – how often you should wash and condition your hair. If you’re not sure how often you need to cleanse and condition your hair, you’re in the right place.
Your hair type encompasses the shape (like straight, wavy, or curly) and texture (like fine, medium, or coarse) of your strands. And luckily enough, your hair type also indicates how often you need to shampoo your hair to keep it clean without stripping your natural oils away.
It’s *really* important to know your hair type’s preferred shampoo schedule. Shampooing too often for your hair type can lead to problems like:
- Chronically dry, rough hair. This is due to stripped moisture from repeated washing and the high pH (5.5+) of most shampoos.
- Oiliness at the roots. Shampooing too often strips your scalp’s natural oils and prompts your follicles to generate more to compensate.
- Stubborn frizz and flyaways. Without enough moisture, the hair cuticle (outer layer of hair strand) raises and roughs up the strands creating frizz and flyaways.
- Color fading. Overwashing, especially with hot water and shampoos that contain sulfates, is known to fade hair color faster.
- Curl/wave pattern disruption. Shampooing wavy or curly hair too often can lead to wonky waves or curls and curl pattern disruption. Chronically dry textured hair bends differently than well-hydrated, balanced hair.
And if you think you can just start skipping a few days between shampoos to avoid these problems, you put your hair at risk for a whole new set of problems. Not washing often enough for your hair type leads to:
- Clogged scalp pores and follicles. Sebum (your scalp’s natural oil), products, sweat, dirt, and dead skin cells clog up your scalp pores and follicles after several days of not washing. This can lead to painful bumps, sores, and pimples on your scalp.
- Smelly hair odor. Sebum and sweat are sticky substances that hold onto microbes that lead to bad hair odor. After not washing for several days, your hair will be stinky.
- Oiliness. When you don’t remove the natural oil your scalp’s sebaceous glands secrete with shampoo, the oil builds up and begins running down your hair strands. Oily strands clump together and look dirty.
- Buildup and “heavy” strands. After days of oil and product buildup without shampoo to wash it away, your hair will feel weighed-down, limp, and heavy. You will struggle to achieve volume when you have a lot of buildup in your hair.
Washing too often is bad. Not washing often enough is bad. So…where’s the happy medium?
It depends on your hair type and lifestyle. A woman with fine, straight hair needs to wash a lot more often than a woman with coarse, coily hair. And someone who works out for an hour each day will need to shampoo more than someone who doesn’t regularly break a sweat.
That’s what the quiz is for! All you need to do is answer 5 quick questions about your hair. We’ll tally your answers instantly and show you how many times you should shampoo each week for ideal results. You’re about to learn a lot about your hair and wake up to better hair days!
How Often Should I Wash My Hair? Quiz
If you want your hair to look and feel its best, you have to make sure you’re not shampooing too often or too little. Take the quiz to find out how often you should wash your hair!
Choose the answer that best matches your hair for each question below. We’ll tell you how often you need to shampoo in your instant quiz results!
You Took the Quiz. Now What?
You’ve got your quiz results – how exciting! Now you know how often you should wash your hair according to your hair type and care needs. Take a look below to learn a little more about how often you should wash your hair and tips to have your best hair days ever.
If You Need to Shampoo Daily or Every Other Day…
Washing your hair daily or every other day is usually considered a “no-no” in the hair care community. There’s a good reason for that, but in your case, washing more often won’t harm your hair or strip it of natural oils.
Know why? Because you’re going to use the right kind of shampoo. Let’s take a look at the do’s and don’ts for your hair type.
- DO use sulfate-free shampoo. Washing your hair daily or every other day calls for a special sulfate-free shampoo. These milder formulas are powerful enough to clean away dirt, excess oil, and product buildup without stripping all of your natural scalp oil away.
- DO follow every wash with conditioner. Even if your hair is baby-fine and greasy, you still need to condition your strands after every shampoo. Concentrate it on your ends if it weighs your roots down too much. Try a spray leave-in conditioner if cream formulas are too heavy.
- DO shampoo after every heavy sweat sesh. Whether it’s a workout or an unexpected hot day, if you find yourself working up a major sweat, you need to shampoo afterward. A little sweat can act like a salt spray in your hair, bringing out natural waves and texture. If it’s more than a little, go ahead and shampoo to cleanse your scalp.
- DON’T avoid washing your hair when it’s obviously dirty. If you don’t wash your hair daily or every other day, you’ll find yourself using more and more hair products to stave off oiliness and the limp, flat texture that settles in a day or two after shampooing. You could also experience hair odor, scalp flakes, itchiness, soreness, or bumps on your scalp if you go too long between washes.
- DON’T use protein-enriched shampoo. Using the right shampoo is essential when you’re washing every day or every other day. Skip protein-enriched shampoo (look for protein, keratin, strengthening, or collagen on the label) since it can result in protein overload with regular use. Use moisturizing sulfate-free shampoos instead – these will help protect your hair from dryness from washing too often.
Keep your favorite dry shampoo handy for days when you want to postpone shampooing a little longer. And don’t forget to use a little elbow grease when you’re washing with sulfate-free shampoo.
These milder formulas need a little more lathering action on your end to do their job properly. Try to scrub and lather your scalp for 2-3 minutes before rinsing to make the most of your sulfate-free shampoo.
If You Need to Shampoo 2-3 Times a Week…
Since you have pretty dense (full) hair with a little shape to it, you’re a perfect candidate for short-term protective styles. Wearing your hair in braids, twists, or buns can help you extend the time between washes while keeping it safe from breakage and heat damage.
You get the added bonus of next-day heatless waves or curls, too! Your ideal wash routine might be cleansing and conditioning, working in your favorite wave/curl product, then braiding, twisting, or pulling your hair into a bun to air dry.
Once it’s dry, you can continue rocking the protective style or take it down to show off your heatless curls.
- DO experiment with 2nd-day hairstyles. If you’re washing 2-3 times a week, you’ll need plenty of 2nd day (and beyond!) hairstyles to rock when you don’t want to wear it down. We’ve talked about braids, buns, and twists, but don’t forget about half-up hairstyles, ponytails, and easy clipped-up styles!
- DO find a dry shampoo you love. Shampooing 2-3 times a week means you’ll regularly go a few days in between washes. Stock up on your favorite dry shampoo to keep oily roots at bay until wash day. Insider tip: More expensive dry shampoos typically last longer and use a finer rice starch instead of cornstarch for less white residue.
- DO listen to what your hair is telling you. Getting into a 2-3/week wash routine is a great starting point, but you should also be paying attention to what your hair is telling you. If washing twice a week is leaving your hair weighed down and greasy, bump it up to 3 times a week. If that’s not enough, you may need to switch shampoos.
- DON’T skip hydration. Just because you’re only washing 2-3 times a week doesn’t mean you should skip hydration! If you’ve been in the habit of conditioning only after you shampoo, now’s the time to break it. Get used to conditioning your hair in between washes, especially if it feels dry, rough, or brittle.
- DON’T shampoo the entire length of your hair. Make sure to concentrate shampoo at the roots and scalp only. Some will make contact with the midshaft and ends and that’s okay. As long as you’re focusing the lather on your scalp and roots, you’ll prevent stripping oils from the entire length of your hair when you wash.
Washing twice or thrice a week is an easy shampoo routine to start. If you’ve been making the mistake of washing your hair too often in years past, you’ll love the way your mane responds to this less-intensive wash routine!
If You Need to Shampoo 1-2 Times a Week…
Washing just once or twice a week may sound extreme to some because we’ve all been “conditioned” (sorry, had to do it) to believe that more frequent washing = more hygienic. It doesn’t, especially for your hair type.
The truth is that overwashing your type 3 or 4 hair – coarse, curly, or coily – can create major problems. It’s important that you limit how often you shampoo your hair to keep it moisturized, strong, and retain your curl pattern.
- DO find heavy moisturizing products you love. Heavy moisturizers are too much for some hair types, but just right for yours! Load your mane up with hard-hitting hydration throughout the week to keep your strands from drying out and getting frizzy. Leave-in products, hair masks, moisturizing oils, gels, and creams are all possibilities.
- DO rely on protective styles to go longer between washes. Protective styles are ideal for naturally coarse, coily hair that shrinks up as it dries. Find styles you enjoy wearing to keep your hair perfectly styled and contained for up to 2 weeks in between washes.
- DO use a gentle, sulfate-free shampoo. Moisture is the name of the game with your hair type. Washing with shampoo that contains sulfates strips the moisture you’ve so lovingly added to your hair. Switch to a gentle, sulfate-free shampoo to retain more moisture and avoid damaging your fragile hair.
- DON’T go more than 14 days without shampooing. It can be tempting to see how long you can go without shampooing when it takes forever for your hair to look greasy. Don’t go more than 14 days between washes to avoid running into bad odor, flakes, itching, and scalp sores.
- DON’T skip conditioning when you skip shampoo. You probably already know this, but you need to co-wash more often with conditioner if you’re limiting how often you shampoo. “Wash” your hair with your favorite conditioner every 3-4 days to introduce plenty of moisture and define and refresh your curl pattern.
Keeping your thick, dense hair strong and healthy means washing it less often and using the right shampoo when you do. As long as you’re using a sulfate-free shampoo (bonus points if it’s a moisturizing formula) and co-washing with conditioner a couple times per week, you’ll set the stage for your best hair days ever.
Did You Like Our “How Often Should I Wash My Hair Quiz?
In general, most women find that washing their hair every 2-3 days is a good starting point.
If your hair is getting really greasy or limp on that schedule, try washing every other day or daily to see if that helps. If your hair is still going strong on day 3, push it a few more days to see how much mileage you can get out of a single shampoo sesh.
If it’s necessary to wash your hair daily or every other day, make sure you’re using a gentle, sulfate-free shampoo that won’t strip your natural oils away. Make use of dry shampoo to push your hair into day 2 or 3 when you want to go longer between shampoos. Don’t apply conditioner to your roots to avoid premature oiliness.
Remember that shampooing less often doesn’t mean skipping conditioner, too. If you struggle with dryness, frizz, and rough texture, you can co-wash with conditioner in between shampoos to keep your hair moisturized and smooth.
Getting on the proper shampoo schedule for your hair type will really allow your hair to blossom. You’ll notice improved texture, more hydration, less dryness, a more defined wave/curl pattern, and softer, smoother tresses.
Take your quiz results and commit to your new wash schedule for at least a month to try it out. We think your best hair days ever are right on your horizon!