A Guide To Healthier Hair: Why You Should Wash Your Hair Every 2–3 Days

Skincare Anarchy
5 min readMar 27, 2024

By: Shahara Lum

Maintaining healthy and beautiful hair is a priority for many people, and the topic of how often to wash it is a debated question. While it was once common to believe that daily shampooing was necessary for clean hair, experts now suggest that a less frequent approach can benefit hair health. Washing your hair every 2–3 days can help preserve natural oils, enhance texture and color longevity, and cater to the diverse needs of different hair types. By taking a closer look at the science behind this hair care strategy, we can better understand why it may be the best option for achieving luscious hair. [1]

Understanding your scalp

The scalp is not just a surface for hair growth, it also has natural oils, called sebum, and microorganisms like bacteria and fungi, which play a vital role in maintaining the overall health of the scalp. Sebum is produced by the sebaceous glands and acts as a natural conditioner, helping to lubricate and protect hair strands. Frequent washing of the hair can remove these oils, causing an imbalance in the scalp’s ecosystem. This can lead to a dry and itchy scalp or, on the other hand, increase the production of oil as the scalp tries to compensate for the loss, resulting in greasiness and buildup. [2]

The benefits of reduced washing

  1. Maintaining Natural Oils: Washing your hair every 2–3 days allows the scalp’s natural oils to do their job. This keeps your hair naturally moisturized, reducing the risk of dry, brittle strands. These oils also form a protective barrier around the hair shaft, preserving its texture and preventing damage from environmental stressors.
  2. Enhanced Texture and Volume: For those with curly or textured hair, washing less frequently can enhance the natural pattern of your curls or waves. Natural oils have the time to travel down the length of the hair, defining texture and boosting volume. Furthermore, daily washing can leave curls frizzy and lifeless.
  3. Color Preservation: Frequent shampooing can be the nemesis of colored hair, causing the dye to fade faster than it should. The harsh chemicals in some shampoos can strip color, leaving hair dull and lacking sheen. By spacing out your washes, you can extend the life of your color, keeping it vibrant for longer.
  4. Scalp Health: A balanced washing routine contributes to a healthier scalp, reducing the risk of dandruff and other scalp conditions. Over washing can strip away beneficial microbes and natural oils, leaving the scalp vulnerable to irritation. Washing every 2–3 days helps maintain a healthy balance, preventing flakes and itchiness.

If you tend to sweat from exercising, there is no need to shampoo your hair every time unless there is an overgrowth of bacteria or if your hair or scalp begins to smell. Rinsing your hair with water should be sufficient. While most dry shampoos are considered safe for hair, it is not recommended to rely on them too often. If you have extremely oily hair, it can be a useful quick solution, but make sure to wash it out afterwards. The accumulation of dry shampoo on your scalp can be detrimental. [3]

Changing your hair routine

Did you know that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to hair washing? Your hair type, lifestyle, and scalp all play a role in determining the best routine for you. So, whether you have luscious hair or a short, sleek style, it is important to find a personalized washing routine that works for you. Trust me, your hair (and scalp) will thank you!

  • For Oily Hair: If your scalp is oil-prone, you might need to wash your hair on the more frequent side of the spectrum. Go for gentle, sulfate-free shampoos that cleanse without stripping.
  • For Dry or Curly Hair: Those with dry or curly hair can often extend the time between washes, as their hair benefits from natural oils. Co-washing (conditioner-only washing) can be a beneficial technique to cleanse the scalp without drying out the hair.
  • For Active Lifestyles: If you are active and sweat a lot, you might worry about skipping shampoos. In some cases, consider rinsing your hair with water and using dry shampoo in between washes to absorb excess oil and sweat without over-washing.

The adjustment period

If you are transitioning from daily washing to a less frequent schedule, be prepared for an adjustment period. Some people may only need a week or two to get used to a less frequent washing schedule, while others may need a month or more. Additionally, you may find that you need to experiment with different hairstyles or hair products to find what works best for you during this transition period. It is also a good idea to keep your hair tied up or styled in a way that does not allow it to touch your face or neck, as this can worsen oiliness. Sticking with a less frequent washing schedule can lead to healthier, shinier, and more manageable hair overall.

It is not necessary to follow a strict wash day routine just because we are accustomed to it. You should wash your hair only when it is dirty, which could be anywhere from 1–3 weeks for some people. However, for those with oily hair, washing every two weeks should be enough. By “washing,” I mean using a shampoo or cleansing conditioner, not just wetting your hair and running conditioner through it. Some people use conditioner to refresh their hair and prolong the time between washes. It is okay to wash your hair more frequently in some months, for instance, when you are exercising or swimming, so you do not have to stick to a rigid wash schedule if it does not suit you.

Works cited:

[1] https://www.johnfrieda.com/en-uk/blog/hair-care/how-often-to-
wash-hair
[2] https://www.glamourmagazine.co.uk/article/how-often-should-
wash-hair-hair-type
[3] https://www.cnn.com/2022/11/04/health/how-often-should-you-
wash-your-hair-tips-wellness/index.html

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