How Often Should You Wash Your Hair?

A regular wash is one of the most basic rules of hair maintenance. Or is it?

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Are they, Elle? Are they?

It seems that hardly a month goes by before yet another article appears advocating that we should wash our hair every day to prevent dandruff and scalp irritation. Or that we should go for frequent-but-not-too-frequent shampoo routines to preserve our hair’s natural oils. And then there are those who say we should give up shampoo altogether.

What?! The internet did not deliver a consensus on the matter, so we asked our writers to weigh in on how often they wash their hair and why.

Some Of Us Wash Our Hair Every Day

“I have straight, medium texture hair which is color treated (highlights) and shoulder-length with a few layers. I wash it every single day even though I know I shouldn’t because otherwise it looks greasy and gross. Conditioner every other day or so. I use Argan oil every other day and sometimes a leave-in conditioner. I also use lavender and cedarwood essential oils in my shampoo.” – Allie

“I have a THICK mane of thin, silky hair that I wash every day. It gets incredibly greasy very fast, but I can sometimes push two days with the help of dry shampoo, but it never looks as good. I blow dry every day, and I use repairing shampoo and conditioner daily. I never use Argon oil or deep conditioning treatments because my hair is so silky that it just clogs up.” – Hope

“I have thin, long, straight hair. I’ve always washed it daily. I don’t use any fancy hair products, just regular shampoo and conditioner from the grocery store. I always let my hair air dry, except when I get my hair cut and my hairdresser ‘has fun’ with my hair. I like to keep things as low-maintenance as possible.” – Maggie

“I grew up as an athlete and have always washed my hair once a day, every day, after working out. Sometimes twice a day, if I work out twice. I’ve always wanted to wash my hair only once every two days, but I’m so sweaty after the gym that not washing my hair isn’t an option. I’m frustrated by all the articles that suggest not washing your hair every day, because I honestly do not understand how one supposed to do that if they work out every day. What else are college athletes supposed to do?” – Alanna

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Others Wash It Every Other Day

“I have very fine hair. I wash it every other day, but still wet it in the shower and condition the ends on days I don’t wash it with shampoo. If I go longer without washing or don’t wet in between then I’m a grease ball.” – Gretchen

“My hair is thick, medium texture, mid-boob skimming length, and between wavy and straight. I’ve just gone from a platinum blonde back to my natural dark blonde color because I am not cut out for high-maintenance hair. When I first had it bleached, I washed it every 3-4 days or so because it was so dry. After the first month or so post-bleach, I had to wash it every other day if I wanted to wear it down without it looking greasy. With the dark blonde I have now, I wash it every other day, or every 3 days, depending on if I’ve worked out and how I want to wear it.” – Molly

“I have long, thick, poofy/frizzy wavy hair. I try to wash it every other day, though I always wash it after the gym. I recently came across Paul Mitchell’s Tea Tree Oil Shampoo, which has worked wonders on my hair. That, paired with a hydrating conditioner like Tresemme Luxurious Moisture or Herbal Essences Moisturizing Conditioner makes my hair feel so soft and silky. I use dry shampoo (Not Your Mother’s) on day 2 if it’s looking greasy, usually just for my bangs. I pretty much always straighten or curl my hair because it’s such a mess if I don’t, like Hermione Granger in The Sorcerer’s Stone.” – Beth

“I usually wash my hair every other day, but sometimes I go longer between washes. My hair gets really greasy around day 3 but I hate dry shampoo. I have thin hair that tangles easily. I use Aussie 3 Minute Miracle Moist once a week and it does some serious magic. I also comb conditioner through my hair while in the shower, which makes brushing it easier. I have a bad habit of picking at my hair when I’m anxious/boring so using products like Aussie and It’s A 10 keep me from messing with it so much because they make my hair look good.” – Lauren

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And Some Of Us Wash Our Hair Biweekly Or Every Few Days

“I usually wash my hair 2-3 times a week. I have medium/long straight, fine hair and don’t use any hair products. I use dry shampoo on my second and third day (I swear by Moroccan Oil Dry Shampoo for dark tones). I mix up the shampoos I use and only condition the ends of my hair. I tend to wear my hair pulled back when I work every day, which helps keep it from getting oily because I’m not running my fingers through it.” – Kim

“On average, I wash my hair 2 times a week. Sometimes only once, and never more than 3 times in a week. I use both shampoo and conditioner each time, and every morning I wet my hair and comb it out. Except for the mornings when it’s wet, I never ever brush or comb it. I have long, wavy/borderline curly, slightly oily hair. It used to be thin before I started taking care of it (and chopped it all off), but now it’s medium thickness.” – Kristin

“I have thin-medium texture, wavy-curly hair that I washed every day or every other day my whole life until I dyed it purple. Then I started washing it twice a week. Now, I only wash it once a week and it is seriously thicker, smoother, and healthier than ever.” – Sara

“You know the movie Brave? That’s my hair. It largely resembles a pony’s mane; long, coarse, curly, and prone to poof. I wash it 2-3 times a week, more often in sweaty summers. But since it’s very dry and curly, it only gets oily when I’m on my period or if I’ve straightened it and have to brush it. Second day hair generally yields big, soft curls (first day is more Merida-esque). I am trying the design your own shampoo specifically for your hair thing, and while it has made my hair thicker, it hasn’t done much for the frizz. Red hair has a mind of its own and I never know what to expect from one day to another.” – Katie

“My hair is long, dark, and fine, but there’s a lot of it, so it looks thick. I used to wash my hair every other day, but cut down recently after getting red balayage highlights. I use Batiste Dry Shampoo in between washes to make it smell good and to make it easier to style. I also brush my hair regularly to redistribute oils and tie it up with a soft scrunchie at night so it doesn’t tangle. I definitely see benefits to washing less; it’s a major time saver and my hair has grown so much faster than ever before. On the other hand, I sometimes get zits on my scalp or neck, especially if I’ve been working out. I aim to shampoo every three days, but sometimes it’s longer and sometimes it’s shorter. I don’t think I could give up washing my hair entirely though!” – Jodie

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How often do you wash your hair? Tweet us @LitDarling!

Jodie Free

Jodie Free

Jodie grew up near London, but has spent most of her twenties in the American South. Currently an M.F.A. candidate in Fiction at Warren Wilson College, she also holds an M.A. in Southern Studies from the University of Mississippi and a B.A. in American & English Literature from the University of East Anglia, which included a year abroad at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Jodie enjoys tea, cake, painting, running, and forcing teenagers to write poetry. She lives with her husband in Pittsburgh. Follow her on Twitter @JodieFree.
Jodie Free