How Often Should You Wash Your Hair?

While it’s nice to have fresh, beautifully-smelling hair, there is such a thing as too much washing.

Our scalps produce natural oils, often called sebum, that are distributed to the ends of each strand of hair to keep them healthy, soft, and manageable. Kind of like your body’s natural conditioner. Some people find that these oils can leave the hair looking greasy and dull and feel like they need to wash often. But, at the end of the day, it is there for a reason. When we wash our hair, we’re often stripping it of these essential, nourishing oils.

But it’s not just sebum that shampoos strip away. You are also impacting your scalp microbiome. The skin on the body contains billions of good bacteria, from around a 1000 different species: this population as a whole is known as the microbiome. The population of microbes help maintain the skin pH and actually prevent bad microbes from colonizing the skin. They do this by competing for nutrients and also producing molecules that bad bacteria don’t like: their special defense system. Too frequent washing of the scalp with harsh cleansers can upset balance of the microbiome. An imbalance in the microbiome can lead to scalp problems, as when the wrong types of bacteria or fungi start to take over, it can lead to infection or inflammation.

So - just how often should you wash your hair?

How Often Should I Shampoo My Hair?

Sebum, debris and styling product tends to build up on your scalp and hair over time. A gentle cleanse with a sulfate free shampoo is essential for removing this build up. However too frequent washing can strip out the natural oils, dry the scalp and can impact the microbiome, so you should limit your washing to every third or fourth day.

When shampooing you should primarily focus on the scalp and, for women, the first third to one half of the hair. Avoid cleansing right the ends as this can lead to drying. Look for shampoos that are free from harsh sulfates and avoid silicones as these build up over time, actually making hair more brittle, and prevent the scalp from breathing.

As cleansing strips your hair of its natural oils, you should always add conditioners and/or hair masks to your hair care routine.

What’s the Ideal Hair Care Routine?

Not all hair is created equal, so there is no universal hair care routine (it entirely depends on your hair type), a good guide is to shampoo your hair every third day and use conditioner more often.

If you feel the need to wash your hair with cleansing product every day then you are probably using the wrong product for your hair type in the first place. Everyone’s skin and follicles will produce different levels of oils, which is perfectly normal and actually good for hair. The main challenge is finding the right balance, with the right products, for you to maintain your style without disrupting your natural microbiome, pH and natural oils.

Shampoos and conditioners with sulfates or silicones can make the hair feel too dry or stripped and too heavy oily respectively. Frequent washing in very hot water can also open up your cuticles and lead to damage. Look for a gentle sulfate free cleanser that is balanced with essential oils, so it won’t strip out your hair’s natural oils. Make sure you use silicone free conditioners with natural essential oils and conditioning agents to ensure cuticle health.

Unlike shampoo, silicone free conditioner can be used every day, since it moisturizes and nourishes the hair. It’s particularly important if you’re trying to grow out your hair or you blow-dry your hair every day.

A simple rinse is often more than enough to do the job of removing excess sebum and styling product. On the second morning after a shampoo, just rinse your hair through, if you are worried about excess oil, apply a high-quality dry shampoo to absorb excess oils, texturize and restore fullness to your hair. évolis STYLE + TREAT dry shampoo is ideal in this regard.

Hair Care for Your Hair Type

Just like the skin, different hair types need different treatments. For example, coarse or curly hair often needs more condition and is prone to frizzness and dryness after too much washing. Curly and coarse hair benefits from deep overnight treatment with intense hair masks to restore curls and texture. Baobab, the hero of the évolis® Promote range is also ideal for maintaining hydration and condition in curly and coarse hair.

On the other end of the spectrum, thin, fine, or straight hair can be negatively impacted by heavy sebum and product buildup, resulting in weighed down hair lacking body and texture. People with this hair type may need to wash more frequently or add products for volumizing with special lightweight conditioning, such as in the évolis® Reverse range, with added volumizers and hair fortifying Keratin and wheat proteins.

Struggling with an itchy and dry scalp? Learn more about how to treat this condition.

Find a Nourishing Shampoo for Your Hair

The type of shampoo you use is as important as how often you use it. Some shampoos work better than others to protect the scalp and nourish your hair. Find a shampoo free of sulfates, since these chemicals can irritate your scalp and dry out the strands.

Our range of évolis shampoos contains nourishing ingredients that strengthen hair follicles, promote growth, and fight hair loss. Want more volume and lightweight conditioning? Look to the Reverse range.

Want deep conditioning and care of textured or drier hair? Go to the Promote range of products.

Want to look after your scalp while achieving a good balance of volume and condition? Seek out the Prevent range.

About the Author


Dr Dominic Burg
PhD, Chief Scientist

Dr Dominic Burg is a biochemist and systems biologist with expertise in hair and scalp biology, particularly hair cycle signalling. An accomplished science communicator with a career spanning academic research and the private sector, Dr Burg is the Chief Scientist for pioneering hair and scalp health leaders évolis.


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