How often should you wash your hair?

Did you know that in your zeal to keep your hair and scalp clean and free of that oily, greasy look, you might be actually contributing to that very look? If you are one of those who keep washing their hair obsessively in the fond hope of keeping it oil-free, well, you are doing it all wrong. If you wash your hair a lot to get rid of oil, you will end up drying out your scalp and producing more oil.

The root cause of that dreaded oily look

Your hair gets greasy for pretty much the same reason as your face – secretion of sebum. Sebum is the oily substance produced by the glands in the skin that keeps hair and your face from drying out. It is an essential component, and without it, you would look dried out and desiccated.

Sebum is produced by the sebaceous glands, which are located right next to the roots of the hair in the dermis, the inner layer of the skin (the outer layer is the epidermis). Tiny channels from the sebaceous glands take the sebum to the hair follicle, and from thereon, it gets out of the skin and onto your scalp. After that, it is just a matter of time before it spreads into the shafts of your hair.

The thing to remember is that all of us do not produce the same amount of sebum. The production differs from person to person, depending on genetics and hormones. During puberty, there is a spike in the hormones, resulting in extra sebum production. That is why teenagers tend to have acne and greasy hair.

So, how much washing is right for you

There is no hard and fast rule when it comes to how often you should wash your hair. But you definitely should not need to wash it every day. As stated above, washing your hair too often can do more harm than good.

Keep these factors in mind when you decide how much washing is right for you.


The kind of weather that prevails in the place that you live in is a very important determinant of the frequency of your hair wash. If you live in a tropical, hot and humid place, then you need to wash your hair more often. If you live in a cold place, you can make do with just once a week wash. If the place that you live in has a desert type of climate, with hot, dusty winds, you would need to wash your hair quite often.

Skin type

If your skin and hair are normal, neither too oily, nor too dry, you can wash it twice or thrice a week. If you have a greasy scalp, wash it three to four times a week.

Hair texture

Your hair texture determines the speed at which sebum works its way from the roots of your hair through the length of your hair. If you have rough and curly hair, sebum will travel slowly, and you can get away with less frequent shampooing. If you have fine, straight hair, your hair will get oily much faster, and you will need to shampoo it more often, say thrice or four times a week.


If your hair is damaged because of over-processing and over-styling, take care to wash it less frequently. Stressed hair will break easily and fall if you over-wash it.

In the end, you need to find your own balance, and treat your tresses with care. The rule of the thumb is that you should avoid washing it every day.


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