Can I Wash My Hair Every Day?

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Washing your hair used to be really, dare I say, simple?

You wet your hair, you shampoo it, sometimes you shampoo it twice, then you rinse, apply conditioner, then you do a final rinse, and you’re done! Your hair is clean, you feel fresh, and you get to go on about your day without giving your hair-washing experience a second thought.

Then somewhere between 2013-2016, it started to become trendy to go a day between washes, and that quickly escalated to going as long as possible (within reason) between washes because “shampoo is bad”.

Dry shampoo did and still does, save so many of us when we’re trying to extend our hair between washes.

And this feeling of accomplishment about going a few days between washes shifted our feelings of wash days to something less positive. And people began to wonder, “Is it bad to wash my hair every day? Should I TRY to force myself to go a few days between washing?”

As a former, though still licensed, hairstylist, I wanted to share my take on hair washing in this post.

In general, shampooing your hair every day is not inherently bad. It doesn’t damage your hair, it doesn’t damage your scalp. It does one thing: it cleans your hair and scalp of dirt, oils, product build-up, pollution, and anything else you may not want sitting on your head.

As long as you follow it up with a good conditioner, and maybe let the conditioner sit on your hair for a few minutes to really give it some time to work, your hair should be just fine.

So that begs the question: why are so many people trying so hard to go a day or more between washing?

My understanding is that not only is it a time saver but the realization that we may be washing more than we actually *need* to be allowed many people to extend the time between hair washes. I think many, if not all, of us, were washing daily simply out of habit or what we were taught when we were young.

But in general, if your hair isn’t terribly dirty, oily, covered in lots of product, or any other reason that would compel you to wash your hair, you are totally fine to go a day or two between washes.

In fact, many people have learned that you can “train” your scalp to go longer between being washed and help it from overproducing oil. This is, perhaps, a larger conversation for a different post, but essentially if you aren’t washing your hair as much, your scalp will adjust by not creating as much oil to recondition a freshly shampooed scalp. This doesn’t work across the board, but it can work for some people.

At this point, you may be wondering: what is the verdict? Can I wash my hair every day? 

And my answer for you is this: if washing your hair every day is working for you, your hair, and your lifestyle, then it’s totally fine. If you’re noticing extra dryness, or are realizing that you may not need to wash your hair daily, see if you can extend your wash routine a bit. In general, though, shampoo isn’t the devil, and YOU ultimately can decide what works best for your hair type and scalp.

P.S. If you enjoyed this post, you may like this one on great scalp products!

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Claire says · 05.18.21

i still like to wash my hair everyday because it makes me feel better. I use he Joico K-PAK Reconstructing Shampoo and it’s really the best to keep my hair clean and it doesn’t strip the hair’s colour or strength.

https://clairetalksbeauty.com/

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Katie says · 05.18.21

Butttt does not washing it everyday make your highlights or color last longer??? I’m a want to be daily washer but also want my highlights on my northern NY dark blonde hair to last longer girl. Help!

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Marissa says · 05.19.21

I second this question!

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Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog says · 05.18.21

I wash my hair every two days – I find that it works better for me! ❤️✨

Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog
http://charmainenyw.com

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Gina Marie says · 05.18.21

I wash my hair every day for health reasons. It helps get pollen and anything else that I pick up during the day. It also helps me mentally wind down at night. I use salon quality shampoo/conditioners and have a water softener and my hair is healthy, shiny and clean. I’ve never had any scalp issues. I do have my hair colored and her trims regularly.

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Danielle says · 05.18.21

Thank you for this! So, I workout every morning at 6am and I sweat. Not sparkle, not glitter, but sweat! My head is usually drenched and just gross. I would try to skip a day in between washes because that’s what I was supposed to do, but when I would wash two days in a row, I would feel…guilt?! Pure freedom knowing I can wash this nastiness every day and not damage my hair!

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Nellie says · 05.19.21

Yes. Same. 👏🏻

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Lynn says · 05.19.21

YES!!!!!!

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Bryanna says · 05.18.21

Thank you for addressing this incredibly controversial topic! ha! I’ve realized going 2-3 days between washes is all I’m going to get, and I’m happy to only style it twice weekly.

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Susan Kerr says · 05.18.21

I wash my hair almost every single day per my dermotologist! This has helped my scalp be much more clean and healthy. I use a hair mask as a daily conditioner. There’s Joico K-Pak mask/conditioner that’s great, and I have recently been loving Colleen Rothschild’s Quench and Shine mask.

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Kacie says · 05.18.21

The last line is super important! Being curly haired, when I started low pooing once a week, my hair started thriving after living a whole life looking like Roseanne Roseanadana.

Black and Brown hair needs washed even less often than that because moisture is so important for their scalp and hair health and that’s also why there’s a whole world of protective styles and routines they use to maintain their hair.

I’ve found it really helpful to explore techniques and products, one at a time, to learn what my hair needs to be healthy and do what it’s meant to and to not go by anyone else’s rule of what I “should” do.

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Mariana says · 05.18.21

What’s a great daily shampoo to use for daily washing?

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Faith Andrews says · 05.18.21

Curious if this applies to color treated hair as well? I have base color and highlights but also like to workout almost every day – can I wash and not ruin my color?

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Lakiasha says · 05.18.21

I’ve tried going a day in between washes, but my ends get super dry. Are there products that you recommend for non-wash days to keep ends hydrated?

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Brigette says · 05.18.21

My reasoning for washing less is to make my color last longer so my gray doesn’t show. Although having curly hair is a whole other ball game to go without washing. I can’t just brush it or throw a few curls in it with an iron to make it look the same as hair washing day.

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Lauren says · 05.18.21

I’m sooo glad you posted about this!! I wash my hair everyday and have been made to feel like it’s bad for me—-not that that has stopped me. I cannot stand oily hair. I’ve tried doing every other day, but it isn’t for me. I just try to condition my hair well and use heat sparingly.

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Jenny says · 05.18.21

So if I’m washing my hair everyday, are there certain things I should look for in my shampoo and conditioner?

Also, I really appreciate this post! Thanks for addressing this!

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Kellee says · 05.18.21

Can you define or explain what a “good” conditioner is?

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Sandra says · 05.18.21

LOVE THIS!!! Thank you!

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Amy says · 05.18.21

Yes! Love this post! I have fine (blonde) hair and my hair just styles better when it’s clean. I find too much product just makes it feel yucky.

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Kim C says · 05.18.21

Yes! It has bugged me for a while now that this seems to be a trend and almost a competition to see who can go the longest without washing! Like, why is a dirty head something that everyone wants to brag about? 😆

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Natalie says · 05.19.21

This made me laugh. 😂

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Lynn says · 05.19.21

Not to mention…try giving someone who goes so long in between washes…my hair smells after one day at work! I don’t want anyone to smell my nasty hair!

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Bxgrl1986 says · 09.18.21

😂 I agree. Daily hair washer here 🙋🏻‍♀️. I like my hair to smell good and be clean. As a child I used to relax my hair. Since it was processed and about as long as I was tall I washed it in the salon weekly and I was miserable. After three days I had dandruff and it stunk. Now I have my natural hair, it’s short, I shampoo daily and I couldn’t be happier 😊🎉

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Cara says · 05.18.21

I’m also an everyday hair washer. I feel more clean, fresh and comfortable. I tried skipping a day a few times but hated it! I just didn’t feel fresh and then ended up washing my hair at night. Also, for allergy sufferers who are outdoors alot, like my kids, I find washing their hair at night allows them to sleep without allergy symptoms and pillow cases and bedding don’t get allergens rubbed all over from “pollen” hair. Windy days, especially, blow around quite alot of pollen.

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Jennifer says · 05.18.21

Great info Kate 🙂

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Melissa says · 05.18.21

Is it true that washing less often keeps your highlights last longer?

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Kate says · 05.19.21

No, that isn’t true!

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Faith says · 05.19.21

This is the knowledge I needed! Wheeeee!

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Allie says · 05.18.21

Thank you for this post. I have fine hair and when I don’t wash it, it’s very limp and flat on top and has lots of frizzy pieces. And I like the feeling of being fresh. I also feel so groggy all day if I don’t fully shower in the morning to wake up. I have felt like I was doing something wrong for washing every day and sometimes it feels like I’m even being shamed for putting effort in to shower every day with young kids!

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Steph K. says · 05.18.21

Thanks, Kate! I’ve definitely gotten caught up in the struggle of wondering if I’m “over-washing”. Appreciate the clarity! As someone who works out daily (or…aspires to…), it’s nice to know that if I feel like I need a daily wash, it’s not generally going to do any harm!

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Alyssa says · 05.18.21

I’m so grateful for this post. I’ve tried so many times to not wash my hair every day, but it just doesn’t work for me or make me feel good. I feel so much better, overall, when I wash my hair everyday. Thank you for sharing this!

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Kristy P. says · 05.18.21

I just feel lucky if I can skip one day! I followed a lady on Instagram who was going weeks without shampooing (even when she clearly got her hair dirty. like, with breast milk during nursing for example). Yuck.

I, too, thought I’d try to train my hair but I found I was getting more tangles and losing more hair the longer I went (which for me was about three days max lol). My head itched like crazy. Dry shampoo didn’t work for me (but I have a whole collection of it now).

The only real draw I can see is less frequent heat styling (curl it tight on wash day and let it slowly become loose waves). Again, too many tangles for me. And smells. My hair picks up everything from food odors to second hand smoke. No thanks!

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Natalie says · 05.18.21

I wash my hair about every 2-3 days, depending on my work schedule. I work nights as a RN and I just feel better after work when I’m TOTALLY clean. Lol.

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Brittany says · 05.18.21

Bahahaha I knew when you said it was a controversial topic on Instagram that this was indeed the topic haha love it! Yes! I wash daily and I am good with it…like my hair revolts against me if I wait any longer.

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Janet says · 05.18.21

My hair used to be super oily I had to wash it every day and by the end of the day it was ready to me washed. I had a stylish encourage me to try going a day between washes to help with the oil, it worked. I was able to go a week without washing my hair and it worked for me I don’t use any products to wash out and my oily scalp dried up. However my hair has gotten super dry and I have noticed a lot more split ends. I have started washing every other day and my hair is getting more life back. I can speak from experience that do what works best for your hair. Thanks for speaking out on a controversial subject!

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Kristen says · 05.18.21

Thank you! As someone with oily hair and skin, I’ve almost felt I was doing something wrong if I washed every day! Now that I’m in my 30s and not as insanely oily as I used to be, I can go for one day without washing if I use a really good dry shampoo, but sometimes it’s still just too oily, frizzy, and gross feeling. I just feel and look my best when it’s freshly washed in the morning. I use a high-quality shampoo that’s not too strong so it won’t strip my skin too much of oil.

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Shannon says · 05.27.21

I feel ya! I can barely go a day without looking like an oil slick!

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Nicole Miller says · 05.18.21

I wash my hair once a week…lol. I, of course, have dry, wavy hair. So after a few days of being down, I just put it up in a messy bun and it’s good to go until the next wash! Very much a time saver! I also don’t really put anything in my hair except for a little serum after washing/conditioning and then let it dry in a braided bun that sits on top of my head. Dunno…seems to work pretty well. 🤷🏻‍♀️

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Chelsea says · 05.18.21

I’m curious your recommendation to hair that doesn’t need to be washed everyday but often gets wet from swimming. We have a chlorine pool and I have 3 girls. One of them has very thick, curly hair. One has very blonde fine hair (already tinged green on ends from swimming this year), and another with thick hair and slight wave. They want to swim all the time. Do I need to wash or rinse chlorine out after each swim? Typically, in non swimming season I would only wash my daughter with curly hair once a week. The other two 2-3 times per week. Can you recommend a product to help with the greenish ends as well? Thanks!

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Shana says · 05.18.21

My daughter has blonde hair and swims daily in a chlorine pool so I have her rinse it each night at a minimum and usually put in some type of “treatment” to keep it from drying out. On top of that weekly I have her use a charcoal or purple shampoo and we have stopped having any greening issues 🙂

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Kacie says · 05.19.21

Curly former competitive swimmer here!

It’s really important for them to get their hair soaked with water before they get in the pool. Wavy/curly hair is super absorbent and needs more moisture for better health. So if their hair is saturated with water first, that’s less chlorinated water for it to soak up.

There are special shampoos that can help. I would get a Malibu treatment midway through a swim season and at the end to help out. There are also DIY clarifying things that can be done, like lemon washes. It’s been a while for me so I don’t remember that recipe anymore but I’m sure Google will be helpful for that.

Normally, curly/wavies don’t need to wash every day but it’ll be more helpful than harmful during a heavy swim season for them. To minimize the drying out, check out low poos for daily cleansing and follow Kate’s tip about good conditioner and leaving it on for a minute or so. A good curly friendly deep conditioning hair mask every so often could be helpful, too.

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Chelsea says · 05.20.21

Thanks to both of you for tips-very helpful! Would have never thought to give it a rinse prior to swim. That may take some coaxing. 😆

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Karen says · 05.18.21

I do not wash daily because I have dry hair. I can go 3 days in between, usually. However, I would like a little moisture in my hair. What do you recommend? Have you heard of dry conditioner? Should I use that instead of dry shampoo?

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Holly Cowley says · 05.18.21

I love this blog post! Thank you for saying it doesn’t damage your hair to wash it everyday! I wash my hair EVERY SINGLE DAY, and my hair is super healthy. I blow dry it everyday and get it colored/highlighted every 6 weeks. I honestly think it is disgusting to go longer than a 2 days between washing. I think it would start to stink like dirty hair. I also think it would be bad for someone with allergies. All that pollen in your hair would make your allergies worse!

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Kacie says · 05.19.21

Different hair and skin types have different needs. For many people, washing every couple of days is actually damaging. But we take care of ourselves and do it properly; we’re not disgusting and we don’t smell.

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Holly says · 05.18.21

I wash my hair on day 8. My hair and scalp are dry and never oily. It’s a total time saver for someone like me who has really long hair and has to look presentable and has a toddler to get ready in the mornings 😀

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Kris says · 05.18.21

Favorite dry shampoo?

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Patricia says · 05.18.21

I used to wash hair about every other day until I got covid . Two months following, I began to suffer from hair loss. After a ton of research, I learned that washing hair everyday will help to remove product build up and oil and dirt that may cause hair pores to be clogged. Clogged pores could prohibit new growth from coming out. I took the plunge and started washing my hair every day and the shedding stopped. It was terrifying at first to wash often but the end result was worth the risk, which worked out. I also followed up by using Moroccan oil on my hair nightly and increasing my vitamin intake of biotin. Hope this helps someone who is currently suffering from hair loss. It is life changing and traumatizing to lose hair.

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Lauren says · 05.18.21

I have oily hair and have to wash mine everyday. Any recommendations on a good shampoo and conditioner? I do not dye my hair, but I do straighten it most days.

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Savannah says · 05.18.21

Ugh! Your opinion on certain topics are so well balanced and helpful!!! It’s very refreshing. 🤍

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Stephanie says · 05.18.21

I try to shampoo my hair every other day. I also don’t use heat very often on my hair so my hair is healthier and not damaged.

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Angela says · 05.19.21

I have very thick, corse wavy hair. I wash it once every 5-6 days. My waves do not like being washed everyday. But everyone’s hair is different. Do what’s best for you.

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Kellsie says · 05.19.21

What about Apple cider vinegar rinses in place of shampoo!

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Beth says · 05.19.21

I love this post! Thank you so much for sharing your insight! There definitely is some peer pressure to extend our wash times longer and this just gives me freedom to do whatever is best for me!

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Kim says · 05.19.21

Depending on a person’s age, many people don’t realize that from the 70s and onward people were criticized and called disgusting if they didn’t wash their hair daily. It’s been a refreshing trend for people to realize that not everyone needs to wash their hair daily and they’re not disgusting if they don’t.

I’m a white woman but I have many BIPOC friends who also don’t wash their hair daily and they have also received criticism over their lifetime for not doing so.

It’s only in recent years that people started to accept that not everyone needs a daily wash. And I don’t want that permission to go away and the return of the stigma of “you’re dirty” to come back.

I have extremely sensitive scalp and per my dermatologist washing daily is bad for ME.

I think the long and short of it is that everyone needs to realize that everybody else has different needs and just be accepting of that. Don’t assume someone is else is dirty just because of how your own hair behaves. Everybody’s body is different.

So those who want to watch daily should and can, just don’t bring back the stigma that you’re dirty if you don’t. Let’s just let everybody do what they want with their own hair.

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Amanda Hall says · 05.19.21

I think this is such GREAT info! I used to be an everyday washer but after kids I switeched to every other day, because I needed to save time, and then somehow in the last year I transitioned into once a week. But the thing I noticed is I really prefer the way my hair looks and feels when I was it more frequently so I am working to transition back and finding a happy medium.

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Abby McNary says · 05.19.21

I love to wash my hair everyday and the way it is styled after I wash it. However, I’m terrified blow drying it every day (again, which I prefer) is causing it to break off. The bottom of my hair grows like a weed. The top half from right around my ears all the way around my head stops growing. It’s like I have a bowl cut. My hair dresser and I have tried everything. I’ve tried hair training, my hair just looks terrible the next day. It’s flat and slightly greasy and doesn’t look nice curled (it accentuates my mid length mullet or bowl cut) and wearing it straight on second day hair doesn’t work, it’s too greasy (even with dry shampoo) and flat. My hair is so straight, air dries straight. I don’t know what else to do other than keep it short and I’ve been trying to grow it. I’m just not having luck at all and all medical deficiencies have been tested and reviewed by so many doctors, it’s not anything showing up medically.

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Sarah J says · 05.19.21

I wash my hair every day for the most part- I sweat so much at my scalp when I workout and I also want to wash allergens off since I have bad allergies.

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Michelle says · 05.19.21

My hair is so oily, I wash everyday. On top of the fact that I must sleep on my head…because when I wake up, it looks like I’ve fought a war!! My hair is very dark and I have used the dry shampoo for dark colored hair, but my scalp tends to itch a lot when I use that. I’m amazed at how some people look freshly washed on day old, or longer, hair! I’ll keep trying!

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Amie says · 05.19.21

I’ve trained my hair to legit go 5-7 days between washes. I definitely heat style it much less, so I know it’s been a good choice for my hair, also saves me 10-15 minutes getting ready every day and $$ on shampoo/conditioner. Not a brag, but if you don’t need to wash it every day, why would ya? 🙂 Dry shampoo is super helpful, of course. Thanks, Kate!

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Marisa says · 05.19.21

I hate washing and styling my hair. Don’t get me wrong – I love a great hairstyle, but the whole process is a chore I put up there with cleaning the bathroom. Plus, I have thick, wavy hair that feels like Barbie’s with a delicious straw-like texture. 😂 I don’t put off washing it for any other reason than it I takes a lot of time and effort to style it. All that being said, 10 days is pretty standard in between washes for me. 14 in the winter and 4-5 in the summer. Dry conditioner, spray oil and after workout spray are well loved products around here. On the plus side, once I put the hour or so into styling it, it holds a curl and looks great down for a solid week and a half. It’s interesting to me how different hair textures can dictate how frequently hair needs to be washed. Loved this post! (I love your whole blog💗).

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Caitlin says · 05.19.21

I used to go about two days between washes, but since I work remotely I stretch it out as long as I can. However, I do feel like my hair has been dryer lately and I’m wondering if going so long without washing (sometimes more than a week) is actually drying my hair out?! Curious to hear professional opinions.

Thank you!

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Lisa says · 05.19.21

I have been a daily washer my whole life. A few years ago I tried using a shower cap and restyling my hair on day two because it is not as oily any more. I honestly I think it takes almost as long to restyle my hair as to just start from scratch. So I just wet and condition it in the shower every other day , I also feel a lot cleaner when I can get everything wet in the shower.
My hair is colored and in great condition so it works for me.

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Cindy says · 05.19.21

I actually heard on the radio a few weeks ago that they have “discovered” a side effect for people that I have had Covid is hair loss. 🙁

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Jodi says · 05.19.21

I love the Dp Hue ACV rinse (it’s like a shampoo) for those days when I need a pick me up!

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Rebecca says · 05.19.21

I have trained and am washing my hair every 14 days. I had a hysterectomy about 4 years ago and hormones wreaked havoc on my hair. I could make a wig with all the hair falling out from washing everyday. For me, going long periods of not washing is saving me from going bald.

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May says · 05.22.21

Thank you for this post, Kate. Ever since I stopped coloring my hair (with the exception of some highlights during the summer-months) I’ve had to wash it every day. My hair just gets this dirty, oily feel to it very quickly and I’m not a big fan of dry shampoo, so I end up washing it every morning when showering.
I try not to style it with heat every day though and have invested in a good conditioner.

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Katy says · 05.23.21

I had no idea that the frequency of hair washing was a controversial issue! I’ve always been envious of people who have hair that can hold a style overnight (and baffled by those who can hold it despite exercising!), but just assumed people did what their body required without a second thought of what someone else required. Maybe this issue hasn’t reached the UK yet?! Or maybe it has but I’ve somehow missed it!!
I follow someone on YouTube who goes 3-4 days between styling despite doing 1hr exercise a day – her hair still looks amazing and she clearly is full on exercising as she has an amazing figure over the age of 50. I generally cardio and strength exercise daily and my hair gets drenched in sweat – as in like someone has poured bucket of water over me drenched. I cannot imagine not washing that, so have often wondered how she deals with this.

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Sissy says · 05.23.21

Any recommendations on good conditioner for color treated hair?

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Ali says · 05.23.21

I tried so hard — SO hard — to go even 48 hours between washes and it just didn’t work. I tried every trick in the book, and after 6 weeks of “training”, I just decided… my hair and scalp types simply need a daily wash. I condition well and that’s the key, as you said!

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Rebekah says · 05.27.21

I wash my hair every other day and it works great for me but, I have lots of friends that wonder about how often to wash their hair. I will direct them to this post. Its super helpful!

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Jordan says · 08.01.21

I just bought some amazing shampoo and conditioner that I love in hair! It makes me want to use it everyday because it makes my hair smooth, soft and no frizz!

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