How often should I shampoo my hair? The answer might surprise you


Sometimes you're lazy or tired AF and just don't feel like hopping in the shower and having to shampoo, condition, blow-dry and then style. Or, you simply might not have the luxury or time to do so everyday or every other day. 

Regardless of your shower schedule, it's likely that at some point or another you've questioned how your friend could go five days without any shampoo with it looking in pristine condition, while overnight, after a wash, your hair is already a greasy mess. (Seriously, how?)

With this in mind, Mic decided to ask dermatologists and a trichologist how often people should really be washing their hair for healthy locks. As it turns out, the answer is quite complicated. 

"There are too many variables to set one rule," Jessica J. Krant, a cosmetic and medical dermatologist at the Laser & Skin Surgery Center of New York said in an interview. "I believe hair can be washed anywhere from daily to once every two weeks, depending on hair and skin type, hairstyle and lifestyle."

It depends on your texture

"Your scalp is simply an extension of the skin on your forehead, and like your face it needs to be cleansed frequently," said Anabel Kingsley, a trichologist at Philip Kingsley.

She recommends being safe and washing your hair daily if you have thin hair or a scalp condition. "Fine-haired individuals have more oil glands on their scalp," she said. 


Dermatologist and RealSelf contributor Sejal Shah explains that the average person could usually wash every other day or go up to three days without doing so. 

"If you wash your hair too often, you run the risk of stripping it of its natural oil and drying it out and leaving it prone to breakage," she said. 

Krant adds: "If the scalp is getting oily, itchy, or flaky between washes, it may be time to ramp up the frequency of shampooing, or use a dandruff shampoo when possible. 

But is it risky to not wash?

If you're wondering whether or not you could do permanent damage to your head of scalp by not washing frequently, the short answer is not right away. 

"In general, other than it getting dirty, oily and having a build up of dandruff, nothing bad is likely to happen to your hair if you don't wash it," Krant said. "That said, if you do have a bit of environmental bacteria, fungus, or other microbe sitting around on an unwashed head for too long, and you get itchy and start scratching, it's conceivable you could give your scalp an infection eventually." 

What about dry shampoo?

Although it shouldn't be used in place of shampoo, Krant says dry shampoos can be used to absorb oils and "reduce the need for shampooing" in some cases. 

Shah would also recommend it but with a limited use of up to two consecutive days in a row. "Overuse of dry shampoos can potentially cause scalp issues (irritation, itch, flaking, breakouts, and even hair loss)," she said. 

So you might just want to do you, your scalp and your hair a favor and hop in the shower as often as you possibly can. Or better yet, ask your dermatologist how frequent you should be doing so based on your hair type.