Is Washing Your Hair Everyday Actually Bad For You?

If you've ever wondered about how often to shampoo your hair, you're not alone. While many people prefer to wash daily, others think that once every few days is best. But that still leaves us with the million-dollar question, how much is too much? 

To answer that, we first need to understand what happens when you wash your hair. As you work up a lather in your tresses, the surfactants in the shampoo mix with water and work to clean dirt and oils from your hair (via Byrdie). Although clean hair is definitely a good thing, there is such a thing as shampooing your hair too much. Your locks contain a community of bacteria, also known as the microbiome, and frequent shampooing can disrupt it. Over time, this may lead to split ends, breakage, and drab hair.

The chief scientist at Évolis Professional, hair biologist, microbiologist, and trichologist, Dominic Burg, explained to Byrdie that too much lathering can lead to an overgrowth of bacteria on your scalp, which may cause it to swell up. On the other hand, not washing your hair enough can bring about a buildup of oils and dirt, which later results in dandruff and itching, per Healthline.

Shampoo according to your hair type

In reality, how often you should shampoo your hair depends on your hair type (via WebMD). People with fine hair, those who sweat a lot, or those who live in a humid area may need to shampoo daily, advises assistant clinical professor of medicine at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA Carolyn Goh, M.D. Oily hair, on the other hand, is more tricky. Everyone has different amounts of oil in their hair, so if your hair is oily, you should try to use a shampoo and conditioner that is specially formulated for oily hair and does not contain sulfates or silicones before resorting to washing every day (via Byrdie). Since thicker hair collects less oil, it'll need less washing, Goh noted. In addition, dry and curly hair can often go days without washing. 

Regardless, the best way to know how often to wash your hair is to experiment. As long as you don't develop scalp problems, you can wash your hair as little as once a week, per WebMD.

Figuring out how often to wash your hair

So, what should you be looking for when determining how often you need to wash your hair? According to The Original Turbie Twist, there are a few tell-tale signs that you are washing your hair too often. One giveaway is that your scalp itches due to the drying effects of hot water and shampoo. Another sign is what they refer to as "hygral fatigue," which means that your hair has lost its natural elasticity. If you color your hair, you might also notice that your color is fading too quickly. And, as mentioned previously, too-frequent washing can lead to split ends, dullness, and frizz.

There are also important signs that will tell you when it's time to wash your hair. The most obvious one is that your hair has become oily and shapeless. Chalkiness from a buildup of styling products is another clue. Additionally, look for signs of dandruff. If you aren't washing away your scalp's oils, they can build up, creating a flaky crust. This can allow moisture to become trapped, setting the stage for a fungal infection to develop. And, of course, you'll want to wash your hair if it becomes dirty or smelly. Finally, it's a good idea to wash your hair with a clarifying shampoo if you find that product buildup is getting in the way of your hair products' performance.