There are some great debates that, despite hours of contemplation and discussion, we just can’t seem to get to the bottom of: the chicken or the egg argument, the possibility of life on Mars, whether Ross and Rachel were in fact “on a break.” For the team here at Makeup.com, there’s been one central beauty debate that’s been a constant conversation starter: How often should we wash our hair?
In our dissection of this hot topic, we have to say the sides are evenly split. Half of our team swears by scrubbing their locks on the daily, while the other half prefers to go a couple days (or more) between washes. Realizing that this shampoo conundrum is a head-scratcher for many, we decided to take the topic to the pros. Check out what two hair experts had to say about the great hair-washing debate!
Washing Every Day
Who this works for: Oily hair types, workout junkies
Many with fine, oily scalps justify shampooing every day as a means to keep oil at bay, while others claim daily washes can strip them of natural oils and dry out their scalps.
Craig Wcislo, veteran stylist and manager of LuxeLab in Santa Monica, California, says, contrary to popular belief, shampoo is not the mortal enemy of hair nutrients. “If skin and scalp are very oily, you want to remove the oils regularly,” says Wcislo. “And if your hair isn’t damaged by chemicals or oxidation, washing daily works for you. This actually won’t increase oil production — that’s controlled by hormones, so stripping the scalp of oils doesn’t impact how much sebum is being produced. Also, if you sweat it out at the gym the salt in your perspiration is going to dry out your hair, so you want to remove those from your skin and hair.”
Washing Every 2 to 3 Days
Who this works for: Normal hair, color-treated hair
For all you Goldilocks gals out there with manes that are not too oily or too dry, bi- or tri-weekly shampoo seshes are just right for you, says Wcislo. “This is the realm of normal,” he explains. “Most hair looks best day on two, and day three can be great with a little dry shampoo!”
Celeb hairstylist Zachary Morad says this happy medium between washing every day and once a week is ideal for most hair types. “It's important to allow the natural oils from your scalp to penetrate your hair as this helps to protect and nourish it,” he reasons. “However, allowing your hair to get too oily can create buildup, causing it to look lackluster and flat. How quickly your hair gets oily is different for everyone so, as a general rule of thumb, allow your hair to get a little oily for one day. Make sure to brush your hair daily to help disperse the natural oils evenly.”
If your hair is weighed down by dry shampoos and styling products, resist the urge to reach for shampoo. “My favorite at-home trick for second-day hair or for color-treated hair is, while in between washes, rinse your hair while showering, and use a conditioner like L’Oréal Professional Restore Masque. Massage it through your hair and scalp to break up any product residue on your hair, rinse and restyle. You don’t always need to wash your hair. Sometimes, re-wetting and restyling is all you need!” For oilier days, try a braided hairstyle, top knot or sleek pony to hide any greasiness.
Washing Once a Week
Who this works for: Thick, coarse, dry or curly hair types
Washing your hair once a week may leave some shocked and appalled, but Wcislo says this schedule is great if you’re fit for it. “If your hair looks good, go for it,” he says. “If you won the genetic lottery and have thick, luscious hair, this is a great option — make that blowout last! Also, if you have curly hair, your natural oils don’t travel down the hair shaft as easily, making your ends drier than those with straight hair, so you don’t want to over-shampoo.”
If your hair is dry, wash it weekly, advises Wcislo. “You can also use a non-shampoo cleanser like Shu Uemura Essence Absolue Nourishing Cleansing Milk. If you have curly hair, try Kérastase Cleansing Conditioner Curl Ideal to cleanse and hydrate your hair.”
At the end of the day, there is no right or wrong solution to this hair-washing debate. It honestly comes down to what works for your hair type and schedule. So, we say, just do you. Keep an eye on how quickly your hair gets oily sans shampooing and how quickly it gets dried-out with daily shampooing, and just go from there. This will help you figure out a schedule that keeps your mane healthy, shiny and manageable.