Beauty Q&A: Can You Damage Your Hair by Skipping Washes?

April 23, 2021
Tanya Edwards
By: Tanya Edwards | by L'Oréal

Whether you find washing your hair a relaxing experience or an annoying chore, you may not know how many times a week you should be washing it for optimal hair health. To find out the ideal number, plus what happens if you go too long in between washes, we consulted with hair and skin experts. 

Is there a “right” number of times to wash your hair every week?

This really depends on your hair type, says hairstylist Penny James of Penny James Salon. “Fine, thin hair that has a tendency to get oily quickly should be washed every day,” explains James. “Thicker hair can be washed every other day or third day and textured hair (like 3c and up), go be washed once a week. If you work out every day and break a sweat, it’s a good idea to wash your hair and scalp more frequently to keep your scalp healthy.”

What happens when you skip too many washes?

“If you are prone to dandruff (seborrheic dermatitis), then showering less frequently can contribute to a flare-up,” says Dr. Hadley King, a NYC-based board-certified dermatologist. This may be because of yeast on the scalp that contributes to inflammation. “This is often a contributing factor for people who are shampooing less frequently than four times per week,” she adds. 

James adds that if you skip too many washes, “Your hair will become dull, limp, very dry, tangled or matted.”

And if you’re not keeping your hair washed and conditioned, it may react poorly to heat styling. “Constantly using hot styling tools over the same hair strands that have not been cleaned and hydrated correctly can burn the hair,” says James.“Your hair ends up looking very dull or can start to break off.” 

Looking for a new shampoo? Try the L'Oréal Paris Elvive Dream Lengths Restoring Shampoo.

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