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How Often Should You Shampoo Your Hair?

Written by Alexa Adler
How Often Should You Shampoo Your Hair?

Have you ever noticed that when the topic of hair washing comes up, suddenly everyone’s an expert? Some people swear by washing their hair only once a week. Other people can’t step into their daily shower without reaching for the shampoo bottle.

It can be hard to know where to begin with your own hair care routine when there are so many different opinions. 

Allow us to let you in on a little secret. There is no magic routine for washing your hair.

The truth is, how often you shampoo your hair depends on environmental factors, your hair type, and several other conditions. 

But don’t fret, we’re here to help you develop a routine that makes sense for your lifestyle and hair needs. Ultimately, it comes down to listening to your hair and scalp and relying on your instincts.

What To Consider When Developing Your Washing Routine  

Hair texture and quality can change over time (our scalps naturally get drier as we age), but no one knows how your hair behaves and reacts to certain products or treatments other than you.

You know its cowlicks and how it knots in the morning. You know products it can handle and those that send you itching with irritation. The answer to how often you should wash your hair is sitting on top of your head right now.

The haircare products you use and your lifestyle choices determine the health of your hair and scalp. Ingredients in shampoos and conditioners greatly affect the scalp’s microbiome and hair strand health. 

Dryness may occur if you wash your hair every day or treat it with harsh products. The same applies to products that don’t properly treat the hair and scalp. Excess oil and dirt can lead to bacterial growth, which in turn may cause dandruff. 

These pesky flakes must be treated with special hair care products to remove and treat the affected area.

We’ve listed several factors below that affect your hair and scalp. These determine how often you should shampoo your hair and treat your scalp.

Natural Oil Production 

Oil is perhaps the biggest motivator to washing your hair. A few days of dry shampoo might save you, but there comes a time when you can’t pass off that gleam as shine anymore. 

The word ‘oil’ gets a bad reputation. How often have you said, “my hair is oily,” when you mean it’s looking greasy and flat? Oil is actually an essential part of your scalp’s microbiome.

Oil isn’t the result of sweat or dirt hanging out on your scalp, though they often look similar. Rather, our hair follicles produce sebum oil to keep the scalp moisturized and maintain its protective barrier.

Some oil is vitally essential to upkeep a healthy scalp. Less oil can result in dry hair. However, too much oil is a different story. After all, the International Journal of Trichology says that after one to two weeks without washing, even a normal scalp will experience some flaking.

Dandruff Build Up

There are lots of bacteria and fungi on your scalp, which feeds on sebum. Sometimes, one particular fungus called Malassezia overwhelms your microbiome and becomes the dominant fungus on your head. 

As a result, our hair follicles start overproducing sebum, frantically trying to keep up with an unbalanced microbiome out-of-whack. The sebum and dead skin cells build up in oily and crusty flakes, and before long, you’re seeing snow on your shoulders. Yep, this is dandruff.

We’re not always sure what causes dandruff, but one thing we do know for sure is it’s got a lot to do with oil. So why are we telling you all this? Well, because the amount of oil on your head and why it’s there will tell you how often you should be washing.

If you naturally have dry hair prone to breakage or frizz, you want to wash less often so that more of your scalp’s natural oil can make it down your hair strands. This allows the oil time to moisturize your dry tresses before your shampoo’s suds cleanse it away. 

Moisturizing conditioners are also a staple in hair care routines for dry hair or a dry scalp.

If you do suspect you’re dealing with a case of dandruff, it’s important to create a consistent routine with a medicated shampoo or cleansing conditioner that can curb the growth of fungus.

Jupiter’s Balancing Shampoo contains Zinc Pyrithione, which has antifungal properties. It’s a scientifically formulated dandruff care product to help keep your scalp in balance and address the symptoms of dandruff. 

Paired with a host of natural and soothing ingredients, it can help leave your scalp soothed, and your hair feeling refreshed. Maintaining a dandruff-free scalp is important to prevent reoccurrence. 

Continue to keep flakes at bay by shampooing with our Gotta Get shampoo and conditioner set. The active ingredient of one percent Zinc Pyrithione ensures your hair and scalp remain clean, flake-free, and happy. 

Your Hair Type and Genetics 

Another thing to consider is your natural hair type and genetics. Like our sebum production, the quality and texture of hair depend entirely on whose head it's on. This is no big secret.

We bet within your friend group, there is a wide variety of curl patterns and hair thickness.

This is influenced by a person’s ethnicity and genetics. As such, it’s a good idea to look to your family to see how often you should wash your hair. If it worked for your mom, it’s likely going to work for you too.

Determining your hair type often comes down to looking at your natural curl pattern. Your curl pattern is actually determined by the hair follicle's shape that produces the hair strand. The curl pattern system is a way of defining curl type based on coil tightness or looseness. 

There are four categories of hair. Stick straight hair falls into the first category. Wavy hair falls into the second category. Curly hair falls into categories three and four, with the tightest curls falling into the latter. 

Typically, curlier hair requires less washing. This type of hair is prone to dryness, and as such regular conditioning and oiling are more critical than cleansing. This dryness results from the oil’s inability to travel down the whirls and twirls of curly hair strands.

In the case of pin-straight hair and especially fine hair or thin hair, more frequent washing is required to keep the scalp from looking greasy with excess oil. Hair can end up looking flat. We know pushing a wash day off can be tempting, but the less often you wash, the more build-up your scalp could face. 

Dry shampoo works by absorbing excess oil, but it also leaves behind a powdery residue. It should never be used continuously in lieu of a traditional shampoo cleansing. 

We know pushing a wash day off can be tempting, but the less often you wash, the more build-up your scalp could be facing.

Your Exercise Habits

Another key element to determining your hair care routine is how often you’re exercising. You may understand your oil production and natural curl pattern well, but adding sweat into the equation can shake things up a bit.

You’re right to worry about sweat, but our advice is not to... well, sweat it.

If you’re regularly working out multiple times a week, washing your hair after is key to removing excess oil and dirt from your scalp to avoid scalp discomfort and pave the way for healthier hair.

That doesn’t mean you need to over-wash it every time. In fact, just rinsing your hair and using your fingers to exfoliate your scalp can do wonders in removing excess sweat and build-up to prevent an oily scalp. A scalp brush also aids in loosening build-up on the scalp, so consider keeping one handy for a quick, deep cleanse.

All in all, if you’re an athlete, you will have to wash your hair slightly more often than the average person, but don’t go overboard. Remember to use hair care products formulated to keep your scalp in tip top shape.

Your Hair Product Routine 

Some people walk out of the shower and air dry their hair to perfection. Other people spend an hour in the bathroom at war with a blow dryer and a can of hairspray. Everyone’s got their own way of doing things. To help determine how often you should be washing your hair, take a look at your current hair products.

Do you use products every day? Do you use dry shampoo sparingly? Do you have color-treated hair or damaged hair? Do you style your hair with wax, gel, or cream? How often do you exfoliate your scalp? How does your hair look? 

All of these questions matter when considering when to cleanse.

You know that feeling (usually long after a wash day) when your hair feels stiff and even painful? When moving your hair from one direction to the other can actually hurt? Often that’s due to an excess of product build-up and your hair being styled in one way for too long. Tight ponytails or braids can often have that effect.

Build-up can be tough on your scalp and even block healthy hair production. If you’re regularly adding a lot of product to your hair, we’d recommend increasing how often you’re cleansing, exfoliating, and conditioning your scalp. 

This is especially true for people in careers where regular styling has done real damage to the surface of their scalps (we’re looking at you, movie star). If you’re experiencing slow hair growth, it’s worth rethinking your current hair care routine.

Get all that gunk out of there with a purifying mask or a scalp brush to gently break up and slough off build-up. You will thank us for the head massage, it feels fantastic. 

Your Interaction with the Environment 

Environmental elements surround us every day, and often affect the hair and scalp. 

Dirt, dust, pollen, pollution, and the sun's rays can all end up affecting the surface of the scalp. You’ve probably noticed dirt or sand in your tresses after a long day at the beach. 

If your scalp is regularly exposed to pollutants, you may need to increase how often you shampoo your hair. Some bacteria can be good for your hair, but a lot can cause damage and imbalance your scalp’s microbiome. In fact, Staphylococcus bacteria is more present in those with dandruff than those without. This shows how microbial imbalance may be the cause of those pesky flakes.

Listen to Your Hair  

Above all else, when you’re thinking about when you should wash your hair, it’s a good idea to trust your instinct. Examine your hair and scalp. Does your scalp feel healthy or does your hair feel limp and lifeless? 

We know pushing off a wash day off can be tempting, but the less often you wash, the more build-up your scalp could be facing. On the other hand, wash too often and your hair could become dry and brittle. It’s a delicate balance.

Don’t Quit

Once your hair and scalp are healthy and dandruff-free, it's important to keep it that way. Maintaining your healthy scalp is a matter of consistency. Don’t quit your dandruff hair care routine. 

Continue your haircare routine by using a scalp-balancing shampoo to prevent flakes from returning. Use a scalp-purifying mask to nix build-up as it occurs, and try a restoring serum between washes. Managing the health of your scalp’s microbiome is essential in keeping it balanced, healthy, and flake-free. 

To get the most out of your wash day, look for products that use all-natural ingredients and prioritize safety while preventing damage. Being mindful of all of the above can help ensure that your hair and scalp remain in its healthiest state. It can make all the difference in the quality and health of your hair.

Happy washing!

The “Gotta Get” Set
The “Gotta Get” Set

Our best-selling duo! The medicated Shampoo tends to your dandruff while the Conditioner’s combo of colloidal oatmeal and coconut oil moisturizes your scalp and hair. Safe for everyday use. Check out The "Triple Threat" Set if you flake on the regular and could use a bit more control.

The information contained in this article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice, nor is it a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician with any questions you may have about the information contained herein, as well as the risks or benefits of any treatment.