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Do I Really Need To Wash My Hair Every Day?

By Amalah

Amalah,

I am a fairly new mom (daughter is 8 months old) and I have realized that I am routinely washing my hair about 2 to 3 times a week. Is this bad? My hair seems fairly dry and doesn’t get all greasy and gross. Is it better for my hair to wash it more, or can I just continue my slacker ways? It sure makes the week more manageable not to wash it every day.

Thanks,
C

Dude, color me nothing but pea-green jealous over here. That is a perfectly acceptable hair care routine. It is NOT better for your hair to be shampooed any more often than is completely necessary — and for women with very dry hair or very curly hair (or a combination of both), that can mean every other day or even just once or twice a week. Or hell, even less, if your hair isn’t getting oily or smelly or you don’t use hair products regularly. (Hair products usually contain alcohol or other harsh stuff that should be washed out on a fairly regular basis. But shampoo can often contain crap ingredients as well, which is why overwashing can actually throw your hair out of whack too.)
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I have very fine hair and a very oily scalp. I’ve TRIED washing my hair less, because everyone will tell you that shampooing your hair too often will cause your scalp to overcompensate with MORE oil. I found this to be true when I used actual “oil control” shampoos — I’d wash in the morning and be a greasy stringy mess by lunchtime. But even when using the gentlest, highest-quality shampoo, I still need to wash my hair every day. My scalp just gets busy at night with the oil, or maybe I just sweat a lot or something. (Ha! And you were worried that YOU were the gross one here.)

But something miraculous happened when I was pregnant. For a few months, my hair and scalp trended towards “dry” and I did not have to wash my hair every day. I went every other day, sometimes every two days. I used dry shampoos (by Ojon or Oscar Blandi) in between to freshen things up and delay a washing even longer. It was fantastic. My mornings were a breeze and I honestly thought my hair looked better and better the longer I waited in between shampooings.

As a mom, especially, with SO MANY OTHER THINGS to worry about and juggle in the morning, I would like to shout from the rooftops to anyone out there who is needlessly shampooing every day: STOP. SAVE YOURSELF. IT IS NOT GROSS. I mean, I did SHOWER every day, and wash my BODY, but hair is not skin. It’s not even technically alive. And it takes waaaay longer than a day or two to actually develop an odor under normal circumstances. (“Normal” meaning you don’t smoke or live with a smoker, or comb it with a pork chop, or something.) And if your hair is dry and easily damaged, shampooing more often is totally counterintuitive. (There’s a reason my guiding hair principle and advice has always been to only shampoo your roots and condition your ends.)

Sadly, my hair went back to its old high-maintenance tricks after a couple months of glorious neglect and once again I have to wash it every day if I hope to avoid the oil slick. It laughs in the face of the dry shampoos and is generally just kind of sucking right now, much like it did for the first few postpartum months after my first pregnancy. My hormones manifest themselves in my hair, who knew?

You may also enjoy:
Dry Shampoos by guest writer, Whoorl

 

Published January 5, 2009. Last updated March 27, 2018.
Amalah
About the Author

Amy Corbett Storch

Amalah

Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Ama...

Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Amalah. Also, it’s pronounced AIM-ah-lah.

If there is a question you would like answered on the Advice Smackdown, please submit it to [email protected].

Amy also documented her second pregnancy (with Ezra) in our wildly popular Weekly Pregnancy Calendar, Zero to Forty.

Amy is mother to rising first-grader Noah, preschooler Ezra, and toddler Ike.

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