Hair washing might be a simple and straightforward process but knowing how frequently to wash can be a challenge.
A person’s hair texture and oil production levels play a factor in overall hair health and hygiene, according to experts.
Tiffany Young, certified trichologist and CEO of Thin Hair Thick, a hair topper company based in Salt Lake City, Utah, said determining how often to wash hair can be figured out by examining the skin.
“Sebaceous glands will often determine how frequently you should wash your scalp,” Young told Fox News Digital.
Looking at your skin type can help determine how frequently you should wash your hair. (iStock)
Trichologist: A person who specializes in hair and scalp care and the treatment of associated hair conditions, such as hair loss and thinning hair, according to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary.
“If you are unsure of your skin type, your face is a good indicator of how your scalp behaves,” she continued.
People who have oily skin will likely need to wash their hair more frequently compared to people who have dry skin, according to Young.
Different hair textures have different hair care requirements. (iStock)
“If you find yourself washing your face daily due to oil production, your scalp will likely need the same treatment,” Young said.
Curly hair and textured hair types tend to be drier and can go a few days (up to five) without washing, though it also depends on a person’s physical activity and hormone levels, according to Young.
“However, the same is not true for thinning and fine hair textures,” Young said. “Those with thinning or fine hair strands will likely notice an oily scalp every day or two. This is due to there being fewer hair follicles to absorb the oil production and because the texture of the hair doesn’t absorb oil like their curly-haired counterparts. It is OK to wash your hair every other day in this case.”
Shampoo should be concentrated on the scalp when washing hair. (iStock)
Young noted that when washing hair, it’s important to concentrate the shampoo on the “scalp area” and avoid distributing the product throughout the hair shaft, which could lead to over-drying fine hair textures.
Dr. Nadir Qazi, cosmetic dermatologist, surgeon and founder of Qazi Cosmetic Clinic, a dermatology and plastic surgery clinic in Irvine, California, said hair washing is an important step in a hair care routine because it “promotes good scalp health and cleans the hair.”
Hair that’s left unwashed can have a buildup of dirt, dandruff, oil, styling products and other debris, Qazi told Fox News Digital.
Hair care experts say frequency of hair washing ultimately depends on a person’s hair texture: straight, wavy, curly and kinky-coily. (iStock)
“The buildup can trap fungus and bacteria on the scalp and lead to fungal acne, blocked pores and blocked sebaceous glands,” Qazi said. “It can also contribute to tangles, broken hair and increased hair loss.”
Hair that has been left unwashed for a prolonged period of time can start to develop an odor, appear greasy and attract bugs, according to Qazi.
Here is hair-washing guidance based on various hair textures.
Straight hair can be washed frequently and conditioned with lightweight products. (iStock)
Straight hair textures can be washed every two to three days since it tends to get oily faster, according to Qazi.
“Using a volumizing shampoo will help add body to straight hair,” Qazi said.
Post-shampoo, Qazi recommends following up with a lightweight conditioner, so straight hair won’t be or look weighed down or feel greasy.
Wavy hair can be washed frequently but conditioners and styling products shouldn’t weigh down roots. (iStock)
Wavy hair textures can be washed every two or three days, according to Qazi.
“Moisture is still essential for wavy hair, so make sure to condition the hair without weighing down the roots by adding conditioner to just the ends of the hair,” Qazi said.
If frizzing is a concern, Qazi recommends using sulfate-free shampoos and avoiding heat-drying.
Curly hair can be washed every few days and needs extra conditioning. (iStock)
Curly hair textures have some variety and can be washed every one to five days, according to Qazi.
“Avoid shampoos with harsh chemicals and strong scents, so the hair doesn’t become dry and brittle,” Qazi said. “Avoid heat and brushes and use a wide tooth comb to prevent damage to the curls.”
For curly hair, Qazi recommends co-washes – specially formulated cream cleansers – over traditional shampoos because they “condition the hair more as it cleanses.”
Though, he notes that not all curly hair can tolerate co-washes and he only recommends switching cleansing products “if possible.”
Kinky-coily hair can be washed weekly and needs as much moisture as possible. (iStock)
Kinky or tightly coiled hair textures can go the longest in between washes because tighter hair needs more moisture to keep strands healthy, according to Qazi.
Qazi recommends that kinky-coily hair be washed every five to seven days if a person has an active lifestyle or “every seven to 10 days or so” if a person has a sedentary lifestyle.
“To maintain adequate moisture levels, use a mild cleanser like a co-wash followed by a conditioner to restore any moisture lost in cleansing,” Qazi said.
“Co-washes don’t often contain the ingredients that dry out the hair, like sulfates and parabens,” he explained. “Instead, they cleanse the hair while moisturizing it without stripping it of its natural oils.”
“People and their hair are different,” Qazi told Fox News Digital. “What works for one person may not work for another. Try different methods to see what works and what doesn’t.”
Hair washing and styling varies from person to person. (iStock)
Qazi noted that over-washing hair is not beneficial to hair health either.
“Shampoo is a mild detergent with ingredients called surfactants that break up the surface tension in water,” Qazi said. “They attract and trap dirt and debris, making them easier to rinse away.”
“These surfactants and cleansers work well on hair,” he continued. “Still, overuse leads to a dry and irritated scalp with increased dandruff and itchy skin. In addition, the hair can become dull and frizzy as it loses essential moisture and protection when sebum is stripped from it.”
Cortney Moore is an associate lifestyle writer on the Lifestyle team at Fox News Digital.