How Often Should You Shampoo Your Hair?


There’s nothing better than a nice, warm shower. The steady stream of water, the velvety lather and refreshing scent of your hair products… But is a daily shower a guilty pleasure? And how often should you shampoo your hair for best results? 

How often you should shampoo your hair is different for each person. The majority of people tend to shampoo their hair every two to three days, but there are a variety of factors that can impact how often you should shampoo your hair.

Today, I’m going to break down the myths and facts about your shower routine. I’ll answer the questions:

  • How often should you shampoo your hair?
  • Is it bad to wash your hair every day?
  • How can you go longer between washes?
  • Is using conditioner without shampoo okay?

And MORE! 

But let’s start with the first topic – how often you should shampoo your hair. 

How often should you shampoo your hair?

Long-haired woman with fine hair holding a Bars Over Bottles Purifying Shampoo Bar

How often you should shampoo your hair depends on a number of factors, such as your age, hair type, environment, and activity level. Let’s take a look at all these pieces to see how often you should shampoo your hair. 

Based on age:

The sebaceous glands (oil glands) in your scalp will be more or less active depending on your age. During puberty, your hormones are fluctuating, so your oil production will be increased

(Cue acne.) As such, how often you should shampoo your hair may be more frequent during puberty.

Conversely, women during menopause tend to have much LESS oil production, so they may find themselves going longer and longer between washes. 

In general, our scalps produce less oil as we get older, so if you still have the habit of washing super frequently in your 50s and 60s, you might want to play with going longer in between washes.

Based on hair type:

When deciding how often you should shampoo your hair, answers for how to wash oily hair and how to wash curly hair will vary greatly. 

Curly and coarse hair tends to be much drier than fine, straight hair because it is more difficult for the oil on your scalp to travel down the hair strands. Of course, if you have drier hair, you won’t need to shampoo your hair as frequently as someone with naturally oily hair. 

If you have very oily hair, you may need to shower daily or every other day. 

If you have dry, curly, or damaged hair, you can wash much less frequently without problems. In fact, some people with curly hair can get away with shampooing just a couple times a month

Based on environment:

If you live in a very hot or humid environment, you are bound to sweat more often. In addition, heat from the sun (or hair styling tools) can increase your oil production as a way to protect against scalp dryness and damage.

If you live in one of these climates, how often you should shampoo your hair may be a bit more frequent. 

Based on activity level:

If you break a sweat regularly during exercise, you probably shower more frequently. But did you know you don’t need to wash your hair daily even if you work out daily?

Your hair type and texture are more important than your activity level when it comes to oil production, but find a schedule that helps you feel fresh and clean. 

Remember – you don’t need to wash your hair every time you shower. So if you want to have a body shower after workouts, that’s always a great option! 

With this talk about limiting your washing, you may be wondering: Is it bad to wash your hair every day? Let’s set the record straight. 

Is it bad to wash my hair every day?

Woman with long wavy hair wondering,

You may have heard that it’s bad to wash your hair too often. In fact, it’s quite possibly why you’re asking: “How often should you shampoo your hair?” 

It’s true that overwashing your hair can be just as bad as underwashing it. But how do you know if you are washing your hair too much?

Some signs you may be overwashing your hair include:

  • A dry, itchy, or irritated scalp
  • Increased hair shedding
  • Hair breakage
  • Hair that is dry or brittle

In addition, overwashing may make your hair more oily since your body will naturally get to work correcting your chronically dry scalp! 

The majority of people do NOT need to wash their hair every day. But is it BAD to wash your hair every day? Not necessarily. Some people with very fine, oily hair do benefit from a daily wash. And remember: You can wash your hair without using shampoo every time! 

Is it OK to wash hair every day with water only?

Yes, it is totally fine to take a shower without shampoo or conditioner – just water. If you are trying to shampoo less frequently, but are feeling a bit greasy or unfresh, there is nothing wrong with taking a water-only shower!

Can I use conditioner without shampoo?

Yes, you can absolutely use conditioner without shampoo. Deciding how often to use conditioner doesn’t need to correlate with your shampoo use at all.

If your hair is particularly dry, using conditioner without shampoo is a viable option. Just make sure, when using conditioner without shampoo, that you aren’t applying conditioner to your roots – as this will make them too greasy. 

How can I make my hair last longer between washes?

Woman covering her right eye with Bars Over Bottles shampoo bar

If you have been washing your hair with shampoo every day or every other day and are trying to prolong the time between showers, there are a few things you can try:

Reassess your hair products 

If you naturally have oily hair, you probably don’t want to use a moisturizing shampoo for curly hair. Conversely, if you have very dry hair, you want to make sure you’re using a natural, no poo shampoo product that won’t dry your strands out further!

Make sure your shampoo is suited for your hair type, and on days when you would be tempted to reach for a clarifying shampoo, use a hair detox shampoo instead. 

Use dry shampoo 

Dry shampoo can absorb oils to help you go longer between washes. Just don’t use one for too many days in a row, or the product will build up on your scalp and clog your pores – creating a host of other issues. 

You should also choose your product carefully as some dry shampoos contain cancer-causing ingredients.  

Put your hair up

Throw your hair up in a ponytail, bun, or braid to make greasy strands less obvious. As a bonus, you’ll be less likely to run your fingers through your hair during the day, which should help it stay less greasy.

Avoid heat

If you are trying to go longer between washes, let your hair air dry as often as possible. The heat from styling tools can increase oil production and make the oils spread down your strands more quickly. 

Be patient

Your scalp and hair need time to adjust whenever you try a new routine, so don’t expect smooth sailing right away. After a few weeks, your hair should adjust to less frequent shampooing.

How long is too long without shampooing?

Okay, so after all that, how often should you shampoo your hair? Is it okay to shampoo once a week? When is too long between washes?

There is honestly no one answer. But if your hair is visibly oily, or your scalp is itchy, it’s time to shampoo your hair. 

Some people need to wash with shampoo frequently. Others can get away with washing just twice a month. But no matter your lifestyle or hair type, you should shampoo your hair at least once every two to three weeks. 

If you go any longer than that between shampooing, you can end up with a yeast overgrowth on your scalp, and ultimately – dandruff. 

Now that you hopefully have a good idea of how often you should shampoo your hair, it’s important to know what shampoo to use during your shower! 

Four models each holding a Bars Over Bottles shampoo bar

Get the best shampoo for your hair type

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So, if you don’t know how to use a shampoo bar yet, now’s the time to learn! My shampoo bars are silicone-free, sulfate-free, paraben-free, cruelty-free, and 100% plastic-free – you can feel fabulous about your purchase, and look fabulous and fresh around the clock.

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