How Often Should I Shampoo My Hair?

A common topic for dermatologists is with regards to the proper frequency of shampooing one’s hair. While there is no “one size fits all” regimen, there are a few good rules of thumb that everyone can benefit from to maintain the health of their hair and scalp. It is notable that the tendency for most of us to perform the daily shampoo-and-condition routine has grown out of a hygiene culture emphasizing “pleasant smells” rather than a necessity of health. Shampooing ones’ hair too often can strip the hair of natural oils that are needed to maintain the hair’s strength and prevent it from breaking off. On the other hand, shampooing too infrequently will cause build-up of oils and products on the scalp which over time may cause irritation and stunt normal hair growth.

In order to strike the right balance and ensure the health of both your scalp and hair, here are a few pointers on a proper shampoo regimen:

Photo of shampoo

  • Using a conditioner more often when rinsing one’s hair and relying on a shampoo mainly to maintain the health of the scalp and prevent build up of grease and products is a good rule of thumb for most people
  • When shampooing, try to focus more on cleansing the scalp and hairline while minimizing shampooing of the hair itself. Conditioner, on the other hand, should be worked throughout the length of the hair
  • People with thicker hair, those with curly hair, and individuals of African American or Hispanic decent, generally have less oily hair and thus can cut back on shampooing (generally once to twice a week or less often based on oiliness)
  • People with thinner, oilier hair and those with straight hair generally need to shampoo more often (generally two to three times per week).
  • On “off days” those with oilier hair may use a dry shampoo which will absorb the excess oil off scalp and hair without the damaging effects of frequent shampoo-and-wash
  • Certain scalp conditions such as dandruff, seborrheic dermatitis and psoriasis require a more personalized shampoo regimen including medicated shampoos in some cases. We recommend consulting with a board-certified dermatologist for proper evaluation and treatment in case of such scalp conditions.

Follow these tips and let us know if it works out for you and your hair!

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