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How often should you wash your hair with shampoo? We asked the experts.

While there may be a certain appeal in wanting to attain effortlessly luscious, healthy hair by simply extending the number of days between shampoos with dry shampoo, for example, this might inadvertently  to build up on your scalp.

Conversely, if you shampoo too often, dryness and breakage can wreak havoc on your hair. So, before you reach for that bottle of shampoo in the shower, how often should you really be washing your hair? Also, with an abundance of shampoo options to choose from, what product is best for your hair type? ˽ýӳ spoke with two experts to break down everything you need to know about finding the right hair care routine.

How often should you wash your hair? 

Naturally, there are many factors that will play into the  you should be washing your hair. For the majority of people, a solid baseline is to shampoo once a week in the shower, but you can “dial it up or dial it back, depending on your goals and your hair type,” says , a  based in the UK. 

Hair texture is important in determining how often to shampoo, because “straight hair tends to need more frequent washing versus curly hair,” Holden tells ˽ýӳ. If you wear your hair in a protective style, such as braids, she recommends spacing the number of days you shampoo to every two or three weeks. If your hair is dyed or damaged, Holden adds that you might need to be more careful with the frequency of hair washes, as hair is fragile when wet. On the other hand, if you experience dry scalp conditions, such as eczemaǰ, or you’re using lots of hair sprays and gels, you’ll need to up the frequency of your shampoos to ensure your scalp is cleansed and getting the proper treatment it needs, Holden says.

What are the side effects of not shampooing hair often enough?

According to Healthline, if you’re overly elongating the , excess sebum you’ve accumulated on your scalp will clog hair follicles, causing dandruff. Dandruff, also known as seborrheic dermatitis, is caused by the , a yeast that lives on the scalp, according to Mayo Clinic. “If you leave it too long in between washes, the yeast will grow and irritate the scalp,” resulting in flaking, inflammation, and a red rash around your hairline, Holden notes.

Is it OK if I wash my hair every day?

One side effect of washing your hair too often is , as the act of shampooing can damage your hair, according to WebMD. “When your hair is wet, it can stretch more, it's a lot more brittle,” Holden says. However, the scalp is a living organ, and it is important that you cleanse it to prevent seborrheic dermatitis. “So, it's almost like balancing what your scalp needs versus what your hair needs,” she says. Holden also clears up a common misconception: even though you may see strands of hair coming out in the shower, washing your hair does not cause hair loss. “It's just the telogen hairs, the hairs that are ready to come out anyway.” 

What kind of shampoo product should you use? 

While there is a great emphasis on how often you should be washing your hair, tailoring the products you use in the shower to meet your individual needs can help you achieve your desired hair goals. “Hair health, hair growth, hair thinning, hair loss — it all starts in the shower. And it's the one place where people often neglect what they're doing,” says , a New York-based trichologist and founder of haircare retail platform , which expertly matches people to the latest hair growth solutions. 

If you have an oily scalp, Caspara suggests “opting for cleansers that have a much better cleansing capability.” While gentle cleansers containing natural additives have revolutionized the shampoo industry, some of “the new formulations that we're seeing, they just simply don't cleanse well.” If your shampoo doesn’t lather well and is difficult to wash out, you may be left with excess residue. Over time, the chronic buildup of residue and sebum can threaten scalp health, Caspara explains. 

If you have a dry scalp, seek out a product that specifically, such as itchiness or inflammation, according to Healthline. Additionally, if you want to extend the number of days between hair washes without compromising your scalp health, Holden recommends a product . While “you can't train your sebaceous glands to produce less sebum,” shampoos with salicylic acid are effective at reducing oil production on the scalp, she says.

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