Who Can Go a Few Days Without Washing?
The thicker your hair and the less oil, the less you need to shampoo.
“Some people with dry hair or curly hair can wash much less frequently without problems,” Goh says.
How Much Should You Wash?
For the average person, every other day, or every 2 to 3 days, without washing is generally fine.
“There is no blanket recommendation. If hair is visibly oily, scalp is itching, or there’s flaking due to dirt,” those are signs it’s time to shampoo, Goh says.
How Long Is Too Long?
If your hair is styled, you may be able to get away with going longer without lathering up.
“If you’re doing a blowout or using heated styling tools on it, the most important thing I tell people is to make sure your hair is super-clean when you start,” Webb says. “Hair will last longer, look better, and you’ll need to use those stressors less often overall.”
Lamb agrees there’s a lot of variation, and you should think about a style’s overall prep work.
“Some of it is cultural, the natural texture and thickness of your hair, how much you sweat and exercise, and how it’s styled,” she says. “If it’s styled with keratin treatment or you have a blow-out, you may not need to or want to wash more than once a week and put more stress on your hair.”
Go with your gut and preference, with one caveat. “Regardless of how your hair feels, though, don’t go longer than 14 days, ever,” Lamb says, who doesn’t buy in to the total ‘no poo’ movement.
From a medical perspective, Goh says some of her patients only wash their hair once a week. She says as long as they don’t have scalp problems that seems OK. She doesn’t advise them to wash more often.
How to Go Longer Between Washes
In recent years, more and more products have become available to extend how long you can go between washes. And people are coming up with different methods to keep hair looking good.