As a city dweller (and commuter via mass transit), I wash my hands so many times per day I sometimes lose count. While I always make sure to remove germs from my hands and body, there’s one thing I’ve never considered that can hold onto germs like nothing else: my hair. I typically wash my hair every other day (with a few spritzes of dry shampoo in between), and I often forget that our strands are the perfect hiding place for germs and bacteria to build up.
Not only do our manes hold on to a ton of dirt, pollution, and buildup on the regular, but our hair follicles can also soak up germs and bacteria the same way our skin does.
If you, like me, are a self-proclaimed germaphobe , you’re in luck! We spoke to Brayden Pelletier, Redken brand ambassador, about just how often you should be washing based on your hair type and a few steps you can take to detox your mane from germs and bacteria.
Is washing hair everyday bad?
As a general rule, shampooing less frequently is typically better for your strands. If you’re worried about keeping germs and buildup at bay, however, you might have to up your cleansing game a bit. Try adding a few extra washes per week to your shampooing schedule and be sure to lather for more than 20 seconds to achieve a deeper cleansing (que the “Happy Birthday” song).
It’s true that some shampoo formulas can strip or dry out sensitive manes. Pelletier’s the first one to suggest that his clients stretch the time between washes as far as they can—within reason, that is.
“I recommend they go as long as possible, but 14 days is the absolute max,” Pelletier says. “The thicker the hair and less oily the scalp, the longer you can go, usually between five to seven days for each shampoo.”
It’s also important to remember that shampoo and conditioner aren’t the only styling products in your arsenal. Pick-me-up formulas like dry shampoo can help your hair appear fresher, longer, according to Pelletier.
“It’s all about the right products on the right day. If you wake up in the morning with oily hair, apply dry shampoo before bed,” the hair professional adds. “Sometimes, it’s applying a product to prevent something, rather than trying to fix it.”
How do you get rid of germs in your hair?
Aside from the obvious lather, rinse, and repeat, there are a few extra steps you can take to help to eliminate germs from your strands. First things first: Aside from your shampoo and conditioner, add a detoxifying scalp scrub like Kérastase Scrub Energisant Purifying Scalp Scrub to your routine.
This deeply purifying and energizing scalp scrub cleanses away impurities and build-up for healthy, shiny hair. You can also use a clarifying shampoo like Redken Clean Maniac Hair Cleansing Cream Clarifying Shampoo to remove product build up, excess oil, and pollution.
Whether you’re a big city commuter or spend a lot of time in public spaces, you can easily transfer germs from your hands to your hair. That’s why we recommend not touching your strands as much as possible to avoid the spread of germs. Be sure also to wash your pillowcases and hair accessories like hats frequently.
Worried about overwashing your hair? We get it. Your specific hair type and concerns can determine how long you should go between shampoo sessions. Below, we’re breaking down exactly how often you should shampoo based on your hair type.
If you have fine hair:
Dealing with greasy, flat strands by day two is a struggle fine-haired girls know all too well. Still, we recommend shampooing your hair every two to three days and using a dry shampoo like L'Oréal Professionnel Tecni.Art Morning After Dust Dry Shampoo in-between washes to avoid drying your hair out too much.
Wondering what shampoo and conditioner work best for fine hair? We recommend investing in a volumizing system like Matrix Total Results High Amplify Shampoo and Conditioner. This system cleanses and conditions to help boost the structure of fine, limp hair. Volumizing hair products can also help to conceal the look of oily roots.
Good hair day by @hairbybritny.
If you have thick hair:
If you have super thick or coarse hair, oily roots creeping up by day two isn’t usually an issue for you. In fact, you should only have to reach for shampoo once or twice per week. Thick hair, however, can be pretty dry and frizzy without the proper hydration. Invest in a shampoo and conditioner system like Shu Uemura Art Of Hair’s Shusu Sleek Shampoo and Conditioner. This paraben and silicone-free system deeply nourishes hair from mid-lengths to ends while taming frizz for a lightweight, satin smooth texture.
Good hair day by @haircolorkilla.
If you have curly hair:
Working with kinky, curly hair? Lucky for you, you can go longer than most between shampoos. For curly hair types, however, it’s all about finding a schedule that works to keep your mane clean without drying out your precious ringlets. For curly girls, we recommend using a moisturizing formula twice a week or less. You can also opt for a cleansing conditioner like Mizani True Textures Cream Cleansing Conditioner. This co-wash gently cleanses and conditions in one step to help retain moisture and help maintain your natural curl pattern.
Good hair day by @angela_doeshair.
If you have damaged hair:
Damaged hair is already fragile, so overdoing it on the shampoo can potentially make matters worse. Whether your strands are fragile as a result of heat damage, salon color, or chemical services, washing every three days or so with a gentle, sulfate-free shampoo is optimal. When you do decide to wash your hair, we recommend using Pureology’s Strength Cure Shampoo and Conditioner. This sulfate-free system cleanses and helps fortify, strengthen, and repair damaged, color-treated hair.
Good hair day by @chelseahaircutters.
If you’re dealing with dandruff:
Dandruff can be tricky—and if you want to get rid of those pesky white flakes for good, shampooing every day with a product formulated to take care of dandruff is your best bet. Looking for an anti-dandruff shampoo to add to your routine? Opt for Biolage Scalpsync Anti-Dandruff Shampoo. This formula controls the appearance of visible flakes and eliminates dandruff.
Interested in more expert hair advice? Use our salon locator to book an appointment with a stylist near you.