How Long Should You Wait Between Washes?
Celebrity hairstylist Johnny Wright feels a certain way about women only washing their hair every other week. “I don’t like when someone goes two weeks without putting water on her hair,” Wright told Essence magazine, suggesting a weekly wash instead. Wright, who is hairstylist to Michelle Obama and artistic style director at SoftSheen-Carson, is definitely a connoisseur of tresses. But have most of us really managed to avoid this pet peeve of his?
I’ll admit that I’ve been guilty of the biweekly hair wash. All throughout high school and some of college I had a perm, and my hair rarely saw shampoo and water outside of my trips to the hair salon, which took place every two weeks. Even though most of the girls in my college dorm were washing their hair every day or every other day, I never second-guessed my routine. I figured that because my hair was a different texture than theirs, it required (and possibly benefited from) less frequent washing. Most black girls I knew also washed their hair twice a month, whether they were redoing their usual style or switching up their weave. A couple of my black friends did go to the salon or do their own hair every week, but that was too much money, time or heat on my hair to be a realistic option for me then.
My hair washing schedule has had its droughts: I wore braids while growing out my perm, and only washed or rinsed my hair every few weeks, or after I’d been in the pool or ocean. When I was rocking a ‘fro, I washed my hair as needed, sometimes every week or bit longer. After I permed my hair again, I learned how to style it myself to save money on trips to the salon. I now wash my hair every week, but only because it goes it limp in five or six days (maybe I have a bit more to learn). I’ve found my weekly wash to be a tedious process—it takes two to three hours to shampoo, condition, blow-dry and flat iron my hair—and I would go back to the biweekly schedule in a second if I could. But what do the experts say?
As previously mentioned, Wright suggests a weekly shampoo to avoid build-up and keep hair feeling clean. For the same reasons, celebrity stylist Ursula Stephen also suggests washing your hair at least once a week, but notes that there isn’t a right or wrong timetable otherwise. And apparently I was wrong for going weeks without washing my braids—braids and locks need regular washing like any other style to remove things such as product residue and bacteria. For now, it looks like my hair washing routine is on the right schedule, even though it takes a little a chunk out of my week.
What does your hair washing schedule look like?
- Ashley Calloway