Here’s how often you should actually be washing your hair, according to a hairstylist

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If you want healthy, luscious locks, your hair care routine is of utmost importance. Sure, you may be thinking of trims and heat protectants right about now — but never underestimate the importance of a good wash routine.

That, however, begs the question: How often should you actually be washing your hair? The answer might be a little more complicated than you think.

“When it comes to hair care and creating routines, it’s different for everyone because every person has a different case and starting point,” Liz Cozart of Bellibone Salon in New Jersey tells In The Know by Yahoo. “There’s not really a general answer due to every case being so unique. That’s why I create custom routines and product recommendations for my clients.”

Simply put, your wash routine will look a lot different if you have 1A hair than if you have 4C hair. For those with natural hair, your recommended wash cycle will look even more different if your hair is in a protective style, like braids or locs. But let’s be real; you probably know this already.

“Generally, if your hair is braided as a protective style, your traditional shampooing is going to be a lot more infrequent in order to maintain the style,” L’Oréal Paris celebrity hairstylist and colorist Jonathan Colombini tells In The Know. “By keeping the hair protected this way, you’re also eliminating a lot of thermal and environmental damage, so you won’t need to wash the hair as often.”

Speaking of damage, your hair-washing needs may be different if you have dyed or bleached hair. You’ll likely want to use products formulated for dyed hair, including but not limited to color-care conditioners or extra-nourishing treatments.

“If you have severe damage from color, you want to be sure you’re using a shampoo and conditioner that supports color,” Colombini says. “I recommend the L’Oréal Paris EverPure franchise, which is sulfate and paraben free with a vegan formula. By using gentle products without harsh chemicals, you’ll get much more longevity from your color.” 

L’Oreal Paris EverPure Moisture Shampoo, $9.99

Credit: Ulta

Colombini adds that while there is no universal answer to how often you should wash your hair, there is a universal maximum to how often you should wash your hair.

“At the most, you should wash your hair every other day—this goes for all hair types,” Colombini tells In The Know. “The key is to pay attention to your scalp and its production of sebum. If you get oily quickly, chances are you’re over-shampooing and could start adding another day in between washes to help regulate this.”

Regular Shampoo vs. Clarifying Shampoo

If you are rethinking your wash routine, you may have a lingering product question: When should you use clarifying shampoo versus regular shampoo? Turns out, it’s not as mystifying as it may seem. 

“If you feel buildup on the hair, swim in chlorine or go in the ocean a lot — anything that would cause your hair to have buildup or outside chemicals on them — you’ll definitely want to use a clarifier to refresh,” Colombini says. “Aside from those circumstances, using a regular shampoo should be enough to cleanse the hair during your normal wash routine.”

For exact product recommendations, Cozart and Colombini both recommend talking to your personal stylist about your hair goals. But to get you started, here are some top-rated products to consider:

OUAI Detox Shampoo, $32

Credit: Sephora

OUAI’s Detox Shampoo is the top-selling wash product on Sephora’s site. The shampoo is a clarifying formula that cleanses hair of dirt, oil and product buildup with apple cider vinegar. The formula also includes keratin to help strengthen hair.

Redken All Soft Condiditioner, $25

Credit: Ulta

One of the top-rated wash products on Ulta, Redken’s All Soft Conditioner is a moisturizing product recommended for dry, brittle hair.

EVOLVh SmartCurl Hydrating Wash, $32

Credit: Credo

EVOLVh is the highest-rated haircare brand on the clean beauty site, Credo. The brand has shampoo and conditioning products for multiple types of hair, but its SmartCurl Hydrating wash is a fan-favorite, made with natural ingredients and oils.

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