Q&A: How Often Should You Wash Natural Hair?

One of my blog readers, Sandra, emailed me with a question regarding how often should she wash her natural hair.

how to wash natural hair

Firstly, can I just say that this is a brilliant question.

Within the black community it has traditionally been believed that washing black hair can be damaging because over-shampooing strips curly/afro hair of moisture.

As a result, many black and mixed race women have grown up with the belief that it is bad to wash their curls too often.

Whilst, there is a lot of truth to this assertion, it’s important to pay attention to a few things.

#1. We need to clarify what is meant by ‘washing.’

If you plan on shampooing your afro or curly hair every day, you will most likely over-cleanse your hair and that will ultimately result in dryness which in turn leads to breakage.

Curly and afro hair chicks should therefore not shampoo their hair every day.

That leads me to my next point.

#2. Shampooing daily is bad but rinsing your hair daily is good! In fact it’s great! Natural hair loves water and it is therefore a brilliant idea to apply warm water to your hair on a regular basis.  Why do you think that almost all hair products contain water as the first or second ingredient? It’s because water is one of the best natural moisturisers for natural hair. If your hair is tightly-coiled, kinky textured or prone to tangles and knots, it’s recommended that you apply water and oil to your hair on a daily (or very frequent) basis.

In other words, replace daily shampooing with daily rinsing and your hair will look amazing!

#3. Co-washing. If you’ve never heard of the term co-washing before it simply refers to washing your hair with conditioner rather than shampoo. It sounds a little strange but millions of naturals swear by it.

Co-washing allows natural girls to cleanse their hair without over-cleaning it. Furthermore, it’s effective because most conditioners will not strip your hair of its natural oils unlike shampoos.

Whilst co-washing sounds like a curly girl’s dream solution to preventing over-shampooing and dryness, it can have it’s downsides.

For one thing, over co-washing or co-washing too often can lead to product build up. Product build up simply refers to when your hair is weighed down by so much product which causes your hair to be sticky, gooey and a dry, crazy mess. Product build up is incredibly common in women who co-wash too often.

So if over co-washing is bad and over-shampooing causes dryness, what can a natural haired girl do instead?

Here are some tips to help you.

#1 Shampoo your hair once a week at most. Ideally, you should shampoo your hair once every 2-3 weeks and use a sulphate free shampoo that contains healthy natural oils. Our Cleansing Cream Shampoo does just that.

#2 Co-wash your natural hair once every 2-3 days at most. Ideally you should co-wash once a week. Like I said above, over co-washing can cause build up so try to do it once a week rather than daily.

#3 Rinse or wet your hair daily. Some naturalistas prefer to rinse their hair in the shower and that’s perfectly fine. However, if that option isn’t for you simply get a spay bottle and fill it with water. Spritz as much as you need onto your hair and you’ll get the benefits of rinsing in a very time efficient way.

Now it’s your turn. In the comments below tell me what was your biggest takeaway from reading this post? Will you co-wash less or more often? Or, are you excited to be rinsing your hair daily? I’d love to hear from you.

PS. If you haven’t already, subscribe to my VIP list and get free hair tips + discounts on natural hair products. Click here to subscribe.

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7 comments

  1. Jalena

    I’ve been contemplating going natural for a while, and I’ve just recently begun the transformation. This article answered the questions that I have been wondering about washing my hair. But now, I would like to know what products I can use after washing to strengthen and seal my hair? Thanks for the advice.

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    • Victoria

      Hi Jalena,
      After washing your hair you should use a silicone free conditioner like the Coco Curly Conditioner in our line. Here’s the link: http://bit.ly/1dMh6cn As for sealing, try coconut oil, olive or jojoba oil. Jojoba oil is great because it is the closest oil to the one that our scalps produce naturally. Hope that helps 🙂

      Like

  2. Stacey-Ann

    Hi Victoria,

    Thanks for the informative article. I nearly always wear my hair in twists or plaits and so is daily spritzing with water better for these hairstyles rather than rinsing? Or doesn’t it matter?

    Thanks!

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    • Victoria

      Hey Stacey, If your hair is in twists or plaits, daily spritzing is definitely better than rinsing. Rinsing works best when your hair is out and isn’t in a plaited/braided/twisted style. Sometimes if you rinse whilst your hair is plaited, it can create knots and tangles. However, I sometimes rinse my hair when it’s in twists and haven’t had any trouble doing so.

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  3. natalieedwards43

    I’ve never heard of co-washing so that is interesting to me! I shampoo twice a week, condition after, and use oil or cream to calm in between. My hair is curly but not afro. I have previously been told to not use water to calm/re-style in between, but will give it a try. I need to restock with your shampoo, last time I tried to order I couldn’t remember my log-in and then just keep forgetting to order!

    Like

    • Victoria

      Hi Natalie, Great to hear from you 🙂
      Definitely give water a try and see how it works for your hair. As for the shampoo, you should be able to re-order without logging in but if you have any trouble just send me an email and I’ll help you out.

      Like

  4. Victoria Sallie

    Thanks for posting this article! I’ve been natural for about a year and 4 months now, and I follow these tips for the most part. The only thing I don’t really do is the daily rinsing. Instead, I spritz my hair with water at night and put on a shower cap (the Greenhouse Effect), to give my hair added moisture.

    http://www.tressesandtreats.com

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