We should, ideally, wash our bodies at least once per day. Some guys prefer twice a day because they like getting into bed feeling squeaky clean.
But what about your hair? How often should you wash it?
In this men's hair care blog post, we lay out the best way to care for your hair, whether it’s fine or thick, or if your scalp is oily or dry. Even if you’ve got a problem with dandruff—we’ve got you covered, too, with advice on how to treat it with products rich in natural ingredients.
Is it bad to wash your hair every day?
Generally speaking, when it comes to men's hair care, you don’t need to wash your hair with shampoo every day.
This is because shampoo works as an emulsifier, bonding together oils, dirt, and styling product residue to be rinsed out. However, this also includes your hair’s natural oil, which is called sebum.
You need some amount of sebum to maintain your hair’s health; stripping it out too often can actually dry out your hair, lead to a drier scalp, and increase breakages and split ends.
Sebum also acts as a natural barrier to dirt and sweat, which helps keep your hair and scalp moisturized between washes.
Can you wash your hair daily with water?
You certainly can whenever you shower! However, you need to be mindful of maintaining a healthy level of sebum. Like most oils, sebum is affected by high heat. As such, we recommend that you wash your body first with warm to hot water, then take the temperature down a bit before washing your hair.
This will help your hair and scalp maintain its natural sebum, while also clearing out dirt and sweat from the day.
For a full wash with shampoo and conditioner, you’ll be wanting to wash your hair 2-3 times a week.
What are the different thicknesses of men’s hair?
As you might expect, you can have thick hair, thin hair, or ‘normal’ hair—that is to say, somewhere in between thick and thin. Talking about hair thickness refers to the individual hairs themselves, not necessarily the amount of hair on your head. For example, you can have thin hair that covers your whole head or thick hair with a bald patch.
Being mindful of your hair’s thickness is important for this reason: the thinner your hair, the more often you need to wash it.
Thinner hair means less sebum, which reduces your hair and scalp’s natural defenses. As such, men with thin hair should wash every other day (roughly three or so times a week).
Men with thick hair, including those with very curly hair, have more sebum, which means they only need to wash every three days or roughly twice per week. For those of you in between, start with twice a week and see how your hair responds.
How can men get a healthy scalp?
Like the skin on your body, your scalp can vary from being oily to dry or somewhere settled in between. If your scalp is oily, you should wash your hair up to three times a week.
Your hair is already producing more sebum than you need—hence the oiliness— so it can withstand more routine cleaning. For a normal-to-dry scalp, you’re better off leaving your washings to twice a week. This allows your head to maintain a better level of sebum that will keep your scalp naturally moisturized.
How do you know what type of hair and scalp you have?
There is an easy test you can do to assess your hair and scalp type. Again, it all comes down to oil. Two days after washing your hair with shampoo for the last time—so, if you shampooed on Monday, do this on Wednesday— press a tissue lightly to your hair and scalp. When you take it away, see how much oil is on the tissue.
Small oil blot: You have normal hair/scalp. Shampoo and condition your hair around two to three times per week.
No oil on tissue: You have a dry scalp and possibly thin hair, too. Shampoo and condition your hair around twice per week.
- Lots of oil + hair clumping together: You have an oily scalp. This is exacerbated even further by thicker hair that retains oil. Shampoo and condition your hair at least three times a week.
Oily hair, in particular, can be particularly tricky, so if this is you, you might want to check out our dedicated guide to dealing with oily hair.
What is the best shampoo for men?
While hair type can affect your choice of shampoo and frequency of washing, there are some standards to look for in a shampoo. As always, we suggest avoiding chemical-based ingredients, such as sulfates, parabens, and irritating perfumes.
You don’t need your hair to be competing with your cologne. And while ‘Berry Blast’ is a delightful smoothie flavor, it’s probably not what you want your manly plume to smell like either.
Some natural botanical ingredients will lend a pleasant but not overpowering aroma to your hair. Aloe vera extracts, for example, will provide extra moisturizing protection for your hair and scalp while mild astringents like witch hazel and sea salt will strip out dirt and grime without attacking the natural sebum in your hair.
You can even look for products with ylang-ylang flower oil, which naturally stimulates sebum production. This is particularly useful if you have thin hair or a dry scalp.
Generally speaking, most shampoos will have useful information on the label to help you understand what hair and scalp type they’re best suited for.
How often should you condition your hair?
This one is simple: Condition your hair after every shampoo wash. A conditioner rich in natural ingredients will smooth out the surface of each individual hair strand, leading to fewer breakages. In addition, your shampoo will likely have opened up your hair’s cuticle to get the dirt out—in the same way that a good face wash opens up your pores.
The conditioner, therefore, seals the cuticle back up again, ensuring your scalp maintains a firm grip on your hair. Most of the time, you’ll rinse out your conditioner just like you do with your shampoo, but some conditioners are designed to stay in your hair to add an extra layer of protection from dirt and other elements.
When applying men's hair care conditioner, take advantage of this opportunity to give your scalp a good massage.
What is the best way to get rid of dandruff?
Dandruff can affect all hair and scalp types. And yes, that means bald chaps as well! Many shampoos are designed with dandruff treatment and prevention in mind, but of course, a lot of these contain synthetic ingredients like propylene glycol and polyethylene glycol.
While these ingredients are used to treat dryness and flakiness that leads to dandruff, they can also irritate the skin and create new problems.
Both shampoos and conditioners can be formulated to deal with dandruff, but you can also buy a dedicated treatment for your scalp.
For a natural approach, seek out hair care products with botanically soothing ingredients like white tea, coconut oil, and fruit extracts. Some of these products require 10-15 minutes to do their work.
Start by using it two to three times per week, or basically whenever you wash your hair. You can increase the frequency of dedicated scalp treatment, if needed, after two weeks.
To learn more, check out our dedicated article on dandruff control here.
Can you just keep using a 2-in-1 product?
No. Shampoo and conditioner serve two different functions. Shampoo cleans your hair and scalp, including opening the hair cuticles.
Conditioner, on the other hand, seals the hair follicle and provides a shield of protection throughout the day. Just like you have a separate cleanser and moisturizer for your face, you also need a separate shampoo and conditioner for your hair.
By determining your type of hair and scalp, investing in nourishing, natural products for your hair, and taking just a few minutes more in the shower 2-3 times a week, you can ensure your crowning glory looks its best at all times.
By washing your hair at least three times a week with a natural shampoo and conditioner—and using the tips we’ve suggested based on your specific hair and scalp type—you’ll be on your way to a healthy head of hair in no time flat.
If you don’t know where to start, why not try our Moisturizing Shampoo and Conditioner? These products, packed with natural ingredients, are suitable for all hair types but are especially effective for dry scalps.
There is no better time to start taking care of your hair than right now.