How Often Should You Wash Your Natural Hair?

How often should I wash my natural hair? This is one question most new naturals ask. It is important that you cleanse your hair regularly. You should wash your hair to remove dirt, debris, and products that would have caused your hair to be dirty over time. Healthy hair begins with a proper wash routine.

You should wash your natural hair at least once in two weeks. Never wash your natural hair every day. I recommend that newbies wash their natural hair once every week. However, factors such as your hair type, hair porosity, and lifestyle should be considered when deciding how often you should wash your natural hair. Many researchers suggest that some hair types should be washed more frequently than others.

When it comes to washing your natural hair, you can either use shampoo or no shampoo to cleanse your hair. There are different ways to wash your hair. I share these ways and a washday hack that would help you reduce the time you spend washing your hair in this post.

Shampoo washing

This is the most popular way of washing natural hair where you use a clarifying shampoo to wash your hair and follow with a rinse-out conditioner.

Shampoos are usually used to remove dirt and oil from your hair. This dirt can be in the form of particles, dust, and other substances which stick to your hair strands.

Using shampoos is the best way to clean your hair, but the problem is that it can completely strip your hair of moisture leading to the feeling of dry hair. That is why it is important to pre-poo your hair before washing and follow with a rinse-out conditioner after shampooing.


Also known as conditioner washing is the use of only a conditioner to wash your hair. Surprisingly, this technique provides a decent level of cleanliness to your hair.

This is because co-washing products can remove most of the oil coating of unwashed hair. This does not strip your hair of all the oils like shampoo would and leaves your hair feeling moisturized.

However, co-washing does not totally cleanse your scalp and should not be used as a long-term way of washing your natural hair. I highly recommend periodic shampooing alongside co-washing. You can co-wash your natural hair once a week and shampoo once every two weeks.

Water washing

Some naturals wash their hair using only water. So, does water really water washing adequately cleanse your hair and scalp? Water washing your hair tends to only spread the hair’s natural oil more evenly over your hair strands.

However, water washing does not clean your hair, meaning that the hair will still be dirty and unwashed.

What shampoo and conditioner should you use?

You should use a shampoo that is sulfate-free. That is shampoos that don’t contain ammonium lauryl sulfate (ALS), sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), ammonium lauryl ether sulfate (ALES), and sodium lauryl ether sulfate (SLES).

These are surfactants that allow water and oil to mix and used in most shampoos for effective cleansing. However, the ones listed usually dry out the hair.

Most sulfate-free shampoos usually replace these listed surfactants with sulfate-free sorbitol esters or olefin sulfonate. The olefin sulfonate does a good job at cleansing but it can irritate the scalp, however, sulfate-free sorbitol esters are gentler.

Your best bet is to use a shampoo that is sulfate-free and contains sulfate-free sorbitol esters.

The rule of thumb is: Shampoo should be chosen based on your scalp condition, conditioner should be used to treat and enhance the condition of your hair.

For conditioners, use a type that would enhance the condition of your hair. For oily hair, use light, strengthening and balancing conditioners. For dry hair, use moisturizing conditioners.

How often should you wash your natural hair?

4a/4b/4c hair types

With this hair type, you should wash your hair once a week, or once every 2-3 weeks if your hair does not feel dirty. Do not wash your hair daily, it’s a bad idea. To refresh in between washes, try co-washing your hair with water and conditioner, or water wash. Water washing means that you massage your scalp using just water, no shampoo, cleanser or conditioner. Some people do this in between their co-washes and shampoos. You can deep condition weekly or every two weeks.


You shouldn’t wash your dreadlocks every day. A good rule of thumb is to wash your dreadlocks at least once a week. ( However, if you are a physically active person who sweats a lot, you may need to wash your dreadlocks as frequently as once every 2-3 days.

Dyed hair

For dyed hair, you should wash your hair as little as possible. Ideally, once every 3 days is enough. This is to help preserve the color, as well as your hair’s oils. You should also avoid using the regular shampoo and conditioner but you should opt for color-specific ones.

In a protective style

Depending on how long you are wearing the style, you can cleanse your hair every two weeks or once during the one month you would be wearing the style.

When should you wash your natural hair?

1. When your hair is dirty

You don’t need to always stick to your wash schedule. If you feel that your hair is dirty, please wash it. By washing, I mean using a good shampoo to cleanse your hair and not just running water or a conditioner through it. Wash your hair when it is dirty and that can be anywhere from 1-3 weeks for some, although for many two weeks are just fine.

2. When you have product build-up

The buildup is not always dirt. Oftentimes it is product buildup. This is the gradual accumulation of products on the hair strands. This could be from conditioners and styling products that leave a residue over time. So, whenever you see too many products build up on your hair. Its time for a wash.

What happens when you wash your natural hair too much?

Over-washing your hair every day or more will dry out your hair because you are stripping the hair of its natural oils. Frequent washing also means frequent styling, which can do more harm than good. You start to notice split ends and also a ton of breakage. This is the opposite result of what most of us want. However, if you have short hair, you may be able to get away with washing your hair every day because it doesn’t go through as much manipulation as longer hair.

What happens when you do not wash your natural hair enough?

Washing too little will leave you with a dirty hair full of product build-up. Also, your hair could start to produce a bad smell. The end result is the same, your hair won’t be healthy.

How to wash your natural hair (step-by-step)

Step 1: Pre-shampoo your hair with oil

Using your fingers, divide your hair into 4-6 sections. Apply a handsome amount of pure coconut or olive oil throughout each section. Twist each section and cover with a plastic cap to allow your hair cuticles to open up and take in the oil. Leave for 30-60 minutes

Step 2: Detangle your hair

While this step can be done before you pre-shampoo, it can be done after as well. Detangle your hair by gently passing your fingers or a comb through each section pulling apart tangles and knots so that your hair would be easier to wash.

Step 3: Shampoo your hair in sections

Apply a handsome amount of your sulfate-free shampoo to your scalp. Gently massage your scalp with shampoo lather while working it through the length of your hair. Rinse thoroughly.

Step 4: Condition your hair

Apply a generous amount of your conditioner throughout your hair. Work the conditioner through your hair from root to tip. Detangle your hair again with a wide-toothed comb and rinse thoroughly.

Step 5: Drying Your hair

Make sure to dry your hair using a microfiber towel or a t-shirt.

Step 6: Apply a leave-in conditioner

Once out of the shower, apply a moisturizing leave-in conditioner to your hair and style.

The Washday Hack

Most naturals spend hours pre-shampooing, washing and deep conditioning their natural hair. That is why many of us dread washdays because of how time-consuming it is. I have found the perfect hack for you that will make your wash day not more than 30 minutes.

Using Rhassoul Clay

Rhassoul clay is a natural mineral clay from the Atlas Mountains of Morocco. Its been used by Moroccan women for centuries to care for skin and hair. It is great for detoxifying, cleansing and reducing dryness in your hair.

Rhassoul clay is a moisturizer and softener. So, no need to pre-shampoo, shampoo, or deep condition when you use Rhassoul clay to wash your hair. All you need to do is wash your hair with the clay, detangle, apply your leave-in conditioner and style. So easy right! You are welcome.

You can get Rhassoul clay on Amazon or Organic shoppe in Nigeria. It costs about $10-$17

Watch this video by Torera George using Rhassoul clay on her washday.

How often do you wash your natural hair?