Most people love when their hair looks shiny, healthy, and clean, and you would think that you could attain this look by washing your hair as often as possible. However, if your hair isn't looking the way you want, you should watch out for some signs you're washing your hair too much. Washing too frequently can actually be bad for your hair, and cutting down on those shampoos can end up being really helpful for your locks.
"Over-washing your hair can lead to dreaded dryness and brittleness, to the point that no matter what products you put into it, it is not going to style properly," says Carolyn Aronson, Hair Stylist and CEO of It’s a 10 Haircare, over email. "True healthy hair is hair that will look good no matter how you choose to style or wear it that day."
There isn't an exact number of times you should wash your hair a week — it depends on your hair texture, your natural oil production, etc. — but paying attention to the little signs your hair is giving you can help you come up with the best washing schedule. If you think it might be time to give your hair a break from all that lathering, pay attention to these seven signs you're actually washing your hair too much.
1Your Brush Won't Budge
Over-washing causes the cuticle of the hair to stay open, which makes it become dryer and more brittle. "When you brush your hair, it will catch more on the tangles and not slide through the hair shaft easily," says Aronson.
2Your Color Is Fading Fast
Washing too frequently will dull your hair color and make it fade faster. "To help keep color-treated hair at its best, use sulfate-free shampoos and add a cool rinse at the end of your shower," says Aronson. "Cool rinses seal the cuticle closed, so the color molecules don't rinse out and stay deposited in the hair."
3You're Experiencing Breakage
Since washing your hair too often can dry your hair out, it can leave it more susceptible to breakage. "Hair is also more fragile when it's wet, so combing or brushing while it's wet and aggressive towel-drying can also lead to breakage," says Dr. Sejal Shah, Board Certified Dermatologist and RealSelf contributor, over email.
4You're Seeing Flakes
"Over-washing with harsh shampoos can cause flaking of the scalp," says Aronson. "A healthy scalp is just as important as healthy hair. It should be free of dirt and oils, but also not too dry. If this occurs, switch to a more moisturizing shampoo and skip a day or two between washes."
5Your Hair Seems Oilier
It might seem counterintuitive, but washing your hair too much can actually make it oilier. "It can lead the scalp to think it needs to replace the oils, and thus it overproduces them," says Aronson. "Use sulfate-free shampoos that are deeper cleansing, but not too drying. Be sure to still nourish the mid-shaft to ends with a light conditioner or apply a leave-in conditioner after washing."
6You've Got Frizz
When your hair becomes stripped of oil, it is more likely to become frizzy, says Shah. Skipping shampoos can help tame frizz, as well as always using conditioner.
7Your Hair Looks Lackluster
"If your hair is lacking luster, it may be the result of over-washing," says Aronson. "The cuticle is not lying flat on the hair shaft to create that glossy, smooth look because it’s left open when hair is dry. Remember, balanced moisture in the hair and scalp leads to healthy, shiny, bouncy locks."