4 Factors that determine how often you wash your natural hair

4 Factors That Determine How Often You Wash Your Natural Hair

Four factors that determine how often you wash your natural hair

*Courtesy of Canva.com

Deciding how often to wash your hair sounds like an easy decision and it may even sound like there should be a universal answer.  That couldn’t be further from the truth for a number of reasons.  We are so different.  Yes, naturals are different.  We may share a kinship with hair type or curl pattern but there are variables that step in and regulate how we style, wash, and maintain our hair.  These variables that determine our wash cycles are a natural’s  schedule, lifestyle, products, and climate.  All of those dictate whether you realize it or not.

Schedule.  Finding the time to wash your hair may pose a challenge with a hectic schedule. For some women, wash days are horrendously long and a natural needs to find the time to do it especially if she’s working, in school, got a family or a upcoming trip. Going out of town sometimes means going to smoky restaurant or bar. Sometimes (like a few months ago when I went to an outside comedy concert and folks were blazing it up!) after a night out in certain arenas you need to wash the smell of weed out of your hair.  Hey, we live in Denver…need I say more?

Lifestyle.  There are many naturals who frequently workout.  We have athletes who need to wash more often and let’s not forget the swimmers who are forever washing chlorine out of their hair.  There are women who have chronic illnesses who may not wash their hair as often or have to wash more often. Seriously, these are real issues to consider.

Products.  Do you regularly use products that cause build-up?  Are you trying a new style that requires a gel that flakes? Some products we love require more washings due to product build-up.  If I want slicked back hair for a dramatic look, I have to slather Eco-styler gel on. Now, I know I’ve got to wash it the very next day.

Climate. Some of us live in smog-riddled cities and wanting to keep the pollutants out of our hair is a constant reality. Some naturals living in humid climates may be sweating more in their hair and feel washing more often is necessary. In the winter or in colder climates naturals may wash their hair less often due to the drying nature of the weather.  That can go for windy climates as well.  Your geographical locale may determine when and how often you choose to wash so never count out the climate you live in when considering a washing cycle.

These are all reasons why setting a wash cycle for all naturals would be impossible.  I know many of us say about once a week or bi-weekly but there are hundreds or even thousands of naturals that fall out of those categories for the reasons mentioned above.  Do not feel you have to fit your life and hair into a universal schedule and instead look at the many factors that determine when your washing schedule should be tailored.

One of the beautiful things about being natural is the freedom of choice.  You can chose what style to wear, color, length…the list can go on and that list must have wash cycle on it too.  Don’t feel pigeon-holed into a wash cycle that fits someone else’s lifestyle, products, climate or schedule.  Always remember, if your hair is happy with what you are doing then you must be doing it right!


*Photo was purchased through Canva.com


11 thoughts on “4 Factors That Determine How Often You Wash Your Natural Hair

  1. Megan

    Thank you for the athlete mention! I grapple and my hair is ALWAYS under attack…not to mention if I don’t wash it, it smells of man-sweat and gym-sock in all of five minutes. I’ve managed to get my hair healthy again (had to grow out the texturizer), but it hasn’t been easy.

    1. Sabrina Perkins Post author

      Of course! We know there are athletic Naturals that cannot go on the same schedule with everyone else. You have to find a plan that works for you and your work out routine. Stay positive and have patience with your hair love. What types of exercising do you do?

      1. Megan

        Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. I’ve literally had clumps of hair pulled out, but now I wear a cap to protect it, and help the guys worry less about getting caught in my hair. My hair was awesome with a texturizer, but I went natural specifically because I like a lot of hair, and processing (even light), while rolling around on the ground with guys…well, I had to make a choice.

        I wrote about all the drama a while back here (if it’ll help any of your readers…the story with the cornrow being torn out is horrible!) http://bjiujitsu.blogspot.com/2012/10/bjj-and-black-hair.html

  2. M White

    Thanks for the article. I read a post the other day where folks were laying down the law about “black” hair and how it shouldn’t be washed sooner than two weeks or more. I just shook my head. Every head is different for all the reasons you mentioned and more. I generally do at least 2x per week with WnGs. With a twist out I may get more out of it. But my hair seems to do better with water as its main moisturizer.

  3. AJ

    I once followed the two week rule for my locs, but soon learned they loved water too much for such long durations. I also am not a big co-wash fan, so I now just mix my own conditioning cleansers. I don’t use products often, at most once a week but my locs have been doing great. I also noticed that though I color them I don’t experience breakage. To deep condition I do an avocado oil and Shea butter blend. I put in a bit of jojoba and argan, and a few essential oils and use it as a leave in. The only down side is my curl pattern loosens a bit, which is great for many naturals but not so good with locs! I usually apply some flax seed gel (super easy to make!) to get the curl tighter.

  4. Diane

    I wash and deep condition my hair once a week. Since my head sweats so much in the summer, I have also started Co washing once a week also

  5. Jouberte

    I’m still trying to figure out how often to wash my hair since I workout everyday. I want to co-wash every week, shampoo and deep condition every two weeks, but that’s seems like too much. Also, my schedule doesn’t always permit me time to wash my hair. Any suggestions/ideas?

    1. Tamara Post author

      Hi Jouberte,

      That actually sounds right. As far as not having time, you have to make time for your hair. It doesn’t have to be an all-day affair. I can shampoo, condition, and twist or braid my hair in two twists/braid all within 20-30 mins. Healthy scalp = healthy hair.

      You may want to also take a look at these tips. Its ways to clean or refresh your hair and scalp between washes: http://www.naturalhairrules.com/natural-hair-workout/


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