How Often Should Relaxed Hair Be Washed?

How often should I wash my relaxed hair? This is a question I’ve asked myself and one that I get often in DMs, emails, and see in relaxed hair Facebook groups. While this is a simple and valid question, it’s not so simple to answer.

There are a lot of varying opinions about this and after searching online I wasn’t able to find one clear answer so I’m going to be sharing my opinion based on my research and experience with my hair.

How Often Should Relaxed Hair Be Washed? | A Relaxed Gal

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An important part of a healthy hair journey or a healthy hair regimen is washing our hair. But when we think about washing our hair we tend to think only about the hair strands and tend to forget the scalp.

Our scalps are where our hair grows out of so it’s important that we also keep it clean from dirt and product buildup so it’s healthy and therefore the hair that grows out of it is healthy. So washing our scalps is just as important as washing our hair.

When it comes to washing our hair there are some indicators or typical situations when it makes sense to pull out the shampoo
  • Oily hair
  • Dry hair
  • Dry, itchy, or flaking scalp
  • There’s been a lot of sweating on the scalp
  • The hair is overloaded with product - such as heavy creams and oils
  • Straight up dirty hair

Not only are these indicators for when to wash our hair but can also help determine how often our hair should be washed.

Textured hair whether relaxed or natural tends to be on the dry side and doesn’t need to be washed daily but it does need to be washed often.
Even though black hair doesn't need to be washed every day, we do need to be careful that we don’t overwash our hair. Overwashing our relaxed hair can strip it of much-needed moisture from our natural oils and we may find that the constant manipulating of our hair makes it more susceptible to damage.

Using myself as an example, when I wash my hair I’m manipulating it by working the shampoo and conditioner through my hair. Afterward, I blow dry another form of hair manipulation. So the more often I wash my hair the more I’m manipulating it and making it more prone to be damaged.

If we do find ourselves needing to wash our hair more often due to working out multiple days a week, spending more time at the pool or beach during the summer, or just being heavy-handed with the products there are some things we could do to minimize the damage overwashing can cause
  • Co-wash instead of shampoo
  • If you do use a shampoo use a sulfate-free one
  • Deep condition every single time you wash
  • Consider skipping an extra wash and use a dry shampoo or hair refresher instead. They can help remove sweat and/or product buildup without having to shampoo or co-wash
  • Try air drying instead of using a blow dryer

We also want to make sure we don’t under wash our hair. When that happens all of the dirt and oil that builds upon our scalps can cause irritation leading to dandruff, flaking, and even impact how the hair grows out of our scalp.

Underwashing also leads to product buildup which makes our hair look greasy, weighed down, and can even dry it out because moisture can’t penetrate all of the product that’s sitting on our strands.

I tend to use a lot of product on my hair because I moisturize and seal every day. So I typically wash my relaxed hair at least once a week, typically on the weekends.

I’ll do a second wash during the week if I’m sweating a lot because I’m working out or working in my yard, have gone swimming, my hair is weighed down by product, I’m having scalp issues, or my hair starts to feel dry and doing a co-wash and deep condition will add some moisture.

When I do a second wash I either use a co-wash or a diluted sulfate-free shampoo that’s mixed with a rinse-out conditioner. I don’t go more than two washes a week except in very extreme circumstances. If I find I need more than one wash a week I will break out the dry shampoo.

So the answer to the question of how often should I wash my relaxed hair is very nuanced and varies from person to person. It ultimately comes down to your need to do what’s best for your hair and lifestyle and finding a balance for you and your hair.

Depending on your lifestyle you may find that once a week works for you or you may be able to go longer like every two weeks or you may find that washing less like every 3-4 days is better for your hair and scalp.

If you’re interested in what shampoos I use on my hair you can check out my hair regimen. I’ve also got several shampoo reviews that you can check out.