How often you should shampoo your hair has been an age-old question in the natural hair community. Should you only co-wash? Should you only use shampoo once a week, once a month? Should you only co-wash? Many natural say that shampooing strips their hair of natural oils, while others only use shampoo. Of course it’s important to do what works best for your hair, but how often is too often to shampoo? “The truth is, oil and water don't mix, so what I recommend is shampooing often, because after three or four days you hair doesn’t look as good as it did in the beginning,” says Oprah’s hairstylist Andre Walker, who is the creator of Andre Walker Hair Classification System. “Your hair is losing the moisture, so the key is to keep it moisturized with water.”
Still have questions? Follow along and take heed to Walkers tip for achieving hair that’s healthy and strong.
ESSENCE.com: There are some women who claim shampoo strips your hair of its natural oils, leaving it brittle and very dry. Should she use shampoo?
Andre Walker: Your scalp produces oil, and that's nourishing, a certain amount of it, but over time it becomes, it starts to attract debris from the elements. If you don’t shampoo it clogs the pores, and that, overtime can become very damaging to the hair. You may find that your hair will become healthier, the more you shampoo and condition it, because you're adding the moisture back.
ESSENCE.com: How often should you shampoo if your relaxed? And, how often should you shampoo if your natural?
Walker: For the woman who relaxes her hair, I suggest maybe twice a week at the most. Usually, when you have relaxed hair, you're using hot tools on it and that could be damaging. If you can go once a week and just shampoo, blow dry, use your hot tool, that's fine, but if you have relaxed hair and you just set it, and you don't use hot tools other than maybe a dryer or a hood dryer, you can shampoo a couple times a week. Definitely once a week is great for relaxed curls. But, if you sweat a lot you'll want to wash it as soon as possible. Perspiration is basically salt, and that is a killer for your hair.
ESSENCE.com: Yes, it is!
Walker: Yes, you want to shampoo that out immediately. If you have short hair, you can shampoo every day or every other day. Shampooing isn’t going to hurt your hair. I'd say shampoo twice a week if you can. And if you don't have the time, once a week is fine. Again, the more you shampoo, the more you're adding moisture to your hair.
ESSENCE.com: Is it bad if you don't shampoo at all? Or maybe just once a month?
Walker: If you can stand to be around yourself that long! I have a friend who washes her hair once a year, because someone told her that she should. I don't believe in that, but some people just do. It's a mindset that is hard to break for some people.
ESSENCE.com: Any other tips you have for just retaining moisture?
Walker: If you have natural hair, you can spritz your hair the next day with a little bit of water and maybe a little bit of the styler to reactivate the styling cream. I also have a three-step system called The Gold System that's available at Target. It's a shampoo, conditioner and styler that almost anyone can use.
ESSENCE.com: Should you change your routine a bit for the fall season?
Walker: It's so much drier in the Fall, so you might want to help seal in the moisture by using a little bit more oil daily. You could over use it, and that can be damaging too, but only use enough to keep that cuticle closed so that the moisture stays in the hair shaft.