Many people wash their hair every day as part of their regular hygiene routine. However, daily washing can strip hair of its natural oils and lead to dry, damaged locks. Transitioning to less frequent washing can allow hair to regulate its natural oil production and become healthier. But how long does it take for hair to get used to not being washed daily?
It can take 2-6 weeks for hair to adjust to less frequent washing. The adjustment period varies based on your hair type, scalp condition, products used, and personal oil production. With some patience and adjustement to your haircare routine, most hair types can train to go 2-4 days between washes without excess greasiness or flatness.
How Often Should You Wash Your Hair?
There is no universal rule for ideal wash frequency. Haircare experts typically recommend washing as infrequently as possible while keeping hair clean and fresh. Washing every other day or 2-3 times per week is suitable for most hair types. However, your ideal wash schedule depends on factors like:
- Hair type – Fine, thin hair tends to get greasier faster than thick, coarse hair.
- Scalp condition – Oily scalps need more frequent washing than drier scalps.
- Product use – Heavy products like conditioners and oils can make hair greasier.
- Environment – Excessive heat, humidity, and activity can increase oil production.
- Personal oiliness – Some people naturally produce more oil than others.
Pay attention to how your hair looks and feels between washes. If your hair gets too oily or limp after a day, try washing every other day. If you can go 2-3 days without greasiness or flatness, then less frequent washing may work for you.
It takes time for scalps and hair to adjust to less frequent cleansing. Make the transition gradually for the best results. Here are some tips:
- Start by stretching washes to every other day.
- Use a clarifying shampoo initially to remove buildup.
- Switch to a gentle, sulfate-free shampoo.
- Shampoo just the roots to prevent excess dryness.
- Use dry shampoo on off-days to absorb oil.
- Add conditioner just to the mid-lengths and ends.
- Slowly extend time between washes as your hair adjusts.
How Long Does It Take to Train Hair?
It typically takes 2-6 weeks for hair to get used to less frequent washing, though some people adjust in as little as 1 week. Here’s a general timeline:
After 1 week
The first week is usually the hardest! Your scalp will likely overproduce oil, leaving hair limp and greasy. Use dry shampoo and hairstyles like braids, buns or hats to mask greasiness. It should start getting better after a few days.
After 2 weeks
Most people notice less greasiness and volume starting to improve around 2 weeks. Your scalp is producing less oil as it gets used to not being stripped daily. You may be able to go 1-2 days between washes.
After 4 weeks
At around a month, your hair and scalp have adjusted to less frequent washing. Oil regulation normalizes leaving hair less oily and with better body. You should be able to go at least 2 days without washing.
After 6 weeks
After 6 weeks, washing every 2-4 days should leave hair fresh and clean. Oil control and volume should improve. The adjustment period is over but you may still have some trial and error finding your ideal schedule.
Other Adjustment Tips
In addition to allowing time for your hair to adjust, try these tips for smoother training:
- Use clarifying shampoo once a week to prevent product buildup.
- Apply dry shampoo to soak up excess oil on non-wash days.
- Switch to gentle, sulfate-free shampoos and conditioners.
- Shampoo roots only and condition mid-lengths to ends.
- Brush hair before washing to distribute oils from scalp to ends.
- Use hair masks or oils to combat dryness as needed.
- Style hair in braids, buns or ponytails when greasy.
- Be patient! Stick to a consistent washing schedule.
How Hair Type Affects Training
Your hair type is a major factor in how long it takes to train your hair. Here’s a breakdown:
Fine, thin hair
2-3 weeks – Gets oily quickly so requires more frequent washing. Light conditioner and volumizing products can help.
Medium, average hair
3-4 weeks – Most adaptable hair type. Can gradually extend to 2-4 days between washes.
Thick, coarse hair
4-6 weeks – Dense hair stays cleaner longer between washes. May need hydrating shampoo/conditioner.
Curly and coiled hair
4-6 weeks – Curl pattern helps hide grease. Focus on hydration to avoid dryness.
Damaged or processed hair
4-6 weeks – Weakened hair is prone to greasiness and dryness. Deep condition and use masks to combat damage.
6+ weeks – Medical conditions like dandruff require frequent cleansing so take longer to adjust. Seek treatment to manage symptoms.
Tips for Specific Hair Types
If your hair gets very oily, try these tips:
- Use clarifying shampoo weekly.
- Switch to a salicylic acid shampoo.
- Apply dry shampoo to absorb oil.
- Brush hair before washing.
- Wash bangs more frequently than length.
Dry, damaged hair
For drier hair, focus on hydration:
- Use a moisturizing, sulfate-free shampoo.
- Shampoo roots only.
- Condition mid-lengths to ends every wash.
- Use a hair mask 1-2 times per week.
- Brush hair before washing.
- Limit heat styling.
Coiled and curly hair
For coiled and curly hair:
- Use a moisturizing curl shampoo.
- Condition every wash focusing on ends.
- Style hair in braids, twists or buns on off days.
- Sleep on a satin pillowcase.
- Use curl refresher sprays as needed.
Color treated hair
To prevent fading of color treated hair:
- Use a color safe, sulfate-free shampoo.
- Shampoo roots only.
- Use cool water when washing.
- Rinse with a color sealing treatment.
- Limit washing to every 2-3 days.
How Often Should You Wash Based on Activity?
Your activity levels also impact how often you need to wash your hair. Here are some general recommendations:
|Every 3-4 days
|Every 2-3 days
|Every 2 days
|Every 1-2 days
Those with more active jobs, exercise routines, or who live in hot, humid climates will likely need to wash more frequently to combat sweat and oil buildup.
How to Tell When Hair Has Adjusted
Here are some signs your hair has adjusted to less frequent washing:
- Hair remains fresh 2 or more days after washing
- Hair has movement and body vs. falling flat
- Scalp and strands do not feel overly oily
- No visible grease or limpness at the roots
- Hair retains moisture and does not feel overly dry
- Fewer tangles and less frizz
If your hair looks clean, has volume, feels fresh, and is relatively oil-free a few days after washing, then your hair has likely adapted. Finding the right washing schedule for your hair type can take some trial and error.
How Does Less Washing Benefit Hair?
Training your hair to go longer between washes can provide the following benefits:
- Balances moisture and oil levels – Allows hair’s natural oils to distribute and hydrate strands.
- Reduces damage and dryness – Decreases stripping of natural oils that can cause brittle hair.
- Improves volume and shine – Hair regains fullness and sheen when natural oils remain.
- Prevents overproduction of oil – Normalizes oil so hair gets less greasy over time.
- Extends time between washes – Allows going up to several days between shampooing.
- Makes styling easier – Natural oils increase manageability and cut down on frizz.
- Retains color vibrancy – Less frequent washing prevents fading of color treated hair.
The overall result is healthier, shinier, fuller hair that requires less constant washing and styling!
Training your hair to go longer between washes has many benefits but requires some patience. It typically takes 2-6 weeks for hair to adjust and stop becoming excessively oily and limp. Make the transition gradually, use products tailored for your hair type, and style hair to mask greasiness. With a consistent schedule most hair types can eventually go 2-4 days between washing without appearing dirty or flat. Allowing your hair’s natural oils to remain nourishes strands, reduces damage, and improves volume and shine. So be patient with the adjustment process and soon you’ll reap the rewards of healthier, cleaner hair!