May 8, 2020

How Often Should Men Wash Their Hair?

...and do you need to even wash your hair in the first place? (spoiler alert: yes you do)

TL;DR: There's no one size fits all hair washing schedule for men, but you probably do not need to wash it every day. Everyone's hair needs are different, so don't be afraid to test how long you can go without washing. Your hair will thank you for it!

Now, before we get started on the finer details of male hair-washing, let's get this question out of the way:

Do men need to wash their hair?

Yes, men should wash their hair. Your hair and scalp, like every other part of your body, get dirty and should be cleaned, both to look good and to avoid smelling funky. Not washing your hair could also put you at risk for scalp buildup, which can lead to some very unpleasant itching — yuck.

A lot of different factors influence how often you may feel it necessary to wash your hair. Some men have very, very active oil glands, and some do not. Some men have fine, straight hair, which makes oil appear more obvious, and others have thick wavy hair, which doesn't transport oil as effectively.

While some men may feel comfortable washing their hair as infrequently as once a month, an occasional wash does need to happen. Beyond just looking greasy, hair traps moisture on the scalp, making it ripe for infection. Skip the itchiness, and reach for your shampoo instead.

Is it bad to wash your hair every day for guys?

If you're a guy with long hair and/or color-treated hair, you should consider not washing your hair every day. Color-treated hair tends to fade more easily when regularly washed, and long hair can become damaged and unruly from too much washing.

A major reason many people choose to not wash their hair every day is that they fear long-term damage.

Hair is pretty healthy when it first grows out of your head. Unfortunately, it can become unhealthy over time partially due to uncontrollable environmental factors such as:

  • UV rays from the sun
  • water exposure
  • and even oxygen

Ugh, frustrating, right? Even if you're avoiding everything you've heard is bad for your hair (like using heat tools, bleaching it, or brushing it while wet), your environment can still damage your hair.

Fortunately, washing your hair less often is an easy way to limit some of the damage to your hair.

Some shampoos aren't great for hair — they work extremely efficiently at stripping away impurities, and can strip away "the good stuff", too. Aggressive shampoos, such as those that contain anionic cleansers like sodium laurel sulfate, can damage hair fibers, leaving your ends frizzy, rough, and difficult to brush.

By limiting the amount of contact your hair has with overly-cleansing cleansers, you can slow down damage to your hair. It may be a little bit tricky (your scalp might feel extra oily the first few days, as it transitions to less washing) but usually, the change is worth it. Even if you just switch to washing your hair every other day, you might be able to see results.

That being said, many men have short hair and may not be worried about long-term damage. If you've got a buzz cut, you probably don't really need to be that concerned about washing your hair every day. You'll probably cut that hair off before damage even becomes an issue.

Should guys wet their hair every day?

We would not recommend wetting your hair every day. Water saturation is damaging to hair, and brushing hair while saturated with water is even worse.

When hair is wet, the hair fiber becomes clogged with water and easily stretched out, causing the hair cuticle to become deformed. A deformed cuticle leads to tangly, dull hair that is prone to breaking off — put a brush through your hair when it's wet and you'll be more likely to experience an unpleasantly clogged up brush.

Wetting hair for the sake of wetting hair might feel nice, but it really provides no benefit to your hair and scalp. It also doesn't do much at all to cleanse the hair, if that's the reason you're wetting your hair — studies have demonstrated that a quick rinse alone does very little to remove impurities from either the scalp or the hair.

How often should I wash my hair if I workout daily?

An intensive workout program doesn't mean you have to wash your hair every day. If your hair does not look greasy a few hours after your workout, there's no reason to immediately wash your hair.

We admit it; balancing a tough work-out schedule with hair health can be a little bit tricky. If your hair is looking or smelling less than fresh post-workout, feel free to freshen up with a nice-smelling spray or some dry shampoo to tide you over until your next wash.

Ultimately, do what feels best to you. There's no reason that your hair goals should get in the way of your workout routine. If it really becomes a problem, we suggest upgrading to a personalized set of shampoo and conditioner; why settle for any set of products when you could have a chemist prepare a set specifically for your specific needs?

Side note: good for you for working out so much!

Should guys condition their hair every day?

Men should condition their hair every time they wash their hair. If you really must wash your hair every day, you should also condition your hair every day.

Still, if you're not washing your hair every day, there's really not a reason to condition it every day.

When you condition your hair, you apply water to it, and it's a best-practice to limit water exposure. Water inflates the hair cuticle, stretching it out to unfortunate proportions.

We recommend this article to learn more about best practices in applying conditioner.

Wanna learn more about how to take the best care of your locks? Here's what you should read next:

Does Shampoo Expire?

...and how do you tell if your products have gone bad?

Stress & Hair Loss: 4 Fast Facts

Worried that stress is stealing your hair? We've got the info you need to rest easy.

What You Need To Know About Mineral Oil

Mineral oil: you've got questions, and we've got answers.

Caroline Schmidt