I am asked a lot how much someone should shampoo their hair. The answer: it depends entirely on your hair type.
Dry or Curly Hair
If you have dry and/or curly hair, you lucky lady, you don't have to wash your hair every day and quite frankly, you shouldn't (it's very likely you know this already). A basic rule of thumb for you is to shampoo twice a week with moisturizing shampoo and conditioner.
If you have normal hair (and I know of no one who thinks they have normal hair), you can wash your hair up to five times a week or as needed. You might find you need to wash hair more times in summer when you're more active (unless you're a skiing fanatic, in which case I say just wear a hat).
For those of us with oily hair (me, me!), contrary to wisdom you may have read in Seventeen magazine in your youth, you can wash hair daily. You've probably heard that if you can make it a few days, your oily hair actually stops looking oily. While some women I know have tried this and swear that by day 5 their hair finally normalized, when I tried it, my hair resembled the inside of a deep fat fryer.
Skipping a few days is not going to magically turn your limp locks into full body wonder.
If you do want to attempt to go more than a couple days without shampooing your hair, try a dry shampoo. They are formulated to soak up oils, buying you a day or two between shampoos. (See my list of the Best Dry Shampoos).
You can also sprinkle baby powder on your crown to soak up the oils (oh how I love that trick).
Is It Safe to Wash Oily Hair Daily?
Most experts agree that it's safe to wash hair daily with a mild shampoo. Concentrate on washing the roots because it's your scalp that's oily, not your hair, according to beauty expert Mitchell Barnes in Real Simple magazine.
Always use conditioner, even on oily hair, just leave the conditioner to the bottom two-thirds of hair. Conditioner on roots will only help weigh hair down more.
Not shampooing daily can leave hair limp, however, so I suggest sprinkling a bit of talcum powder along the roots and crown or using a dry shampoo like one of these popular ones in my list.
If you insist on washing daily, try this trick I got from Harper's Bazaar a few years ago: Apply conditioner first only to the bottom third of hair (if you have oily hair, don't use conditioner on the roots, it will weigh hair down). Keeping the conditioner in, apply shampoo to the roots and lather up. Rinse everything off. "Your roots will be lifted, but the rest of your hair will retain its shine," says Arsen Gurgov, a stylist at Louis Licari salon and the originator of this great tip.
How to Shampoo Your Hair Correctly
It's amazing how many people shampoo their scalp with their nails instead of the pads of their fingers. Doing so can scratch up your scalp, causing sores and a raw head. I recommend teaching your children early how to properly cleanse their scalps.
More on shampooing: