How Often Should You Wash Your Natural Hair?

How often should I wash my natural hair? This question is always on the lips of new naturals. It is very important to clean your hair regularly in order to remove dirt, debris, and products that would have built up in your hair. Having healthy hair starts with a proper hair wash routine.

Washing your natural hair is an exercise that should happen at least once every 2 weeks. Avoid the temptation of washing your natural hair every single day. If you are new to natural hair, washing your hair once every week is ideal. There are also factors to consider when thinking of how often to wash your hair, such factors as your hair type & hair porosity.

You can wash your natural hair with or without shampoo to cleanse your hair. Here are 3 different ways to wash your natural hair and also tips to help you reduce the time you spend on wash days.

Washing with Shampoo

This is the most common way of washing your natural hair using a clarifying shampoo, and then follow up with a rinse-out leave-in conditioner.

Washing your hair with shampoo helps it to remove oil and accumulated dirt from your hair. Dirt could be dust and also other particles that stuck to your natural hair.

Washing with shampoo is the best way to clean your hair and scalp but the disadvantage is that shampoo can strip your hair of moisture and natural oils in the hair, leading to dryness. To avoid this, always pre-poo your natural hair before washing and then follow up with a rinse-out hair conditioner.


This simply means washing your natural hair with only conditioner. The method also helps to clean the hair. Co-washing your hair can remove the oil coating of unwashed hair but does not completely strip the hair of its natural oils, unlike shampoo.

Co-washing only cleans the hair but does not totally clean the scalp. Therefore, it is a good idea to co-wash once a week while shampooing once every 2 weeks.

Washing with Only Water

Some naturals prefer to wash their hair with only water. Water washing your hair does not cleanse the hair nor the scalp. It only spreads the natural oils in the hair to evenly distribute to other strands of hair. The hair will still be dirty and unwashed.

What Shampoo and Conditioner to Use

While considering the hair shampoo to use for your natural hair, look for hair shampoo that is sulfate-free. Shampoo that does not contain products like sodium lauryl sulfate, ammonium lauryl ether sulfate, and sodium lauryl ether sulfate. This is because these surfactants dry out the hair.

You should choose a shampoo based on your scalp condition while choosing a conditioner should be based on treating and enhancing the condition of your hair.

How Often Should You Wash Your Natural Hair?

4a / 4b / 4c

For these hair types, wash your hair once every 2 -3 weeks if it doesn’t feel dirty. Washing your natural hair every day is bad news for your hair, so avoid it. To refresh your hair washing, you can either try co-washing or water washing. Please note that water washing your hair does not require anything except water. It entails washing your natural hair by massaging your scalp using just water.


Do not wash your dreads every day. Try and wash your dreadlocks at least once in a week. For people who are active and sweat a lot, you should refresh your washing once every 2-4 days.

Protective Style

Some people shy away from washing their natural hair when it is in a protective style. If you intend to wear the style for say a month and some weeks, it should be washed once every 2 weeks or once a month.

When to Wash Your Natural Hair

1. Wash your hair when it’s dirty: Washing your natural hair does not have to be on a schedule. Wash your hair when you feel it’s dirty with good hair shampoo to cleanse the hair.

2. When you have product build-up: Product build-up is not dirt. It is the gradual accumulation of products in your natural hair. This could be from your leave-in conditioner or other hair styling products that leave a residue over time in your hair. Once you notice that these products are becoming too much in your hair, then it’s time for a wash.

Why You Should Not Over-wash Your Natural Hair

Over-washing your natural hair will make the hair dry out by being stripped off of the natural oils in the hair. Frequent hair washing will warrant frequent hair styling which is not good for your hair. It is the same thing as manipulating your hair. This can cause split ends and hair breakage.

What Happens When Your Hair Is Not Washed Properly?

Not washing your natural hair well as you should lead to stunted growth because of dirt and product build-up in your hair that would potentially block your hair follicles while preventing new hair growth. Also, not washing your hair well might make your hair start producing a bad smell which is equally unhealthy for your hair.

How to Wash Your Natural Hair (Step-by-Step)

2. Pre-poo your hair with oil: Divide your hair into 4-5 sections with your fingers or rat-tail comb and apply a generous amount of olive oil throughout each section while twisting them. Once you are done applying oil to all the sections, cover your head with a plastic cap to allow the oil to penetrate your scalp. Leave for about 30-60 minutes before washing with shampoo. I usually pre-poo a night before my wash day and leave till the next day.

4. Wash your hair in sections: Applying the hair shampoo of your choice to your hair and scalp, gently massage the scalp with the shampoo lather while working through the length of your hair. Rinse off the lather after giving your hair a very good scrubbing.

5. Condition your hair: A good conditioner is needed to achieve the hair wash goal. Work the conditioner through your hair from the bottom to the top. Continue detangling your hair with your fingers or wide-toothed comb and rinse out well.

6. Dry your hair with a clean towel or soft t-shirt.

7. Apply Leave-in conditioner: A moisturizing leave-in conditioner is what you need to ensure your hair won’t dry up easily.

Have you tried our Chebe Butter Leave-in Conditioner?

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