How Often Do You Wash Your Hair? Natural Hair Enthusiasts May Surprise You.

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I belong to a natural hair Facebook group for Black women. Someone posed the question, ‘How often do you wash your hair?” One lady publicly admitted that she washes it, “Once a month.” My eyes bulged and my disgust factor went into full throttle because of the number of bacteria that are possibly building in that full month.  I know that our hair can be dry and unruly and at times a month of bacteria building, product topping, and particle infestation. It’s disgusting and hair needs to be cleaned more than once a month. This is non-hygienic. As a professional cosmetologist, I would never ever tell me, clients, to wash their hair once a month even if I was the one responsible for putting braids in their hair or some other protective style.
Let me break it down for you. 


Hair is dead but those hair follicles that create those beautiful coils stem from your very much alive scalp so when you skip cleansing it for a month various things can start to happen. Ponder on that for a moment. You know those curl-defining creams, leave-in conditioners, and curl refreshers that you love to apply every 3-4 days to your hair? Yeah, you know them. They make your hair look good huh?  Well, guess what? The product residue that doesn’t rub off on your shirt or on or your pillow when you sleep at night is sitting on your scalp building a layer of bacteria. The bacteria happens when the natural oils from the scalp start to sit on the scalp instead of naturally dispensing on the hair because of the amount of leftover product it has to try to penetrate through. Honey, your scalp needs to be cleansed. Your hair is begging you to do so.


Oh, wait a minute. Your scalp is now feeling a bit itchy so you start to scratch a little bit. Remember this is week 1 of you not washing your hair so the residue from previous products is on your scalp and now the bacteria from underneath your nails are getting on your scalp. Oops, we forgot to factor in the bacteria and dirt sitting on your actual fingertips that touch your scalp too. If you think about how much stuff you touch throughout the day and how many germs are sitting on your hands and fingers, you probably shouldn’t be touching your already dirty hair. Now those pollutants in the air are attracted to your hair. 


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Everyday pollutants cannot be ignored nor can they be excluded from touching us. They are everywhere. We live in a particle-filled world because we too are a big, living breathing bacteria-infested living being. So when you are going on week #3 of not washing your hair, you have additional bacteria living on your hair and scalp. The smoke from a cigarette, weed, or even a vaping pen gets trapped into your hair. The dust from the dirt or the construction that you walk past every morning and afternoon. Then there are small cobwebs that you just happen to run into as you walking in your house. Yes, we know clean but your natural hair, unfortunately, is still holding on a few pieces of it but you wouldn’t know because you didn’t wash your hair yet. Ugh. that’s pretty disgusting right but you tie your hair up anyway because it’s week #4 and you will not be washing your hair until the end of the day. 


Tying up natural hair in between washes is the easiest way to cover up the mess that you created for 4 weeks and the most logical thing to do because, at this point, the hair has become unmanageable. You can no longer apply any more products to it because the hair is so dirty and the scalp is so itchy that it smells and it is flaky. It’s a pretty disgusting site and you have transferred the bacteria to your scarf now. It seemed like a good option but thinking about it now, it really is not. It’s another bacteria spreading fest from your hair to another piece of clothing.


Now that you know the process of how bacteria spreads from now washing your hair, please know that it is crucial that you wash your hair on a weekly if not every 10-day cycle. There are too many particles, bacteria, dust and etc. that are building on your hair.

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SL Thomas
SL Thomas is a professional cosmetologist, barber, and beauty writer for independently-owned cosmetic brands. 

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