How Often Should You Wash Curly Hair?

One of the top things curly hair types tend to suffer with is dryness, usually greasy roots, and dry and brittle ends, no matter how much conditioner you use.

But why does this happen?

Well, for starters, the natural oils on the scalp of curly hair have a hard time reaching the ends because of the twists and turns of the tight curls within the hair type.

This is why curly hair is always much drier than straight hair. Over shampooing your hair strips your curls from those natural oils from the scalp, causing curls to become very dry and brittle. It’s crucial to find a balance as shampooing too little can cause the hair texture to become limp.

So how often should you wash your curly hair?

Well, this really depends on your curl type and hair thickness. For many curlies, they use shampoo once a week and then do co-washing with a cleansing conditioner in between washes to revive curls. Some curl patterns are dry and coarse, while others are oily and greasy.

But don’t worry, I’m here to help guide you through how you should wash your hair type and tips on how to keep your curls fresh in between washes.

So stay tuned, my friends.

clean curly hair

How Often Should You Wash Fine Curly Hair?

So let’s break it down into the three main hair types, thick, medium, and fine hair, starting with fine.

With fine textures, you’ll often notice that your hair seems to be getting oily quickly, especially when using styling products like leave-in conditioner, gels, and oils on a daily.

It is recommended for this hair type that you actually to co-washing. But surely that would make the greasy look worse??

Actually, no, it will take a couple of times for your hair to climatize to it, but it shouldn’t actually leave your hair greasy; it may have the properties of a conditioner, but it gently cleanses and removes that greasy residue without compromising moisture.

You should co-wash weekly or 2-3 times a week in between shampooing, and you may notice that your oiliness starts to subside. Trying to minimize your wash days to 1-2 times a week will also massively help prevent dry and brittleness within fine hair.

The best shampoo for the fine curly hair type is a lightweight, moisturizing sulfate-free shampoo and a lightweight co-wash in between shampoo washes.

Using a co-wash should prevent product buildup, and using dry shampoo on dry hair in between washes should also help to combat greasy roots– just make sure you look for an alcohol-free version as alcohol in dry shampoos can massively dry the hair out.

If you have wavy hair, then a co-wash might be slightly too heavy for your hair type, so in your hair care routine, you should opt for a lightweight, moisturizing and gentle shampoo.

A co-wash is best for high porosity hair types as this hair type often struggles with moisture retention because the cuticle is raised, so moisture leaves as quickly as it is entered. Using a co-wash can rehydrate curls and even work to create a seal over the ends to prevent the curls from drying out.

Co-washing can even protect the hair from split ends and frizz too.

How Often Should You Wash Medium Thick Curly Hair?

For medium-thick hair, grease is not often too much of an issue, so shampooing once a week for this hair type is ideal, really.

You can additionally co-wash in between shampoos if your curls need a little bit of refreshing. You can also water wash between co-washes, so every day is a good hair day.

Sometimes all this hair type needs for a little refreshing is some hair oil; this can help revive the ends of the hair and allow them to lap up a bit of moisture to restore bounce.

If you love to work out, then just rinse your hair with water after your workout, massage your scalp for a few minutes, and then just comb through your leave-in conditioner and styling products. This should leave your curls revived and fresher than ever.

How Often Should You Wash Thick Curly Hair?

For thick, coarse hair, moisture retention is your number one issue, so the last thing you want is to be regularly shampooing. Despite the fact that sulfate-free shampoos are suitable for curly hair, for some hair types, these shampoos are still too harsh and moisture stripping.

So for this hair type, you should be aiming to shampoo once every 2-3 weeks; this is because daily washing can be too drying to the hair type– especially if you have high porosity coarse curls, it will be like a vicious cycle.

You should only shampoo your curls if AND ONLY IF your hair feels dirty.

But don’t worry, I’m not expecting you to have dirty hair; all you need to do instead of shampooing is co-wash in between shampoos when curls need it.

Cleansing conditioners are brilliant as they can be used as shampoo, but instead of stripping the hair from moisture, it infuses the hair with nourishing goodness.

Some thick, coarse curlies and coilies also tend to do a water wash in between co-washes which is simply massaging your hair under the shower, no shampoo, no conditioner, nothing. Just apply your leave-in and oils after, and your curls should be left fresh.

For extremely thick, coarse, high porosity curls, you should be doing co-washing 2-3 times a week as moisture retention is really hard for this hair type.

Tips On How To Keep Curls Fresh Inbetween Washes:

The main reason for refreshing your curls in between washes is because your hair has become dry and brittle; most of the time, all our curls need is a rinse to remove excess oils and grease and then a condition. But there are a few ways you can freshen up your curls in between washes.

Another reason for refreshing your curls in between washes is frizz; frizz is any curly girl’s worst nightmare. So there are a few ways you can prevent both.

Sleep On A Satin Pillowcase:

Sleeping on a satin or silk pillowcase can combat many issues that curly girls face, such as frizz and moisture loss. Cotton pillows actually cause a lot of damage to curls; they absorb moisture from the hair and create friction with every movement.

So whenever you toss and turn on your cotton pillow, you are roughing up the cuticle on the hair strands, which causes frizz and even breakage.

Silk and satin materials prevent this, so putting your hair up into a protective hairstyle as well as using a satin pillow should prevent moisture from being sucked out the hair and should prevent frizz from occurring, so your curls stay fresh for longer.

Re-Apply Styling Products:

When your curls are looking a little bit lifeless, and it is getting onto second or third-day hair, then a great way to refresh your curls is simple, just reapply your styling products to activate them again.

So work in sections and spray down each section with water and then use your styling products to revive those curls and activate that natural curl pattern.

The best way to know whether or not you still have enough product in your hair is to wet it down slightly; if it still feels smooth, then you’ll know that there’s still plenty of product in the hair. So just wet your hair down slightly and let it dry, and curls should refresh.

Having a trusty spray bottle massively helps for refreshing curls and applying products in the first place.

Skip Shampoo and Co-Wash Instead:

Don’t bow down to the nagging thoughts inside your head whenever your hair looks greasy. Don’t pick up that shampoo bottle, instead, pick up a co-wash instead.

Co-washing is cleansing your hair with a conditioner, but not any conditioner. Co-washes are specifically designed to cleanse and hydrate the hair.

You use your co-wash in between shampoo days and use it in replacement of your shampoo and conditioner as it works to do both– don’t worry, it’s nothing like that 2 in 1 crap you’d find at the dollar store.

Check out my full guide on how to co-wash curly hair for more details.

Co Wash Curly Hair

How Often Should You Co-Wash Curly Hair?

As a general rule of thumb, you should aim to co-wash in between your regular shampoo washing to try and cut down on the amount of shampoo you are using on your curls. Usually, most curlies tend to co-wash their hair 1-2 times a week.

But this will depend on your hair texture and how many products you tend to style your hair with. So on the days that you feel like your hair needs shampooing, use co-wash instead; it should prolong your style for a few days after.

There are some pretty amazing co-washes for curly hair; I’ve found my favorites in a separate guide!

How Often Should You Clarify Curly Hair?

If you feel that no matter what you do, whether you wash or co-wash that your curls are very limp and lifeless, then this is a key indicator of product buildup.

This is when you should clarify your hair.

Most clarifying shampoos contain sulfates, but if you go for a professional brand, these shampoos don’t need to be stripping for curls, as long as you don’t use them every day.

You should clarify your curls once every few months; when your curls are no longer responding to your trusty styling products, it is a key indication that your hair has product buildup that needs removing with a much stronger shampoo.

There are some pretty incredible clarifying shampoos for curly hair that are safe to use on your curls when you wash your hair.

Wash Curly Hair

Summary:

So there you have it, everything you need to know about when and how often you should wash your hair if you have natural curls.

If you haven’t already, then you must invest in a conditioning cleanser, it will change your hair care game, and your curls will love you for it.

The best first step is trialing a few different methods; working out what works for your hair type and hair thickness is key.

After all, while co-washing is brilliant for curly hair, it isn’t for everyone. So finding out what works for your mane is super important.

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