Should You Shampoo Your Hair Twice? Here’s What Dermatologists Want You to Know


To keep hair clean, most people simply wash their hair once with shampoo and conditioner. But can “double shampooing” lead to better results and healthier hair?

This hair-washing method is exactly what it sounds like—if someone double shampoos, they’ll wash their hair with shampoo twice during a single shower session, Brendan Camp, MD, a board-certified dermatologist at MDCS Dermatology, told Health.

And online, TikTokers are singing the praises of double shampooing.

“This basically removes the buildup and residue from your hair on the first wash, while the second wash does a deeper cleanse on your scalp, now that it can get to it since the buildup is removed,” said creator Mo Styles in a video viewed over 280,000 times.

But can applying shampoo twice in the shower really make a difference in the cleanliness and health of your hair? Experts say it’s possible, but double shampooing isn’t for everyone.

Here’s what to know about double shampooing, who should give the method a try, and dermatologists’ advice for keeping hair clean and healthy.

Should You Shampoo Your Hair Twice? 

Deciding whether to double shampoo your hair is dependent on several factors, including hair type, activity level, and personal hair care needs, said Melanie Palm, MD, a board-certified dermatologist and cosmetic surgeon at Art of Skin MD.

As one might expect, double shampooing is great at removing any buildup of oil, dirt, sweat, and product residue form on the scalp and hair, said Camp. It can also help clear the scalp and hair of dead skin cells, microorganisms, and odor.

So this deeper clean can be especially helpful for people with curly or coarse hair or anyone who frequently goes without washing their hair for several days, Palm told Health.

“People who do not shampoo often will notice that shampooing twice makes their hair feel cleaner because it is more effective at removing oils and residue than shampooing once,” Camp added.

Double shampooing might also be helpful for people with oilier scalps—again, it can help remove excess sebum, oil, and other debris, which is “critical for scalp and hair health,” said Palm. The same is true for people who might have sweatier scalps from working out frequently, she said.

Shampooing twice also allows you to incorporate specially formulated shampoos into your routine if need be, Camp explained. For example, people may want to wash their hair twice if they’re using medicated shampoos to treat conditions such as psoriasis or if they swim frequently and use a special shampoo to break up pool chemicals, he said.

However, double shampooing might do more harm than good for some people.

“This method is best for those who don’t wash their hair daily or every other day, as you run the risk of stripping or drying out your scalp and hair,” Palm said.

Using this hair-washing technique every day or every other day can remove too much oil from the scalp and hair, which can make the hair more susceptible to breakage or heat injury, said Camp.

For people with sensitive scalps, double shampooing could even cause dryness, dandruff, or flaking, he added.

Does This Mean You Should Double Condition Your Hair, Too?

While double shampooing is meant to clear the hair and scalp of buildup and oil, using conditioner twice likely won’t have the same effect, Camp said. In fact, it could “mitigate the effects of double shampooing,” he explained.

“I don’t normally recommend conditioning twice during your hair wash day,” Palm said. “It’s more cost-effective to leave the conditioner in for the recommended time—usually between 3 to 5 minutes—versus using it twice.”

If people aren’t seeing the effects they want from a conditioner, they can try switching to a more hydrating formula, Palm recommended.

Best Practices for Hair Washing and for Optimal Hair Health 

When it comes to shampooing your hair, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach—the best method depends on each person’s scalp oil level, dryness, hair type, hairstyle, and other factors, Camp said.

“The frequency of your hair washing should also be tailored to your lifestyle and activity levels,” Palm said. “Some people will need to shampoo more frequently than others.”

But as a general rule of thumb, people with straight hair types generally should wash their hair every two to three days, said Palm. Those with curly, coarse, or coily hair—which tends to be drier and more porous—can shampoo every four to seven days, she added.

Beyond shampooing your hair regularly, there are other things people can do to help develop healthy hair:1

  • Be gentle with the hair. Avoid pulling on the hair or wearing hairstyles that cause tension on the hair, such as ponytails or tightly pulled-back buns, as this can lead to breakage.
  • Limit the use of heat. Cut back on how much heat you apply to the hair from hair dryers, curling irons, flat irons, and other heating tools. These can weaken the hair and lead to damage.
  • Brush your hair. Comb your hair before you wash it to minimize tangling and pulling, Palm said. Also, be sure to brush your hair gently since tugging on your hair can lead to hair loss.
  • Massage your scalp. Consider using a scalp massage in the shower to spread shampoo or conditioner evenly over the scalp and to gently exfoliate the skin, Camp said. Regularly massaging the scalp may stimulate blood circulation to the scalp skin and hair follicles.2

For more individualized information about how to best take care of your hair—especially if you suffer from hair loss or decreased hair density—consider consulting with a dermatologist, Palm recommended.

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