Updated: May 6, 2019
Washing our hair. Its something we've done our whole lives, yet do you really know how to do so correctly? It seems so simple and straight forward, right? Well, yes and no. Over the years as I've worked behind the chair, I have come to find that more often than not people have been going about washing their hair all wrong. Like completely wrong. What seems so obvious isn't always the case, but that's ok, I'm here to breakdown just what to do with those suds to ensure you're on your way to washing effectively and properly.
Let's start with shampoo. Firstly, its important you are using a shampoo that is best suited for your specific hair type and needs. If you're unsure of what exactly you should be using, then speak with your salon professional to get their recommendation. Once you've got that all set and are ready to get to cleansing, make sure your hair is good and saturated. Run it under lukewarm water for about a minute or so before applying the shampoo. While it may be tempting to load up on shampoo, its important to use the right amount of product on your hair and not get excessive with it. You want to take about a teaspoon amount or so of shampoo, that's all, then add some to your palms and gently emulsify the product in your hands before applying it to your scalp area.
*Shampoo should only be applied to the scalp and root area, not on the ends of your hair.
Gently massage the shampoo into your scalp in a circular motion with your fingertips, being mindful to avoid scrubbing aggressively or being rough on your hair. (Also, avoid balling it all up on the top of your head and knotting it up. Seeing as your hair is in it's most fragile state while wet, scrubbing too hard runs the risk of roughing up the hair cuticle, causing more frizz and breakage). Massaging your scalp will create an optimal environment for new hair growth as it stimulates the hair follicles while also removing dead skin cells off the scalp. Begin massaging your scalp at the front of your head, rubbing the temple area in small circles and then working your way to the top of the head and the hairline. Next, move onto the nape of your neck by placing both hands on the sides of your head and rubbing your fingertips in circular motions. Gently use your thumbs to pull the skin upwards at the base.
*Note: Certain hair types are better off washing every few days as opposed to daily. If this sounds like your hair, on the days that you do cleanse consider shampooing twice before moving on to the conditioner.
Now its time to condition the hair. Just as it's crucial in using the right shampoo for your specific hair type, the same holds true for your conditioner. Conditioners are designed to be good for the hair as they do not contain harsh ingredients that will damage or strip the hair. However, if you are not using the correct one for your hair type, the hair can become weighed down, limp, lifeless and dull. Again, to find what is best suited for you, speak with your stylist to know what exactly your hair needs and what you should be using.
The less is more rule follows here as well. The density and texture of your hair will dictate how much you will need, but refrain from going overboard with your product. Most professional lines are highly concentrated, so a little goes a long way.
*The focus for your conditioner should be on the mid-lengths and ends of your hair.
Avoid placing the product near, or directly on the scalp area, so as to not make the hair at your roots oily.
Be sure to evenly distribute the conditioner throughout the mid-lengths and ends. The best way to ensure this is by using a wide toothed comb and gently combing the product through that area. Don't be in a rush to rinse. Conditioner is like a moisturizer for your hair, so give it a chance to work its magic. Aim to leave it on for at least a good minute or two before you start to go rinsing. This step is key. Failure to allow the product time to work can result in the loss of it's benefit.
After spending the time shampooing and conditioning the hair, rinsing is your next, and equally important, final step. Take a bit of time thoroughly rinsing the products out of you hair in order to save yourself from the trouble of post-shower buildup. If you neglect to properly rinse out the shampoo and conditioner from your hair, you run the risk of clogging hair follicles, creating product buildup on the scalp, and dulling your hair's shine.
One of the biggest challenges to maintaining healthy hair is battling heat. While most of us know that the heat from our hot tools can cause excessive damage to our hair, so too can the heat from our shower water. To avoid dullness and keep your hair looking it's best, try doing your final rinsing with tepid to cool water. This will help close up your pores, as well as seal down the hair cuticles, allowing the moisture from your conditioner to be locked in.
Now that you've got your proper cleansing protocol in place, you'll be on your way to your best hair yet!