You may not think much about the way you wash your hair. After all, it seems pretty self-explanatory: Just put a dollop of shampoo in the palm of your hand, lather up, and rinse! But there’s actually a lot more to it than that.
Washing your hair the wrong way can leave it dry and damaged. In fact, it can even irritate the scalp. But a few tweaks to the washing process can help protect the scalp and transform your tresses – leaving them strong, shiny, and healthy.
Ready to take your hair-washing game to the next level?
Make Your Products Work For You
First of all, be sure you’re using a separate shampoo and conditioner. You see, shampoos should be used primarily on the scalp, while conditioners should be used further down the hair shaft. Using a two-in-one product requires application all over the hair. This doesn’t work well, because shampooing the ends of the hair may cause dryness.
Now that that’s settled, choose a shampoo and conditioner to fit your particular hair needs. Volumizing products can add body to fine hair, while moisturizing formulations help hydrate curls and overworked hair. Color-targeted products can help protect color-treated hair, and growth-stimulating formulations can help promote hair growth.
Shampoo With Care
It isn’t necessary to use a whole handful of shampoo when you wash. In fact, a quarter-size amount usually does the trick, although you can double that size if your hair is on the long or thick side.
Before you start sudsing, make sure your hair is good and wet. And it’s great to use warm water for this step in the process. The warmth will help encourage the oil on your scalp to begin loosening up.
Apply the shampoo to your scalp. This is where natural oils and hair products tend to build up. Lather the roots, and gently massage the scalp in a vertical motion. Massaging the scalp in a circular motion increases the risk of tangles and breakage. Use moderate, gentle pressure. Rigorous massaging can be hard on the scalp and cause irritation.
Smooth the rest of the shampoo down the length of your hair. The mid-lengths and ends of hair tend to be less “dirty,” since the natural oils from your scalp don’t travel all the way down the shaft. This also means that this part of the hair is dryer and more prone to breakage. (It’s also seen more damage from styling). Since this part of your hair is less dirty and more delicate, avoid scrubbing. Vigorous scrubbing can cause friction and lead to breakage.
Let Your Conditioner Do Its Thing
Before conditioning, gently squeeze the excess water out of your hair. Too much water on the hair may dilute the conditioner.
And keep in mind, conditioner is not a “massage-in-and-rinse” affair. The longer it stays on the hair, the more your hair will absorb it. So, apply conditioner directly after shampooing, and let it stay there for a few minutes. And when you apply, concentrate on the mid-lengths and ends of hair, which will typically need more conditioning.
Rinse In Cold Water
This might sound less than enticing, but it’s great for your hair.
A shot of cold water helps seal in your hair cuticle, allowing your hair hold on to all that good moisture you just got from conditioning. Sealing in the cuticle may also help lessen the risk of frizz and smooth the hair. And since smooth hair is better able to reflect light, your locks will take on a healthy sheen.
Put a Filter On Your Showerhead
Did you know the water that’s coming out of your showerhead can actually damage your hair? Depending on where you live, there may be “hard water” coming out of your faucet. Hard water contains calcium, magnesium, and other dissolved metals. Unfiltered hard water can damage the hair by weakening the hair shaft, increasing the risk of breakage.
Hard water is also hard on your scalp. Studies have shown that skin washed with hard water is more likely to be dry, red, and irritated.
Don’t worry – you don’t have to move to a town with hot water. Simply install a filter on your showerhead. It’ll do a lot to protect your hair and scalp from damage and irritation.
Use A Dry Shampoo Between Washings
Don’t have time to suds up, rinse, condition, and rinse? Invest in a good dry shampoo. Any buildup of oil on your scalp can make your hair look flat and limp, but a dry shampoo can soak up that excess oil and leave you with a more voluminous mane.
Washing Your Hair The Right Way
A mindful hair-washing routine will help boost scalp and hair health, leaving you with locks that are shiny and strong. With these tips, you can be confident you’re washing your hair the right way.