If you think about it, shampooing the hair is one of those rituals that all of us have done countless times in our day-to-day lives. Knowing that, it seems only logical that we would all be experts at perfecting the art of a good shampoo, right? Well, the truth is that many of us (yours truly included), could have better shampoo habits.
To get us all on the right track, here are 13 expert tips for improving your cleansing routine. The payoff is a good one—healthy, shiny and damage-free hair!
1) Do it Less Often
Shampooing daily is just not necessary for most of us. In fact, if you shampoo too often you could be doing harm to your hair by stripping it of the natural oils it needs to stay shiny and healthy.
So, just how many days of the week should you wash your hair? In reality, everyone’s hair is different, so there is no firm rule. It is largely dependent on your hair type/texture, the condition of your hair and, to some extent, what styling products you use in your hair. That said, generally the more textured your hair is the less frequently it needs to be washed since textured hair is inherently more prone to dryness.
To give you a starting place in setting your own shampoo schedule, here are some guidelines:
• Fine or Oily Hair:
Wash every other day to every day.
• Straight Hair:
Wash every other day.
• Wavy or Color-Treated Hair:
Wash 2-3 times per week.
• Curly Hair:
Wash 1-2 times per week.
• Very Curly to Kinky Hair:
Wash every 7 to 10 days.
2) Pick the Right Shampoo
Always select a shampoo that is designed for your hair type, whether it is fine, color- treated or curly, etc. In addition, don’t forget to read ingredients labels. Many shampoos contain sulfates
, which can be hard on the hair, especially textured hair. The major sulfates include: Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) and Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES).
3) Follow the Right Pre-Shower Prep
Before you step into the shower, brush or comb your hair to help loosen the dirt and remove any tangles.
4) Start with a Sopping Wet Head
Make sure to fully soak your hair and scalp before applying the shampoo—even the underneath layers. This will not only help to loosen the dirt, oil and product build-up, but it is also essential in order for the shampoo to lather and cleanse the hair well.
5) Use the Right Amount
A common mistake many make is to use too much shampoo. Start with a quarter-sized dollop of product for short to medium length hair and add a bit more from there if you need it—especially if you have long hair or thick hair. Pour the shampoo into your hands before applying to your hair. This will help you to better track how much you are using.
6) Focus on the Scalp
Apply shampoo to your scalp first. Gently massage the scalp with your fingertips to help remove dirt and oil, and then work to distribute the shampoo throughout the rest of your hair. Note: never pile your hair on top of your head while shampooing— it just creates tangles.
7) Resist the Urge to Use Hot Water
A hot shower feels great on your body, but it is not good for your hair! Hot water dries the hair out and causes the hair cuticle to lift, leading to frizz and color fading. Instead, try to use lukewarm water.
8) Take Time to Rinse
Shampoo left on the hair can make your hair look dull or cause your scalp to become dry and itchy, so make sure to rinse your hair well. Don’t forget those underneath layers too!
9) Don’t Always Listen to Labels
Despite what you may read on product labels, there is no reason for most of us to shampoo more than once. Only those with very oily/dirty hair need a double wash.
10) Condition, Condition, Condition
Always condition your hair after a shampoo, even if you have fine or oily hair. Conditioners hydrate the hair and protect it from damage, while making it easier to style. Apply conditioner to your ends first and then work to distribute the product up the hair shaft, stopping before the root area. If your hair is fine or oily, focus applying the conditioner mid-shaft to ends only.
11) Close the Hair Cuticle
After conditioning, always rinse your hair well with cool water (even in winter). This closes the hair cuticle to seal in moisture, add shine and prevent frizz.
12) Don’t Rub Dry
Never rub your hair with a bath towel after showering. The rough fibers in the towel lift the hair cuticle to create frizz, lessen shine and can damage the hair. Instead, lightly pat the hair dry with a microfiber towel or even paper towels.
13) Never Brush Wet Hair
Your hair is the most vulnerable when it is wet, so opt for a wide-toothed comb over a brush to detangle your wet hair.