Back to Basics: How You’re Washing Your Hair Wrong
Sometimes, something happens that shakes up your entire beauty routine. This time, it’s hair-related … You might be washing your hair wrong.
Whatever your hair washing routine looks like, there’s a chance you could be missing out on better practices that, when used consistently, will eventually transform your tresses.
Habits like daily shampooing or forgetting to condition could be slowly ruining your hair. Or at least, depriving your mane of reaching its full potential.
To help you out, we’ve created some tips for washing your hair the right way. Get ready for some mega mane-changing tricks!
LESS IS MORE
Avoid daily washing.
Are you a daily washer? It’s time to change that.
Maybe you know it deep down inside, but washing your hair daily is not the best move for your mane.
“Simply put, overwashing can result in extra oil in your hair,” explains celebrity hair expert and co-owner of Tabb & Sparks Salon in Santa Monica, Kristina Tabb. “Washing your hair day after day might seem like it’s helping, but it’s not.”
Sorry, vigilant washers!
She continues, “When you train your hair to be washed every day, your oil glands adjust to producing more oil to compensate for the loss of oils that the shampoo is stripping. Even if you’re more oily, you’re also drying out the hair strand.”
The solution? Obviously, to wash less.
By training your oil glands to not over-produce oil, you’ll also notice that your hair gets less greasy on non-wash days.
Aim to wash your hair every three to four days. In the meantime, keep your hair looking fresh by spraying it with a nourishing dry shampoo or wearing hairstyles that hide your oily roots.
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WATER TEMP IS KEY
Warm, then cold.
Warm water should be used when cleansing your hair to open up the cuticle and help remove dirt, residue or build-up from the scalp. Once you’ve finished washing your hair, turn down the water temperature and give your mane a final rinse with cool water to close the cuticle and seal in moisture.
“Washing your hair with cold water helps with closing your cuticle after the wash. This also has the added benefit of helping, along with your haircare products, to make your hair look strong and shiny, and who doesn’t want that?” says celebrity hairstylist Florian Hurel.
However, other hair experts like Dr. Bessam Farjo say, “The optimum temperature for washing hair and scalp is with warm water or a comfortable temperature. Not too hot and not too cold.”
So perhaps it’s best to begin with warm water (not too hot) and end with cool water (not too cold).
USE YOUR FINGERTIPS
Not your nails!
Healthy hair begins at the scalp, so make sure you pay close attention to it when washing your hair. Massaging your scalp, for instance, is a great way to boost blood flow to the area and stimulate hair growth. Just make sure you’re doing it correctly. Some people make the mistake of using their nails for massaging – a huge no, no!
“Don’t use your nails or massage the scalp too harshly,” says hair pro Oscar Blandi. “You want to apply minimal pressure. Your scalp might naturally feel it, but it’s not as dirty as you think.”
Devote one to two minutes to massaging, using your fingertips to stimulate blood flow.
“When massaging your scalp, you can also incorporate essential oils that might help with hair growth, such as cedarwood or rosemary essential oils,” says dermatologist Raechele Cochran Gathers, M.D. “Always be sure to dilute essential oils though! You can add them to your favorite carrier oil and then apply them to your scalp prior to massage.”
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LATHER, RINSE, REPEAT
Go in twice.
Unless you’ve got dry or fine hair, always wash your hair twice with shampoo.
“The first shampoo removes dirt, pollution and product residue,” says hairstylist Hollie Rose Clarke. “The second shampoo essentially adds shine and gloss.”
It’s especially effective for oily hair, as it gets rid of excess oils and build-up, and leaves your mane feeling fresh and light. It will also make hair feel thicker and more voluminous.
Since double washing hair removes all dirt, oils, dust, and product build-up, it also creates the perfect canvas to apply other hair products, boosting their penetration and, ultimately, their effectiveness.
So lather up with your favorite shampoo, rinse, and repeat. Besides leaving your hair feeling amazing, you’ll also notice it’s easier to put off washing it for another couple of days (see the first step!).
KEEP CONDITIONER IN LONGER
2 mins won’t suffice.
Conditioning is the backbone of every haircare routine. It’s essential for keeping your strands strong, hydrated, and frizz-free. Surprisingly, not everyone knows the importance of slathering on conditioner after shampooing. Or how long to leave it on.
Conditioner is a moisturizing agent made up of ingredients like oils and emollients to replenish hair’s moisture after it is stripped from shampooing.
According to dermatologist Adam Friedman it “refortifies the cuticle with a protective coating, allowing the hair to keep growing and not break easily.”
To maximize conditioner’s effects, apply it to damp hair and leave it on for 5-7 minutes before rinsing off. Washing it off too soon won’t give the product chance to penetrate, reducing its smoothing effects. Use the free time to shave!
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Altering your hair washing habits may be all you need to watch your hair transform. If you’ve been rinsing in steaming hot water or massaging products in with your fingernails, these could be the reason your hair isn’t what you want it to be. So make these switches and start seeing a change!