There are some things we do on autopilot. We go through the motions without giving much thought to what we’re doing or why; washing our hair is one of those things. Aside from choosing what products we put in it we often give little thought to how we wash it and why this is important. And why would we, right? Oh we should, you see there is actually a right way to wash your hair!
Surely there’s nothing to be said about washing your hair? You simply lather in shampoo, rinse, apply some conditioner, rinse again and you’re done. While that might cover the basics there is so much more to hair washing than we think. From the right way to wash our hair to things we should avoid here are five things you need to know when it comes to keeping your locks squeaky clean.
The Right Way to Wash your hair
Let’s tackle the big one first; is there a right way to wash our hair and are we doing it wrong? Although it might seem like a simple task there are some things we’re all doing wrong when it comes to hair washing! Follow these steps for the ultimate salon style wash:
- Make sure your hair is thoroughly soaked before applying product.
- Temperature is everything! Use warm water as opposed to hot or cold. If the water is too hot it can encourage your scalp to produce extra sebum (this is what makes your hair feel greasy in the first place) and if the water is too cold it won’t wash out the grease.
- Go easy on the amount of product you use; lots of product is difficult to wash out and will just cause build up.
- Apply conditioner FIRST. This might sound crazy but applying your conditioner first is a great weight to add moisture to your hair without weighing it down. This is especially great if you have fine or really dry or damaged hair.
- Speaking of conditioner let it sit in your hair for at least three minutes before you rinse it out, allowing it to deeply penetrate and moisturise each strand.
- Apply shampoo into your scalp but be careful not to massage it too vigorously; this will only cause the hair to knot and tangle making it difficult to brush and dry your hair afterwards.
- Although the scalp is where most of your attention should be focused when it comes to shampooing don’t forget the rest of your hair! Product can build up midway and at the ends of your hair and needs to be thoroughly washed here too.
- Finish washing your hair with a blast of cold water; this will help seal in any moisture and invigorate your scalp.
Things To Avoid When Washing Your Hair
Now you know the things to do when you wash your hair to qualify for washing your hair the right way, what about the things to avoid?
1. Laurel Sulfate
Most shampoos contain sodium lauryl sulfate which works as a surfactant, trapping dirt and oil which is then rinsed away. It is also what creates foam and lather in shampoos, soaps and body washes. Although sodium lauryl sulfate is safe to use it can be very drying on both your skin and your hair which is why it’s important to keep your head tilted upwards, away from the direction of the water; this will limit shampoo coming into contact with the delicate skin on your face.
Ideally try to avoid products that contain sodium lauryl sulfate, especially If you suffer from dry hair. Most shampoos that come in bar form are free from SLS and will still clean your locks without drying them out. Dr Organic (from Holland and Barrett), The Body Shop and Lush all stock SLS free shampoos.
2. Wrong products for your hair type
Another big mistake is using the wrong shampoos and conditioners for your hair type. How many times have you picked up a shampoo because it’s got fancy packaging? Or chosen a conditioner purely because it smells really nice?
Buying the wrong products can damage your hair; it’s important you know your hair type and buy products in relation to this. If you dye your hair, choose products that are specifically formulated for coloured hair. If you suffer from dandruff then opt for a shampoo that will help treat this. It can be difficult to understand your hair type; is it dry, normal, oily, or a mixture of two? If you’re not sure, ask your hairdresser; they’ll be able to advise you of your hair type and recommend the best products to use.
The rigth way to wash your hair will improve Scalp Health
When we wash our hair we should also pay attention to washing our scalp. Having a clean scalp will help encourage strong, healthy hair growth. Similar to how we exfoliate the skin on our face to remove dead skin cells so we should do the same to our scalp. Invest in a good scalp scrub or scrub shampoo to clear away any impurities and debris from the follicle and keep your hair and scalp happy! Nioxin, Soap & Glory, Kèrastase and Philip Kingsley all have great exfoliators that really clean the scalp and create a healthy environment for hair growth.
Busting Hair Myths
When it comes to hair washing there are certain myths we grow up repeating as gospel; your hair will eventually self clean if you stop washing it, your hair will get used to a shampoo if you use it all the time and it will stop working, and washing your hair everyday is bad for you. But is there any truth in these myths?
Myth One: Your hair self cleans if you stop washing it
Truth: Your hair is self sufficient and certainly can clean itself. However, for many of us stopping to wash our hair regularly can lead to. a build up of impurities and product that can clog the follicles causing weak and damaged hair. If stopping washing your hair is something you really want to do, go ahead, but the road to clean hair will be a long and greasy one without much reward!
Myth Two: Your hair becomes used to the same shampoo and it stops working
Truth: If your hair is in good condition you should be able to use the same shampoo without your hair ‘getting used to it’. If you feel like your regular shampoo isn’t doing the job anymore the chances are it’s more to do with the quality of your hair rather than the shampoo you’re using. It might be that your hair has become dry or damaged and requires a more nourishing washing routine.
Myth Three: Washing your hair everyday is bad for you
Truth: The truth is washing your hair everyday isn’t a bad thing, but washing it everyday with the wrong products is a bad thing. Most experts agree that you should wash your hair when it begins to feel dirty and greasy; this will vary from person to person and the environment you’re in. If you live or work in a city where there’s lots of pollutants or you do a lot of exercise or swimming then you might need to wash it more frequently. Your hair type also plays a part in how often you wash your hair; for example fine, thin hair will need more washing than thick, coarse hair.
What is Co Washing?
For many people washing their hair can be a chore; it takes too much time, uses too many products or they can’t find a sulfate free shampoo they like. Enter co washing! Co washing is washing your hair with conditioner only. It’s a great way to keep hair moisturised and allows your hair’s natural oils to cleanse and nourish your scalp. It’s not for everyone (those with fine or naturally oily hair should avoid it as it will only weigh the hair down) but it can work wonders for those with thick, curly/wavy or coloured hair.
How does co washing work?
To co wash your hair replace your regular shampoo with a cleansing conditioner specifically designed for co washing. There are some great options on the market and some of the big brands like Palmer’s, Olaplex, Bumble and Bumble and Aveda all offer great cleansing conditioners.
Thoroughly wet your hair and apply the conditioner; use more than you would shampoo and make sure you gently massage this into both the scalp and the ends of your hair. Once you have rinsed this out follow up with a normal amount of your favourite conditioner and dry as normal.
when and how should you co wash your hair?
There is some debate whether you should totally replace your shampoo with co washing but most experts seem to agree it’s a great idea to co wash your hair a couple of months out of the year (obviously only if your hair is suitable to do so). If you’re looking to start co washing it’s a good idea to start in the summer months. This is when our hair can become damaged by sun, chlorine and saltwater and co washing is a great remedy to this damage. Here are a few things to avoid when getting into co washing your hair.
Our hair needs are so much greater than wash, rinse and repeat. When we establish a proper hair washing routine, choosing products that best suit its needs and implementing small changes, the results will speak for themselves. Start treating your hair care with as much care as you do your skin and you’ll be amazed at the results and maybe that haircut can wait a little longer!