How to Properly Wash & Condition Your Hair for Optimum Hair Health
Picture it: the year is 2XXX (not gonna age ourselves today, thankyouverymuch), and our co-founder is in college. She notices her roommate struggling to detangle her straight, fine hair after every wash, introducing more and more breakage. Finally, our intrepid co-founder asks just how roommate is actually washing her hair to result in such tangles, and roommate demonstrates piling her long locks on top of her head, then scrubbing.
We all may believe we know how to properly wash and condition our hair, we’ve been doing it since we were kids, afterall. But following a few simple techniques can go a long way to improve your overall hair health and minimize damage.
Step 1: Choose the Right Products
Before you even step into the shower, it's essential to select the right hair products. Your choice of shampoo and conditioner should be based on your hair type and specific needs. Here are some tips:
- Hair Type: Different hair types require different formulations. For example, if you have oily hair, go for a clarifying or volumizing shampoo. If your hair is dry, opt for a moisturizing or hydrating shampoo.
- Ingredients: Look for sulfate-free products, as sulfates can strip the hair of natural oils and cause dryness. Additionally, consider products with natural ingredients, as they are generally gentler on the hair and scalp.
- Conditioner: Choose a conditioner that complements your shampoo. For instance, if you use a hydrating shampoo, go for a moisturizing conditioner. Folks with textured hair may consider using a moisturizing mask as conditioner.
Step 2: Wet Your Hair Thoroughly
Repeat after me: water is your friend. Once you're in the shower, begin by thoroughly wetting your hair with warm water. The warm water helps to open up the hair cuticles, making it easier for the shampoo and conditioner to penetrate and cleanse your strands.
Step 3: Shampooing Your Hair
- Amount: Dispense a small amount of shampoo into your palm. Shampoo is mainly for your scalp, not the full length of your hair, so you may not need as much as you think. The exact amount will depend on your hair thickness, but generally, a quarter-sized amount should suffice. Note: leave your hair down. Don’t pile it on top of your head. Don’t be the roommate.
- Avoid Over-Shampooing: Avoid applying shampoo to the lengths of your hair unless you have a specific need; for example, if you’d used an abundance of styling product. Over-shampooing can strip your hair of its natural oils.
- Application: Apply the shampoo to your scalp, concentrating on the roots. Gently massage your scalp with your fingertips in a circular motion. This will help remove dirt, excess oils, and product buildup.
Thoroughly rinse your hair (of course).
Step 4: Conditioning Your Hair
- Amount: Take a generous amount of conditioner, typically more than the amount of shampoo you used. The ends of your hair need the most attention when it comes to conditioning.
- Application: This will vary depending on your type of hair. Folks prone to dryness will want to apply all over. Folks with balanced to oily hair/scalp will want to only apply the conditioner from mid-length to the ends of your hair (avoiding scalp). Leave the conditioner on per the product recommendation. Folks with curls and texture typically use this time to detangle, while our straight-haired friends may wait to detangle out of the shower as hair is in a weakened state when wet. Use a wide-toothed comb or a brush specifically designed for detangling.
Step 5: Rinse
Rinse your hair with lukewarm or cool water. Colder water will help seal the cuticles and make your hair appear shinier. While the conditioner bottle generally encourages you to rinse thoroughly, everyone we polled likes to leave some amount of conditioner in so that the hair still has some slip. This is really a personal preference.
Step 6: Towel-Dry Gently
After showering, gently pat your hair with a soft, microfiber towel to remove excess water. Avoid vigorous rubbing, as it can damage the hair cuticle and lead to frizz.
Step 7: Apply a Leave-In Conditioner or Hair Oil
To further moisturize and protect your hair, apply a leave-in conditioner or a hair oil to the lengths and ends. This will help to seal in moisture and prevent your hair from becoming dry and brittle.
Step 8: Style as Desired
Now that your hair is clean and moisturized, you can style it as you prefer. Remember to use heat protectant products if you plan to use heated styling tools to prevent damage.
There you go! Properly washing and moisturizing your hair is a fundamental part of maintaining healthy, beautiful locks. Choosing the right products for your hair type, following a suitable shampoo and conditioning routine, and using a leave-in conditioner or hair oil can work wonders in keeping your hair looking its best. By following these steps, you'll be well on your way to achieving the luscious, vibrant hair you've always wanted.