Most of us wash our hair without thinking about it, in the same way, we brush our teeth. It’s just part of our self-care and hygiene, and we do not give it further consideration. Yet we could be looking after our hair better to ensure that we never have to suffer a bad hair day again.
Here are some hints and tips about hair cleaning and conditioning from a professional perspective:
Whether your hair type is fine, medium or thick hair will decide which is the right shampoo or conditioner for you. For those with fine hair, steer clear of products that weigh down the hair and go for those that add strength and volume. This is because fine hair has half the amount of protein found in medium and thick hair, which makes it weak. For those with medium to thick hair, a product with moisturiser will soften the texture.
There is not one rule that fits everyone when it comes to how often you should wash your hair since this depends on your hair and scalp. For those with dyed hair, the less you wash, the better as the shampoo causes oxidation which changes the colour. Shine and natural frizz control come from the natural oils in the hair which shampoos can strip. The generally accepted frequency for hair washing is two or three times a week.
The best shampoo is one that is gentle on the hair, yet powerful enough to clean and at the same time add moisture back to the hair. Regular shampoos often contain silicons that can build up and make hair limp and dry as well as potentially causing breakage. Good quality shampoos are sulphate-free, paraben-free and/or hydro-chemical-free.
Never apply conditioner to your scalp but apply it with a comb to help an even application and then leave conditioner in the hair for between three and five minutes before washing it out. It should not be left in the hair, so take care to wash it out completely. If you leave conditioner in your hair, it builds up which can harm your hair and make it look dull.
When rinsing your hair, put your hair under the showerhead and let the water flow down. This is better than rubbing the hair harshly, which can cause severe hair damage and make your hair look very dull and does not get the product off faster. Whilst it is universally agreed that air-drying hair is the best method when not in a hurry, do not be harsh when rubbing the hair with a towel for the same reasons.
Use lukewarm water when soaking your hair before adding shampoo. This is recommended to open the pores of the scalp and opens the cuticles in the hair fibre. Hot water is not good as it can dry your hair. Use cold water to rinse conditioner to close the cuticle and seals in the moisture in each strand. If you use hot water to rinse, it is likely to cause frizziness.
The purpose of shampoo is to clean the scalp, so there’s no need to shampoo from the roots to the tips of your hair. Massage your head while shampooing with your finger in a circular motion from the front to back and back to front and do this for a few minutes to stimulate and exfoliate your scalp. As the shampoo lather is washed out, it should be strong enough to clear out any residue on the ends.
The simple shampoo then condition routine may not always be the best. If your hair needs extra care because of dryness, condition the ends before shampooing. This is because shampoos can contain harsh ingredients that strip essential oils as it cleans, so protect the ends first. Then, after the shampoo, lightly condition again. Some professionals recommend the application and massage of hair oil to the scalp and hair two or three hours before you plan to wash your hair, using coconut, olive or mustard oil.