Washing your hair is an essential step in beginning a proper hair ritual. Unfortunately, very few people have been taught how to wash their hair properly. The phrase “washing your hair” is technically wrong from the start — shampoo is actually meant to clean your scalp.
To learn more about washing your scalp, take a look below.
WHAT DOES SHAMPOO DO?
Almost everyone uses it, but what exactly does shampoo do?
Shampoo is a cleansing product that removes something called the “sebum layer” from our scalp, and leaves it feeling fresh again. For those who are wondering, sebum is a type of oil that is produced by our skin to form a protective layer around it. If we don’t clean this natural oil off, though, the roots of our hair may begin to look greasy, this is because our modern society decided that washing our "hair" is a standard hygiene measure. (Some people never wash their hair with shampoo, their hair will look surprisingly different).
Shampoo can perfectly clean without foam, however this is something that feels weird to most of us and we always think that if it doesn't foam, it doesn't clean. That is why manufactures add extra components that dissolves excess sebum with water, therefor foam is a good indicator to figure out when the scalp is clean. If your scalp is already clean it will foam immediately but when it has been a few days/weeks or your hair was exposed to dirty work, you might have to wash it once again. The second time it will foam after the foam is rinsed out, the lengths and ends of our hair will also be clean without ever rubbing over them, just by rinsing.
If there is a small amount of these foaming substances in the shampoo, washing your hair is basically harmless. However, if there are too many of these substances in the shampoo, you risk over-cleaning your hair and removing the natural oil that protects your scalp.
Any shampoo you buy will work to open your hair cuticles, one more than the other. These cuticles normally provide a natural protection and shine to your hair when they’re closed, though they can also open with time. To provide your hair with the necessary nutrients to ensure it’s as healthy as it can be, shampooing should be followed by treating your hair — which is sometimes referred to as using “conditioner” or a “mask.” This allows the right ingredients to be absorbed by your hair before the hair cuticles closes back up again.
WHERE SHOULD I BUY SHAMPOO?
When it comes to buying shampoo, you have so many different options that I’ve decided to write a blog post about this. I have listed all the stores in the blog post and explained my experience with them. To read more about that click here.
Are you ready to feel the difference that investing in healthy hair makes?
Talk to a specialist at your local salon, and after they let you know which products are right for you, buy 1 bottle of shampoo and 1 bottle of treatment. On average, a standard sized bottle (250 ml/8 fl 0z) will last you about two and a half months.
Once you’ve begun your new hair care ritual, make sure not to disrupt the process by using another product if you want to experience the true effects of your new shampoo and treatment! It can take a while for the built up silicone from cheaper shampoos to wear off, though by the end of the test, you can decide for yourself whether or not the investment in more beautiful and healthier hair was worth it.
WHICH SHAMPOO IS BEST?
If you have read the blog post that I've shared above, you now know that there are a lot of shampoos out there that won’t help you on your journey to beautiful and healthy hair, as good as they might smell. We also decided that your local salon is your best bet when it comes to finding products that actually help nourish your hair.
When you’re looking to buy your first professional shampoo, the options can seem a bit overwhelming at first, but don’t worry! By answering a few of the questions below and talking with a hairdresser, you’ll be well on your way to having hair that truly shines:
Are you looking for a natural or a cosmetic shampoo?
Do you have a tight budget, or are you willing to make an investment?
Do you have any scalp problems? (These can include dandruff, an overly dry or overly oily head, or redness and irritation. If you don’t know, have a specialist at the salon check your scalp for best results.)
Does your hair tend to look healthy or fall out at the roots?
or does it seem brittle and break off instead?
(You can test this by gently pulling on the middle of three different hairs from different places on your head. If the hair breaks easily or bounces back into a curl, it likely means your hair is weak, whereas if the hair is unchanged, your hair is likely healthy.)
Is your hair natural, or is it colored or bleached?
What about the type of hair you have? Is it straight, curly, or wavy?
With all of these answers in mind, your specialist will be able to find a shampoo that’s suited to your hair’s exact needs.
HOW OFTEN SHOULD I WASH MY HAIR?
I get asked the question, “How often each week should I wash my hair?” almost every day at work. In my experience, there isn’t necessarily a right or wrong answer to this. Personally, I choose not to wash my hair daily to avoid overdrying my scalp and find that two to three times a week is more than enough.
Believe it or not, it’s been found that overwashing your hair can actually make your hair more greasy in a shorter amount of time. On the other hand, if you don’t wash your hair at all (which I’ve actually tested for a period of four months and plan to blog about soon!), your scalp will begin to adapt and will use a self-cleaning function to limit the amounts of natural oils on your head.
As you get to know your hair more though, you’ll be able to pick up on whether it needs a wash or whether you can give it some more time before shampooing it again.
HOW DO I WASH MY HAIR LIKE A PRO?
So you want to wash your hair like a professional?
Follow the steps below to learn the proper way to wash your scalp.
First, make sure that your hair is dry and begin by gently brushing it so that there are no knots left. Preferably, you should use a brush that doesn’t have rounded tips because these can often break your hair. The proper way to begin brushing your hair is to actually start at the ends of your hair, and to brush up toward your roots — I’ve found that it can be helpful to divide your hair into separate sections during this step.
After you’ve brushed through all of your hair, it’s time to thoroughly wet it and clean off any excess oils. To do this, use your fingertips to gently massage warm water into your scalp.
You can now take an almond-sized amount of shampoo in one hand, and use your other hand to spread it evenly over your entire scalp. This is done before cleaning your actual hair, because when you rinse the shampoo suds off, they will actually run down the length of your hair which is more than enough to clean it. As a note, if you notice that your shampoo is not lathering well, don’t worry! Just continue spreading it across your scalp as best you can.
Now it’s time to rinse out the shampoo from your hair. If your hair is long, you can use your fingertips to shake your hair up and down on your scalp so that the water can get all over.
If you feel that it’s not clean enough or notice that the shampoo did not lather excessively, you can choose to repeat steps 2, 3 & 4, but this time with even less shampoo. Unless you wash your hair daily, in which case I would recommend repeating these steps once or twice a week at most.
Because the pH value of the shampoo is neutral to basic, (which is necessary for cleaning), the hair cuticles automatically open a bit, so that vital building materials are gradually lost. The correct treatment (better known as conditioner or mask) can push in the ingredients your hair needs and because it has an acidic pH, the hair cuticles will be able to close again, allowing your hair to naturally shine and protect.
Once you’ve followed these steps and treated your hair to a professional shampoo, it’s time for the next step in your hair care ritual. Whether you need a soothing scalp treatment, or if you need to repair damaged hair back to its bouncy and voluptuous self, treating your hair is an essential part of achieving beautiful, healthy hair.