Your hair is a key insight into your lifestyle. Some people are fine with hair that just looks clean, while others pursue a perfect shine. And as something which forms a big part of how you come off to people, you have to wonder if you’re treating it right. Today we talk about the right way to wash your hair.
Your hair itself is composed of dead cells and its function is closely related to the scalp. As such, proper hair care involves caring for the scalp as well. But some people might believe that you can’t go wrong with something as simple as washing your hair. Well, here are some things you might be doing wrong
- Using products not meant for your hair type: This is the most common choice people make. They tend to pick up any shampoo and conditioner wanting to just get the job done. The most basic difference between products is whether they’re meant for oily or dry hair. The oiliness of your hair should be determined at the scalp, where the oil is produced.
- Washing your hair too often: But how much is too much? It depends on your environment, hair type and routine. Yet most people don’t need to wash their hair daily. That is, unless you have really oily hair or get a lot of dirt and grime in your hair on a regular basis, in which case you should forgo the full-conditioning on most days. Washing your hair on alternate days works for most people.
- Using water that might as well be boiling: Don’t scald your scalp. Hot water dries up your scalp and may compromise it's moisture retaining function and your hair’s cuticle (outermost layer that keeps in the moisture). Use warm water instead.
- Manhandling your fragile hair: Hair is very fragile when wet. If you rub it against itself to wash it or use very rough motions while washing or drying, you will damage your hair strands. Gentle cleansing motions on the scalp should be used to wash your hair, and dabbing with a soft towel should be used for drying
- Playing mix’n’match with your products: Most companies create hair products in pairs. For each hair type, this helps them create a shampoo and conditioner that have ingredients which complete the inadequacies of the other. So choosing products on random may not be giving you the full benefits most of the time.
Moreover, while choosing hair products you should keep in mind what you are looking for. Here’s a list of things you should look out for based on your hair type:
- Dry Hair: Look for products that hydrate, moisturise or supplement natural oils in your hair and don’t dry out your scalp.
- Coloured Haired: Look for products that protect colour and prevent fading. Some hair products even leave some plastic residue on the hair to slow the leaving of artificial pigmentation. For blonde hair colours, go for purple shampoos which prevent your hair colour from yellowing/tanning out over time.
- Thin/Flat Hair: Try products which increase volume and density of the hair without leaving too much residue in the hair.
- Damaged Hair: Forego any harsh products with sulphate and parabens and focus on a conditioner that repairs and protects the hair.
- Frizzy Hair: Look for products that smoothen and hydrate the hair and add weight to it. Always finish washing with lukewarm water.
Naturally there’s also a “good” way to go through with the washing process. Following is the order which most stylists and dermatologists suggest when washing hair (if you have no hair and skin problems):
- Pre-wash Prep: If you have dry or frizzy hair, it might be a good to idea to give yourself a gentle oil massage before you wash your hair. Apply oil to your scalp (if dry) and hair about an hour before washing your hair.
- Rinse: The hair needs to be thoroughly wet before you apply any product. Use warm water which will open up the cuticle layer, allowing for better penetration of the products used. Stand under the current for 30 seconds to a minute and it should be enough. Make sure not to rub your hair very much at this point.
- Long or damaged hair: Before applying shampoo, it is advisable to condition the ends of your hair if you have long or damaged hair. The hair ends are the driest and most damaged parts of the hair (and the oldest). The conditioner helps to moisturize and fill up any gaps in the cuticle.
- Lather up: It is time to apply the shampoo and lather up. Don’t use more shampoo than required as it won’t make your hair cleaner, and only make it harder to rinse out the residue. Lather up at the scalp and the roots, as this is the oiliest part of the hair. The ends and middle usually don’t need more than what trickles down. Moreover, rubbing the hair roughly will cause damage! You should rub in a direct motion from the top of your head towards the nape.
- Don’t rinse and repeat: In contrast to the popular saying, you don’t need to lather again. If however you wash your hair only once or twice a week or you failed to produce lather the first time, it is alright to go ahead and use shampoo again.
- Conditioner Time: First, squeeze out the excess water from the hair. Normally you should apply the conditioner on the middle to end part of the hair, which needs it the most.
- Rinse and don’t repeat: This time for real. End the washing process with a lukewarm water rinse. Stand under the current for a minute or two to make sure you don’t leave any product residue in your hair. The lukewarm water will close the hair’s cuticle layer. This seals in the supplied nutrients and oils. Moreover, light reflects better off of a tightly sealed cuticle layer!
You might need to work around a little with this washing routine. Good news is that it only needs a little tweaking before you have a routine that suits you the best!
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