You may do it practically every day, but do you really know how to wash your
hair the right way? Using the correct techniques can make a world of difference
in your hair’s health, bounce and shine — but if you’re making some common
mistakes, you could be damaging your strands without even knowing it.
1. Start with a
Just like your laundry needs a rinse cycle before you add
detergent, hair should be thoroughly wet before you add your shampoo. “Hot water
will open the cuticle, which is good for removing any dirt or product trapped in
the hair,” says White. Another bonus: “When your hair is rinsed in warm water,
it loosens the oils through the scalp and opens the cuticle so it is able to
absorb the oil” in your conditioner, says Saviano.
2. If you have long hair, condition
Yes, really! “If you have hair beneath the shoulders,
protect fragile ends from drying out and further damage by running a small
amount of conditioner through them and lightly rinsing, before any shampooing.
This will not only keep ends healthy, it will fill any holes in the cuticle with
moisture, making it smoother and boosting shine,” says White.
3. Lather up — but only at the scalp.
“You only need to shampoo the hair at the scalp,
particularly at the nape,” Saviano says.
White agrees. “The best way to
lather up is from roots to ends. The hair closest to the scalp is the youngest
and will inevitably be the oiliest, while the end of the hair is the oldest and
usually driest, most fragile part of the hair.”
Don’t use more shampoo
than you need; both Saviano and White say that a quarter-sized amount of shampoo
is enough. If your hair is particularly long or thick, go ahead and double
Friction can permanently damage your hair’s cuticle,
leading to breakage and frizz. Think about washing your hair like you hand wash
your delicates — very carefully.
“Start your lather at the roots,” says
White. “Increase blood flow to the scalp and stimulate hair growth by using
vertical strokes with medium pressure.” Don’t use circular motions, which can
tangle your hair.
Next, “Smooth the lather over the ends in a straight
stroking motion,” White advises. “Do not scrub the fragile ends or use a back
and forth motion like you’re washing a rag on a washboard.”
5. Don’t rinse and
Despite what the instructions on the back of your shampoo
bottle may say, there’s no need to wash your hair twice. “Avoid stripping the
hair by doing one shampoo only, which is usually sufficient,” says White.
“Unless the hair is extremely dirty and the first shampoo didn’t produce a
lather,” in which case, go ahead and lather up one more time.
6. Add conditioner from the mid-lengths
to the tips.
After you’ve rinsed out your shampoo, “squeeze some
of the water out of the hair before you put in the conditioner,” says Saviano.
“Then clip your hair up and finish showering, leaving the conditioner rinse out
for the final step of your shower.” The longer the conditioner stays on your
hair, the better it absorbs. Don’t put conditioner at the roots of your hair;
the natural oil from your scalp is more concentrated there.
7. Finish with a cold water
“Cold water will shut the cuticle tight, sealing the
shingle-like outer layer, which will cause it to reflect the most light and give
off the most shine,” says White.