Knowing how to properly wash your hair is key to optimal hair care. There are rules of thumb and techniques that may be more beneficial to your hair, helping it appear healthier, shinier, and more lush. Just as you should take time to learn which skin care strategies and makeup work best for your skin, so should it be with your crowning glory.
Learn how to wash your hair the right way, how to choose products suited to your hair type, and other tips and tricks for scalp and hair care. Read on, and you’ll be on your way to making every day a good hair day.
How Often Should You Be Washing Your Hair?
You can’t get away with not washing your hair at all. Your scalp is still part of your body’s skin, and it’s subject to the same problems if it doesn’t get cleansed often or well enough. Your scalp is home to oil glands in your hair follicles that keep your hair cuticles moisturized (AKA, healthy and shiny). Now, the activity of these oil glands varies based on several factors, including your:
- Hair type
- Activity level
And underwashing can lead to a very oily scalp and hair. You may also experience dry hair, dandruff, brittle hair, or even hair loss from washing hair too much or too little.1
So, how can you find the right balance? How many times a week should you be washing your hair? You don’t have to shampoo daily, but knowing the magic number of skippable days depends on the aforementioned factors. Younger women may have more active oil glands on their scalps compared to older women, so they may need to shampoo their hair more often. Women of certain ethnicities may have much drier hair strands than others, and may only need to fully wash their hair a few times a month to preserve their hair’s moisture. Curly hair, coarse hair, and/or color-treated hair might need less washing so it doesn’t become brittle.2
These factors need to be taken into account when figuring out how long you can or should go in-between shampooing, but one thing remains the same: You still need to shampoo the right way. Read on for a simple step-by-step guide to help you establish some best practices.
Washing Your Hair The Right Way In Five Easy Steps
Shampooing shouldn’t be a stressful or tiresome activity. With these easy, sensible steps, you can put the relaxation back into your shower time.
Step 1: Comb Through The Tangles
One mistake people often make is letting knotted, tangled hair get wet. Before stepping into the shower, give dry hair a gentle brush to work out any tangles that can get matted (and thus harder to comb out) once wet.3
Step 2: Wet Hair Thoroughly
Give the water enough time to work. Water helps dredge up any dirt, dry skin, and previous product residue and helps the shampoo do its job. Make sure you wet hair well (think sopping wet) using warm water (or lukewarm water). Hot water can cause dryness and damage to your scalp.4
Step 3: Apply Shampoo With The Right Amount Of Pressure
Squeeze a dime-sized amount of product and use your fingertips (not your nails) to gently massage the shampoo into your scalp. Don’t scratch your scalp harshly — use the pressure from your fingers in circular motions. There’s no need to concentrate shampoo on the lengths or ends of your hair. The water as you rinse will work the product down where it needs to go.5
Step 4: Rinse Well, And Apply Conditioner
Make sure no bubbles or residue are left after rinsing out shampoo. You may also wring out hair gently after rinsing to remove excess water that can dilute the conditioning product you’re about to apply. Use a bit of conditioner on the bottom lengths and ends of hair only — so the rich formula doesn’t weigh down your hair. Don’t scrub or rough up your hair strands — that might cause damage. Instead, comb the conditioner through your hair using your fingers. Finally, rinse out the conditioner using cool water if you can tolerate it. Cold water can help seal the hair cuticles that have been softened by the heat, and help give hair a shinier look.6
Step 5: Dry Hair With A Gentle Fabric
Do not rub your hair dry with a towel. Pat or squeeze to remove as much water as you can. If possible, use a microfiber towel or even an old, soft shirt to sop up the water. These fabrics are gentler on delicate wet hair strands compared to your average towel.7
How To Choose A Shampoo That Suits Your Hair Type
Select the right product to use as your regular shampoo. Different hair types have varying needs in terms of moisture, and processed hair might also need more care.
- Fine hair works well with gentle shampoo formulas.
- Thicker or coarser hair may need richer formulations to help maintain moisture levels.
- Permed, bleached, and colored hair may need intense moisturizing shampoos.
Bottom line? If you’re unsure what you need, ask your hair stylist for their recommendations. Some hair cleansers are also designed for all hair types.8