Are You Shampooing Your Hair Wrong?

02_CleoBennettTowel_021Photographed by Winnie Au.
Just like a clean face is the foundation of healthy skin, a proper shampoo routine is the foundation of healthy hair. Everyone can benefit from spending a little extra time lathering up. It should be a time to relax and slow down, really giving your locks the attention they deserve. A consistent shampoo routine is essential to combat weather extremes and promote healthy, shiny strands.
There are three key factors to a healthy shampoo process: the type of product you choose, the actual act of shampooing, and how often you lather up.

The Product
When choosing a shampoo, it is important to consider your hair type. Different hair textures require different daily and weekly maintenance.

For fine hair, a volume shampoo is best and a weightless conditioner is a must. Women with fine hair tend to steer clear of conditioner in hopes of achieving more volume, however, this promotes dry, dehydrated locks. Everyone needs conditioner! If you think it weighs your hair down or makes it greasy, try decreasing the amount you're using or asking your stylist for a better option.

For thick, unruly hair, opt for a moisturizing shampoo that will soften the hair. Pair the moisturizing shampoo with a rich, fortifying conditioner to add essential vitamins to naturally dense and dry hair.
For color-treated or chemically-treated hair, color-safe/sulfate-free shampoos are a must! These are essential to keeping color from fading. Couple this with a color-protecting conditioner to add elasticity and enhance shine.

Your hair needs constant hydration. Women with dry locks (chemically-treated or not), should set aside the time to apply a protein mask once a week to improve vibrancy and strength. Click through to find out if you're shampooing the right way.
01_CaitlinCorcoranTowel_007Photographed by Winnie Au.

The Process
Now for a shampoo how-to: Here are my seven steps to follow when lathering up. People often rush this process, but a good shampoo should take a solid three to five minutes.

1. Before showering, brush through dry hair with a soft-bristle brush to detangle strands. Make sure to start from the ends, working your way up to the roots to prevent breakage.
2. First, give a good initial rinse from root to tip.
3. Apply shampoo and begin massaging scalp in circular motions using the tips of your fingers to promote good circulation. Refrain from using your nails, as this could create scalp irritation. Focus on cleansing the scalp and roots first and then you can move down the hair shaft to the ends. If you have fine hair, use a silver-dollar amount of shampoo, and if you have thicker or curly hair use double that — your shampoo should fully lather in your hair.
4. Rinse thoroughly and repeat steps 2 and 3 if you shampoo less than three times a week, your hair is not lathering well, or if you use a lot of styling product.
5. Squeeze out excess moisture and apply conditioner starting at the ends and working your way to the roots. Finger through to distribute product evenly and allow it to sit for a few minutes. If your hair is fine, conditioner should only be applied mid-shaft to ends.
6. Rinse thoroughly to remove conditioner and complete with a cool rinse to seal the cuticle and bring out the hair’s shine. (A thorough rinse is essential to a long-lasting blowout with no residue.)
7. After you get out of the shower, ring your hair out to remove excess water and towel dry your locks. Then, take a wide-tooth comb to detangle your strands, starting from your ends and working toward your roots.

How Often To Lather Up
Women tend to shampoo more frequently during hot and humid summer months thanks to all the excess sweat, but this is a common mistake. Women with dense or coarse hair should go even longer in between shampoos to let the natural oils to kick in and do their job to keep the hair moisturized. Color-treated and chemically-treated hair should go even longer between shampoos to lengthen the life of the color. As a general rule of thumb, women with dense or color-treated hair should shampoo two to three times a week, and women with fine hair should shampoo every other day. Colored, fine hair is an exception to the rule and should be washed every other day. These women may need to visit their colorist more often to maintain their ideal color as frequent shampooing can leave hair looking dull.

We are creatures of habit, and it’s hard to change any routine, but give yourself a few weeks of a new shampoo regimen and your hair will thank you!

More from Hair

R29 Original Series