Does your hair sometimes feel greasy or itchy, even after washing? It could be that you're not washing it correctly – and you're not alone. Many people are surprised to learn that something as routine as shampooing and conditioning can cause damage in the long term, and avoiding common mistakes can do your hair the world of good.
Follow these simple steps recommended by hair stylists to cleanse your strands, soothe your scalp and leave your locks looking radiant.
1. Don't wash too often!
The most common mistake people make when washing their hair is to do it too frequently. One of the first things you'll learn on a hairdressing course is not to wash more than three or four times a week. Treat your scalp to a thorough five-minute wash every two days rather than a quick one-minute session daily.
2. Brush your hair first
Brush your hair when it's dry to remove loose strands, encourage circulation in your scalp and reduce the risk of breakage.
3. Hot rinse
Make sure your hair is thoroughly wet before adding products. Warm water opens up the cuticles to release trapped dirt and loosens the scalp to absorb conditioner oils more easily.
3a. Condition long hair
Shampoo comes first for most people, but if your hair falls below your shoulders, it could benefit from a light conditioning and rinse first to prevent the ends from drying out.
4. Lather the roots
When your hair is thoroughly wet, squirt a coin-sized dollop of shampoo into your palm and start lathering from the roots down. Young hair close to the scalp is the oiliest and needs more washing than the older, drier ends, but these shouldn't be neglected either. Long hair needs roughly twice as much shampoo as short hair to ensure total coverage.
5. Massage your scalp
Don't rinse right away – treat yourself to a gentle scalp massage for one to two minutes, which improves blood flow and stimulates healthy hair growth.
6. Rinse until it squeaks
Rinse out the shampoo and accumulated residue using water at medium temperature. You'll know you've rinsed enough when your hair starts to squeak.
7. Condition from the middle
Unlike shampoo, conditioner should focus on the mid-lengths and tips rather than the scalp, helping to detangle, hydrate and repair damage. Give the conditioner time to do its work before rinsing.
8. Cool rinse and dry
When it's time for your final rinse, use cool water to close the cuticles and leave your hair looking shinier. Leave your hair to dry naturally for as long as possible before gently patting it dry with a towel. If you use a hairdryer, use the lowest setting and keep it moving to avoid drying out the roots and undoing all your good work.