How you wash your hair can make or break your hair health! Stop guessing and do it right with our step by step guide on how to wash your hair correctly!
A guide on how to wash your hair? This may seem unnecessary since you’ve been washing your hair for ages now, and it’s second nature, like brushing your teeth. But just like there is a right way to brush your teeth, there is a right way to wash your hair!
Our tresses make up our crowning glory, and you want to do everything you can to keep them healthy and shiny, don’t you? How you wash your hair can make or break (literally) your hair health, and doing it wrong can cause hair fall, breakage, dullness and frizz.
However, washing your hair right can help you get the maximum benefits out of your wash and the products you use. So here is a detailed, step by step guide on how to wash your hair correctly. Read on!
Step by Step Guide on How to Wash your Hair Correctly
- The very first step in washing your hair starts much earlier, by identifying your hair type. Once you’ve done that, you need to get products that are suitable for your particular hair type. For dry hair, choose products with hydrating ingredients like Aloe Vera and wild honey. Oily hair will do well with ingredients like herbs like Hibiscus and Shikakai. For fine or thin hair, go for Citrus extracts like Lemon/Orange Juice in products for more volume. Pure Oils and Nuts are ingredients that damaged or colored hair needs.
- When choosing hair products, read the labels carefully. Avoid products with SLS/SLES – sodium laureth sulfate or sodium lauryl sulfate as well as ammonium lauryal sulfate. These are basically detergents that will dry out hair. Other ingredients to avoid are alcohols, sodium chloride or polyethylene glycol that can make hair rough and brittle. Choose products that don’t have ‘Fragrance’ among the ingredients, as this can include a number of harsh chemicals. The perfect solution for long term hair health is using non-foaming powder-based herbal hair cleansers for hair cleansing and conditioning.
- The right hair products don’t end with shampoo and conditioner. Make sure you have good tools, like paddle brushes and detangling combs. If the water in your area is chlorinated or hard, think about getting a filter for your shower which can get rid of chemicals in the water.
Frequency of Washing
- So how often should you wash your hair? The answer to this depends upon your hair type, but most experts suggest limiting it to 3 times or less per week. What we consider ‘dirt’ may actually be our scalp’s natural oils, so those with oily hair will need to wash more frequently than those who don’t produce as much oil on their scalp. Over washing can dry out the scalp and hair, which may trigger an overproduction of oil.
- You can refresh your hair by simply rinsing with water, if you think it needs to be perked up in between washes. Apple cider vinegar mixed with water in a spray bottle also helps as a quick fix.
- Before you set out for your hair wash, it’s a good idea to brush your hair first. One advantage of doing this is that it’ll get rid of product residue, excess oil, dirt and dead skin cells from your scalp. Another advantage is that it’ll help you de-tangle all those knots. Washing tangled hair will prevent the product from reaching all parts of your hair evenly, and it can also lead to more breakage. Use the right kind of brush and a wide toothed comb while de-tangling.
- For many of us, oiling our hair is a must-do pre-washing ritual, and we do it at least once a week. An oil massage before washing has many benefits. It increases circulation in the scalp, and it also provides some extra hydration that will come in handy when we use products that can be drying. According to Ayurveda, Murdha Taila, or leaving oil on the head promotes healthy hair growth.
- Choose an oil that suits your hair type. Coconut oil is great for all hair types, but you can try argan oil if you have very dry, frizzy hair or almond oil to fight dandruff. Sesame oil can prevent premature greying. You can also mix oils and herbs like Bhringraj and Brahmi to make your own concoction.
- Use warm oil to help it penetrate the hair and scalp easily. Use only as much oil as you need, depending upon the length and thickness of hair. Those with very fine hair should be careful about how much oil they apply as it can weigh down the hair. It’s best to start applying at the back of the head and then move towards the front. Massage the oil in for at least 10 minutes. Avoid rough or vigorous massage as it can damage the roots.
- Leave the oil in for at least 20 minutes and not more than 2 hours. Wrapping a hot towel around the head opens up the pores and helps you get all the benefits of the oil. Leaving it on for too long can worsen dandruff, and can even cause acne. It’s best to oil your hair about once or twice a week.
- Once you’re in the shower, start by wetting your hair thoroughly. The shampoo or herbal powder you’re using will be easier to apply when hair is completely wet, and you will be able to make do with a small amount. Warm water works well since it helps to open up the cuticles to receive all the nutrients in your shampoo. It also helps to loosen up any excess oil. Don’t use hot water – it can damage your hair.
- Use only a teaspoon or less of shampoo, and dilute it in a mug. Don’t apply shampoo directly on hair – you’ll end up wasting a lot of shampoo, and it won’t get distributed evenly. Mix it with warm water in a mug and pour it over your head – you can ensure that it gets evenly distributed over your scalp and hair.
- The scalp is the focus when cleansing your hair, so take the time to massage it while shampooing. Use only the pads of your fingers and work the product into your scalp. Avoid circular motions – these can tangle hair and damage it while wet. Instead, use an up-down motion with your fingers. A massage will ensure even distribution of the product and also boost blood circulation in your scalp. Start from the temples, move to the hairline and then to the nape of the neck.
- Never use your nails on your scalp – it can cause cuts and infections. Also, despite what shampoo companies will have you believe, shampooing once is enough. Washing more than that will just strip all the natural oils from your hair.
- Rinse out the shampoo with cool water that’ll help seal the cuticles and trap the moisture in. Make sure to spend enough time rinsing it out so you don’t have any product left in your hair. Once you’re done, gently squeeze out all the water – you’ll get that squeaky clean feeling.
- The next step is conditioning your hair – the shampoo is for the scalp while the conditioner is for the ends. Before applying conditioner, make sure that you’ve squeezed out all the water or the hair will be too saturated to absorb the nutrients of the conditioner.
- Never apply conditioner on the scalp, it can weigh down the roots and make them oilier. Apply them from the middle of the strands to the ends. Focus on the ends since these are the driest parts of hair. You can use a wide toothed comb to ensure even distribution of the conditioner along the hair strands. Leave it in for at least 2 minutes and not more than 7 minutes. Too less and the conditioner will have no effect; too much and your hair will turn limp and end up with residue.
- As with the shampoo, rinse out the conditioner with cool water to seal the cuticle. Slightly colder water as the final rinse will work better. Once a week, you can replace the conditioner with a deep conditioning hair treatment which you can leave on for longer. Whatever you apply, make sure to rinse it all out thoroughly.
- Your hair care doesn’t end with the conditioner! How you treat your hair after the wash is just as important as how you wash it. Wet hair is very delicate and should be treated with extra care. Choose a microfiber towel or an old t-shirt to dry your hair – these are gentler than regular towels. When drying your hair, avoid rubbing the strands together – just press the towel on your wet hair and let it absorb the excess water.
- We’ve often heard about not combing wet hair, but the truth is that if you’re using a wide toothed comb and move gently, you can comb and de-tangle your hair while it’s still damp (not dripping wet). This will make it easier to apply any post-wash product.
- Damp hair responds best to serums or leave-in conditioners. It’s best to avoid using heat to dry your hair, but a cool setting on a blow dryer is fine. If you plan on using any heat tool, protect your hair by applying a heat protectant that’ll minimize damage due to the heat.
These are general guidelines to wash your hair, but you’ll need to customize it to your hair type. A little trial and error will help you understand what your hair needs. Pay close attention to what your hair is telling you through it’s appearance and texture, and you’ll know what to do!
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