How to Shampoo Hair

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 lovely locks without even realizing it.

1. Start with a rinse.

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. Another bonus: When the 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.

2. If you have long hair, condition first.

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.

3. Lather up — but only at the scalp.

You only need to shampoo the hair at the scalp, particularly at the nape. 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. A quarter-sized amount of shampoo is enough. If your hair is particularly long or thick, go ahead and double that.

4. Be gentle!

Friction can permanently damage your hair’s cuticle, leading to breakage and frizz. Start your lather at the roots. 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. 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 repeat.

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 unless the hair is extremely dirty and the first shampoo didn’t produce lather.

6. Add conditioner from the mid-lengths to the tips.

After one has rinsed out shampoo, squeeze some of the water out of the hair before one puts in the conditioner. Then clip hair up and finish showering, leaving the conditioner rinse out for the final step of the shower. The longer the conditioner stays onto the hair, the better it absorbs. Don’t put conditioner at the roots of the hair; the natural oil from the scalp is more concentrated there.

7. Finish with a cold water rinse.

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.

8. Use a shampoo and conditioner that’s made for one’s hair type.

If hair is dry, choose moisturizing products. If hair is colored, opt for color-safe formulas. “Volumizing” shampoos tend to leave hair drier, so they’re best for fine hair types that would be weighed down by more moisturizing products.

9. How often you wash your hair depends on your hair type, too.

If someone has oily or fine hair, then it’s important to shampoo daily. Normal or dry hair can lather up closer to three times a week.


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