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How To Properly Wash Your Hair: Step-by-Step Guide

Nov 22, 2023 | By Maria

How To Properly Wash Your Hair: Step-by-Step Guide

The hair-washing process is one of the most basic steps in self-care and grooming. It’s just one of those things that you instinctively know how to do. Most importantly, hair washing is essential for good hygiene and healthy hair.

With that said, while most people will know instinctively when hair needs to be washed and how to do so, a lot of people do not know how to properly wash your hair. The importance of proper hair washing is quite evident when it comes to longevity or your cleanliness, your hair’s health, your scalp health, and just the overall feeling of it.

We’ve compiled this ultimate guide to help you tweak a few things in your hair washing routine to enhance and improve it.

Pre-Wash Preparation

Pre-wash preparation is just as important as the hair washing itself. The prep can make things much easier and quicker for you in the long run. Here are a few things you can do before you wash your hair:

A. Brushing Or Combing Your Hair

Brushing Or Combing Your Hair

Brushing or combing your hair before you wash your hair can make things a lot easier for you in the shower. This is true, especially for those with fine hair that’s easily matted or tangled. You don’t want to get a really bad matted area wet before you’ve detangled it as this will make it a lot worse. Brushing or combing your hair with a wide tooth comb will help prevent this. It will also help make detangling after washing easier.

B. Choosing The Right Shampoo And Conditioner For Your Hair Type

Choosing The Right Shampoo And Conditioner

What type of shampoo should I use for my hair type?

Choosing the right shampoo for your hair type is incredibly important because different hair types have different needs. Some tend to have dry hair types while some have oily hair types and using a product that is not compatible with your particular needs can hold back the potential of your hair and even damage it in the long run.

For fine hair and oily scalp, a deep cleansing shampoo with protein and amino acids will be beneficial. This will help thicken the strands while getting rid of excessive buildup of sebum. A clarifying shampoo once a week or so along with your regular shampoo is also essential. However, do make sure to look for sulfate-free options to avoid stripping your hair and scalp of healthy natural oils.

For curly hair, you need a lot more moisture. Go for a moisturizing shampoo for dry hair with botanical oils, emollients, and humectants to give your hair that moisture and hydration. However, since this is a very gentle shampoo. A clarifying shampoo is also needed once in a while when the buildup gets too much.

For dyed or bleached hair, go for a shampoo that preserves color and tones it. For blondes and bleached hair, a purple shampoo is needed to get the brassiness out and maintain the blonde color. While those with more vibrant colors will benefit from a color-preserving shampoo.

C. Adjusting Water Temperature

Adjusting Water Temperature

Is it better to use cold or hot water when washing hair?

Hot water should never be used to wash hair. It should always be just warm water and if possible, a cold rinse. Hot water can damage the scalp and hair and leave it dry and frizzy. It can also cause hair loss.

Warm water will help melt the product, such as shampoo and conditioner while still being an acceptable temperature that won’t damage your hair. That said, a cold rinse is truly the best thing you can do for your hair. This will seal up the hair cuticle, protect it from damage, and even make the hair much shinier.

D. Pre-Poo Detangler

Pre-Poo Detangler

If you have curly or easily tangled hair, you may benefit from a pre-poo detangler. This means that you can apply a hair oil of your choice or even a hair mask that will help lubricate the strands of your hair and make it easier to detangle.

How To Wash Your Hair Properly

How To Wash Your Hair Properly

Washing your hair may seem pretty straightforward but there are a few things you can do to improve your technique and experience. In the long run, these are simple tips that can make a big change but don’t take a lot of effort and time to do.

Proper Hair Washing Techniques

1. Lather

A lot of people may just apply the shampoo on their hands and then directly go into the hair and scalp. However, it’s better to first lather the product in the hands before applying it to the hair. This will distribute the shampoo more evenly.

2. Get the hair soaking wet

Many people can assume that they haven’t applied enough shampoo when it doesn’t spread or lather. However, this can just mean that the hair isn’t soaked enough. Make sure that your hair is completely saturated with water before applying your shampoo. Do little squeezes to help the hair absorb water.

3. Apply the shampoo and massage with your fingertips

Apply shampoo, a small palmful, lather on the hands, and massage the scalp and roots with your fingertips. Do not use your nails to cleanse your scalp as they can cause tearing and irritation. Use your fingertips only and apply light to medium pressure.

4. Scrub for 60 seconds

Just like brushing your teeth or hand-washing, there is a set amount of time for hair washing that’s optimum for hygiene and maintenance and that’s a minimum of 60 seconds up to 2 minutes. While you are massaging and lathering your scalp with shampoo, count to 60 seconds to make sure you’re getting a thorough clean.

5. Go in for another round

Shampooing twice is a good practice because the first round is only really to melt down the oils, product, and dirt in the hair. The second round is the one to get the scalp and roots thoroughly clean and voluminous. This will also help reduce the need for washing so often.

6. Condition and Sandwich Method

Condition after shampooing to put moisture into the hair. Avoid putting this on the scalp and roots and only apply it on the strands and ends of the hair. You may also do the sandwich method (applying between two rounds of shampoo) if you have very oily hair.

7. Rinse properly

This cannot be stressed enough: rinse your shampoo and conditioner thoroughly. Make sure that there is absolutely zero residue left. If there is product left after rinsing and it dries, it can result in irritation and dandruff.

Frequency of Hair Washing

How often should you wash your hair?

Some may already know that hair should not be washed daily. Especially for those with curly or dry hair, this is not necessary and can lead to dryness and frizz.

Adjusting washing frequency based on hair type

For fine hair and oily roots, it may seem like washing daily is needed but it all comes down to the right products and technique. Try washing your hair with a sulfate-free shampoo and avoid using products with silicones in them to prevent heavy buildup. Try also shampooing twice while washing to get a thorough clean each time. Use a dry shampoo to extend the time between washes. 3-4 times a week for hair washing should be a good schedule.

For curly hair and dry hair types, hair washing should only be done when needed. This means when there is buildup or oil. Once a week of hair washing will typically be enough.

Common Hair Washing Mistakes

Common Hair Washing Mistakes

Overwashing and under washing

So, how do you know if you are over washing or under washing your hair? There are a few signs you should look out for to know if you wash your hair correctly.

Dry, frizzy, and dull hair can mean that you overwash your hair. That means washing too often that your natural oils are stripped from your scalp and hair. This can also lead to flakiness and some itchiness from the dryness. The solution to this is to wash less frequently.

If you are under washing, it will be pretty obvious. The scalp and roots will feel very greasy and itchy. This means that the washes are too few and far between. Again, the solution is to just wash hair more often.

Using the wrong products

The wrong products can also cause all kinds of issues that you may not realize. Make sure that you are using the right type of shampoo and conditioner for your hair type. Also, always opt for sulfate free shampoos and silicone-free conditioners

Improper rinsing and conditioning

Shampoo and conditioner must always be rinsed properly and thoroughly. Rinse shampoo and conditioner with warm water and make sure that there is no residue left.

How To Wash Color-Treated Hair

You can wash color-treated hair as normal, but make sure to use a color-preserving shampoo and conditioner or toning shampoos and conditioners like purple shampoo or blue shampoo.

Post-Wash Care

Post-Wash Care

A. Towel drying techniques

Do not use a terry cloth towel to dry hair. Instead, use a microfiber towel or a cotton T-shirt. Do not rob your hair with it. Instead, gently pat the hair and squeeze the water out. This will prevent friction, frizz, and damage.

B. Protecting hair from heat and environmental damage

Before styling hair or going out into the world, apply a heat protectant to avoid damaging your hair with heat and UV rays. You can also opt for a keratin treatment that will coat the hair with a protective layer of protein.

Wash Your Worries Away

Hair washing is an important part of your hair care routine if not the most important part. Paying attention to how you do it can make a world of difference. Apply these hair washing techniques to your routine and watch how it changes your hair!