Do you complain about your hair being very knotted after showering? Or how about your hair being oily after shampooing? Does your scalp get itchy when you shampoo and condition? Or does it get weak and dry when your hair is longer? These are all problems that can be associated with the way that you wash and dry your hair. Much like our skin care, hair care is different for the different lengths, thicknesses, styles and colors. Therefore not all hair should be treated the same way. Unfortunately most people don’t realize they need to change the way they wash or dry their hair when they change the length, or color or style of their hair. So in due time their hair could become a disappointment.
It may see silly, or tedious but there are correct ways to shampoo, condition and dry your hair. More than likely people don’t even realize that they could be washing or drying their hair incorrectly. Like anything else in life, our parents teach us the how to wash our hair when we are young. However, it seems like such an easy task that most parents allow their kids to observe what they do and let their kids imitate it. This can lead to incorrect washing and drying techniques later on in adulthood.
Much like skin care, hair care is all about having your basic routine and then following it each time to get your best results. Shampooing is cleansing the hair of dirt, sweat, grease and grime. Build up on the strands of hair can cause hair to look dirty, greasy, oily, and limp. Conditioner is the same as moisturizing. Using a conditioner restores the natural moisture into hair strands that are dry. Excess heat, pollutants and chemicals can damage hair causing it to break or even fall out.
Choosing the right shampoo for your hair type is important. However now a days it is hard to tell which shampoo is right because there are so many to choose from. General shampoos are for normal to dry hair or for normal to oily hair. So which one do you choose if you don’t know your hair type? Do a spray test to figure out your hair type. Spray your hair when it’s wet with water. Does your hair immediately absorb the water or does the water bead up before being absorbed? Immediate absorption means you have normal to dry hair. Beading before absorption means you have normal to oily hair. Now that you have the right shampoo for your hair type you can determine how to use it correctly to clean your hair.
Before applying shampoo, soak all your hair in warm water. This will open up the hair cuticles allowing the shampoo to remove dirt and excess oil. Make sure that your hair is completely wet all the way to the scalp. Now you can apply your shampoo. An appropriate amount of shampoo is approximately the size of a quarter for normal hair length. Shorter hair should use less shampoo and longer hair needs more shampoo. Massage shampoo into scalp and hair. Evenly distribute shampoo throughout the hair until it forms a thick lather. Rinse hair completely, making sure that all shampoo is removed from hair. Repeat the shampoo process a second time. This time the lather from the shampoo should be thicker, which shows that the hair is clean and the dirt has been removed. A second rinse is not always necessary if the first shampoo gives a rich lather. Always be sure to thoroughly rinse the hair, making sure no shampoo remanence is left behind.
Finding the correct conditioner for your hair is much like finding the appropriate shampoo. Normal to dry hair needs a conditioner that is high in moisturizers to restore a healthy texture and look. However, normal to oily hair doesn’t need the extra moisture so a lighter conditioner will work just fine. Once you have shampooed your hair now it is time to condition. Gently squeeze out excess water from your hair, being cautious to not break, twist or pull out any hair strands. Conditioning uses the same guidelines as shampooing for the amount to use. Short hair requires less conditioner, longer hair requires more conditioner. Apply conditioner to your hand then stroke your hands over your hair from scalp to neck. Run your fingers like a comb through your hair all the way to the ends to apply conditioner thoroughly to all hair strands. Allow conditioner to remain on hair from 1-5 minutes depending upon the moisture content of the conditioner. Rinse completely, running your fingers through to make sure all conditioner residue is removed.
Next comes the part that people do the most damage to their hair: drying. A normal reaction after a shower is to want to remove all the water and moisture from the hair as quickly as possible. Women do this through blow drying, flat ironing or curling their hair however these instruments can cause heat damage to hair which makes it brittle and more easily breakable. Others vigorously rub their scalp and hair until it’s a knotted mess that looks like they were just in a wind tunnel. This stretches the hair and can cause breakage, not to mention the knotted mess that you have to tackle with your hairbrush. The best way to dry the hair when it is wet is to turban it for 10-15 minutes. This allows the hair to retain the moisture from the water but the towel will soak up the excess water from the hair. Another way is to pat the hair dry with a towel or gently squeeze hair between the folds of a towel. Running the hands over the hair from scalp to neck and then squeezing the water out the ends with two fingers can also remove excess water.
Remember that our hair is more susceptible to breakage when its wet so brushing or combing your hair should be done very carefully. Always use a wide toothed comb to de-tangle and remove knots in hair. This provides less tension on the hair strands plus the prongs on a comb are evenly spaced. Normal hairbrush prongs are unevenly spaced causing the hair to be pulled in several different directions, which can break hair strands. When combing start at the end of the hair. Slowly work your way upward always combing the hair down to smooth out the tangles and knots. Now your hair is ready for styling.
Sarah Labdar, “How to Shampoo, Condition, & Dry Your Hair Properly”, Everyday Health