Although washing your hair may seem like second nature to most, there are steps you can take that will significantly change how your hair looks and feels. This is because depending on your hair type your hair requires different needs. In this comprehensive guide, we will take you through how to wash your hair to achieve the best results, leaving you with gorgeous and nourished locks.
Step-by-step Guide to Washing Your Hair Properly
Step 1: Preparing Your Hair
Depending on your hair type, how you prepare your hair will differ as each type requires specific care due to its texture and hair structure:
If you have curly to coiled hair it tends to tangle easily as well as get quite frizzy when you brush it. This is why it is best to detangle your hair gently using your fingers or a wide-tooth comb; starting at the ends and slowly working your way up to the roots. You can also apply a pre-shampoo treatment such as a Pump's Liquid Gold Oil to deeply nourish and detangle your hair easily.
Giving your hair a thorough brush before washing will help products seep into the hair follicle better; be sure to use a suitable brush and gently work through each section of hair.
Similarly to curly hair, wavy hair can also benefit from a pre-wash treatment such as a hair oil or conditioning mask to make it easier to detangle. Using a wide-tooth comb, work your way up from the ends to the roots.
Step 2: Wetting Your Hair
Using hot water is a common hair-washing mistake as it can strip your hair of its natural oils, leaving your hair dry and prone to damage. Cold water, on the other hand, is not as effective in removing dirt or product buildup. That is why it is best to use lukewarm water to gently remove residue without causing damage.
Step 3: Choosing the Right Shampoo
Similarly to how you prepare your hair, which shampoo you should use depends on your hair type. If you have curly hair, you want to use a curly girl shampoo as it is specifically formulated for your hair type. If your hair is quite oily, using a clarifying shampoo will help remove product buildup and dirt. Lastly, if your hair is quite dry, using a moisturising shampoo will remove product buildup whilst still nourishing your hair follicles.
Step 4: Apply Shampoo
Use a small amount of shampoo, roughly the size of a dollar coin and massage the shampoo into your scalp using your fingertips in circular motions. As your scalp is where product buildup and oil tends to accumulate, this is where you want to focus. Let the remaining shampoo cascade down your hair.
Step 5: Rinsing
Make sure you rinse your hair thoroughly so your hair isn't weighed down with product as it can leave your hair looking dull and lead to scalp issues.
Step 6: Conditioning
Conditioner should be applied to the mid-lengths to the end of your hair as applying it to your scalp can cause your hair to become more oily. Depending on your hair type you should also use different products and methods.
Curly or Wavy Hair
Curly hair is often dryer and needs more moisture so it is important to select the right one for your hair type, leave it in for longer and also apply more than you would to straight or fine hair. You can also further distribute the conditioner and detangle your hair by using a wide-toothed comb to work through any last knots.
Straight or Fine Hair
Straight or fine hair would benefit from a lightweight conditioner, so opt for ones without heavy oils or shea butter as it can weigh down your hair and leave it looking greasy.
Step 7: Rinsing
Once you have left it for an adequate amount of time, thoroughly rinse your hair.
Step 8: Drying Your Hair
After you finish washing your hair, use a cotton t-shirt or a microfiber towel to gently remove any excess water. If you have curly hair, throw your hair forward and gently plop your hair in an upward motion to encourage your natural curl pattern. Depending on the desired result, how you dry your hair will differ:
Air drying your hair is the best way to preserve your natural hair pattern and reduce breakage as blow drying can cause heat damage. Once you have removed excess water, you can apply a leave-in conditioner or hair oil and leave your hair to air dry naturally.
If you want a more volumising look, you can use a blow dryer to dry your hair. For all hair types, it is best practice to use it on a low-medium heat setting and work through each section quickly to not overheat one section. If you have curly hair, be sure to use a diffuser to preserve your natural curl pattern. We also recommend using a heat protectant as an extra layer of protection before drying your hair.
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Common Mistakes with Washing Hair You Should Avoid
Over-washing or Under-washing
Overwashing your hair can cause dryness and breakage as your hair isn't given ample time to regulate itself naturally. It can also cause an overproduction of oil as your hair is trying to compensate for continually being stripped back. Underwashing, on the other hand, can lead to product buildup and dirt accumulating on your scalp, leading to scalp issues and lacklustre hair. That is why it is important to maintain a healthy balance between the two and wash your hair once to twice a week.
Using Too Much Shampoo
Less is more in this case as excessive shampoo can dry your scalp and hair out.
Rough Towel Drying
Your hair is more vulnerable when wet so it is important to gently remove any excess water as well as using a soft cotton t-shirt or microfiber towel to minimise breakage.
Washing Hair Tips & Tricks from Haircare Expert
Hair growth starts on the scalp so by stimulating your scalp you are helping to improve blood flow, promoting healthier hair growth.
Intermediately using clarifying treatments can help remove stubborn product buildup and dirt. This will help to open your hair shaft, making it able to absorb nourishing and moisturising products instead.
Although it is best to use lukewarm water to wash your hair, doing a final rinse with cold water can help seal your hair cuticles, leaving them smoother and shinier.
FAQs about Washing Hair
How many times a week should I wash my hair?
How often you should wash your hair is dependent on your hair type and individual hair needs. However, as a good rule of thumb, once to twice a week is best. If you have curly or coiled hair, washing it once every ten days may even be enough. Start with less frequently and increase the frequency as needed.
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What happens if you don't wash your hair?
If you don’t wash your hair it can cause styling products to build up as well as dirt and oil. This can lead to your scalp looking greasy and leave it more vulnerable to infection. If you want to reduce how often you wash your hair, you can use a dry shampoo in between washes as well as brush your hair regularly to move oil from your scalp down the length of your hair.