Good hair days don’t show up by accident; they’re a result of a careful hair care regimen. If you want to achieve hair perfection, it’s important to wash your hair regularly. You don’t want your coif to become oily and flat or dry and frizzy, and you don’t want to have to acquire an endless supply of hats and paper bags.
As you probably already know, the supplies you will need to wash your hair are a shampoo appropriate to your hair; a bottle of equally appropriate conditioner; and water. Of course, you will also need a towel for afterward. A comb and/or a hairdryer is optional.
How to Wash Hair, Step-by-Step
1. Wet your hair
Before you start shampooing your hair, you have to make sure that it is wet enough for the shampoo to work well. Either dunk your head in the water in the bathtub or run the showerhead or sink faucet on it for about two minutes. Use warm, but not scalding, water. Make sure that your hair is thoroughly saturated. If you have long or thick hair, work your fingers through it so that you don’t miss any of it and leave it dry or only slightly damp.
2. Shampoo your hair
The amount of shampoo you should use depends on your hair type and how much hair you have, but the general rule is to use an amount that’s about the size of a quarter. If you use too much shampoo, it will be a real pain to rinse out. And that’s not to mention that it’s a waste of money.
Work the shampoo through your hair, starting at the roots and making your way to the ends. Massage your scalp with your fingertips as you shampoo. (Massage with the pads of your fingertips, not with your fingernails.) Not only is this relaxing, but it will help you wash away excess oils from your scalp or any styling product buildup.
3. Rinse out the shampoo
When you’re done shampooing, rinse your hair thoroughly in the tub or under the faucet. If you’re washing it in the tub, you may want to change the water if it gets too soapy or dirty in order to be sure of a good rinse. You don’t want any shampoo remaining on your hair. It could leave your hair flat or sticky.
4. Repeat steps two and three if needed
If you don’t feel that your hair is thoroughly clean from the first shampooing, feel free to shampoo it again. This can be the case especially if your scalp is oily. This second shampooing should not have any negative impact on your hair. Just be sure to rinse thoroughly again this time.
5. Condition your hair
Unlike when you’re shampooing, you should not concentrate on your roots when you condition your hair. In fact, you shouldn’t put any conditioner on the roots at all. Instead, start applying the conditioner about an inch down your hair shaft. Where you want to give your hair extra attention at this point is at the ends.
You can use a little more conditioner than you did the shampoo since it doesn’t have quite as much lather, but do not glop it on unless you want to look like you’re wearing a helmet. You may want to leave the conditioner on your hair for two to five minutes before you rinse it out. This is completely up to you.
6. Rinse out the conditioner
Again, rinse your hair with warm water and make sure you get all of the product out of it. As you rinse, comb your fingers through your hair in a downward motion. You don’t want to just move your hands haphazardly through your hair, especially if your hair is thick. This could encourage knots or tangles.
7. Turn on the cold water
After you’re done rinsing, give your hair a quick blast with cold water to close the follicle and make your hair shinier when it dries. Only make the water as cold as you can comfortably stand. No need to risk hypothermia just for shinier hair.
8. Apply a leave-in conditioner
If you have a leave-in conditioner, you can comb it through your hair at this point. This is completely optional. Whether your hair will benefit from a leave-in, and which one you should use, again depends on your hair type.
9. Dry your hair
Even if you’re planning on using the hair dryer to dry your hair, you’ll probably want to dry it off with a towel first. If you have hair that’s longer than shoulder length, you can gently wring it out with your hands first, starting near the roots and continuing down to the ends. Be careful not to pull, since this could result in breakage.
Once you’re out of the shower or tub, wrap the towel around your hair and dab at it. Vigorous friction from the towel can cause tangles and frizz. You can run the comb through it if you need to to get any tangles out, but again, don’t pull.
Then let your hair air dry the rest of the way or style it with the hair dryer. To prevent frizz, use a heat-protective lotion or spray if using the hair dryer or a curling iron.
When to wash your hair
It’s recommended that you shampoo your hair at least a few times a week. You don’t need to condition your hair as often, unless your hair type requires very frequent conditioning. How your hair behaves will determine what the best regimen is for you. If you’re not sure what to do, don’t hesitate to ask your stylist.