Under a microscope, each hair strand is covered in tiny overlapping scales called cuticles, a bit like roof tiles. The cuticle’s job is to protect the hair’s cortex which determines the hair’s strength.
When the cuticles lay flat, keeping the cortex protected, the hair reflects light and gives it a shiny appearance. All protein, moisture and hair colour is locked in. If the cuticles are raised or opened, the protein and colour escapes, the surface becomes rough and the result is a tangled mess of hair. The elasticity is weakened which causes the hair to break off.
So what makes the cuticles lay down smoothly rather than stick out all over the place? Unruly cuticles are the result of excessive brushing, heat styling, chemical processes, colouring and incorrect pH levels. It’s the job of shampoo and, more specifically, conditioner to keep cuticles flat and well-behaved – resulting in shiny and manageable hair.
How often should you wash your hair? Well, that’s your call, really! Daily washing doesn’t necessarily dry your hair out as long as you use conditioner in the same way that washing your face on a daily basis doesn’t dry it out as long as you moisturise afterwards. If your hair gets oily easily, you may want to wash it every day. For hair that takes ages to dry, every second or third day will be better. If you’re at the gym, your hair probably only needs a rinse rather than a full wash. Running some conditioner just through the ends before you rinse it will freshen it up. (Or use Hair Perfume if you don’t want to wet it at all).
When you ‘wash your hair’, you’re really washing your scalp. This is where the oil comes from, and then dirt sticks to that. The natural hair oil (sebum) travels down straight hair more easily than wavy or curly hair which is why straight hair tends to get more oily than curly hair. Use Deep Cleansing Shampoo on an oil-prone scalp, or Nourishing Shampoo if your scalp is more on the dry side (and get some Pre-Shampoo Treatment Oil).
Squeeze a 50p piece sized dollop of shampoo onto the palm of your hand. Spread it all over over soaking wet hair and massage in, right down to the scalp, using your fingertips. The lather will then clean the hair. Next rinse. And rinse some more for good luck, as any leftover residue makes your hair dull. If your hair doesn’t feel squeaky clean after just one shampoo, do another one but with about a third of the amount of shampoo.
Why is it necessary? –
Conditioner detangles your hair after shampooing by containing additives which close the cuticle.
If you have fine hair and feel that conditioner generally weighs it down, try the Light Conditioner as it’s a basic detangler without heavy additives. For dry or coarse hair, use Cream Conditioner or Treatment Conditioner as they contain lots of lovely, helpful additives. Conditioner will never “repair” split ends – the only actual cure for split ends is to physically cut them off – but it will smooth down the rough edges.
Number One rule – Always avoid putting conditioner on your scalp *especially* if your hair gets oily. Conditioner is actually only needed on the mid-lengths and ends as this is the oldest and most worn out part of your hair. Use about a 50p piece sized squidge – more if you have a lot of hair. Squeeze as much water out of your hair as you can as excess water dilutes the conditioner. Use a wide toothed comb or your fingers to gently get it though the mid-lengths and ends, starting from the bottom and working up. Leave the conditioner on while you carry on showering as this gives it time to soak in to do a proper job. After at least a minute rinse it off and then rinse a bit more for good luck until your hair no longer feels slippery.