Clean, shiny hair
When your hair is clean and shiny, you're happy, right? Running your fingers through smooth and healthy hair certainly gives you a little boost throughout the day. This blog post explains the mechanics of hair and how to maintain it to keep it feeling tip top.
Under a microscope, each hair strand is covered in tiny overlapping scales called cuticles, that are a bit like roof tiles. The cuticle's job is to protect the hair’s cortex which determines the hair’s strength. These hair care tips will help you maintain your protective cuticles.
When hair cuticles lay flat, keeping the cortex protected, the hair strands reflect light and give it a shiny appearance. All of the hair's protein, moisture and hair colour are 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 strands' elasticity is weakened, causing the hair to break off. Not good.
So what helps 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. The right shampoo and, more importantly, the right conditioner will help to keep cuticles flat and well-behaved – resulting in shiny and manageable hair.
How often should you wash your hair? Well, that’s really your call! Less frequent washing can benefit some hair types, specifically curly hair. Although, daily washing doesn't *necessarily* dry your hair out as long as you use conditioner afterwards. In the same way that washing your face on a daily basis doesn’t dry it out as long as you use a moisturiser afterwards.
If your hair gets oily easily, you may want to wash it every day. Curly or wavy hair usually benefits from less frequent shampooing as shampoo can disrupt it's natural texture and make it less manageable. Sometimes your hair might only need a rinse rather than a full shampoo. Running some conditioner just through the ends before rinsing it will help freshen it up. (Or use some Hair Perfume if you don’t want to wet it at all).
How to wash your hair properly
When you ‘wash your hair’, you’re really washing your scalp not the hair. 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. If your scalp is feeling dry, try some Pre-Shampoo Treatment Oil. Apply it to your scalp before you shampoo and allow to really soak in.
To shampoo, squeeze a 10p piece sized dollop onto the palm of your hand, or rub your shampoo bar directly onto your scalp. Spread it all over over soaking wet hair and massage in with your fingertips, concentrating on the scalp. The lather will clean the hair itself. When you rinse out the shampoo, rinse some more for good luck as any leftover residue will make 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 or shampoo bar.
Conditioner detangles your hair after shampooing and contains ingredients which help close the cuticle. Our liquid and solid conditioners both do this.
If you have fine hair and feel that conditioner generally weighs it down, try our Light Conditioner as it's a basic detangler without heavy additives. For 'normal' hair that is a bit dry, use our Conditioner Bar or Cream Conditioner and for very dry, damaged hair use our Treatment Conditioner or Conditioner Bar. They both contain lots of lovely, helpful additives which smooth any roughness.
Conditioner will never 'repair' split ends – unfortunately the only actual cure for split ends is to cut them off.
How to condition your hair properly
The golden rule is to avoid getting conditioner on your scalp *especially* if your hair gets overly 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 10 - 50p piece sized squidge – more if you have a lot of hair. Before you put it in your hair, squeeze as much water out as you can so you don't dilute 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 if it's very knotty. Leave the conditioner on as 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'. Again, not enough rinsing will leave your hair looking coated and dull.