Don’t you just love that clean hair feeling when you get back from the hairdressers? Having a professional hair wash can be one of life’s biggest pleasures, especially if you get a relaxing head massage after your hair has been shampooed. But how to you replicate a proper hairdresser hair wash at home in the shower?
As a former hairdresser, I have some professional tips for you from the various hair salons that I once worked in. I will share all the details of how to wash your hair properly so that you can shampoo your own hair, just like a hairdresser would.
How often should you wash your hair?
Everybody’s hair is different, so there are no golden rules for this one. If you’re prone to oily hair, you’re probably washing your hair daily (but you may actually be able to last two days if you try tip number 9).
Most people wash their hair about 3 times a week on average, but how often you should wash your hair really depends on your hair type and lifestyle. Work out the frequency that’s best for you, but my advice is to always use a sulphate free shampoo.
Sulphate free shampoos are mild so they don’t completely strip out your natural hair oil (which your hair needs in order to stay moisturised). The sulphate free shampoo bars and sulphate free refillable shampoo that we make at Hairy Jayne are both mild on the hair while working up a good lather.
No matter how often you want to shampoo your hair, the steps below outlining how to wash your hair properly are exactly the same for all hair types. For very dry and curly hair, there is also a technique called co-washing, but that's another blogpost entirely.
Always remember that hair is weaker and stretchier when wet
Unfortunately, when wet hair is stretched, it doesn’t snap back like a rubber band does. So it’s very important to be gentle with your hair when it’s wet and to not pull too hard on it.
Stretching your hair will damage the cuticle. A healthy cuticle is ever so slightly raised, but when hair is stretched the cuticle edges are lifted too far, making it rough and tangled.
Consider using a pre-shampoo oil before you even wet your hair
If you have particularly fine, delicate, long or dry hair, using a hair oil before you shampoo will help to protect it. While we do need moisture in our hair in order for it to be healthy, hair does absorb some extra water when it’s wet. The swelling from the absorption can lift the cuticle too much.
When the hair then dries the cuticle shrinks, which causes mechanical damage and hydral fatigue. This fatigue leads to cuticle breakage, mid-strand fractures and split ends.
So for fine and delicate hair, long hair (which is physically older hair) and already dry or damaged hair, some extra protection for the cuticle before wetting and shampooing can be helpful. Our Pre-shampoo Treatment Oil is exactly that, a pre-shampoo oil designed especially for this reason.
Ideally, the cuticle should be kept ever so slightly raised (not gaping open) so that the shampoo can get in to wash the hair effectively.
Top hair washing tips, straight from a hairdresser:
1. Wet your hair properly to prep the cuticle
Drench the hair thoroughly using lukewarm water. Soaking your hair in lukewarm water will keep the cuticle open at the optimum amount. Cold water will shut the cuticle closed – meaning it’s unable to be properly cleansed. And remember that hair is weak when wet, so don’t have the water too hot.
2. Keep your hair drenched to help the shampoo lather
Once your hair is wet, don’t squeeze out any water, keep it soaking wet. The water in your hair will help the shampoo to lather properly. The more your shampoo lathers, the less product you’re likely to use.
3. Use the right amount of shampoo to combat dullness
Don’t use too much shampoo. It will make it harder for you to rinse it all out which will make your hair look dull. For liquid shampoo, squirt about a 5-10p piece sized amount in the palm of one hand, rub your hands together to distribute it and then run your hands over your scalp. If you’re using a shampoo bar, rub it a few times either between your hands or straight onto your scalp at the front and back of your head.
4. Shampoo only goes on the scalp
You only need to use shampoo on the scalp. Unless your hair is particularly dirty or built up with products or odour, there is no need to apply shampoo to the mid lengths and ends. Once you’ve created a lather, the lather will cleanse the mid lengths and ends when you’re rinsing.
5. Massage your scalp firmly using your finger pads
Use the pads of your fingers (not your fingernails!) to scrub your scalp in forward-backwards or circular motions. Don’t rub your hair. Your finger pads should go under and through the hair maintaining firm skin-to-skin contact with the scalp to create the lather. For a proper scalp massage that will stimulate the circulation and follicles, keep your fingers straight and use enough pressure to move the skin on your scalp.
6. Make sure you cover your whole scalp with shampoo lather
Start with your thumbs above your ears and work your finger pads up to the top of your head, then back to your crown. Then put your thumbs behind your ears in your nape and use your finger pads to scrub the back of your head in side to side motions.
When you’ve built up a nice lather, rinse thoroughly with lukewarm water. The lather will work its way down to the ends and pick up any dirt gently to be rinsed away.
7. Double shampoo for the cleanest of clean hair
To make sure your hair is squeaky clean, shampoo your scalp once more. But this time use the tiniest squirt of shampoo or smallest rub of shampoo bar as it will lather way more easily the second time around. This part of the process will mean that your clean hair lasts longer so you don't have to wash your hair as often.
8. Rinse well to remove all of the shampoo
Rinse for 1 minute with lukewarm water, ensuring no residue is left.
9. Squeeze out water to keep your conditioner concentrated
Now it’s time to remove excess water so that your conditioner isn’t too diluted. Squeeze it out gently down the length of the hair. Don’t scrunch or roll the hair up as it can cause damage your weak, wet hair.
10. Cover all of your strands with conditioner
Apply the correct amount of conditioner for your hair type to your palms. Rub your hands to distribute it evenly. Conditioner is only needed on the mid lengths and ends, applying it to your scalp isn’t necessary. Run through your hair with your fingers or a wide tooth comb until it covers all of your hair strands. When detangling start with the ends, then the middle to the ends, and work up.
11. Give the conditioner time to work
Leave the conditioner in your hair for at LEAST one minute. The longer you can leave it in your hair, the more time the active ingredients have to adsorb to the hair strand to do the work. If you can wrap your hair and come back to the shower after 10-30 minutes, even better!
12. Rinse until your hair stops feeling slippery
When you’re ready to rinse the conditioner, rinse well with either warm or cold water. Rinse your hair until there is no more slippery feeling. Then gently squeeze the excess water out.
13. Don't be rough when towel drying your hair to avoid tangles and damage
When towel-drying your hair, use squeezing, blotting or patting motions. Do not rub your hair. Wrap it in a hair towel until you’re ready to style it.
There are a lot of steps and tips here but they are worth following to if you want to learn how to wash your hair properly, just like they do in the hairdressers. Whether you use a liquid shampoo or shampoo bar, always use a sulphate free shampoo. Your hair and scalp will feel healthier in the long run.