Sunday, March 25, 2012

Lather. Rinse. Repeat. How to Wash Your Hair Properly

As a professional hair dresser I can tell you right now, about 90% of the population does not wash their hair properly.

You may not actually be cleaning your hair as you thought you were. The saying goes, "Lather. Rinse. Repeat." We have all heard it, we all know it, but about 90% of the population forgets it when they jump into the shower. I'm going to break down exactly what this process is, so you can ensure that you are properly cleaning your hair and not wasting money.

I would also like to add how often you should shampoo your hair, because I get that question a lot. For Straight to Wavy hair, wash your hair every other day. For Wavy to Curly hair, wash 2 maybe 3 times a week. Curly hair naturally tends to be dry and requires less washing to allow the natural sebum (oils) to provide nutrients to the hair.

A lot of clients will tell me, "My hair gets so oily, I have to wash my hair every day." This is a statement I hear way too often, and washing every day is not going to rid you of oily hair, it will only make the problem worse. When you scrub your scalp you cause stimulation, that stimulation can effect the sebaceous glands and cause them to be over active. Sebaceous glands produce sebum, sebum is the natural/healthy oils your body produces. They can be found in both the hair and skin, and are there to help maintain elasticity to prevent premature aging.

Step One: Stop using that store bought crap and get yourself some professional shampoo. I would suggest something from the Wella line, its affordable, color safe, smells amazing, and is available for both fine to normal and coarse hair (Continue to read past the step-by-step and I will clear up some of the rumors surrounding "Sulfates").

Step Two: Start with a quarter size amount of shampoo in your palm. Emulsify and apply to the scalp scrubbing with the pads of your fingers (not your finger nails) work the shampoo to lift the dirt, oils, free radicals, and other environmental elements off the scalp which will then work itself onto the root of the hair shaft.

Step Three: Rinse your hair thoroughly. Remove all the suds, the suds running through your hair are sufficient enough to cleanse your hair and loosen up the target "dirtiness" that was attached to the hair shaft. In other words, you are breaking up and rinsing off the excess from your hair. At this point your hair will not feel clean after rinsed.

Step Four: Its time to wash your hair again. This time use a bit less of your shampoo and apply at the scalp and the base of your hair, now start massaging it into the hair, are you noticing the suds that are now starting to build up? You can now work these throughout the rest of your hair. At this time you have used about half as much shampoo as a person normally would to try and achieve those suds the first wash.

Step Five: Its time to condition, use about a quarter to half dollar (depending on hair density and length) amount of conditioner. Emulsify it in your hands and apply from the ends of your hair to the mid shaft up to the root (if you have a problem with oily hair only apply up to the mid shaft) by scrunching the conditioner into your hair like mousse. The conditioner will spread. The reason for conditioner is to give your hair some slick and keep your ends from over drying. The natural good oils in your hair do not take very long to go from scalp to mid length, although it needs some help and back up when making its way to the ends. If you wish and are not suffering from too much oil, go ahead and give your scalp a nice massage working your fingers in circles or alternating 'C' patterns. Be sure to leave the conditioner in your hair for a few moments, I recommend washing your body while it sits and then rinsing off your hair as your rinse off your body.

Step Six: Rinse your conditioner thoroughly. Many people make the mistake of leaving their hair with that layer of slick, thinking that is how the conditioner works. It is not. To avoid tangles be sure to get yourself a good leave-in conditioner or detangler. If you are using a good conditioner even thoroughly rinse will still produce results that are fairly simple to brush through. If you are still getting knots at then end of your layers or length, it is time for a trim (that is your split ends grabbing each other).

Now that we have covered how to wash and condition your hair properly you can continue on to the rest of your routine. One side note though, when you towel dry your hair make sure you have rung your own hair out of as much moisture as possible in the shower, follow that up with squeezing the towel around your hair do not rub your hair like crazy, this effects the cuticle and will cause the need for a haircut sooner rather than later. It can also damage the hair if the hair has been colored or highlighted.

SULFATES: Sodium Laurel Sulfate, Ammonium Lauryl Suflates, and the Laureth Sulfates as well are not exactly damaging to your color. These sulfates are in your product to remove the oils and grime from your hair. Sulfates are technically a "degreaser". You may read when doing your online researching that in high concentrations and solely by itself it used to strip the floors of warehouses and auto shops or garages and this is true, but its a different kind of sulfate to do that. What is used in PROFESSIONAL shampoo is such a diluted form that it is only going to act upon the oils and grime that are ON your hair, and not the color IN your hair. Store bought shampoos usually contain a lot more sulfates to clean the hair, but lack in the necessary pH levels and balancers as well as fatty emolients (to help spread the product), which is why you have to "glob" the shampoo into your hand to get the effect you were looking for.

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