By Ugochi Obiajunwa
Using the correct techniques to wash your hair can make a world of difference in your hair’s health, bounce and shine—but if you’re making some common mistakes, you could be damaging your lovely locks without even realizing it. See the expert’s best tips for lathering up and doing it the right way:
- Start with a rinse
Just like your laundry needs a rinse cycle before you add detergent, hair should be thoroughly wet before you add your shampoo. “When your hair is rinsed in warm water, it loosens the oils through the scalp and opens the cuticle so it is able to absorb the oil” in your conditioner.
- If you have long hair, condition first
If you have hair beneath the shoulders, protect fragile ends from drying out and further damage by running a small amount of conditioner through them and lightly rinsing, before any shampooing. This will not only keep ends healthy, it will fill any holes in the cuticle with moisture, making it smoother and boosting shine.
- Lather up
The best way to lather up is from roots to ends. The hair closest to the scalp is the youngest and will inevitably be the oiliest, while the end of the hair is the oldest and usually driest, most fragile part of the hair. Don’t use more shampoo than you need; a quarter-sized amount of shampoo is enough. If your hair is particularly long or thick, go ahead and double that.
- Wash gently
Friction can permanently damage your hair’s cuticle, leading to breakage and frizz. Start your lather at the roots, Increase blood flow to the scalp and stimulate hair growth by using vertical strokes with medium pressure. Don’t use circular motions, which can tangle your hair. Next, smooth the lather over the ends in a straight stroking motion. Do not scrub the fragile ends or use a back and forth motion like you’re washing a rag on a washboard.
- Don’trinse and repeat
Despite what the instructions on the back of your shampoo bottle may say, there’s no need to wash your hair twice. Avoid stripping the hair by doing one shampoo only, which is usually sufficient, unless the hair is extremely dirty and the first shampoo didn’t produce lather. In that case, go ahead and lather up one more time.
- Add conditioner
After you’ve rinsed out your shampoo, squeeze some of the water out of the hair before you put in the conditioner. Then clip your hair up and finish showering, leaving the conditioner rinse out for the final step of your shower. The longer the conditioner stays on your hair, the better it absorbs. Don’t put conditioner at the roots of your hair; the natural oil from your scalp is more concentrated there.
- Finish with a cold water rinse
Cold water will shut the cuticle tight, sealing the shingle-like outer layer, which will cause it to reflect the most light and give off the most shine.
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