Life 101: Washing Your Hair

File this under things you thought you knew. Do you really know how to wash your locks without damaging the hair cuticle, creating tangles, and generally creating your own set of hair problems?

Here is the low-down on sudzing up:

  • Wet hair thoroughly.
  • You need only a dollop of shampoo about the size of a Loonie (that’s a Canadian dollar coin—about 1″ in diameter). Put in the palm of your hand, rub together to lather, then apply (gently) focusing on the roots. The suds running down the hair shaft will be sufficient cleaning for the lengths.
  • Apply in the direction of hair growth. In other words, bending over the tub with a hand sprayer is not ideal. The shower/shampoo combo is best. Running your hands from root to tip smooths down the cuticle and keeps hair healthy which in turn means that when your hair is dry, it catches the light (simply put: looks shiny). Do not pile into a sudsy Marg Simpson-like mass. Do not rub, scrub, scrunch, or use circular motions. All are damaging. If you are in a rush or stressed don’t try to wash you hair; just shower, take a deep breath, and go.
  • Rinse thoroughly using lukewarm water. Steaming hot water does the same damage to your hair as hot styling tools. Gently rake your finger through your hair from top to bottom to remove shampoo.
  • Now we come to the point at which there is some contention—the Rinse-And-Repeat stage. Necessary or just a marketing ploy to get you to use/buy more shampoo? I think it depends on a few factors: how dirty is your hair;? how oily is your scalp?; how dry is your hair? how often do you wash your hair? Work that out accordingly. The paradox is that the more you strip away the oils, the more your hair will produce to compensate. It might take a while for you and your strands to come to a truce, but eventually you’ll know when you’ve hit the perfect balance.
  • Squirt of dollop of conditioner into your palm (amount depending on how long your hair is) and apply to the HAIR not the SCALP. Use the same smoothing, raking motions from mid-length to tip. Leave on at least 2 minutes. So get on with the showering portion, shaving your legs, singing….and so on. Just let that conditioner soak in. You can even pop on a plastic cap to keep it out of the way of the spray. Once a week do a deep conditioning treatment.
  • Rinse using the same smoothing, raking hand motion. Use lukewarm water. An icy rinse is not necessary, or even beneficial (it can in fact impede hair growth—read here).
  • Wrap wet hair in an cotton T-shirt rather than a towel. (For why see–here).
  • Remove wrap. Rake fingers through hair. Do not comb or brush (never, never brush wet hair). If possible—or rearrange your schedule to make it possible—let hair dry naturally. Adopt the French attitude to hair (read here).

So there you are, 9 steps to the art of washing your hair! Are you doing it right?