There are so many tips and tricks to keep your hair in its fullest glory, and we’ve covered a lot of them. From the proper use of hair towels and blow dryers to the best type of fabric for your pillowcases, we’re dedicated to bringing you the best hair hacks on the internet (and beyond). Ready for another round? Of course, you are! Here’s how to wash hair properly to keep it pristine, undamaged, and on point for any occasion.
There’s more to washing your hair than simply picking out the best shampoo and conditioner for your hair and scalp type. We’ll take a close look at the science behind what inspires either a dull, frizzy mane or magnificent locks every time you wash your hair.
How to Wash Hair Like a Pro
Cleanliness has long been a virtue in societies around the world. We’ve been obsessed with it since forever. Although the first liquid that we’d recognize as shampoo originated in Germany around 1927, the first recorded references to a soap designed for the hair appeared in India circa the 16th century. Before that, there’s strong evidence that pre-Colombian Native Americans made shampoo out of certain plants, whereas the ancient Chinese used the seeds from Chinese cedar to wash their hair.
What all that experimenting means is that we’ve also had plenty of time to experiment with and refine our hair washing (and care) techniques. Just like you take special care when drying your hair for maximum beauty, how you handle your hair in the shower has an impact on its appearance – products notwithstanding. To optimize your hair’s beauty, follow these tips:
1. Pregame Your Shower Time
No, we don’t mean throw back a couple of shots while your shower heats up (but we aren’t judging if you want to let your hair down). Pregame each hair wash with a couple of easy tricks to make the actual washing process easier. Depending on the type of hair you have, try one or both of these:
- Gently brush or comb your hair. Ladies with extra thick or curly hair, use a very wide-toothed comb or your fingers to tease out any tangles which might have developed. This ensures you won’t have to fight them during the shampoo session.
- Use a Pre-Poo. A “pre-poo” is a hair treatment put into your hair before you shampoo or condition it. It helps add moisture, prevent overly “clean” hair that’s stripped of all oils, and gives your conditioner a bit of support to help it be more effective.
2. Massage Your Scalp, Don’t Rub Your Hair
You wouldn’t rub your hair with a big fluffy bath towel, scouring it from root to tip to eradicate all of the extra water, right? Why would you use that same action on it in the shower? Contrary to all those beauty commercials showing a well-lathered ball of hair being kneaded by perfectly manicured fingers, you don’t need to (and really shouldn’t) handle your hair like that.
When it comes to drying your hair, we’ve emphasized the importance of getting to the water around the roots – the same applies when you wash your hair. Instead of slathering shampoo all over your hair, consider:
- Applying shampoo only to your scalp. From here, massage the shampoo into the roots using your fingers and let it travel down the length of your locks on its own.
- Move away from the showerhead. While you’re focusing on your scalp, don’t stand under the shower so that the hot water is beating down on the rest of your hair. Instead, move away to give the shampoo a chance to run down naturally.
- Try leaning over the bath or sink. If you’ve got particularly thick or long hair, lean over the bath or sink to get to your scalp around the base of the neck. Doing so will also protect the top of your hair while you work on the underside.
Contrary to popular portrayal, you don’t need to work the shampoo into your hair. Why? Because of the ingredient that makes shampoo work its magic: surfactants. Surfactants are substances that reduce the surface tension of a liquid to increase its spreading and wetting abilities. Since things like dirt, sebum, and many hair oils are water-insoluble, we need surfactants to emulsify them so they can be pulled into the water and washed away.
The behavior of surfactants also means that they allow the shampoo to travel down the length of your hair much more easily, much the same way your other hair care products do. Therefore, rubbing your hair simply exposes your hair to more conditions that inspire frizz.
Skip the frizz. Start (or end) your day with a head massage instead.
3. Get Cool with Your Conditioner
A hot shower is a perfect way to start (or end) your day, but if you’ve been accustomed to hot water from start to finish, you need to rethink that. We covered a little bit about what water temperature does to your hair – it turns out, it affects your hair much the same way as your skin. In short, hot water opens the pores on your scalp and causes your hair follicles to swell. That’s great because it assists with releasing dirt, sebum, or extra product.
When it comes time to condition your hair, however, turn that water temperature down. Cool water closes pores and reduces follicle swelling. It also helps trap conditioner in your hair to maximize moisture and keep it nourished as long as possible.
Prevent Damage: Wash Your Hair with Care
It’s a lot of work to keep your hair beautiful all the time – that’s why we’ve collected up all the best tips and tricks in our Twisty Hair Hacks blog to make things easy for you. Hopefully, we’ve illuminated the science and secrets behind the best way to wash hair. If you’ve been enduring the rub, now’s the time to make the change. Pregame before you enjoy that hot shower, treat yourself to a head massage and get the most out of your conditioner forever.
Got your shower game down? Fantastic. But don’t undo all that effort by drying your hair with a bath towel – reach for a Turbie Twist® and enjoy hands-free hair drying instead.