Believe us when we say a good hair day begins in the shower.
Ever wonder how to wash your hair the right way? You should. The real reason your hair looks (and feels!) so darn good after a trip to the salon is because the pros understand that the key to happy hair is a well-executed shampoo — that’s why we consulted with the pros to find out exactly how to take our shampoo game to the next level. Here, the best tips for silk, shiny, beautiful hair.
1. Less is More: Avoid Washing Daily (Or Even Every Other Day)
The not-so-secret secret of the world’s best-tressed? They don’t wash their hair nearly as often as you’d think. “Most young women today wash their hair way too much!” says Anthony Cole, lead stylist for Sebastian Professional Haircare. “Three times a week is sufficient for most hair types.” If this seems counter-intuitive, consider this: Your hair actually produces more oil when washed too frequently. So, funnily enough, the best way to wash hair way may include not washing it much at all.
2. Use Filtered, Luke Warm Water
As relaxing as a steamy shower may be, exposing your strands to super-high temperatures leaves them looking dry and lifeless (not to mention lead to faster color fade for those with dye in their hair). Though there’s no exact temp that’s been proven ideal, it is preferable to keep water warm rather than hot,, according to Oscar Blandi, the brains behind the Oscar Blandi hair care line. And, just before stepping out of the shower, rinse off with one cool (or even cold!) round of water. While warm water opens up the hair cuticle, cold water will seal it shut, which “helps lock in the moisture and benefits your hair in the long-run.”
Consider investing in a water filter, as well. Shower filters (which costs between $50-$100) eliminate chlorine and synthetic chemicals that can be found in shower water. Not only will filtered water leave your hair healthier, it’s also good for you skin. It’s a win-win.
3. Use Gentle Pressure to Massage the Scalp and the Roots of Your Hair
Since healthy hair begins at the scalp—literally—being extra-gentle when washing at the root is of utmost importance. “Don’t use your nails or massage the scalp too harshly,” says Oscar. “You want to apply minimal pressure. Your scalp might naturally feel it, but it’s not as dirty as you think.” That said, according to Oscar, two rounds of (gentle, non-abrasive) shampooing usually does the trick to clean your scalp—the first is purely to remove build-up. There’s no need to rush this process: Devote one to two minutes to massaging. As an added bonus, the massage will boost blood flow to the scalp, which can help stimulate hair growth.
4. Choose a Shampoo that Suits Your Hair Type
Shampoo isn’t in your hair for that long, so it doesn’t really matter what kind you use, right? Wrong, say the pros. As with skin care, it’s all about identifying your hair type and choosing a formulation best-suited for your needs. If you’ve got oily hair, consider a purifying shampoo and steer clear of those that are overly-hydrating or moisturizing.
If your hair is on the other side of the spectrum, i.e. dry, opt for the opposite. Smoothing, moisturizing formulas will be your jam. Coarse hair, too, benefits from shampoos with these attributes. “Look for labels that say ‘hydrating,'” says Oscar. “Using a shampoo that has moisture in it will make your hair more manageable.” What’s not to love about that?
And if your hair is on the fine side, a gentle shampoo should be your go-to. Use a small amount as not to weigh down strands.
For bleached hair, consider a clarifying shampoo, which will prevent unwanted yellow tones. “A light clarifying shampoo can be good to use occasionally,” says Oscar. “Just be sure to use it sparingly so it doesn’t dry out your scalp.”
5. Leave Your Conditioner in for Five to Seven Minutes
Patience is a virtue—especially when it comes to conditioning. Unlike shampoo, it’s not about a quick massage and rinse. “You should start applying conditioner, mid-shaft downward towards the ends,” says Anthony, who warns against ever conditioning at the root. “While the product is still in your hair, use a wide-tooth comb to detangle. You can leave the conditioner in and wrap your hair in a towel for five to seven minutes.” Nailing that timing is the tricky part, according to Anthony. “Any longer than that will leave residue in your hair.”
6. Towel Dry Your Hair and Follow Up with Protectant
You may be out of the shower, but your job isn’t done just yet. The way you treat your hair post-wash is vital to its overall health and appearance. “After you towel dry, it’s always good to put some sort of heat protectant in, especially if you plan on using a hot tool,” says Oscar. “Remember, if you do plan on using a hot tool, you should never use it on hair that is even slightly damp. Hair needs to be fully dry before applying such heat.” But you knew that.