Sunday, October 2, 2011

How to Shampoo Your Hair

Summer, where did you go? Summer literally came and went and I can not believe we are into October already. I've been on an unplanned hiatus, but now that fall is here I will definitely be able to post more often.  I'm sure you've figured out that I'm really big on healthy hair care. If you take proper care of your hair you can do almost anything with it. Summer is a time when our hair can get really damaged even just from the sun so it's very important to take good care of your hair and it all starts with shampooing.
  Yes, I am totally serious about this. I've seen people make fun of the directions on shampoo bottles. They laugh and make a joke about how everybody knows how to shampoo their hair and we don't need any instructions. The actual fact is that most people actually don't shampoo their hair properly. Most hairdressers just assume we all know how to shampoo our hair so they often don't explain how to do it. Some of the most common hair problems are actually a result of mproper shampooing.

#1 - Frequency

The first thing I would like to talk about it frequency. Less is more. Most people that shampoo their hair every day do so because their hair doesn't feel "clean" because it's too oily. Sound familiar? I'm sure every hairstylist has told you not to shampoo every day, but have they explained why? All shampoo is drying on the scalp. Your scalp needs a small amount of natural oil called sebum in order to protect it and be healthy. When you shampoo, it strips the sebum off the scalp so your scalp has to replace what was lost. When you shampoo right away your scalp again must make up for this lost sebum so it overproduces, and the cycle continues. The act of shampooing itself as well, the stimulation of your scalp helps stimulate the sebaceous glands to produce more sebum. I've met some people who "have to" shampoo their hair 2 or 3 times a day.
  The fix? Start by shampooing every second day. Get a boar bristle brush. Natural bristles distribute sebum & product through your ends, and sometimes that may be all it needs. If necessary use dry shampoo (or baby powder). Keep in mind, dry shampoo isn't actually shampoo. It doesn't clean your hair but will help absorb some oil so that you can stretch it one extra day. Depending on how active your sebaceous glands are, it could take some time to regulate your scalp back to normal. It could take anywhere from 3-6 months. There may be times where you just can't stand it, but you have to be patient. I used to be a daily shampooer, now I'm down to once a week. I'm not saying everybody should shampoo once a week It depends on what type and how much product you use in your hair. Generally, finer and/or thinner hair every second day, medium every third, and thicker, coarser types will benefit from once a week.

#2 - Types of Shampoo

Next, I'd like to talk about types of shampoo. Some shampoos are actually designed to build up on your hair so it won't feel "clean" and then you shampoo more often. Then your hair gets "used to" the shampoo and you get something new. It strips off the build up from your last shampoo and another ingredient builds up. I won't name any names, there are so many great and not so great shampoos, I'll leave that for my product reviews. Sulfate free shampoos are becoming increasingly popular as well. While sulfate free shampoos are gentler and not as aggressive they're not always the best choice. Sulfate free shampoos will not remove excess build up of products. If you use a lot of products it's best to use a clarifying shampoo before using a sulfate free and then being careful not to use too much product or overly heavy products.
Not all shampoos with sulfates are bad for your hair. The most common is sodium laureth sulfate and its variations. A good rule of thumb is the more shampoo lathers the worse it is for your hair. Lather doesn't clean your hair the little bubbles actually damage the hair, and good shampoos have little to no lather, and keep in mind shampoo will always lather more the second time.
Ok so which one do I use? There are so many product lines out there and some carry more than 10 different types of shampoos and conditioners. It can get complicated and a full lesson deserves its own post. If you're really not sure what to use ask your hairdresser. If your hair is damaged through colouring or other chemicals, you will need a different shampoo than if your hair is naturally dry. If you use the wrong one then you may not have the results you wanted, and your stylist is the only person to know exactly what is done to your hair during chemical services, and will direct you to the proper shampoos. People often judge a product line based on trying one type of shampoo when it may not be the right one for them. I don't know how many people come in to my salon every day with very straight thin, fine, blonde hair asking for Moroccan Oil. Don't be afraid to ask for help.

#3 - How to Shampoo

Now let's talk about actually shampooing our hair. How do we do it? This is the part that seems the most obvious, but is most often done wrong. Most people who think they have dandruff don't shampoo their hair correctly. Real dandruff is an actual scalp condition that is actually not as common as we think. Commonly treated with medicated shampoos, sometimes prescription. Most people who think they have dandruff have either dry scalp or product build up usually caused by improper shampooing techniques.
  First, remove tangles from the hair by brushing starting at the ends and working your way up. If your hair is curly, finger comb it starting from the ends only if it is very messy. If you have a lot of flakes at the root really brush the scalp well to help lift them out. Wet your hair completely, really really wet. Run your fingers through make sure that the moisture is evenly distributed through your hair. Once your hair is really really wet start with a dime size in your hand, work it together in both hands and make it spread in your hands before putting it in your hair. Start applying the shampoo to the scalp at the nape (underneath) and then work your way to the top, only at the roots. You'll feel the shampoo spread, if it's not add more water. If your hair is relatively clean one shampoo is fine, however if you use a lot of product or only shampoo once a week, you'll definitely want to shampoo twice. Don't worry about the ends, whatever runs down as you rinse will clean the ends. Rinse the shampoo completely out of your hair. Rinse it again, and again, most people with "dandruff" just need to do this. After shampooing comes the conditioner. It's important to use conditioner, but if your hair gets oily or falls flat easily only apply the conditioner to your ends. If your hair is very dry like mine you can apply it all over. If your hair tends to get tangled, comb it through with a wide tooth comb while the conditioner is in the hair. It's usually a good idea to leave the conditioner in for a few minutes before rinsing (unless your hair is oily or falls flat) I usually use this time to comb my conditioner through my hair with a wide toothed comb. It's recommended to rinse the conditioner with lukewarm water. Make sure again that it is rinsed completely from the roots, if your hair is very dry you can leave some in the ends but it's very important that it's rinsed completely from the roots or else you'll get flakes.

There you go, that's it. It's actually quite simple, and will save you a lot of time and shampoo. Shampooing less, even from every day to every second day you will be using half as much shampoo.

I'm working on another curly hair product review. This product line has been around for a while, and was just launched in Canada earlier this year. Can anybody guess what it is? 

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