Hair washing seems like a simple task, we all do it (well most of us), and we do it at least once a week if not every day. How hard can it be, right? Pour shampoo into the hand, lather through hair, rinse, slap on some conditioner, rinse, and done – a process we’ve been taught for as long as we’ve had hair. However, there are a few common mistakes we make that could be preventing us from reaching our hair and scalp goals. Using the correct products and techniques for your locks can make a massive difference. Here are our top 8 hair washing habits that you need to break, not make:
1. Washing Your Hair Every Day
Your scalp produces more oil when washed too frequently. These oils keep your scalp healthy and hydrated, so the more you wash them away, the more your scalp tries to keep up and makes more, leaving you with a bit of a vicious cycle – wash = more oil = more washing and so on. Hair that isn’t washed every day tends to be easier to style and if often in better condition as well due to less heat styling.
Not washing your hair every day is also a massive timesaver. Imagine what you could do with all that extra time! To help get you through those greasy days, we recommend using Dry Shampoo a few days a week to keep them locks fresh and flowy. While there are a few options on the market, we prefer not to use aerosols so we recently formulated our own made of ultra-fine natural powders to absorb oil and give you a bit of added volume.
2. Using Hot Water
There’s nothing like a hot shower at the end of a long day, but hot water can lead to a dry scalp and a lot more hair breakage. The heat can strip your hair and scalp of protective oils and essentially boil your locks, making them frizzy. No thank you! Using cold water, on the other hand, stops your hair follicles from opening and doesn’t allow for a deep cleanse.
Lukewarm water is the ideal temperature for washing and will help you get the most out of your shampoo. Your hair follicles will open up and allow the shampoo to break down any dirt and product build-up. It’s also the best temperature for your scalp and is comfortable all year round. Finishing your shower with a blast of cold water will not only wake you up if you’re a morning shower kind of person, but it’ll also seel those hair follicles back up and give your hair smoother and shiny looking.
3. Reaching for the Foamy Shampoo
When looking for a good shampoo, most people look for something foamy and big on bubbles – who doesn’t love bubbles? However, this usually means it’s full of cheap synthetic detergent like SLS (or other common culprits that end in –fate). These ingredients may make your hair feel squeaky clean, but they can be pretty harsh on the hair too. They’re also not great for coloured treated hair as they can also strip colour leaving your locks dull and (literally) washed out.
Also, the amount of foam your shampoo creates has nothing to do with the quality of the cleaning job it does. Many shampoos also contain silicone-based ingredients (usually big words ending in –cone), a substance that coats your hair and can be found in higher amounts in shampoos with claims like “less breakage” or shampoo formulas for “dry and damaged hair”. The silicone coating makes your hair feel slick and hydrated, when in fact it can coat your hair and scalp, building up over time. This is what gives your hair that heavy, limp feeling that you need to buy a different product to get rid of. We prefer using products made with a combination of natural cleansers that are gentle on the hair and actually clean. Our Milk Shampoo is our 2nd best-selling product year after year.
4. Brushing Wet Hair
When your hair is wet, it’s weaker and more fragile than when it’s dry. Brushing wet hair creates more tension on each strand, causing major breakage issues. We suggest brushing before you jump in the shower or tub and combing through wet hair with your fingers or a wide-toothed comb while your Cream Conditioner is setting in. The best way to do this is to start at the ends and slowly work your way up so you’re pulling through fewer tangles at a time. Also, try not to rub your hair too much with a towel as it can cause more tangles. While towel wraps look cute, they can pull on your delicate strands and cause breakage and unnecessary hair loss.
Want the least amount of breakage? Don’t brush your hair at all until it’s dry. It’s not an easy thing to do, and it doesn’t feel right especially when using a hairdryer, but we’ve tried this ourselves and it works! Once your hair is dry again, it’s much easier to brush and you’ll break way fewer strands in the process. We also recommend using protective products like our Protein Shot Leave-in Conditioner to give hair a bit more hydration and protection without the silicone.
5. Shampooing from Root to Tips
Dirty hair starts at the scalp so there isn’t much need to wash all of your hair, just the top! This is why Dry Shampoo only needs to be applied to your roots as that’s where the excess oil is. Your ends and mid-lengths are more fragile so sticking with a sneaky suds scalp massage will not only add a little Zen to your shower time but will also leave you with a clean scalp and healthy head of hair. You’ll also use less shampoo which is a bit easier on the wallet – and who doesn’t love that?
6. Rinsing and not Repeating
If you’ve ever read the back of your shampoo bottle you would’ve noticed that the directions often tell you to “Rinse and Repeat.” Actually doing this has the potential to make your hair stronger and healthier! The first wash removes dirt, oil, flakes and build-up from the scalp. So why the need for a second round? The repeat wash allows the shampoo to really work its cleansing magic and also allows beneficial ingredients like Milk Protein to get in deep and do their thing. This is especially important if you use a lot of styling products that like to stick around, or if you have thin hair that can be weighed down by build-up. You may not see an instant difference to your strands, however, repeating the repeat is something we’ve seen great results with over time. It’s the same thing for your skin. We recommend doing a deep clean at least once a week to avoid build-up caused by makeup and SPF products. Why should the face get all the love?
7. Incorrectly Applying Conditioner
When it comes to conditioning, your roots are kept hydrated by the oils your scalp produces while your ends are left high and dry. Although our Cream Conditioner is suitable for scalps, we like to run it through the mid-lengths to ends of our hair and recommend leaving it in for 1-2 minutes. This is just enough time to brush your teeth or cleanse your face. This gives your hair time to absorb the moisturising oils, leading to softer, silkier hair. We also recommend squeezing excess water from your hair before applying. The excess water can dilute the product and the product won’t adhere as well to dripping wet hair.
There is no real need to apply conditioner to your roots, unless you have super dry hair of course, so you can keep the conditioner concentrated in the areas that need it most. Not adding conditioner to your roots can also help make your hair feel cleaner for longer as you aren’t adding additional moisture to the scalp area. Split ends cause hair to break and look frizzy so we recommend using conditioners that contain Milk Protein because it helps protect hair fibres and revitalizes its natural protective layer. We love this ingredient.
8. Extreme Heat Drying
Waiting for your hair to dry naturally is a bit like watching grass grow. But hair dryers are notorious for burning, dehydrating, breaking and weakening your hair. You’ll find that using your dryer on a low heat setting, at least 15cm away from the hair and never resting in one place for too long will help minimise the negative effects. Not washing your hair every day also gives your locks a break from the heat damage, which is why we love Dry Shampoo so much as it extends the time between wet washes.
For those of us that can’t go without reaching for the hairdryer, even just letting your hair partially dry naturally can make a big difference in the long run. We also recommend investing in a salon grade, a high-quality hairdryer that will do the least amount of damage – we swear it’ll change your life. To help your hair handle the heat, protective products and leave-in conditioners like our Protein Shot help your hair stay healthy and hydrated without the silicone. And our top tip: to add a few extra smiles to your day, Google ‘blow-dried cow’.
Got questions, comments or suggestions? Have we missed your top tip? We love your feedback! So, if there is something we haven’t covered here, please comment below or get in touch with us!