How to wash your hair properly
A good hair day begins in the shower - so we asked our expert team for their pro tips on the proper way to wash your hair, to improve your hair washing technique for max hair benefits: shinier, stronger, sparklier hair.
Our top tips for hair washing success:
1. Avoid washing your hair too often
2. Double shampoo your hair
3. Choose your products wisely: a sulphate free shampoo is best
4. Be gentle and methodical when washing your hair
5. Use a hair mask once a week and comb through
6. Rinse your hair thoroughly and finish with cold water
7. Don't use a towel to dry your hair
8. Rinse your hair with sparkling water for a 'once in a while' hair treat!
Washing your hair: it might seem simple enough, but most of us are actually washing our hair improperly. This can be due to a number of reasons, such as rushing, or using products incorrectly. Let's break down these steps in some more detail for your shiniest, healthiest hair washing routine.
Avoid washing your hair too often
Depending on your hair type, the more often you wash it, the more your scalp regenerates the oil you’re washing out, making it greasier than it would have been if you’d left it unwashed. Aim to wash your hair less, as this lets your scalp adjust and only produce the necessary amount of oil. It may take a while to get used to if you’re a serial daily hair washer, so find what works with your hair. For finer hair, it's recommended to wash every two-three days, and people with thicker hair can even go five days without a shampoo.
Shiny, glossy hair starts with a well-executed shampoo. Before applying make sure your hair is thoroughly wet first, says Atelier stylist Kat, who recommends double cleansing. Here's some interesting information about professional shampoos: most of them are a waste of time if you’re not using them twice. You may have heard the old expression that you should ‘lather, rinse, repeat’, but it’s true. The first rinse simply gets rid of grease and dirt, something any shampoo can do. The secondary wash gives you the results you’ve bought the shampoo for. For example, if you buy a moisturising shampoo, it cleans on the first wash, but only deposits the moisturising properties on the second.
Choose your products wisely
When it comes to shampoo, we recommend sticking to sulphate-free and paraben-free formulas (such as the Josh Wood Colour shampoos and conditioners). These ingredients make the shampoo lather, which is satisfying and something we’ve been conditioned to associate with ‘clean hair’, but they also dry out the hair and make the colour fade. The lathering effect caused by shampoos with these ingredients strip the hair more than it needs to be, which can lead to grease due to over-production of oil. We need to get out of the mindset that shampoo must lather to do its job!
Be gentle and methodical
As well as taking the ‘less is more’ approach to washing, you should also adopt the same method when it comes to the amount of product you’re using. Colourist Mel Smith advises using a 50p piece size of shampoo, and to apply it once your hair is soaking wet (to help the dirt lift away easily). Lather the product in your hands rather than on your hair, then apply to the scalp. You should focus the shampoo on your scalp, crown and sides of the head, where it gets dirtiest. The mid-lengths and ends don’t retain oil so don’t need as much targeted cleaning, the residual shampoo that runs down from the scalp is enough to clean them naturally.
Once you’ve lathered up the scalp, lift your hair up to expose the underneath sections, and repeat the same process. This extra step will make all the world of difference to keeping your hair feeling fresher for longer, as we often neglect the under layers, which allows them to build up with product and grease. This can weigh your hair down and make it feel dirty even when freshly washed. By dealing with your hair in two sections, you can really get a deep clean.
You should then repeat the entire process but use slightly less shampoo and lathering. When shampooing, use gentle rotary movements. Don’t go crazy – it feels more satisfying to really scrub your scalp, but this can create extra damage and knotting to your hair.
Treat your hair like you would an expensive fabric. Think about washing your hair like you hand wash your delicates – very carefully. Excess friction can damage your hair’s cuticle, leading to breakage and frizz.
When applying shampoo, indulge in a little scalp massage – a healthy scalp makes for healthy hair. ‘Use your fingertips and work firmly in circular motions across the scalp’, says colourist Jason Hogan. Avoid using your nails, or being too aggressive. Minimum pressure is best.
When applying conditioner, use a straight, downward stroking motion. Colourist Mel advises squeezing excess water out of the hair before applying conditioner, ‘Otherwise the water will fill the hair follicle where the conditioner should be.’ Only apply conditioner to the mid-lengths and ends of your hair. When you’ve applied it and left it on for five minutes, brush the conditioner through your ends. Start from the bottom of your hair and build your way up when brushing, as this helps stop snagging and breakage.
Use a hair mask once a week and comb through
Finally, if your hair is dry or over-coloured (or even if you feel it just needs a little TLC) use a hair mask instead of a conditioner. Gently squeeze your hair with a towel before applying it to avoid it being diluted and leave it on for ten minutes. Get into the habit of using a mask once a week for added shine.
Rinse thoroughly and with cold water
‘Even when you think the hair has been rinsed enough….rinse once more,’ recommends Jason. If you don’t rinse properly, your hair will be flat and lifeless and feel coated. Kat advocates a shot of cold water to seal the deal: 'If you want super shiny hair, you need to close the cuticle with cold water. You can get out of the shower and tip your head over the sink or bath if you don’t fancy a cold shower. It only needs to be a quick final rinse.
Don't use a towel
When towel drying your hair, make sure to squeeze the hair dry, rather than rub it to help prevent damage', says Kat. Or use our AQUIS hair turban for double quick drying without towelling damage.
Use sparkling water for a 'once in a while' hair treat!
And a little trick for hard water areas from Jason, 'Is to give your hair a final rinse in sparkling water….no need for Perrier, supermarket own brand is fine. The carbon dioxide in the water lifts the mineral deposit from the scalp and hair, leaving it glossy and free from build-up.’
Shop our full range of hair care products here.
Meet our Atelier experts below:
Katherine hails from a theatrical background, so she knows how to pull off a striking look. For her, great hair is all about understanding her client's lifestyle, personality and relationship with their hair. Passionate about helping you love your locks, her forte is creating bespoke cuts that feel effortless and contemporary, while giving her clients confidence and style - whatever their age or gender.
Book an appointment with her here.
Jay's skill creating 'better than natural' colour is sought after by clients who love his Cali beach blonde, dimensional brunette, head turning copper finishes and is regularly featured in the press. He's also called on for his innate ability to corrrect any colour mishap. An advocate for hair health, his personalised prescriptions will ensure your colour stays luminous long after you leave the salon.
Book an appointment with him here.