It’s hard to believe there is a wrong way to wash your hair; indeed there are counterproductive habits that are silently screwing up your hair.
A good hairdresser should ask lots of questions about the products you use, how you have been washing your hair, the styles you wear and any concerns you might have, so that they can advise you accordingly.
During a recent trip to my hairdresser Maddie, I raised my concerns about my hair thinning with age, and the hereditary patches of hair loss at the front of my head (cheers Mum!) so Maddie asked about my hair washing routine.
In a nutshell, I wash my hair daily or at least every other day, I change products frequently and I always run out of conditioner first. I’m also trying to grow my hair long and thick.
Maddie told me that I should never run out of conditioner first (huh? Really?) and if anything it should be your shampoo.
Apparently I was doing something wrong. In fact I was making quite a few mistakes.
Common Hair Washing Mistakes
- Using too much shampoo, in the wrong places.
- Using too much conditioner, in the wrong places.
- Not brushing my hair before washing it.
- Washing it with hot water.
- Not treating the hair in between washes.
Maddie explained that whilst some hair loss might be irreparable, for example losses caused by hereditary factors, there are also other causes,including breakage, that are preventable.
Your scalp is porous like the rest of your body; lathering on excess shampoo,and not rinsing throughly, can cause the product to build up and clog pores. New hair growth is subsequently unable to penetrate the layer of build-up, preventing regeneration and regrowth of your hair.
Washing your hair correctly, means less breakage, less dullness and longer lasting products – or so Maddie says. Whilst I’m not a scientist, her theory seems reasonable and I’m willing to give it a try.
Washing your Hair the Right Way
- Brush your hair before showering to prevent breakage. Soak hair in warm water, never use hot water as it overstimulates pores/glands and can weaken the hair.
- Pour a small amount of shampoo into the palm of your hand (about the size of a 50p/cent coin) and rub palms together.
- Massage the product into the scalp, working into a lather at the top of the head only. You do not need to apply shampoo to the lengths of your hair as the shampoo will clean when rinsed.
- Rinse the shampoo out with warm water.
- Pour a small amount of conditioner in the palm of your hand, a little less than you used with the shampoo, and rub palms together.
- Starting from the middle of the hair, divide roughly into sections and work the conditioner down the length of the hair, all the way to the ends, several times over until covered. Do not put conditioner on top of the head, as the build-up encourages sebaceous glands to produce oil.
- Leave the conditioner on for 3-5 mins and gently run your fingers through the length of the hair to ensure even coverage and to help detangle any knots.
- Rinse with warm water and gently squeeze dry with a towel. Do not rub your hair with a towel as this can cause breakages and friction.
- Once a week apply a treatment to your hair to address any concerns you may have. Follow the above guidelines, i.e. using conditioning treatments on the length of the hair only etc.
Thickening Hair Treatment
In my case, my hair thinning concerns required a more frequent targeted treatment. Maddie suggested the Aveda Invati 3 step routine, consisting of:
- An exfoliating shampoo to remove build-up in the pores of my scalp
- A thickening conditioner to prevent breakage
- A leave-in scalp treatment to encourage growth
I couldn’t wait to try the new washing method, but hit a stumbling block when I found that the Aveda shampoo is a thin liquid that doesn’t lather very well.
Determined to stick to the plan, I persevered using only a little more shampoo than suggested and instead spent longer massaging it in, so that my scalp was mostly covered.
It felt wrong not washing the length of my hair and I was dubious to say the least. But to my surprise after rinsing the shampoo out, all of my hair felt clean, from root to tip.
The conditioner was easy to work through, again I was proven wrong that it wouldn’t be enough, it just needs a little longer to work it through. After rinsing, my hair felt clean and hydrated, the brush slid through nicely and I didn’t lose clumps of hair like I usually do.
The spray was a bit tricky to use – you must part the hair in sections, applying 16 sprays in total, repeated twice daily. The trouble is the nozzle doesn’t gently spray the liquid out, it shoots out like a fire hydrant, meaning your aim has to be precise and fingers quick to massage in the dripping liquid.
The spray can be applied to wet or dry hair and I was impressed it doesn’t make it greasy, although you can definitely feel it’s there.
After 2 weeks using the new washing routine, I am thrilled with the results. I lose less hair in the shower/when brushing and my hair doesn’t need washing as frequently. I’ve hardly used any product too – saving money is always a good thing!
As for the Invati treatment itself, I think it’s too early to say if it has thickened my hair. It definitely looks healthier and hydrated with less breakage.
It did cost around AU$150 for three small bottles though, so I’m keeping my fingers and toes crossed for new growth!
Have you had any success with growth and thickening hair systems? Or do you have any other tips on washing your hair? Would love to hear them.
For those in the Melbourne area, my hairdresser is based at Oscar Oscar Salon and they are highly recommended.