Long or short hair, coloured, damaged or dry, we all need to wash our hair to keep it clean and healthy.
Irritants such as pollutants have an effect on the health of our hair and one of the ways you can test the condition of your tresses is to try and comb it while wet. A study conducted on the effect of pollutants on Asian hair showed that bleached and damaged hair was up to six times more difficult to comb when wet – a sign that your follicles aren't as smooth as they could be.
There are shampoos and conditioners for every hair type so if you want to keep your strands salon perfect here are a few tips on how to wash your hair properly from three hairdressers with experience as long as Rapunzel's braid.
The Basics: Shampoo and Conditioner
Washing your hair is such an everyday thing it's easy to overlook how important choosing the right products are, or even why we wash our hair so often.
It may sound obvious but Dee Francis, a Sydney-based hairdresser with over 20 years experience says, "Shampoo works to clean the dirt, grime and product out of your hair and scalp, and conditioner helps smooth your hair strands and keep the shine."
Dee's tip? "Pick a shampoo and conditioner that matches your needs, whether your hair's colour treated, curly, oily, or if you want more volume," says Francis. "Buy the best ones you can afford and always choose sulphate free, as this will avoid stripping your natural oils."
How To Wash Your Hair: step-by-step
If you're swimming in a chlorinated pool or sweating it out at the gym then washing your hair daily is the go. For anyone else, how often should we cleanse and condition? Liam Hubbard of Edwards & Co national salons recommends you, "Try and wash your hair 2-3 times a week instead of daily."
#1 Wet your hair
Do just what it says. Before you apply any products, you'll need to dampen your hair in the sink, bath or shower.
#2 Apply shampoo
But how much? Elizabeth Martin of Guillotine Hair Artistry says "Use approximately 1 teaspoon of shampoo for short hair and double for longer hair."
#3 Wash your scalp thoroughly
"Focus on applying the shampoo to the scalp as it will naturally rinse through the ends," says Martin. "Unless your hair is very dirty or has a lot of product build up on the ends." Either way, foam up to a lather, then rinse for at least 30 seconds to get all the shampoo out of your hair and repeat.
Tip: When your hair squeaks, it's clean.
#4 Apply conditioner
Once the second shampoo is rinsed out completely, squeeze out excess water from your hair or slightly towel dry. "Apply about a tablespoon of conditioner to your mid lengths and ends," says Martin, "and add more if your hair is extra long." Hubbard adds that conditioner should be kept to the roots and not applied near the scalp.
#5 Comb through to the ends
If you have short hair you can use your fingers but for people with long hair, comb the conditioner through to the ends with a wide tooth comb. "Leave on for 1-3 minutes or more if you want deeper conditioning," adds Martin.
#6 Rinse, towel dry then style!
Rinse thoroughly and towel dry. Then, apply any heat protectant or styling products and style as you desire
If you go swimming in salt water you can get away without using shampoo and just rinsing your hair and using a conditioner," says Francis. "But if you're swimming in a chlorinated pool then use a daily shampoo like Oribe Ultra Gentle Shampoo and do a weekly treatment like Olaplex 3."
When you don't have time to wash and go, dry shampoos are a life saver. "Some dry shampoo can be used to soak up excess oil, especially great if you have a fringe," says Francis. "Try and find one that's sulphate free as they're much better for your scalp. And remember, less is more with dry shampoo."
Another fabulous hair saver is the Tangle Teezer. "A really great brush," says Francis. "Use it wet or dry to help stop any breakage."