Next time you’re at the salon, ask your hairdresser what they think of your at-home haircare routine. I dare you! You may get a grimace and a few words of advice since most experts find other people’s routines cringeworthy. While you might think you’re doing everything you can to preserve your locks, you may actually be making some serious mistakes. So follow along as we dive into the top five hair washing mistakes you didn’t know you were making and how to fix them.
1. You’re Washing Too Often
While fewer people are washing their hair every day since the rise in popularity of dry shampoo, many people are still overwashing. Shampoo strips your hair of its natural protective oils, which dries out your hair in the short-term and triggers your scalp to start producing more oil. In this way, it’s a cyclical problem – the more frequently you wash your hair, the more frequently you’re going to need to wash it. Most hair experts will say you should space out washes by at least a few days but wash it at least once a week for scalp health. Training your hair to require less washing can be a challenging process, but often results in better overall hair and scalp health as your head essentially becomes (partially) self-cleaning!
2. You’re Not Checking The Ingredients
Do you know what’s in your shampoo? Just because an ingredient can be in there, doesn’t mean it should. You should be using a formula without sulfates, which are a common ingredient, especially in drugstore brands, that are added to create a lather. Sulfates, unfortunately, are known to strip the hair and scalp of protective oils, leaving it too dry and open to damage. Another common ingredient is silicone, which makes hair feel soft and silky in the short term, but tends to dry hair out and even slow or completely halt growth in the long run. A safe rule is to avoid any shampoo that contains the ingredient dimethicone and if possible, opt for a clean beauty brand shampoo. This is even more important if you’ve got curly or colored hair.
3. You’re Washing In Hot Water
Hot water might feel great on your body, but it’s awful for your hair and scalp! Not only does it dry them out, but it also opens up the hair follicle, allowing natural moisturizers and keratin protein out and causing hair to become frizzy. If your hair is dyed, hot water can also let the color out of the follicle, leading to fading and dryness. To get the best of both worlds, have your hair tied up when you get into the shower and do your regular routine minus hair, keeping your tresses mostly dry. Then turn the water temperature to cool and let your hair down before beginning the soak, wash, and condition steps. If you can’t handle cold water for the entire time, use the coolest water you can tolerate and then rinse your hair in very cold water at the end of your shower for 30 seconds. This will close the cuticle and prevent damage!
4. You’re Not Conditioning Properly
You may be over conditioning or under conditioning and not realize the impact on the health of your hair. If you’re not conditioning every time you wash, you’re doing it wrong! However, you may also be using too much or applying it too close to your roots, which will only cause your hair to get oily faster since your scalp produces natural oils. This is especially true if your hair tends to be greasy or is thin. A good rule to follow is to shampoo your roots and condition your ends.
You also want to ensure you’re using a conditioner suitable for your hair type. While shampoo should address your scalp issues, conditioner generally treats your tresses. How does your hair feel? Dry or damaged? Tangled? Frizzy? Flat? Make sure you’re choosing a high-quality conditioner for your hair type to address any issues.
5. You Brush Your Hair After You Wash It
Are you someone who brushes out your hair once you’ve gotten out of the shower and towel-dried your hair? Wet hair is much weaker and prone to breakage than dry hair, so it’s always best to brush your locks before you hop in the shower to prevent damage. Need be, use your fingers to detangle your locks and work in any product instead. There is one exception to this rule: The Wet Brush – the original best-selling brush specifically designed for use on wet hair.