For many of us, bad hair days seem to be just another fact of life. From frizz to flyaways, there is a seemingly never-ending list of hair woes keeping our collections of scarves and hats in regular rotation. And considering that the average American woman will spend $55,000 on her hair over the course of a lifetime, it stands to reason there’s some disconnect between how we’re treating our hair and how successful our efforts to get a magazine-ready mane come out.
However, while you may be cursing your genetics for what you believe to be an unmanageable head of hair, there’s a likelier culprit: your washing technique. In fact, it could be what you’re doing in the shower that’s causing you to encounter such hairy situations. Get acquainted with these 15 ways you’re washing your hair wrong and those bad hair days will quickly be a thing of the past. And when you want to shave off a few years, start with these 15 Best Haircuts for Looking Instantly Younger.
You brush from the top down.
Running a brush through your hair in the shower may seem like an easy way to get product from root to tip, but going about it wrong can also increase your risk of breakage. According to Stephanie Campbell, co-owner of Campbell & Campbell salon in Beacon, New York, there’s a correct process for detangling wet hair.
“If you’re going to brush your hair in the shower, I would recommend doing it after conditioning,” says Campbell. “Start at the ends and work your way up to the roots with a wide-tooth comb or detangling brush.” And if a lack of hair is your greatest concern, check out these 20 Surprising Reasons Your Hair is Thinning.
You set the water too hot (or cold)
Using the wrong temperature water on your hair can make your hair look worse for wear in no time. While it’s unlikely that washing with water that’s too hot or too cold will cause serious damage to your hair or scalp, washing your hair in water on either extreme may limit the amount of time you choose to stand under the tap. This may mean that your “freshly washed” hair still has shampoo or conditioner residue in it that can make it look limp or dull.
You use straight-hair products for curls.
The products your straight-haired friends use aren’t the right ones for your coarse curls. Since curly hair tends to be dryer than straight hair, using products that inadequately moisturize it may make it harder for your curls to form properly and can even make your hair more prone to breakage. And for some hair inspiration, check out the 30 Most Iconic Celebrity Hairstyles of All Time.
You treat fine hair like thick hair.
If your fine hair is looking less-than-clean after a shower, your shampooing technique is likely to blame. Campbell advises against using heavy products, like those intended for coarse hair or curls, on fine hair. “Fine hair can be affected by the weight of a product. Anything too heavy or rich I would avoid.”
You condition before washing.
While conditioning before washing has become somewhat of a trend as of late, it may not deliver the results you want. If you’re applying conditioner before you shampoo, the shampoo may be doing little more than removing conditioner residue from your hair, but not adequately addressing issues like the build-up of natural oils on your scalp. If this technique is leaving your hair looking oily or flat, it’s time to go back to the more traditional order of things.
You wash it every day.
Just because you’re used to washing your hair every day doesn’t actually mean it’s a good choice for your hair. Washing your hair every day can increase your likelihood of a flaky scalp and can strip your hair of the natural oils that typically give it a healthy shine.
You shampoo from the bottom up.
If you’re applying shampoo toward the middle or bottom of your hair and working it through, you’re doing yourself a disservice. Since the hair closest to your scalp tends to get the oiliest, it’s important to apply your shampoo there and work your way down instead of the other way around, according to Campbell. And when you want to improve your daily grooming routine, This Is the Healthiest Way to Straighten Your Hair.
You’re using the wrong products for dandruff.
Your typical shampoo and conditioner routine won’t do much to address that flaky scalp. If you want those unsightly flakes to stop, it’s time to add some dandruff-specific products into your routine and make sure to thoroughly work them into your scalp, or they won’t get to the (metaphorical) root of the problem.
You wash twice.
Lather, rinse, repeat is just another way to get you to buy more products. A single shampoo should be more than enough to remove regular build-up from your hair. Anything beyond that is overkill and can actually weaken your hair, cause unwanted frizz, or even strip it of healthy oils.
You’re not using color-specific products.
Color-treated hair needs to be babied more than your average virgin locks. Since color-treated hair tends to be drier and thus more susceptible to breakage, Campbell recommends using color-specific shampoos and conditioners throughout the entire time your hair is dyed.
You put conditioner on your roots.
While shampooing from the top down will help you achieve healthy-looking hair, the same isn’t true for your conditioner. “Apply conditioner from the mid shaft to the ends (avoiding your roots) and leave it on for 5 to 10 minutes,” recommends Campbell.
You use the wrong ingredients on chemically-straightened hair.
That pricey chemical straightening treatment won’t last long if you’re using the wrong type of shampoo. Hair that’s undergone a keratin treatment or Japanese straightening should never be washed with products that contain either sodium chloride and sodium laurel sulfate, both of which can strip away the treatment and cause hair to revert back to its natural state at an increased pace.
You wring the water from your hair.
If your hair is misbehaving, it could be the way you’re drying it. “Depending on your texture, wringing your hair out too vigorously is not good. It can cause surface frizz and flyaways,” says Campbell. If your hair is particularly prone to breakage, remove moisture with a towel and let it dry naturally whenever possible.
You’re rough on your scalp.
The health of your scalp affects the overall look and feel of your hair. If you’re being too rough on your scalp, whether you’re brushing it too hard or applying products too harsh for your particular skin type, you run the risk of increasing oil production or creating flakes.
You rub-dry your hair.
While rubbing your hair with a towel post-shower will remove some excess moisture, it may also make your hair look worse in the long run. “I would not recommend rubbing your hair unless you want it wild. Think more ‘blotting’ to get water out,” says Campbell. And for more tricks for a gorgeous head of hair, discover these 15 Top Hair Tips from Top Hollywood Stylists.
To discover more amazing secrets about living your best life, click here to sign up for our FREE daily newsletter!