by Kristen Parks
As a hair stylist, I see so many clients who come in embarrassed because their hair is “sooo dirty.” My response is always the same… “oh shh! I haven’t washed my hair in a week!”
So lets talk hair washing… or lack of… schedules! There are so many factors that should play into how often you wash your hair. I realize that this may seem like a silly concept to some, not washing your hair every day, but I promise it can change your life!
Hair color, texture, style, health and lifestyle are all things that I talk to my clients about when it comes to hair washing.
We all know that color fades over time. With every wash a little more of your trip to the salon washes down the drain… literally. But what if you wash less frequently? The life of your color will be extended, that’s what! Especially that vibrant red or fresh darker fall color!
To add onto that theory, what other product life would be extended by less frequent washings? Your shampoo and conditioner! That’s right, those precious bottles of gold in your shower will last you so much longer. Now if we are using less shampoo, that means we are buying less frequently. Most of my clients complained that as much as they love professional products, they use it quicker than it is worth. However, I believe that if you’re using your shampoo properly and, hopefully now, less of it your shampoo and conditioners life should be MONTHS not weeks!!!
If I were to give instructions on how to “properly” wash your hair, this would be it. Of course everyone has their own thoughts and opinions, but mine come from a lot, and I mean A LOT, of product knowledge classes from many different brands, a solid education, and continuing education.
- cooler water is the best water! As cool as you can handle! (This is editor, June Ann's favorite...haha!!!)
- start by making sure the hair is completely saturated with water, we want all the hair spray and product loosened up and our hair to be wet. Shampoo lather comes from the moisture in the hair (some high-end products will need more water to be added in order to later)!
- use a small quarter (if that) size amount of shampoo and first lather it up between your hands
- only scrub the scalp! That’s where the majority of the dirtiness is found...the shampoo being rinsed out will take care of the rest of your hair, I promise!
- rinse thoroughly with the cool water
- very carefully wring out some of the moisture in your hair. Your hair is most fragile when wet, so we want to be extra careful
- using a quarter size amount of conditioner, apply from the ends up. You do NOT need to put conditioner directly onto the scalp. Your scalps' natural oils will take care of that
- rinse thoroughly again with cool water, if you think you’ve gotten it all out, keep rinsing for another minute longer just in case
- blot your hair carefully with a towel. No crazy wringing out, aggressive shaking the towel all over the head, etc
- my FAVORITE brush to use after washing is the Wet Brush! This brush detangles gently and is an amazing tool for preventing damage while wet!
“But my hair gets so greasy after just a day…” Ahh yes. I’ve heard this time and again, but I can promise that hair life does get better with time! I always tell my clients to start slow and work within their own comfort. Meaning if you need to start by washing every other day...do just that! Work your way up to your goal length of time. Maybe after a week, try washing every few days. After that week, add another day. Your scalp will adjust with you to your new wash schedule!
But to help you get to that point, here are couple tips and products I recommend!
- natural bristle brush: this will help distribute the oils from scalp to ends, conditioning your ends and making you feel less greasy up top
- dry shampoo: my personal favorite is Alterna Mango Dry Shampoo. It’s in a powder form, so no drying aerosols, and it also doubles as a texturizing powder for that perfect lived in look!
- nailing down a style routine: I know this sounds time consuming, but really I think it saves time! Once you’ve figured out how your hair is, which day is your best day (mine is ALWAYS day 3 hair), how well your hair styles when dirty, etc you can pick a perfect routine. I’ll give you mine as an example. Day 1 is straight hair, Day 2 is messy, lived in, volume straight hair, Day 3 is curled with a wand hair, Day 4 is left over waves, and if I get to day 5 and 6 I just touch up my waves as needed.
Finally let’s really talk about products. I am what many hair stylists call a product junkie. I love to know the uses, benefits, ingredients, the why, the how and the secrets to all the products I use regularly. I try to use products that are lighter and work well with a wash schedule as well as non drying.
My favorite shampoo and conditioner is the Awaphui Wild Ginger line from Paul Mitchell. It’s their “luxury line” which means better ingredients, and a slightly higher price. However if we are washing less and using the right amounts, we should be getting months out of these bottles which makes it a much better value. I, personally, love the smell. I’m not into strong smells. I love that it’s a light, fresh smell that doesn’t linger heavily. The Moisture Lather Shampoo works best with lots of moisture. If you don’t feel its lathering enough, do NOT add more product! Simply let a little water run into the hair and try again. Works every time. The Cream Rinse, or conditioner, is again, light but its packed full of beautiful moisture. It detangles beautifully, is sulfate free, and protects against color fade. Both these products combined with not washing every day seriously improve the health of hair, in my own personal experience as well as with my clients.
Heat Protectant, often forgotten and left out, but a key part in this process! The natural oils in your hair will act as a defense against heat. But I like to ensure that my hot tools don’t stress my hair anymore than needed with a great heat protectant. My favorite is Cat Walk Sleek Mystique. It’s a spray, that proves heat protection as well as shine! It smells great, so I can use it to protect or just to add a little freshness back into my style.
Bedhead After Party is another awesome product! It’s super light weight and as so many uses! You can put After Party in damp hair for a smooth blow dry, you can use it in dry hair to tame frizzies, you can use it as a deodorizer for those mornings after a workout or a night out on the town, and so many others. I use this in almost all of my updos and almost all of clients for a smooth, shiny, look. If you like that texturized, lived in look this product can still be for you! Like I said, it can deodorize so I would use tiny amounts near the roots and on the very ends to extend the style just a little further!
Your hair is one of the first things people see. Your hair is a reflection of your personality. Your hair is an investment. We want our hair to look it’s best, feel it’s best and to protect our investment in it. These simple steps can help do all of the above, save us money, and even maybe save us some time each day! So like I said, start slow and take your time, but let’s start getting ourselves on the right track!
If you try out any tips from this blog, please let us know how it works for you! I’d love to know what you got out of it, whether its healthier hair, less product use, etc! Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Note from the editor, June Ann: I have the finest hair and I was always one of those people that washed my hair once, if not twice a day up until I started seeing Kristen a few years ago. Now, following Kristen's advice on washing and products, my color lasts and my hair stays healthy despite the processing!