Shampooing: You're Probably Doing It Wrong (Or At Least Not Long Enough)

Fabulous hair starts in the shower.
Publish date:
April 21, 2015
shampoo, blowout, hair styling, greasy hair, How-To, blow dry

“My hair is so gross,” a dear client of mine sighed as she sat in my chair. “Every time I blow dry it, no matter what I do, it looks like I didn’t do anything to it. I’ve tried every product. I’ve tried changing my shampoo and nothing works. What am I doing wrong?”

It wasn’t about her products, or lack of skill, or tools. The problem was that she wasn’t spending enough time scrubbing her head when she shampooed.

Oftentimes clients arrive with greasy roots and a thick product build-up that gives their hair a slick shine from not being washed properly. They talk about how they hate drying their hair because it never looks right.

Fabulous hair starts in the shower.

Most people enjoy having someone else wash their hair. When it comes to taking care of business solo, we often short change ourselves. We’re running late, or the kids are screaming, and the last thing on our minds is spending more than 30 seconds shampooing our hair. Rest assured that if extra time is spent in the shower, less time will be spent fighting with lifeless strands.

Extend the life of your blowout by doing the following:

1. Squeeze it

After thoroughly wetting your hair, dispense shampoo into your palm, not onto your head, so you know how much you’re using. A quarter size amount is plenty unless your hair is extra thick and/or well past the collar bone. If it is, then add a little more.

2. Apply it

Rub your hands together to distribute the dollop of shampoo evenly on your palms. Add a little bit of water to get a lather going. Apply the shampoo on top of your head a few inches behind your hairline. Rake your fingers over the top of your head, the sides, and at the nape of your neck. This application ensures an even distribution of shampoo, so when you start scrubbing all parts of your head get clean -- not just one part.

3. Scrub it

Using your fingertips, gently massage the shampoo into your scalp using vertical strokes from behind your ears up to the crown of your head and over the top. Spend a couple of minutes on the sides and top. Spend another two or three minutes on the back of your head and nape of your neck.

It’s the scalp you want to wash because that’s where the oil and dirt are gathering to clog up the hair follicles, which creates that plastered-to-your-head look.

If your hair isn’t lathering, add a little more water. Still no lather? Add more shampoo.

4. Rinse it

Here is another area where people skimp on service. A lot of times you’re sleepy, or in a rush, and the shampoo doesn’t get rinsed out all of the way. When you don't rinse completely, then you look like you didn’t shampoo at all. Spend an extra minute or two and move your head from side to side under the water. This will ensure that your scalp around your hairline and the nape of your neck is squeaky clean.

5. Repeat it (optional)

If it’s been close to a week since you’ve washed your hair, you may need to repeat the above steps. Everyone is different. Some people can go seven to 10 days before needing to shampoo, but folks with thin and/or fine hair can look like an oil slick after a day without shampooing.

6. Condition it

Similarly to applying shampoo, distribute the appropriate amount of conditioner into your palm. It should be the same amount as the shampoo you used, unless you have insanely thick hair. If that's the case, use more. Rub your hands together to distribute the conditioner evenly. If your hair is chin length or longer, gather your hair in a ponytail and apply the conditioner to the hair below your fist. Otherwise apply it to the ends first, then the roots. Rake your fingers or a comb over your scalp to distribute the rest of the conditioner.

7. Rinse again

Like shampoo, when conditioner isn’t rinsed properly, your hair will be weighed down. Hair should feel soft, but not like it has an extra coating on it. If it does, take a couple of extra minutes to rinse until the strands no longer feel slick.

Once you're out of the shower, squeeze excess moisture from your hair with a towel. Be gentle. Avoid rubbing as that will aggravate the hair’s cuticle, resulting in a frizzy mess when you style it. Then apply your favorite product and blow dry, knowing you’re going to step out with rainbows and glitter trailing after your hot, shiny-haired self.