We all know the reason we wash our hair in the first place is because it’s dirty – but how does it get dirty? There are several ways: your scalp secretes oils that make your hair feel dirty, perspiration which deposits salts, and other hormonal possibilities. On top of that – smoke, pollution, and dust that your hair picks up from the environment also get deposited into your hair. And let’s not forget the residue from styling products such as hairspray, gel, mousse or other products you might use.
For the most part, all this residue on your hair is not very water soluble – meaning just rinsing with water alone won’t make it go away. Enter SHAMPOO with its surfactant molecules. These molecules are designed to remove water insoluble contaminants by working as tiny chemical bridges by linking oil and water together. (Great science fair project! – negative and positive charges – I won’t bore you with it all here but it’s cool!) When shampoo is applied to dirty hair, these tiny chemical cleansers spring into action and “seek out” the drops of oil, dirt, and yesterday’s hairspray and keeps it all suspended in the rinse water so it goes down the drain, not back into your hair.
How often should you wash your hair?
Under normal conditions you should wash your hair once a day. While the new fad is to go as long as humanly possible between washing because “your color will last longer”, “your hair won’t dry out”, or any other reason they’re trying to sell you, the reality is, if you’re using a properly pH balanced shampoo (4.5-5.5. See our blog on ‘Why pH matters’), your shampoo has no salt, and low or no sulfates, daily washing is best. Our scalps get a build up of dirt, oils, and products that block the hair follicles and could clog them and result in hair loss/thinning. Also, the amount of lather DOES NOT affect a shampoo’s ability to clean hair. Foam boosters are added by the manufacturers to improve lather. Any benefits shampoo claims to have beyond cleaning your hair have NO basis in fact! So shampoo with “mangoberry extract for added shine” – NOPE! Marketing and advertising have a powerful impact on the way we think, buy and use products. Don’t fall for their BS!
How to properly wash your hair…
Shampoo using a pH balanced product. DO NOT pile hair and scrub! Scrub the scalp and work shampoo down the hair shaft. Let sit 1-2 minutes. (Wash your face)
Apply Conditioner. Normal/Oily hair – avoid scalp. Dry hair/Scalp, apply from roots to ends. Let sit for 2-5 minutes. (Wash your body and/or shave) Rinse leaving a slight film (it should feel like you could rinse for another couple seconds).
Lower that temperature! Water that is too hot will make your color fade and dry your hair out no matter how good your products are!
What to look for when buying a shampoo
pH. Are you sick of us saying that word yet? A good bottle of shampoo will tell you the pH level ON THE BOTTLE. If it doesn’t say “pH 4.5-5.5” it doesn’t have to be balanced and probably isn’t… that includes ALL professional products. (see our blog on Why pH matters for more in depth facts).
Sulfate free, SALT free. While it is very difficult to find products that have none of these items – there are some that exist (we carry them!). All of those ingredients will fade your color. Salt is used as a thickening agent in shampoo and will abrade the hair cuticle and fade color faster than you can say sodium chloride!
Know your hair type. Curly, straight, colored, damaged…. shampoos have different types of moisturizers in them to give the most benefits to your hair type. Example: wheat proteins are great for straight hair but curly hair needs essential fatty acids in the form of oils. Color treated hair needs moisture in both proteins and EFA’s.
When in doubt, come talk to us, we’ll make sure we get the right product on your head!