Hey everyone and welcome back to my blog!
Have you wondered how those gorgeous models maintain such luscious locks? Well, until I figured out that the secret to their shiny hair has a lot to do than just great haircare, even I would lovingly stare at their pictures in magazines with long tresses effortlessly bouncing off their shoulders and reaching their back. But, there is one thing we must take into consideration- despite all the damage from tools and hairstyling, models are able to maintain healthy hair. Now, we can not sneak into a supermodel’s bathroom to find out what she uses but it’s pretty obvious she uses the same products we can have access to from hundreds and thousands of brands available in the market. It’s only about finding what’s best for you.
Like our face and body, the key to healthy hair is first and foremost the cleansing routine. If our hair is not washed at least twice a week and you hardly give it five minutes from shampooing to conditioning then it is very much likely that a lot of the gunk is still stuck on your scalp. This leads to buildup which looks like a mixture of oil and dandruff flakes and often leads to fungal infections, excessive itching and sore scalp. So, I am here today to share my tips and tricks on how is my usual in and out of the shower haircare routine,
Before you start to feel reading this post is not worth your time, wait and pass a couple questions and answer them honestly. After you wash your hair, do you experience any of the following;
Excessive dry lengths
Fishy sour odour within few hours
Lots of tangles
Lack of shine
“AS SIMPLE AND INSIGNIFICANT AS THIS MAY SOUND, HOW YOUR HAIR LOOKS AND FEELS DEPENDS A LOT ON WHETHER YOU ARE DOING EVERYTHING CORRECTLY THAN JUST USING THE RIGHT PRODUCTS…”
Despite using high-end haircare products and choosing according to your hair type, do you feel like nothing really works and you are left with either flat greasy hair or puffed up bird’s nest? Then it must be due to how you wash your hair. As simple and insignificant as this may sound, how your hair looks and feels depends a lot on whether you are doing everything correctly than just using the right products. However, there are many who get confused about which formula will work better and how to get desired results from the combination of their shampoo and conditioner.
HOW TO CHOOSE THE RIGHT PRODUCT?
The key to choosing the right shampoo depends on how your scalp is. If your scalp and lengths are oily then a volumising shampoo will be the right choice. If they are dry then choose a moisturising one and if you have combination hair(which is in my case too), then choose something with terms like for normal hair, daily cleansing or hydrating and soothing. For oilier scalps use a clarifying shampoo once in two weeks which acts like a deep cleansing mask pulling away all the excess oil and buildup. Also, shampoos meant for damaged hair can feel heavy on scalps with excess oil and sweat- avoid them, especially in summers.
All the conditioners are meant to do almost the same thing- soften, smoothen and detangle, but if your hair is damaged then keratin and other protein infused are the ones you need to look for. Sulfate free shampoos are bit controversial and I suggest going with what works for your scalp and hair but going sulfate free with hair conditioners and masks would be a good option.
TIP– If your hair is dry and frizzy instead of brittle with split ends then go for a smoothening conditioner, not a damage repair one. The reason is too much build-up of keratin or other proteins(that are added to treatments for damaged hair) on the lengths of the hair can make them look stiff and “plasticky”. This mask turned out to be an intervention when my hair was enigmatically brittle and damaged, a few months back.
Also, if you just don’t seem to achieve great results from the best of conditioners, switch to masks- they are more concentrated and really help to improve the health of your hair.
YES, even our hair needs double cleansing. We wash our face twice a day and still consider it important to do an oil cleansing pre-evening wash, then imagine all the dirt, sweat, oils, dead skin and organisms(bacteria and fungi) that get accumulated over the period of three days. Our scalp needs to be thoroughly cleansed to achieve and maintain healthy hair.
Now, it’s not only about how many times you rinse your hair, but also how you do it.
Your first rinse should be concentrated on breaking down the buildup from the scalp and lengths. Before you hop in the bathroom, de tangle your hair beforehand, it is such a crucial step and will benefit you throughout the process. After carefully saturating your whole hair with warm water(always go with the ideal temperature, it helps dissolve the grease faster, so less time consumed and lesser shampoo usage), take a coin size(2 cms in diameter) amount of shampoo and dilute it with some water. Massage your scalp with fingerpads and do not rub it- rubbing leads to breakage, tangles and actually irritates the scalp. Massage for a good minute and ensure to reach every corner and assist some of the lather to reach the lengths, and rinse thoroughly with warm water. There will not be much of lather this time but do not use extra shampoo even for the lengths of your hair. You may be skeptical that doing this will leave them dirty, but trust me- I have hair that reaches my bottom and this is exactly how I do it, they feel super soft post-cleansing.
No matter how well you wash your hair the very first time, the second rinse is just as important. You will notice more suds and the scalp will start to feel clean, even the lengths will feel softer. Use the same amount of shampoo and rinse well with water. Let the suds flow down the lengths of your hair(that is sufficient to wash away styling products and serums) as shampooing is about focusing the scalp because that’s where all the dirt, oils, dead skin cells are that can cause itching, lead to a strange sour smell and make the roots look flat and the combination of dirt and styling products on the lengths do not need vigorous scrubbing or heavy dose of hair cleansers.
If your hair is oiled, you will need an extra helping of the shampoo but be patient and do not double the desired amount to be used. Don’t forget that over shampooing strips the natural colour, breaks the bonds and leads to deterioration of the hair overtime.
This step is more like rinsing out a rich cream face mask-you apply a generous layer and let it sit for a couple of minutes before rinsing out with water so, your skin isn’t greasy but nourished and dewy. While shampoo does all the cleaning, conditioner works by forming a protective barrier, so the lengths(which are dead part of your hair and need external moisturisation to prevent them from going brittle and parched) stay manageable, frizz and tangle free.
No matter how fine your hair or good the shampoo used, never skip a conditioner.
The thumb rule is to never apply a conditioner to the scalp even if it is dry, instead choose a moisturising shampoo as I mentioned above. Conditioners are formulated with the specific film-forming agents that along with oils, butters and other moisturisers and humectants seal the cuticles for a sleek and soft look. Applying it on the scalp can possibly lead to itching and oily dandruff.
How to use a conditioner the correct way;
Once your hair is washed, squeeze out all the water. Remember not to wring the hair, you can use a towel to pat out excess water. Dispense some conditioner/mask and start by applying on the driest parts of the hair. It is normally advised to apply the conditioner from below the ear level and go downwards but the tips are the driest so concentration should be on the ends, hence start from the tips going upwards. My hair needs focus on middle section as well, because it gets badly tangled and conditioning really helps to soften and untangle. So, it would be best to identify weaker areas and treat accordingly. After taking the desired amount of conditioner, I warm it between my fingers(sort of like breaking down the consistency for easy spreadability) and apply to the nape and another half from the ends going upwards.
Let the product sit for 3-5 minutes, at least(one hour if you have time). Do not use a comb to distribute the product, using your fingers is safer to avoid hair fall and rinse with normal tap water. Make sure you give enough time so there is no residue left behind. Squeeze out excess water by pressing the hair between your palms and wrap your hair in a soft cloth or towel.
Read this post to learn how to make the best use out of your hair masks.
Your in shower routine doesn’t end there;
There are also few steps to follow and some to avoid after getting out of the shower.
-Do not comb or try to detangle wet hair( no matter what the hairdressers tell, just avoid doing this. The longer your hair the more it will be prone to breakage. Wet hair is weaker and any type of tugging will cause it to break and fall. We certainly do not want to induce unnecessary breakage, do we? And, even many trichologists suggest never to comb freshly washed hair.
-After the excess water has been soaked in the towel, let the hair air dry. Also, this is the right time to apply a leave-in conditioner, a step you should never miss. It works by sealing the cuticles and preventing frizz and flyaways with a light sun and heat protection. Leave in serums also soften any tangles present so combing is very easy once your hair dry. If you despise hair sprays, good quality leave-in serums or oils will protect from styling tools and let you enjoy a good blow dry or use straighteners(my favourite) or curling irons.
Wish you long, healthy and bouncy hair!
Thank you so much for reading.