Last week a friend phoned for advice as she changed her hair colour from light brunette to a gorgeous ‘Scandinavian blonde’. After having frantically googled tips for caring for bleached hair, she was left torn between conflicting information. ‘I’ve been told I shouldn’t wash it’ she said ‘because the natural oils will be dried out.’ It seems when someone gets a new look they’re bombarded with new advice – and more often than not that advice is full of urban myth.
Urban Shampoo Myths
Recently, we’ve seen an explosion of this surrounding the co-washing and ‘no poo’ movement. Cleansing conditioners and other similar products are popping up left right and centre, promising to keep locks healthy and shiny with no need for shampoo. While co-washing is better for your hair than no washing at all, the facts out there are misleading. Even though ‘natural’ oils do offer the hair some protection by helping to reduce friction, they do not hydrate the hair shaft; it is the water, and not the oil content of your strands that does this. This means that shampooing actually helps to restore moisture.
Although co-washing does involve wetting your hair, it’s akin to only washing your body with moisturizer, and will have similar results. Just think – there are roughly 20 thousand oil glands on the scalp (more than your underarms!), not to mention sweat glands, so bad odour will be an issue. Oils on your scalp are also the perfect breeding ground for yeasts and bacteria, so forgo shampooing for more than two days and you’re likely to end up with a case of dandruff and itching. Lack of body and volume are also something to consider, especially if you have fine hair.
But What About Cleansing Conditioners?
Simply put, these are a re-hash of ‘two-in-one’ shampoos that were invented 30 years ago; new name, same idea. The problem with these is that they are neither great at cleansing nor at conditioning. Hair itself is negatively charged, so for a shampoo to remove grime, it too needs to be negatively charged to repel dirt away; and for a conditioner to work well it must be positively charged, so it is attracted to the hair shaft. Cleansing conditioners try to take both of these benefits into account in a formulation, but it’s just not as effective. Shampooing should take roughly 60 seconds of your day, so if you put in that little extra time, you’ll get much more from your hair care routine.
Needless to say, I assured my friend to keep washing her hair as usual and got a very happy text by the end of the week. As she put it her tresses ‘had progressively improved condition with each wash’.
Tops Tips for Shampooing & Conditioning
- Shampoo as often as you can to keep your scalp environment healthy, and your hair shiny and full of bounce.
- If you find your hair is dry, coated or rough after shampooing, chances are you are using the wrong shampoo/conditioner. Choose a shampoo that’s geared towards your hair texture, and a conditioner that takes your hair’s general condition and length into account. For instance, if you have fine, processed hair, use a Body Building Shampoo and Moisture Balancing Conditioner. Don’t apply conditioner close to your scalp. It’s not needed here and will simply weigh your roots down. Starting at your ends, gently comb conditioner through to your mid-lengths for the best results.
- Piling hair on top of your head when shampooing can cause tangles, breakage, and as a worst-case scenario, matting. Gently massage shampoo into your root area, and let the suds run down through the lengths of your hair.
- If you think you’ve rinsed your shampoo enough, rinse again! Improper rinsing is a common cause of dull looking locks.
- If your hair is dry, coloured, bleached or past shoulder length, apply a weekly pre-shampoo conditioner, such as our multi-award winning Elasticizer for an extra moisture surge. If your hair is particularly damaged, do this 2x weekly. Towel-dry by gently squeezing out excess moisture. Rough drying and ‘twisting’ will raise the hair cuticle and undo a lot of the work of a conditioner!
- Shampoos are not a ‘do everything’ product. For extra body after shampooing, apply a volumizing spray to your roots. I love Philip Kingsley Maximizer as it’s light-weight, but offers enough hold to keep my style bouncy throughout the day.