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The Hair Report: Washy, washy!
By: Amy Arnott
Date: 2007-01-19 16:29:46
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HowHow often should I wash my hair?

In my years as a stylist, this is probably the single most popular question I’ve heard from clients. Now, before I answer it, I have to distinguish between two different types of people. You short haired cuties are the first type. Your hair around an inch or less. You can go ahead and wash your hair every day. Your hair renews itself so often that it doesn’t really get the chance to get damaged.

The rest of us are the second type. We have to be more careful because our hair is longer, and therefore older (sometimes up to five years old). That old hair REALLY has to be cared for in order to keep it looking young and healthy. And overwashing is one of the biggest contributors to aging the look of your hair. The more you wash your hair, the more you strip it of its natural oils and dry it out. It’s best to wash it as little as possible.

For different people the length of time you can go between washings is going to vary, but you definitely shouldn’t be washing your hair more than every other day. Some people have already converted. They’ve reached the pinnacle of the hair washing schedule and managed to cut it down to every three or even four days. To them I say congratulations. You already understand what a blessing it is. Not only are you saving your hair, by not abusing it with a daily dryout, but you are also saving time and energy and money (you’ll find your products disappear much more slowly).

Sometimes you’ve just got to get down to basics. Here’s everything you ever wanted to know about washing your hair.

I know, I know, I’ve heard it all. Some of you feel your hair is so oily that if you didn’t wash it every day, you would be a total greaseball. But you don’t HAVE to wash your hair every day. Did you know that by washing your hair every day, you are actually KEEPING it oily? You are constantly stripping your hair and scalp of natural oils, so your scalp freaks out and produces more, creating a vicious cycle. You need to get out of the cycle and cut down your washing to every other day. Now I’m not going to sugar-coat it, the first two months are going to be uncomfortable for you, but it’s worth it. Once your hair settles down and adjusts to the new routine, it will stop producing so much oil. That’s when it gets healthier.

Your hair is seriously going to thank you. And you have the added benefits of time (you’re going to realize you have a lot more of it when you don’t have to blowdry your hair every morning) and money in your pocket (products actually last).

HowWhat can I do so my hair doesn’t look so greasy between washings?
There are a few things you can do to ease your pain on that second or third day.
1) Try blowdrying hair at the roots to dry up some of the oil.
2) Sprinkle a little baby powder at the roots to soak up some oil, then fluff it out (yes, this really does work). Use this tactic at the gym too, to alleviate the scalp sweat after a workout.
3) Get creative and find fun things to do with your hair, like putting little clips all over or put a few curls here and there.
4) Teasing hair at the roots to create some volume on top is another great tip. Flat hair always looks oilier. Try teasing it underneath and putting it half up.
5) A zig-zag part will partially hide those roots.
6) Hats are big this spring. Plop one on and its "what roots?"
7) If you want to enlist the aid of hair color, fine highlights concentrated around the part are a surefire way to make hair look less greasy.

What’s the best way to wash my hair?

When you get in the shower, you should wash your hair first thing. The strategy here is allowing the conditioner the maximum time to penetrate into your hair. If you wash your hair as soon as you get in the shower, rinse and apply the conditioner, then the conditioner can sit for the entire time you are doing other things, like washing the rest of your body or shaving.

OK, so let me break down this washing thing. Put an appropriate amount of shampoo in your palm (obviously the more hair you have, the more product you need), rub your hands together to lather it up a little and spread it around your head. Use the pads of your fingers to massage your scalp in small circles all over your head. This will not only properly clean your hair, but also stimulate the scalp, to help keep it healthy and ward off hair loss (guys!). Also, a nice scalp massage can do great things for your mood.
Take a minute for yourself to enjoy it. Take two! Now don’t hurt yourself... be gentle but thorough. Rinse well and, as for the repeat part, only do this if your hair was really dirty. How do you tell if you need a second wash? If the shampoo didn’t really get all sudsy the first time round, go it again. When applying conditioner, concentrate on the ends (the driest part of the hair) and fingercomb it through.

After rinsing out the conditioner, I highly recommend giving your hair a blast of water as cold as you can handle. This will close the cuticle, leaving your hair shinier and bouncier. Actually, this technique is good for your skin as well, to tighten and tone.

How should I dry it?

Here is a stage in the washing process where I know that many of you abuse your hair. You use your towel as a weapon by doing a crazy hair-breaking head scrub. Please, for your hair’s sake, stop it! Instead, blot! Gently squeeze the water out of your hair with your towel. And rather than blowdrying from sopping wet, let it air dry about 80% and then finish it off with the blowdryer. Otherwise, you’re just wasting your time and needlessly damaging your hair. Some curly haired people shouldn’t be blowdrying at all, or if they do, just a little diffusing is all they need. If you want to detangle your hair when it’s wet, don’t rip through it with a brush. That snap-snap-snapping you hear... Guess what? It’s your hair break-break-breaking. Instead, use a wide-tooth comb, start at the ends and work your way up, and BE GENTLE.

What products should I use?

People always ask me if professional products really make a difference.
Yes. They do! I never believed in "wasting my money" on them before I became a hairstylist. And then my eyes were opened. Let me tell you, when I began using high quality products, my hair became everything I never thought it could be. All my life I’d had dream hair and I didn’t even know it. I’ve seen it in my clients too. I prescribe them the right products and watch their hair get healthier and more manageable before my eyes.

Professional products are also more concentrated, so you don’t have to use as much, and they end up being much more cost-effective than you’d expect. You DO, however, have to choose the RIGHT products. You do this by identifying your hair needs and goals and then choosing your products accordingly. So, what’s your hair deal?

BREAKING: Brittle, breaking hair needs fortifying. The ingredient that strengthens your hair is protein. Look for it when choosing a shampoo or conditioner. If you have fine hair, get your protein in a shampoo. It may weigh your hair down if its in the conditioner.

DRY: This is the most common hair texture problem. What you need is moisture. You’ll get the maximum from a moisturizing conditioner. Or my little trick if it really needs help is to use a conditioning treatment as a conditioner. If your hair is fine and you’re worried about weighing it down, get your moisture from a moisturizing shampoo and use a light conditioner.

LIMP: Volumizing shampoos and conditioners will definitely help give limp hair more life and lift. The one thing you need to beware of is if your hair is colored, these products could make your color fade faster. They make the hair look bigger by opening up the hair shaft, so color molecules can escape.

GREASY: Use a good cleansing shampoo to thoroughly cleanse and a light conditioner. If you’re ends are dry, use a moisturizing conditioner only on the tips, avoiding the scalp.

BRASSY: Purple or blue shampoos and conditioners will tone down orange and yellow in the hair. If your blonde is pale, use a purple shampoo, so that there is no dinginess left on the hair. If it is a darker blonde (or has more orange in it), go for the blue conditioner, which will deposit more pigment and cut more brass. Beware of those "highlighting shampoos". Some of them actually have peroxide in them and with repeated use can be very damaging to the hair.

COLORED: Definitely look into products for color-treated hair. If it is overly-highlighted, you’ll probably need moisture and protein. If you’ve got a darker color in your hair, look to products that prevent fading. You could even proactively help keep your color with a colored shampoo or conditioner. Just remember, the colored conditioners are stronger (deposit more) than the colored shampoos. Also, if a product can stain your hair, it can stain your fabrics. Use an old towel, and don’t lay your wet head down on your best pillowcase.

CHLORINATED: A clarifying or chelating shampoo is a must if you’re in and out of the pool a lot. Use it periodically, about every 5 times you go swimming. The best thing to do to protect your hair is wear a bathing cap in the pool. If you’re too cool for that, then at least wet your hair before going in. You could go one step further and put conditioner in your hair before getting into the pool. The idea is that the hair will be saturated with fresh water or conditioner and won’t be able to absorb as much chorinated water. And you should ALWAYS wash and condition your hair after getting out of the pool. Letting that chlorine sit in there for any length of time is hair suicide.

THINNING, DANDRUFF, ETC.: If you have a special hair condition, you need to look at that as your first hair priority when choosing a product. Go for the one targeted at your particular hair issues. And never underestimate the benefit of tea tree oil.

If there’s anything I missed or you have any hair questions, please Private message me on by clicking here . I’ll give you the info you’re looking for, straight up.
  How often should I wash my hair?
  How often should I wash my hair?
  How often should I wash my hair?
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