Have you ever wondered why you've gone through so many expensive shampoos and conditioners only to be left feeling betrayed by the stellar reviews and recommendations? Why do you own so many half empty bottles of products recommended by a stylist, magazine article or swindled by clever marketing?
Let's address the first issue: How often do you shampoo? If you just said every day I might have just cringed a little. It's a vicious cycle to break but for most people it can be done. Now keep in mind, this is not a one size fits all approach to hair care. I will break it down by hair types and specifics but always ask your trusted and knowledgeable hair stylist for their daily regimen suggestions.
Shampooing everyday, for really fine hair, sometimes is a necessity but try to keep it during the work week in order to give hair/scalp/wallet a break. For those that find themselves excessively sudsing up, make sure you "lube" your hair up before the actual deed by running a light hair oil throughout your strands before you shampoo. It acts as a buffer from the drying effects of shampoo. For fine hair, I recommend misting with a product like Repair Emulsion from Aestalance. It won't leave hair greasy afterwards. For thicker drier hair try jojoba oil, Aestalance's Repair Oil or Shu Uemura's Essence Absolue depending upon your hair budget. I am a huge fan of coconut oil but not for hair. It is drying - contrary to popular belief. I've seen it just coat hair and little else. I like it as an aftershave on legs or as an occasional summer lightweight lotion for the face. I've seen it work miracles on my daughter's eczema. I like to cook with it. Just don't put it on your hair. Use jojoba oil. It's closer to our own sebum (natural oils).
Now to the art of actually shampooing your scalp. Yes that's right, your scalp. Not your hair. Meaning if you have long enough hair for a ponytail, you're only going to shampoo what makes up the top portion of your pony. The other side of the ponytail holder is meant for conditioner only! What you rinse from your scalp will cleanse the mid shaft and ends. Trust me, it's sufficient. With your salon quality shampoo, start with a half dollar sized dollop and add water to emulsify, not more shampoo. You're probably used to using too much. Have your shampoo and conditioner be the first thing you do in the shower. Your conditioner will be the last thing you rinse before you get out. That way you have enough time for your conditioner (mask) to stay on and do more. My mantra "everyone has time for a hair mask". If you shower you do and, well, we know you shower.
Pay close attention to massaging your shampoo in and not just mussing your hair around your head. The purpose is to break up sebum and other deposits on the scalp and stimulate the hair follicles. Now, after you've finished properly shampooing and rinsing well, squeeze out as much water as possible. I find towel drying a little excessive because, let's face it, most of us won't do it. Also I like a little slickness in the hair, it allows for ease of application and stretches the product out better. Using less is more. Start conditioner application at the bottom and work your way up. In doing so, your product placement is going to where it needs it the most. Hair is dead (that’s right gals and guys!) but the ends are really really dead. So show them love. For fine hair stop at the mid shaft. For thicker, dry, or curly hair it's ok to apply the remainder of conditioner to the scalp. It shouldn't weigh it down if you're using a salon quality and suited for your hair type product. Again, proceed with caution - don’t get a fresh dollop for your scalp!
Leaving a Wet Brush (the best detangling brush EVER) in your shower is key! Wide tooth combs are a thing of the past, relics to be scoffed at. In all seriousness, a detangling brush is the most unsung weapon in your hair arsenal. Brush your conditioner through for even distrubution. Clip it up and out of the way, that way the ends, where it's needed the most, stays saturated and out of the spray of the shower head. Once you're ready to get out make sure to rinse out your conditioner well. I don't believe in leaving some in for use as a leave in. That can lead to build up and an unattractive sheen that robs you of the truly clean hair shine. If it's not a leave in then don't leave it in. Wrap hair in your towel or pat dry instead of aggressively rubbing the towel around your head. That roughs up the cuticle and can create frizz or even breakage on fragile strands!
Last but definitely not least, let's briefly tackle the second issue. You have bought so many products and you're sick of hearing what's the next new hot thing you'll be wasting money on. If you start changing how you use your products, like we discussed, then you might like the ones you already have, or this will help you find ones you'll love. For fine, frequent shampooers, blondes highlighted or natural, and chemically stressed/over processed hair a gentle, preferably one with protein, shampoo is essential. For fine hair, I love Aestalance's DF or GL shampoo or Davines' Melu shampoo. For coarse dry hair, Davines' Oi shampoo or Aestalance's MC shampoo. For conditioner Aestalance's Protein mask is a top seller in my salon or Davines' Nou Nou mask. How much you use depends on your hair type but those aforementioned are suitable for many across the board.
When in doubt ask your hair care professional. That's what we are here for, to educate you, not to sell you product you don't need. If your stylist isn't telling you these things...look for one who will.
Next time we will delve into appropriate products and tools usage!
Knowledge is wealth and beauty!