How To Wash Your Hair (Properly)

Learn how to wash your hair the right way.

Knowing how to wash your hair seems pretty basic, right? Well, you’d think so, but there’s a lot of conflicting information about there. From how often you should wash your hair to the right techniques, and even the drying process, we’ve sifted through all the conflicting information to give you a comprehensive guide of helpful tips to help improve your hair washing routine. Read on for better hair days…

How to Wash Your Hair Properly: Step-By-Step

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  • Wet your hair with warm water.
  • Add shampoo to hands and apply to wet hair.
  • Gently massage hair (particularly the roots!).
  • Rinse shampoo out of your hair.
  • Gently squeeze your hair to remove excess water.
  • Apply conditioner to the ends of your hair.
  • Rinse with cool water to help close your cuticles.
  • Remove excess water from your hair and pat dry hair with a towel before styling.

5 Tips for How to Wash Your Hair Properly

Use these essential tips alongside the step-by-step guide (above) for the best results when washing your hair.

brunette woman smiling and putting shampoo onto her hair
These tips will help you wash your hair the right way. Credit: Rupert Laycock

1. Look at How Often You Wash Your Hair

“How often do you wash your hair?” is a question you’ve probably been asked by your hairdresser a million times before. That’s because the frequency at which you wash your hair can be a contributing factor to its health.

That said, finding the right frequency for you is a fine art of trial and error. Making it a daily ritual probably isn’t the best idea, but it really depends on what makes you comfortable and what’s best for your hair type. As natural hair is usually dryer than other types, once a week will probably suffice, however, if you have fine hair, you may need to up the frequency of washing to help remove sebum that can weigh hair down, making it look limp.

2. Be Gentle

Technique is also important. You might think that the more vigorous you are with the rubbing and scratching, the more thorough you’re being, but the truth is, this method can be too harsh for your scalp and will cause hair tips to break.

So, what’s the most effective technique to use? The answer actually lies in brushing or combing your hair before you wash. Dry-brushing will help to stimulate the scalp and loosen any build-up before you begin your hair washing routine. But if you have curly or tightly coiled hair and the thought of brushing it out sends you into a mild state of panic, consider washing your hair in small sections to minimise tangling, instead. And remember to use a soft massaging motion while washing. When it comes to conditioning, only apply to the ends of your hair; your scalp doesn’t need it!

The back of a brunette woman washing her hair
Using the right products makes all of the difference. Credit: Rupert Laycock

3. Find the Perfect Products

The right shampoo and conditioner for your hair type can make a world of difference to both your hair washing routine and the way it looks and feels afterwards. We know this can sometimes be a drawn-out process of trial and error, but pay attention to the labels and pick products for the hair type you have, not the hair type you want. 

Dove Intensive Repair Shampoo Front view

If your hair is feeling weak from heat, colour or styling damage, we recommend using a strengthening range like the Dove Intensive Repair Shampoo and Conditioner. This formula helps to repair the appearance of damaged hair on the outside, while Nutri-Keratin Repair Actives help repair the damage you can’t see, deep inside the hair.

Those with coloured hair need products which will effectively cleanse their hair without causing their colour to fade more quickly. Enriched with camellia oil, the TRESemmé Colour Shineplex Shampoo and Conditioner are part of a sulphate-free system which cleans hair without stripping, maintaining the vibrancy of your colour for up to 12 weeks.

TRESemmé Replenish & Cleanse Shampoo Front View

Regularly using styling products like hairspray or dry shampoo can cause build-up on your hair and scalp, which can leave hair looking dull and limp. The trick to tackling build-up is to add a clarifying shampoo into your routine. Try the TRESemmé Cleanse & Replenish Deep Cleansing Shampoo, which gets rid of product build-up, grease and impurities in the hair for revived and shiny strands.

Give blonde or grey hair a boost with purple shampoos and conditioners that help to tone your colour as well as cleansing. Dove Silver Care Shampoo and Conditioner contain violet toning pigments and pearl extract to neutralise any yellow, brassy tones and brighten up your colour.

4. Water Plays a Part

Water is, of course, an essential ingredient for hair washing, but it can also play havoc with the look and feel your tresses. First and foremost, keep your water temperature as cool as you can bear it. And secondly, understand the difference between hard and soft water, and which kind flows through your area of habitat. Hard water has a high content of minerals, like calcium and magnesium, which leave a film on your strands that’s difficult to remove and makes rinsing out products a pain.

Editor’s tip: Don’t despair if you live in a hard water area. There’s no need to resort to washing your hair with bottled water or fitting in an expensive shower filter! A simple and inexpensive homemade rinse can combat the effects hard water has on your hair. Just mix one part apple cider vinegar to two parts filtered water, and rinse. This is something you might want to consider doing weekly in addition to your normal hair washing routine if you live in an area with very hard water.

5. How You Dry Your Hair Is Important Too

Towels are for drying hair, right? Technically, yes, but they’re not the only option. Our editor’s top tip? Try drying your hair with a cotton T-shirt! When wet, the strands are more fragile, and rubbing them with a rough towel causes minor traumas to your hair. So why does a T-shirt help? While there’s no scientific evidence to prove it does, its smooth surface and even cotton texture makes it perfect for absorbing water, plus (as this editor can personally vouch) it can also help reduce frizz. We should add, though: the critical part here is how you dry your hair. The action of rubbing can lead to damaged strands – instead, gently pat your hair with your towel or tee in a soft squeezing motion.

Now you finally know how to wash your hair the right way, make sure to check out our Shampoo and Conditioner pages for more great reads!

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