How to Wash Your Hair: Tips and Tricks and a Step-by-Step Guide

Learn how to properly wash your hair and keep it in prime styling condition.

Skill

Knowing how to wash your hair seems pretty basic, right? Well, you’d think so. But there’s a good possibility that you haven’t been doing it the right way. So then, what is the correct way of washing hair, you ask? From frequency to techniques to even the drying process, we’ve sifted through all the conflicting information to give you a smart, concise guide on how to wash hair the best and most effective way possible. Read on:

how to wash your hair shiny brown bob with bangs
Learn how to wash your hair the right way.

Frequency

If you’ve ever wondered how to wash your hair properly, first you have to know how often to wash it. How often you wash your hair can play a big role in the health of your strands.

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. If you have curly or natural hair and are wondering how to wash curly hair (as these types are usually dryer than others), 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. You can also click here for a more in-depth discussion on natural hair washing.

Playing it soft

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 may cause breakage.

So, what’s the most effective technique to use? The answer actually lies in brushing or combing your hair before you wash. Dry-brushing can help stimulate the scalp and loosen any build-up before you begin your hair washing routine, making for a more efficient shower process. 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 minimize tangling instead. Editor’s tip: 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, and may even add to limpness and grease. 

The Perfect Products for You

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 afterward. 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. 

Again, the technique is everything; when you’re applying shampoo, concentrate your efforts on massaging the scalp to remove excess oils and product build-up. And as for conditioner? Remember to leave on for at least 1-2 minutes.

Water works

Water is, of course, an essential ingredient for hair washing, but it can also wreak havoc on the look and feel your tresses. First and foremost, try and keep your water temperature as cool as you can bear it (not that it matters with the quality of the rinse, but too-hot water dries out your skin—and we don’t want that either!). 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 more of 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, then 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, or you can even invest in a clarifying system, like Suave Essentials Daily Clarifying Shampoo and Daily Clarifying Conditioner, as a weekly detox.

Drying your hair

Towels are for drying hair, right? Technically, yes, but they’re not the only option. Try drying your hair with a cotton T-shirt! Strands are more fragile when wet, and rubbing them with a rough towel can definitely cause trauma to your hair, especially when done too vigorously. So why does a T-shirt help? While there’s no scientific evidence to prove it does, its smooth surface and even cotton texture make it perfect for absorbing water, plus (as our team of editors 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 blot your hair with your towel or tee in a soft squeezing motion.

hair wash tips for the best shampoo ever
When your hair looks great it’s time to celebrate.

A good hair day most often starts with good habits in the shower. And with that, you’re going to need a hair washing routine designed for your specific hair type and hair needs. These hair wash tips are sure to revamp your routine and make it even easier for you to kick off your day with awesome locks, ensuring optimal styling conditions:

1. Use the right shampoo and conditioner for your hair type.

We’ve written before about choosing the best shampoo for your hair type, but it’s so important that it bears repeating. Hair care products are designed to work for specific types to combat your specific issues (dryness, color-treated hair, and so on), which can help you to reap the benefits of the system. Make sure you start your routine off on the right foot with the right wash and care system.

2. Use the conditioner that’s designed for your shampoo.

We always recommend you use the conditioner that matches up with your shampoo, as their formulas are specifically made to work best when used together. Also, speaking of formulas, don’t mix anything else into your shampoo or conditioner. We’ve seen a lot of tips floating around the internet for adding in essential oils to your store-bought shampoo and conditioner. This isn’t a great idea, because you don’t know how the formula will react to a new ingredient. Worst-case scenario, you could actually introduce a new skin problem to your scalp!

3. Mask it up.

You don’t need to always to use a mask independently of your regular wash-and-care routine in the shower; you can totally use a hair mask while you wash your body, or while you shave. Using an in-shower mask is a great treat for damaged hair. Just apply the mask like a conditioner and rinse it out a few minutes later for a more serious shot of hydration.

4. Post-wash

Not every hair type needs a leave-in hair product, although some, like drier and curlier hair types, can definitely benefit from one. It’s more advisable to use the right shower and post-showering products for your hair type, i.e. if you have finer hair that tends to go limp, use the right shampoo and conditioner to target those concerns, together with a lighter-wearing pre-styler. And as always, too much of a good thing is not always the right thing!

1

Grab your favorite shampoo.

Grab a bottle of your favorite shampoo that’s suited to your hair needs. We love Suave Professionals Coconut Oil Infusion Shampoo because of how moisturizing it is. Get your hair wet and then work the shampoo into your roots until it’s lathered up.

2

Rinse and condition.

Rinse out the shampoo and follow up with the coordinating Suave Professionals Coconut Oil Infusion Damage Repair Conditioner. Comb the conditioner through the bottom half of your strands. 

3

Rinse with cool water.

Use cool water to rinse out the conditioner to seal the hair cuticle and add some shine.

4

Pat-dry.

Gently squeeze out any excess water and use a towel to pat your hair dry. And that’s it!