The Most Common Mistakes People Make When Shampooing Their Hair

Wondering why the hair washes at the salon tend to sit better with your hair? Chances are that you’re not shampooing your hair correctly at home. Most people make at least one mistake every time they lather up their hair. Once you know where exactly you’re going wrong, you can fix it to have lovely locks. We’ve outlined six common errors people make when shampooing and conditioning their hair.

Mistake #1: Hair Isn’t Damp Enough

People underestimate how wet hair is important before shampoo application. Every strand needs to be soaking wet in order to get a deep cleanse. The good news is, it just takes about a full minute standing under the shower stream to ensure every strand is drenched. The bad news is, it’s different for everybody. If your hair is particularly dense—not even thick, just dense—run your fingers through to double-check that water has made it from the root to the ends of your hair. Do not skip out on this extremely significant step.

Mistake #2: Using Way Too Much Shampoo

People generally have no idea how much shampoo to use in the shower. We’ll be honest – we were using a hell of a lot more than was necessary. At the same time, using too little shampoo won’t get your hair clean enough. It won’t even coat your strands. There’s a way of gauging how much shampoo you need, though. For short hair, aim for the size of a coin. For medium-length hair, aim for the size of two coins. If you have long hair, you’ll want to use about a half 10 rupee note. Squeeze the shampoo in your palm, and then use your fingers to apply the product starting at the scalp and crown.

Mistake #3: Skipping the Scalp

Starting at the scalp is crucial. If you’ve ever had a professional shampoo at a salon, you know how much time they spend on your scalp. It’s not just an impromptu head massage for you to relax. Scrubbing the scalp is a key step to an effective shampoo technique.

Mistake #4: Shampooing for Too Little or Too Long

The magic number for cleansing the scalp is three minutes, no matter your hair length or hair type. Focusing your initial shampooing efforts on the scalp helps remove dirt, sebum, and build-up that collects there. Spending less than three minutes on your scalp does not clean your hair enough and leads to dirty hair that looks flat and oily.

Mistake #5: Not Rinsing Thoroughly

The focus of your shampooing and massage should only be the scalp, and not the actual hair. If you’ve got long hair, rinse and repeat. After you’ve scrubbed your scalp for three minutes, it’s time to rinse. A quick 15-second rinse should suffice, but depending on your hair type, you could need a little more time.

If you typically run through the rinse portion of your hair washing process, you may be doing more harm than good. Especially since it’s shampoo that can cause build-up on hair, not conditioners, according to the experts at NYC’s Le Salon, this is why it’s important to spend at least a full minute rinsing hair of shampoo before moving on to the next step.

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Mistake #6: Wrong Application of the Conditioner

Yes, we’ve all heard it before and yet, so many of us continue to use the conditioner wrong. The trick to using conditioner is only to apply it to the bottom two-thirds of hair to prevent your scalp and roots from getting overly oily since the scalp produces natural oils.

Skipping conditioner can be a time-saver, but your hair will pay for it in the end. The key to a productive condition is removing the excess water from your hair before you apply conditioner because this allows it to soak in and do its job. Take your time to work it in, making sure to coat every strand.

Mistake #7: Forgoing the Cold Rinse

Finally, don’t forget to give your hair a cold water rinse. If you thought this was a beauty myth repeated over the years in magazines and on websites, this is a beauty do that is actually true. While hot water raises the cuticle and therefore makes products more effective, you need to rinse hair with cold water to close the cuticle. A flatter cuticle has a smoother surface, one which reflects light and makes hair look shinier.

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