7 Mistakes You’re Making When You Wash Your Hair, And How To Fix Them

by Luisa Colón

Washing your hair can be such a satisfying process. Whether you’re doing it to scrub out product buildup, or performing more of a ritualistic cleanse (yes, you can theoretically scrub away a horrible day), there’s something about a good shampoo session that feels great. Except for one thing: you’re probably washing your hair wrong.

Sure it seems simple enough. Stand under streaming water, lather, rinse, skip the repeat, and you’re done, right?

Wrong. Oh so wrong. From using too much to scrubbing down too often, what you once thought was a mindless process may require a little extra effort and thought. Luckily not all is loss for your locks, as many of these errors are easily remedied. Invest in the right tools and take a few tips from Chelsey Pickthorn, owner and stylist of Brooklyn-based salon Pickthorn, and you’ll soon be shampooing your hair like a pro.

1. You Wash Your Hair Too Often

“When you shampoo every day, your hair and scalp are stripped of their natural oils,” Pickthorn explains. She adds that this, in turn, causes the the scalp to overproduce oils, making your hair greasier, faster.The only way to break the cycle? Implement a new routine. To start, Pickthorn suggests shampooing every other day and slowly work your way up to washing every three to four days.

Try: Majestic Pure Argan Oil Shampoo, $15, Amazon

Your Shampoo Has High Levels Of Alcohol

It’s time to choose a shampoo for more than it’s scent. Like, I don’t know, for the ingredients. Pickthorn explains that many shampoos contain high levels of alcohol, plastics, and other ingredients that cause extreme drying. Although an alcohol-free shampoo won’t create as many suds, it will be safer for your locks. Start reading the ingredients on the shampoo label, or ask your stylist to recommend a shampoo that will address your specific hair needs.

Try: Vizzeri Sulfate-Free Shampoo/Conditioner Combo, $35, Amazon

3. You Forget About Your Scalp

Just because you’re cutting down on the shampoos and only conditioning your ends doesn’t mean you shouldn’t give your scalp attention. “Even though you are leaving the shampoo out, give yourself a scalp massage,” Pickthorn says. This way you get that freshly scrubbed feeling without stripping your scalp of the oils it needs.

Try: Zyllion Scalp Massage Brush, $4.95, Amazon

You Don’t Style Your Bangs Right Away

When your fringe bangs are freshly washed, that’s the perfect opportunity to style them. “As soon as you get out of the shower, be sure to brush your bangs into desired shape so they do not dry with any cowlicks or kink,” Pickthorn says. Otherwise, as they dry, they’ll become increasingly defiant and difficult to style. 

Try: Mini Nylon 1.1 Inch Brush, $8, Amazon; Babyliss Mini Travel Dryer Pro, $29.99, Amazon

You Don’t Rinse Before You Shampoo

You know to rinse your hair after you shampoo and condition it, but did you know you should start with a rinse, too? Your products will be much more effective if they’re used on wet hair. Make that cold, wet hair. “Cool water temperature is best during your entire washing process,” says Pickthorn. “This helps maintain color and keeps the cuticle closed.”

Try: DreamSpa Temperature Controlled LED-Light Shower Head, $35, Amazon

You Condition Incorrectly

You probably didn’t realize that conditioner mistakes are a whole other category of hair washing mishaps. But Pickthorn finds that the most common error is massaging it into your scalp. “Shampoo is only for your scalp and conditioner is meant for just the ends,” she explains, adding that your scalp doesn’t need the hydrating effects of conditioner. So save yourself some product and save your hair by using a small amount on the ends of your hair only.

Try: MOP C-System Hydrating Conditioner, $10, Amazon

7. You Finish Your Rinse With Hot Water

You’re almost in the home stretch, but when finish up your shower with hot water, you’ve just made another misstep and negated your careful washing.In fact, if you can stand it, cold water is best at all times during your shampoo. Pickthorn points out that using cold water is extra-important for maintaining heavily-deposited colored hair. “Redheads and platinums need to be sure to always keep it cool,” she warns.

Images: Lip Jin Lee/Flickr; Giphy (7)