Washing our hair is something most of us do several times a week and probably don’t think much of, but it turns out you could be doing it the wrong way entirely. If you have been suffering from consecutive bad hair days, shampooing the wrong way could easily be the culprit — but don’t fret.

I spoke to some of the top experts in hair care from all over the country to learn their best hair washing techniques, tips, and tricks. If you want your locks to shine, read carefully and use your head.

Combing your hair the wrong way before you wash

It is not easy to wash a head full of tangled hair, so most of us brush or comb it out before washing. But according to Fernando Salas, who is the founder and creator of the White Sands hair care line, combing your hair improperly can really damage your strands. Most of us have been taught to brush or comb our hair from top to bottom, but Salas says this is actually not the right way to go about it. He suggests adopting the “bottoms up” method, which is combing your hair in smaller pieces, starting at the bottom and working your way up toward your scalp.

He explained, “When you comb hair from the bottom up, you are working with less surface area to untangle at one time.” To prevent breakage, Salas said, “Working in smaller sections like this is key. When you try to comb from the top down, think of how much hair you are attempting to pull a comb through at one time.”

It is almost like untangling a knotted necklace. We all know it is much easier to get that final, tiny knot out than that giant first one. Salas’ method ends up being more gentle on your hair.

Not thinking about where your water is coming from

For most of us, water comes out of our shower head and we don’t give it another thought or wonder if the source of the water can affect our hair. But some kinds of water, especially hard water, can have a really big impact on how your hair looks.

However, if you are thinking about moving due to bad hair days, Shannon Combs, who is the owner and operator of Acorn Hill Salon and Spa in Lynchburg, Virginia says don’t pack your boxes just yet. She explained, “You do not necessarily need to use filtered water, but depending on where you live, you might want to consider it, as mineral build up can change the color of your hair.”

If hard water is your problem, you aren’t alone. Michelle Guetersloh, a hairstylist and educator, revealed to me that over 80 percent of the country has hard water. Luckily, says Guetersloh, there are several easy solutions. “You should use hard water shampoo or crystal packets as needed to remove hard water build up that can make hair flat, hard, stiff, or brassy.”

Using hot water

According to hair expert Sophia Porter, when it comes to washing your hair most women need to cool it down. She told me, “Women should try their best to avoid using hot water while washing because this strips the hair of its natural oils and fades color tremendously.”

Stephanie Johnson of Fusion Studio in Dallas revealed that avoiding hot water is especially important for women with color treated hair. She explained, “The more hot the water, the more nutrients and color will be compromised. The cuticle is your protection, so protect it. Hot water on fine, damaged, or compromised follicles will be more damaging to [the cuticle] and hair. Rinse conditioners in cooler temperatures.”

However, you don’t need to use cold water all of the time. Guetersloh says washing in warm water is best for getting the gunk out of your hair. “Warm water should be used to shampoo and loosen and remove build up.”Then, she suggests turning down the temperature after washing. “A cool rinse after can seal in moisture and add shine, as it makes the hair cuticle close down and appear smoother.” But if the thought of using any cold water at all sends shivers down your spine, Combs suggests compromising and using lukewarm water instead.

Using certain chemical ingredients

Nearly every stylist I spoke with said to avoid all products with sulfates, but it isn’t just hair stylists that don’t like this ingredient — medical professionals also give it a no. Dr. Joel Schlessinger, a board certified dermatologist, says this ingredient doesn’t just do a number on your hair, it can actually be harmful for people with sensitive skin and scalps. “[Avoid] sodium lauryl sulfate [because] sulfates can be irritating on skin and hair that is prone to eczema, allergies, or other irritations. Anyone with sensitive skin could benefit from switching to a gentle, sulfate-free shampoo.”

Sulfates aren’t the only ingredient you should avoid. Celebrity hairstylist Anthony Pazos added, “Never purchase shampoo or conditioner with parabens as they can coat the hair and leave a nasty layer of wax.”

Johnson revealed the proof is in the price point and that it’s important to the shell out a few extra dollars to get better products. “Budget shampoos are loaded with inexpensive cleansing agents including sulfates that dry and strip color. They contribute to frizz issues and more.” She also suggested avoiding products that contain synthetic keratin. “Some of those brands with big budget advertising dollars can have synthetic keratin which can end up causing more harm from cuticle damage all the way to full-on scalp rejection.”

Read more: http://www.thelist.com/97934/things-every-woman-avoid-washing-hair/


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