Hair Basics – No.1

Shampooing is a very fundamental aspect of hair care. It can be described as the genesis of all other healthy hair care practices; this is because without clean hair all other hair care practices will be ineffective. Washing allows the scalp to be rid of build up such as dirt, debris, oils, hair products and such which accumulate on the scalp over time. Consequently this build up needs to be removed to promote a clean and healthy scalp. 

Shampooing therefore promotes healthy hair because the scalp is allowed to breathe freely. In a situation where the hair follicles are clogged due to an unclean scalp – the growth of new hairs may be inhibited. This may in effect lead to slower and reduced hair growth.

The frequency of shampooing depends on the individual’s hair and lifestyle. Some people choose to shampoo every day or every other day. This may however not be ideal for black hair (of African descent), curly or relaxed hair. You may choose to wash your hair twice a week, weekly, every two weeks or even monthly. I formerly shampooed my hair every week now I have reduced this to every two weeks because this is what works for me at this time. However in the future I may decide to change this. Therefore it is important to know what works for your hair at any particular time so that you can implement any necessary changes accordingly.

Shampooing may be viewed as something which can be done by everyone. However the shampooing process is not as simple as it seems. There are certain techniques that can result in a more effective wash day.

These are described below:

1. Before shampooing make sure your hair has been properly detangled, i.e. combed out properly using a wide tooth comb.

2. Before washing your hair you may decide to do a pre-shampoo treatment (optional). In the event that you do, this treatment should be left on and then rinsed out before shampooing. Please see my earlier blog post explaining how this treatment is done.

3. Thoroughly wet your hair before using the shampoo.

4. Apply a coin sized amount of shampoo on your hand and then rub it in between the palms of your hands before massaging the shampoo into your scalp. When shampooing do not rough up the hair but allow it to flow down in one direction, just like it is done at the salon sinks. If you choose to wash your own hair, simply stand or sit in the bath so that your hair flows in one direction only. Do not scrunch the hair up and roll it up into a ball while washing it because this will lead to tangles which are always a pain to remove.

5. When shampooing it is best to concentrate mainly on the scalp because that is the primary place to be cleansed since this is where build up occurs. Shampooing should be done using the pads of the fingers and not the finger nails. Using circular motions apply light pressure and massage the scalp.

6. Then rinse. You may then choose to repeat the shampoo process after rinsing to ensure a proper wash (optional). I always shampoo twice just to ensure that my hair is properly cleansed.

7. When rinsing the water travels through the entire hair length which leads to the hair being effectively cleansed. Therefore it is not necessary to concentrate your shampooing efforts on the entire length of hair.

8. When doing the final rinse it is important to rinse the hair thoroughly until there are no traces of shampoo left.

9. You can wring your hair in a downwards motion very gently to rid the hair of excess water like I do. Finally towel dry your hair by just placing the towel on the hair and patting gently until the hair is dry. Please do not wrap your hair up in the towel like is usually done on shampoo adverts because this again leads to tangles.

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But he who dares not grasp the thorn should never crave the rose – Anne Bronte