Let's take a look at the basics of caring for the hair. We'll discuss the proper ways to shampoo, condition,
and dry the hair. I know that many of you are going to think that this is a completely unnecessary article. You're probably thinking, I know how
to shampoo and condition my hair. I've been doing it for years. But I've noticed in dealing with my clients that there are a large number of
people who just seem to be mishandling their hair. This mishandling is having an effect on the hair that isn't beneficial.
I'm a professional stylist who chooses not to work in a salon. I offer my services to clients who want or
need the convenience of someone who can come to them. Because of this, I travel to clients' homes and give them the same expert service that
they would receive in a salon visit. It also allows me a better opportunity to see how they perform certain hair care functions.
Because the nature of my services allows me to command a higher rate for services, many of my clients prefer
to take care of basic processes themselves. I'll arrive at the client's home, we'll discuss the service (haircut, roller set, perm, color, etc.)
and I'll send them to the bathroom with products to shampoo and condition the hair (when appropriate) while I set up my equipment. They usually
emerge with the hair still wet while they towel it dry.
The products that I give them have been dispensed into translucent bottles, and I always ask to see the
bottles after they've finished. This allows me to see how much of the product they use in a single shampooing and conditioning treatment. As
often as not, we discuss the routine they use when washing their hair. Based on my experience and the things I've seen my clients do, I've
learned a few things that I think are common to many people. They are as follows:
• Most people use more shampoo than necessary when washing their hair.
• Most people are rougher than necessary in handling their hair during basic hair
care processes like shampooing and conditioning (especially those with long hair).
• Many people (especially those with longer or thicker hair) don't rinse the hair
well enough after shampooing or conditioning.
• Most people with short hair use too much conditioner.
• Most people with long hair use too little conditioner.
• Most people towel dry their hair in the roughest manner imaginable.
• Most people are unaware of the proper way to comb out towel-dried hair.
I've also learned that my clients tend to have a number of similar complaints about their hair. These are:
• My hair gets very knotty after shampooing and conditioning.
• My scalp gets itchy after I shampoo and condition my hair.
• My hair gets weaker as it grows longer. My shorter hair always looked healthy,
but now that I'm growing it longer, it seems to break more easily.
• Using conditioner on my hair makes it oily.
• When I wash my hair it gets too dry, especially on the ends.
I'm sure many of you can see the correlation between the complaints in the second list and the traits I've
noted in the first list. It amazes me that as obvious as the relationships seem to be, few people ever see the connections between the ways they
shampoo, condition and dry their hair and the complaints they have. I think this is because most people learn their hair care habits at an
early age and don't think to make changes in the way they do things as they get older or their hair changes.
A man (or woman) who grew up wearing his (or her) hair cut short learns to shampoo, condition and dry his
(or her) hair in a specific manner. Now that he's (or she's) older and trying to grow long hair, he (or she) fails to realize that the way you
treat long hair is different from the way you treat short hair. It's a similar problem with women who grow up with long hair and decide to
suddenly go with a short hair style. They tend to use the same amounts of product on their shorter hair as they used on their longer hair.
There is also the fact that many people just never learned the right way to perform these basic hair care
procedures. (I know that I can't remember ever being "taught" how to shampoo and condition my hair.) We go from being infants and small
children who are bathed by our parents, to older children who are expected to perform these tasks for ourselves. Typically, there's never
much (if any) actual teaching of the right way to do these things.
So, let's get back to the basics and discuss the proper ways to shampoo, condition and dry the hair:
The first step to healthy hair is cleansing. This means choosing the right shampoo and using the right
amount of shampoo. Most shampoo formulas are made for "normal to dry hair" or "normal to oily hair". A good way to determine which of these
you need is to take a spray bottle with water and lightly mist your hair when it is dry.