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Basic Hair Care (3)

Previous Page
 
      Once again, be sure to rinse the hair completely, running your fingers through the hair to help push out the lather and make sure that you get all the shampoo off the scalp as well.
 
Conditioning:
 
woman squeezing water from her long wet hair       Step two to having healthy hair is conditioning, and again, using the right conditioner and the proper amount are important. If your hair was porous, try using a conditioner high in moisturizers. If it was resistant, you will probably want to go with a lighter formula.
 
      Before applying the conditioner to your freshly shampooed hair, you'll want to squeeze out the excess water from your hair, especially if your hair is long. The best way to do this is simply run your hands over your head and down your neck, pressing gently to force the extra water out of the hair. For very long hair, you can use the above method at the scalp and neck, then gather the hair into one hand and squeeze the remaining length between two fingers and slide them to the ends of the hair.
 
      Once again, follow the directions on the conditioner package to determine how much you need. Use less if your hair is short, and more if it is very long. Apply the conditioner to the palm of your hand and rub your hands together to spread it then apply the conditioner to your hair using a stroking motion. There is no need to apply the conditioner directly to the scalp, just to the hair since working the condition through the hair tends to spread it onto the scalp as well.
 
      Work your fingers through your hair to "comb" it through the hair from the scalp area to the ends. If you have very long hair, you may need to get a little more conditioner to completely cover the ends of the hair.
 
      Allow the conditioner to sit on the hair the length of time directed by the packaging. This is usually one minute for most rinse-through conditioners, though it may be as much as 3 to 5 minutes for some of the more moisture-rich conditioners. When the conditioner has been on for the required length of time, rinse it thoroughly from the hair. Again, while rinsing, run your fingers through your hair to make sure to remove all the residual conditioner, especially at the scalp area where it could result in an oily look once the hair is dried.
 
      It's always important to completely rinse shampoos and conditioners from the hair after using them. Shampoos contain surfactants that can cause the scalp to feel dry and itchy if not fully rinsed away, and conditioners can result in the hair looking flat and limp if not rinsed properly. A good conditioner will have properly moisturized the hair and smoothed the cuticle layer during the time it sits on the hair. You don't need to be able to feel the conditioner residue to have gotten the proper effect.
 
Drying:
 
      Now we come to the step where most people do the most harm to their hair. It's astonishing how brutal some people are when they towel-dry their hair. A friend of mine used to complain to me that he couldn't understand why his hair kept coming out in his hairbrush. One day while waiting for him to get ready to go to a movie, I watched him drying his hair after a shower (his hair is shoulder length) and he laid the towel over his head and proceeded to act as though he were trying to buff his scalp. He rubbed the towel over his head (and his hair) so roughly that when he removed the towel he looked as though he'd been through a wind tunnel.
 
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