Using Shampoos and Conditioners  – Basic but Essential Care

Shampoos and conditioners are products you will (hopefully) use your entire life. Although they are basic, it's essential that you know how to use them effectively! Choosing can pose a real challenge though! There are so many different products on the market today! It can be a royal pain in the neck just trying to figure out which ones to try and which ones to diss! Oh my!





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Making mistakes is a hard lesson but it can also work to your advantage over time. You will find out quickly which products work well for your hair and which ones cause problems. One thing they all have in common is that none of them will make your hair happy if you’re not using them properly!

How to Use Shampoos and Conditioners



How to Choose

Shampoos and conditioners should be treated as two separate products. Sure, you can buy conditioning shampoos but they are still shampoos! Those two in one products (shampoos and conditioners in one) are fine for for shorter hair, but they're sheer poop for longer hair. (And they're still just basically a conditioning shampoo!) Shorter hairstyles may only need a conditioning/moisturizing shampoo. Longer hairstyles always need both shampoos and conditioners.

The type of shampoo you choose depends on what you want it to do and/or the present health of your hair. If your hair is dry for example, you should choose shampoos that include built-in moisturizing agents or oils. If you have curls and want straight hair, you might choose straightening shampoos. The choice is completely up to you and the options are simply endless!

How to Shampoo Your Hair

Shampooing your hair is very basic, yet takes a little effort. In order to clean your scalp and hair properly, your hair needs to be fully saturated, (completely wet), before you start. This also helps to rinse the dirt from your scalp and creates a better environment for shampoo to do its job.

Most people use regular shampoos, which is fine if they're not hurting your hair. If a product starts causing issues though, you'll need to be a detective and deduce the ingredients that aren't suited for it.

Shampoo's that foam and lather, have washing agents called surfactants in them. If you're shampoo doesn't lather at all, it's probably organic. I just started using some of the Herbal Essence shampoo's again, (like Hello Hydration and Tousle Me Softly), after like 30 years or more of not using them. They've got these great marbled-looking, lustrous concoctions now that bathe your hair in emollients. So great! For a low cost 'regular' product, this company has sure come a long way!

1) - When you use shampoos, you’ll need to apply enough to get good coverage. It's usually about a dime sized amount. A good rule of thumb to follow is that longer hair needs more shampoo and shorter hair needs less.

2) - Once you have some shampoo in the palm of your hand, you'll need to emulsify it, which means rubbing the shampoo together with both hands. This gets it ready to tackle on cleaning. Apply to the top of your hair and with your fingertips, gently massage the shampoo into your scalp. You'll want to work up a good lather to get your hair clean. If you don't get a good lather and are using a regular shampoo, you didn't thoroughly wet your hair enough to begin with. You can still dip your hair back under the shower stream to add more water to your hair. Steadily work the shampoo down to the ends of your hair or not. I choose to keep shampoos confined to my scalp because I have long hair and don't want to strip the oils on the rest of my hair.

3) - Once you’ve distributed the shampoo throughout your hair and scalp, you are ready to rinse your hair thoroughly. This too, is a very important step. You DO NOT want to leave traces of shampoo surfactants on your hair!

*Tip - When you massage the shampoo into your scalp, don't use your fingernails or 'dig into your scalp'. Fingernails can scratch your scalp and that can lead to infection. Use the pads on your fingertips instead!

*Tip - Most manufacturer instructions suggest that you use both shampoos and conditioners twice. This is a total waste and is a marketing ploy to get you to use more of their product so you'll run out and have to buy more. Most of the time, you’ll only need one good shampooing!

Using shampoos and conditioners shouldn’t be rushed either. When you're taking care of your hair, take your time, relax, and enjoy the process.

How to Choose Conditioners

Conditioners were developed to lock in moisture, supply vital nutrients, and protect your hair from the environment. They also help make your hair more manageable.

There are many different types of conditioners to choose from. Paying more for one won’t guarantee that you’ll get better results however. You’ll need to decide on the brands and types of conditioners that benefit your hair the most. There are so many other different types! If you have problem hair, select conditioners that address your hair needs.

Just like shampoos, some conditioners may contain questionable ingredients that may not do your hair any favors. If you don’t like the idea of putting chemicals on your hair, or if you’re having the same problems and issues with regular products, try the brands that don't contain potentially damaging ingredients. Find out more about them here.

How to Condition Hair

1) - After shampooing your hair, step out of the shower and gently squeeze/wring the excess moisture out of your hair, then apply a good amount of conditioner into the palm of your hand. The amount you use depends on the volume and length. The longer and thicker your hair, the more product you’ll probably need.

2) - Apply your conditioner exactly opposite of the way you apply shampoo. Start at the ends of your hair and work your way up to the mid hair shaft. You can apply conditioner to your roots but just be sure to keep it off of your scalp. You already have oils on your scalp so applying conditioner to it isn't necessary. It can also make your roots look super oily super fast. Work your conditioner around in your hair for at least 3 minutes.

3) - After you're satisfied with coverage, step back into the shower and rinse sorta quickly. You do NOT want to rinse all the conditioner out of your hair so make sure your hair still feels slick when you’re finished. This becomes even more important if you've got really long hair.

Your hair should be easy to comb through, either in the shower or once you get out. If it isn’t, you either 1) used a product that didn't do it's job or 2) rinsed out too much conditioner. After using shampoos and conditioners, always comb out your hair immediately. Once hair starts to dry, (damp hair), combing may stretch your strands and compromise it's strength.

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Tips for Using Shampoos and Conditioners

  • Opt for shampoos and conditioners that have a pump. When you have to squeeze a product out of the bottle, you’re more likely to waste it. Some of it always ends up in the shower stall!

  • Never throw away shampoos and conditioners you don't like. Use them to give your dog a bath for example, add ingredients to the product to enhance it, or give it to a friend.

  • How yummy a product smells is a big draw for many shampoos and conditioners however, it isn’t a good way to judge how well it will work. In fact, most fragrances are made with alcohol, which can be very drying to your hair over time.

  • The newest products on the market aren’t necessarily always the best.

  • If you want your shampoo to be gentle on your hair (or if you color your hair), use moisture-rich shampoos that contain oils.

  • Using more product doesn’t give you better results. For the best results, read manufacturer instructions for application and then scale them back if necessary.

  • For dry hair, try this method:

    Apply a good amount of a moisturizing conditioner to your hair after shampooing, comb through, then exit the shower. Wrap your hair in a towel for as much time as you have, then jump back in the shower to rinse. It’s a quick way to deep condition your hair in a small amount of time.

  • Stick with brands of shampoos and conditioners you trust. If your friends tell you about a great product but it doesn’t work well for your hair, its only because your hair needs are different. What works for one person won’t necessarily work for another.

  • It's not necessary to use shampoos and conditioners everyday. The longer your hair, the longer you can wait.

  • Choose shampoos and conditioners that are suited well for your hair type. You can also choose to buy products that help enhance your hair. For example, if you want more hair volume, use texturizing hair products.

  • If your hair products don’t improve your hair, switch brands or types.

  • Don’t expect miracles. If you’re using hot irons regularly and/or applying harsh chemicals too often, you’re messing with your hair's integrity. No hair product can mend severely damaged hair.

  • Ever buy conditioners that suck? Instead of dumping them down the drain, use them to shave your legs. They work great and leave your skin smooth and silky!

    Shampooing and conditioning your hair is something that most people 'just do without thinking'. If you’ve ever been a long period of time without using them, you know how much you miss it! Shampoos and conditioners may be basic, but they are a wonderful asset that would be hard to live without!




    Related Pages on This Site

    Cocamide DEA – Take Steps to Avoid the Trouble Brewing in Your Shampoo

    Weak Hair Tips for Strength and Flexibility

    Bad Hair Products Ingredients You’ll Want to Avoid

    The Worst Hairstyle Mistakes to Avoid!

    Virtual Hair Styles – Create Your Own Everyday Style!

    Your Haircut and Your Face Shape



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