Using Shampoos and Conditioners Effectively for the Best Results

Shampoos and conditioners are products you will most probably use your entire life. Although they are basic, it's essential that you know how to use them effectively! When used incorrectly, they can cause problems that are easily avoidable IF you know the best practices.

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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 brands work well for your hair and which ones cause problems.

How to Use Shampoos and Conditioners

How to Choose Shampoos

Shampoos and conditioners have antagonistic yet complimentary actions. Shorter hairstyles may only need a conditioning/moisturizing shampoo. However on longer styles, you will need to use separate 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, emollients, 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. ALWAYS apply shampoo to the scalp first, then work your way down. Before shampooing however, make sure your hair and scalp are fully saturated, (completely wet). 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 might be unsuitable.

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 all organic and does not have the lathering surfactants in it.

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 shampoo to your scalp with your fingertips and gently massage to create lather. Steadily work the shampoo down to the mid shaft and ends or not. I confine shampoo to my scalp because I have long hair and don't want to strip the oils off the rest of my hair.

Note: If your shampoo doesn't lather well, you didn't thoroughly wet your hair enough to begin with so dip your hair back under the shower stream.

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 simply a marketing ploy to get you to use more and 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

Remember that shampoos and conditioners are very different. 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. If you have problem hair, select conditioners that address your hair's 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 a particular product, 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 and can clog pores. 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.

  • 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 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


    How to correctly shampoo, condition and treat your hair

    6 Mistakes You're Making When Washing Your Hair

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