Here’s the Right Way to Shampoo and Condition Your Hair

Stylists of the world, share this information with your clients! You would be amazed at how many people are improperly applying shampoo and conditioner at home — because no one ever taught them how to do it right!

Let’s think about our hair for a second. The roots of our hair are the parts that touch our scalp, and therefore get oily. The ends of our hair (or middle-to-ends, if your hair has some length) are dry and need moisture.

What is the purpose of shampoo and conditioner really? The shampoo removes the oil and build up, and the conditioner puts moisture back into the hair.

So shampoo needs to clean the part of your hair that is oily (the roots), and conditioner needs to be applied on the parts of the hair that are not close enough to get the oil from the scalp.

In some cases, shampooing all of the hair will be necessary, such as if you are trying to remove an odor (like bonfire camp smell), or build up from heavy product usage (if you are using water soluble products, this may not be necessary. Not applying the shampoo all over the head will limit the amount of shampoo you need to use per wash saving time and money!

Make sure your hair is thoroughly — key word thoroughly — wet before applying shampoo. This means you need to scrub your head and move it around under the water to make sure all of it is wet before you ever reach for the shampoo bottle. It will not lather well until it is really wet.

As a stylist, I often hear clients say that although they notice their hair feels and looks better with professional shampoo, they enjoy the sudsy lather of cheap shampoo. I generally explain that professional shampoo is highly concentrated, so using less and watering more will turn the same effect.

It’s like concentrated dish soap: if you pour it all over your hands until it’s creamy, it will take a lot more rinsing before it gets sudsy; if you take just a small drop and add water, it should bubble pretty quickly. It’s all in the soap-to-water ratio, and the same is true for shampoo. Just by using more water and less shampoo (using a good professional product), anyone can save on shampoo! You should be able to get greater longevity out of one bottle of professional product, rather than a product off the shelf at the grocery store.

Now let’s talk conditioner. The hair near the scalp stays moisturized by the natural oils in our skin. As we said, conditioner’s job is to add moisture. By putting conditioner right on the scalp, you could be over-moisturizing. This can weigh the hair down and make it appear flat, and it can also lead to that greasy look that no one wants. In general, you should only apply conditioner to the middle and ends of your hair, saving on the amount you use per wash and keeping your hair in perfect balance.

This is of course a general overview for the majority of people with common hair types. There are special cases where conditioning the scalp may be necessary, and there are special conditioners for these special cases. As always, consult your stylist if you believe you may be one of these cases.

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Michelle Guetersloh

Michelle Guetersloh

Hairstylist Consultant at Michelle My Stylist
For some, hairstyling’s a job. For others, it’s a passion: an innate gift that lights them up and drives them to outperform and overdeliver. Michelle G. is definitely the latter.

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