Written by Kiku Chaudhuri
Surprisingly, a lot of damage can happen to your scalp and hair where you least expect it… the shower. We all go into our wash routine thinking that this is the ultimate ‘care’ part of haircare, cleansing and conditioning. But you might be making some small hair-washing mistakes that can be causing wear, tear, and damage to your beautiful strands. The good news is that these are really easy-to-fix mistakes that will have you skipping down #healthyhaircarejourney in no time.
Do not pump up the hot water on wash days
Running a hot shower feels soo good on tense and sore muscles and definitely brings an extra level of relaxation to your shower routine. But one part of your body to avoid extreme hot temperature is your hair strands. Hot temperatures can open up the hair cuticles, which then can dry out your strands and make them more vulnerable to breakage. The lack of moisture also means that your hair is more prone to frizziness. Basically, super hot water can lead your strands down a bad path that can result in dry, brittle, frizzy hair.
What to do instead: Use lukewarm water instead. It’s warm enough to dissolve any build-up, and it’s also just the right temperature to open up your hair cuticle to allow a thorough wash from your shampoo. Once that’s done, switch to cool water. It’ll close your hair cuticles, which will seal in the moisture and hydration from your conditioner.
Scratching your scalp with your nails
Now you might think you’re ‘exfoliating’ your scalp by using your fingernails to scrub your scalp (we’ve been there!) and maybe even giving a good scratch and dislodging dry flakes. But you’re actually doing the exact opposite. Scratching your scalp with your nails can cause even MORE flaking and inflammation, and may result in small tears and scabs. Your scalp skin actually has more hair follicles and oil glands than any other part of your body, making it a lot more sensitive and susceptible to skin issues. So moral of the story, handle your scalp gently.
What to do instead: Use your fingertips instead of your nails. It’s much gentler, and it’s less likely to hurt the scalp. Using your fingertips to give yourself a loving massage is gonna really help increase your scalp’s blood circulation and be able to soak in more nutrients and oxygen. WIN WIN!
Using your shampoo all over
The main purpose of your shampoo is to cleanse your scalp… NOT your hair. Your hair strands are mostly made up of dead cells and get drier as they grow out. This is why your ends are susceptible to split ends and more breakage.
What to do instead: Focus most of your shampooing efforts on the scalp. This is the time to work on removing dirt, extra sebum, and build-up that collects on all scalp. If you have thicker, longer, more textured hair you might want to consider a second wash with your shampoo that helps clean your strands, but use a small amount of shampoo and wash for a few seconds.
Using conditioner (for some hair)
Firstly, if you’re using conditioner you want to make sure you’re using it on the bottom ⅔ of your hair strands. Conditioner is not needed for your scalp and can really add to the overproduction of oil and build-up if you’re using it on your roots and scalp.
If you have thin and/or fine hair and you’ve used a prewash mask (like ours BACK TO YOUR ROOTS Scalp+Hair Prewash), don’t use a conditioner. For many hair types, conditioners post shampoo can really weigh down your hair.
What to do instead: For hair that is on the fine and/or thin spectrum, try a prewash or oiling before you wash your hair. This helps your hair not get weighed down and is a better conditioning option. For all other hair types, make sure you’re only applying conditioner on the bottom part of your strands, and keeping it away from your scalp.
Rubbing your hair dry with a traditional cotton towel
Using the towel that you most likely use to dry off your body is not the right towel to dry your hair. Rubbing your hair with a cotton towel is going to lead to tear, snags, and frizz... OH MY! The hair shaft can be roughed up during the drying process when you wring out your hair or squeeze it too hard with a towel.
What to do instead: Use a microfiber or a bamboo towel, they cause a lot less friction so you’re left with less breakage and frizz. You can also use an old t-shirt, works wonders as well. And gently squeeze out excess water, avoiding any harsh rubbing.