By Jessica Pigza
How many times do you hop in the shower with little regard to the process in which you wash your hair? It all becomes quite ritualistic; wash, rinse, condition, rinse – repeat if necessary. Plus in my case, the shower is not typically a relaxing getaway where I’m free to take my time. Instead, it is a race, one where I hope in the end, I remembered to shave my legs and rinse the soap from my armpits.
Before kids, washing my hair the “right way” was not something I paid any attention to. I honestly did not even know there was such a thing as a “right way.” I had been blessed with low maintenance hair – which of course I did not appreciate at the time. Of course though, all that changed after having kids. After each child, my hair gradually became less and less resilient. The fact that I was getting older may have also been a contributing factor. Regardless, my hair was still coming out in clumps long after my post-baby shedding days should have been over and I was left with thinning hair, breakage and split ends. I realized I needed to brush up on my haircare if I wanted to save my hair. I was surprised by some of the things I was doing wrong that I could easily change. With just a few small changes I noticed a big difference. Below are five things I did to stop hurting my hair.
1. Do Not Use Super Hot Water
I lived by the mantra, the hotter the better. No matter how long or short my shower was, it was at least going to be hot! As much as I loved feeling the hot water wash over my tired body, I didn’t realize how much it was hurting my hair. Washing with water that is too hot will actually dry out your hair and scalp. This can lead to a very itchy scalp and breakage. Instead, use warm water before applying shampoo to help open up hair cuticles. This will allow the shampoo and conditioner to work better. Then, when it comes time to rinse out the conditioner, turn the water temp way down. By rinsing out the conditioner with cool water, it will cause the cuticles to contract again, making hair less vulnerable, and locking in the conditioner. This will leave hair feeling softer and reduce frizz.
2. Properly Prep for Shampoo and Conditioner
In order for shampoo to work effectively, hair needs to be completely saturated before applying in order to work up a good lather. For conditioner, however, it is the opposite. After thoroughly rinsing out all the shampoo, gently squeeze as much water out of your hair as possible before applying conditioner. Doing this will purge the water from your hair and allow the conditioner to penetrate deeper into the strands. Learning this probably had the biggest impact on my hair. My conditioner was finally able to soak into each strand and help repair it, rather than just sitting on the surface, only to be quickly rinsed away.
Hint: After applying your conditioner don’t be in a hurry to rinse it out. Let it sit on your strands while you finish up the rest of your shower, then rinse. This will give it more time to hydrate and repair your hair.
3. Massage Instead of Scrub
Do not scrub! I repeat, do NOT scrub, especially with your nails. If it has been more than a few days between washings, you may have the urge to really get after it and scrub your scalp clean. Instead of scrubbing it clean, you are scrubbing it raw, breaking open your skin and causing some major irritation. In some cases, it may even cause bleeding. Instead, use your fingertips and gently massage your scalp. Not only will this help keep your scalp clean and healthy, but it will also help stimulate growth. Remember, healthy hair starts at the scalp!
Hint: Before you jump in the shower, run a brush through your hair. Not only will this help loosen up dirt and oil, but it will also pull out any loose strands and keep them from going down the drain. Brushing through any knots or tangles while your hair is still dry is also better for your locks because hair is very fragile when it is wet.
4. Don’t Give Hair the All-Over Treatment
For many years I used the “slap it on and rinse it off” system for washing my hair. I never realized there was actually a method to how shampoo and conditioner should be applied. Since the purpose of shampoo is to cleanse hair, it should be focused on the roots because they are typically the dirtiest, be it oil, dry shampoo or other product build up. Gently massage the majority of the shampoo into the scalp then work it down towards the ends. Do not spend as much time or use as much shampoo on the ends of your hair. The ends are not as dirty and since they are the oldest part of each strand, they tend to dry out easier. Conditioner, on the other hand, is meant to help hydrate and repair hair, so now the focus should be on the ends. Never use conditioner on the scalp as it will make it even oilier. Start applying conditioner about halfway down the hair shaft and work it in until you have reached the tips.
5. Dial Down the Towel Drying
We all hate drying our hair but using a towel and rubbing like a maniac is only going to give you a tangled, frizzy mess. Too much friction against your hair will lead to breakage and tear out your strands. Instead, gently squeeze as much water out of your hair as you can. Gently brush your hair, then squeeze again. Be sure not to twist or wring your hair out as this will also more cause damage. I have long locks and to help cut down on drying time I use a microfiber towel. (This was the only thing I was doing right by my hair and I didn’t even know it!) I have the Aquis Essentials Microfiber Towel and it is amazing! Not only does it suck water away from my hair and reduce split ends, but I’ve had mine for 16 years! It is safe to say I’ve gotten my money’s worth out of it. My daughters have since started stealing, I mean borrowing my towel, so it might finally be time to invest in another one.
Jessica is a military wife, married to her husband Nate of 14 years, and stay at home mother to three energetic and fearless children, Sophia, Brandon and Rachel. Originally from Greensburg, Pennsylvania, the military life has given her a chance to live all over the United States and meet many amazing people along the way.
I Feel Pretty Link Up
It’s the day of the week at GYPO where we celebrate what makes us feel pretty. Whether it’s a new outfit, hairstyle, or makeup, the I Feel Pretty link up is about anything and everything that makes your life prettier. Even if you’re not a blogger, you can still play along. Just tell me what made you feel pretty this week in the comments.