Lather, rinse, repeat. The procedure that’s been drilled into our heads from childhood sounds innocuously easy, but the industry’s top experts would have you know that there’s a chance you’ve been washing your hair wrong all your life. The one-size-fits-all philosophy doesn’t apply to your daily shampoo and conditioner—different types of hair demand varying levels of care to maintain the tresses. Straight hair requires an extra boost of hydration, while anything that contains parabens or sulphates can cause the pigments in coloured hair to wash away rapidly. To help you customise your daily haircare routine, we got renowned hairstylist, Rod Anker of Rod Anker Salon, and skincare specialist, Dr Madhuri Agarwal, to draw up a handy cheatsheet for every type of hair. Scroll ahead for their recommendations.
The expert haircare tips to washing every type of hair
Dr Agarwal says, “Straight hair is pretty easy to maintain and usually starts looking oily from the second or third day onwards. Opt for washing your hair every third day using a dime-sized amount of shampoo to generate lather without using too much of the product. Start by applying the shampoo on the scalp and spread it over the area by gently rubbing it in. Then, spread the product through the length of your hair and rinse it off. Follow up with a gentle, mild conditioner by applying it from mid-length to the end of the hair shaft. Leave it on for a few seconds before washing it off with cool water. Avoid keeping the conditioner on for a long time, as it will weigh down the hair and make it look limp. Also, look for lightweight shampoos that provide shine and hydration to the hair without weighing it down when shopping. Choose products that can help add some bounce since a straight mane has the tendency to fall flat. If you’ve been facing frizz, use a moisturising hair mask once a week.”
Curly, thick hair
“People with curly hair require less shampooing as frequent usage of products can dry out the curls. Since oil does not build up quickly in curly hair, it can be washed once or twice a week,” says Dr Agarwal. “Depending on the length of your hair, squeeze out a proportionate amount of shampoo, and work it from the roots till the ends using your fingertips,” adds Anker. “Once it is rinsed out, apply conditioner from the mid-lengths to the end of the hair shaft. It is extremely crucial to comb it through while the conditioner is still in to displace any knots. Don’t shake your hair once out of the shower. Gently pat it dry, but avoid rubbing the towel in as this can make hair frizzy.”
“Long hair should ideally be washed twice or thrice a week as frequent shampooing can strip natural oils from the scalp and induce frizz. It is essential to bear in mind that you don’t use an excessive amount of product on long hair, so as to avoid weighing it down. Start by massaging the shampoo over the scalp and spreading it till the ends, before rinsing to clean the entire length,” the Mumbai-based dermatologist explains.
“People with fine hair people generally face the issue of oil build-up, causing the tresses to look limp and greasy easily—oil from the scalp freely flows downwards in the case of straight hair. It is advisable to wash this hair type frequently, and if required, on a daily basis. Add a volumising shampoo and conditioner to your daily routine to boost density and ensure that you steer clear of heavy products. You can also opt for a dry shampoo in between two washes to prevent a greasy look. Begin by diluting a quarter-sized amount of shampoo and applying it on the scalp. While washing it off, ensure that the ends are thoroughly cleansed too. Use the conditioner downwards from the mid-length of the hair, and rinse it off after a few seconds,” she recommends.
“Coloured hair requires care for shampooing, as frequent or daily washing can cause the hair colour to fade out sooner. The natural oils of the scalp help to maintain the hair colour, which can be stripped away by frequent washes,” Dr Agarwal cautions. Anker also recommends factoring in the environmental aggressors your hair is exposed to. “If you spend most of the day indoors, washing your hair every second day is enough, but bearing in mind the scorching heat and increased levels of pollution, you can also opt for a daily wash to keep the scalp clean. When washing your hair, it is best to dampen it to rinse any existing product out of your hair and squeeze the excess moisture out. Then, apply a sulphate and paraben-free shampoo from the roots to the ends, making sure to use your fingertips to untangle any knots. Rinse well until all the shampoo is removed, and repeat if necessary. Squeeze the water out and apply a similar conditioner, free of sulphates and parabens, from the mid-lengths to the ends. Gently comb through to remove any knots, and rinse gently to ensure you don’t tussle the hair and keep it smooth,” he advises.