Why You're Probably Not Washing Your Hair Correctly

If you’re wondering why your hair looks ultra fab after a salon session, the secret is in the wash itself. And while it can come as a shock to hear that you may have been getting it wrong all these years, there is actually a fine art to something as simple as washing. 

 Photo by  Jake Terrey

Photo by Jake Terrey

To clear things up we spoke to Creative Director of Unilever Hair Care and Dove Hair Ambassador, Sam Overton. With over eighteen years of experience in the beauty industry Sam has styled Jess Hart, Erin Heatherton and Samantha Harris – and certainly knows the secrets to nurturing even the most tortured tresses. Here he schools us in the art of the wash. Be ready to get optimum results from your next shampoo.

1. Go easy on the washing 

You’ve probably heard that washing your hair too often is a shower sin. The reason is it strips your hair of it’s natural oil causing dry, flat and dull locks. Sam recommends washing two to three times a week and using dry shampoo in between washes, if needed. “Colour lasts longer the less you wash it and I love the texture of next day hair,” says Sam. 


2. Turn down the heat 

Looking for that ultra clean feel after your wash? Although you may enjoy a piping hot shower it’s ruining the longevity of your mane. Sam says using warm water to wash is a much gentler alternative. “Hot water will activate the sebaceous glands, these glands secret oil and will leave your hair greasy after washing it,” says Sam. “Warm water will extend the life of your style.” 


3. Do shampoo twice 

Apply a dollop of shampoo around the size of a 50 cent piece to your palm and, yes, Sam says you should wash your hair twice. “The first wash is to give the hair a good, quick scrub to remove any build up, dry skin on the scalp and excessive product in your hair. The second wash will really emulsify the shampoo into the hair,” recommends Sam. For the second wash, apply the shampoo to the scalp and root area again for a slightly longer period and always apply shampoo to wet hair to create a really good lather.


4. You don’t have to spend a bomb on haircare

Good news for your wallet, a decent shampoo doesn’t have to cost the earth. “A quality shampoo is not determined by the price point, some of the best shampoos on the market can be found on your local supermarket shelf,” says Sam. It’s just about doing your research and finding a formula that works for your hair type. Sam is a big advocate for Dove’s range as he has seen first hand the lengths they go to test their products. “Unilever R&D extensively test their formulations with over 200 million dollars spent in research and appraisal equipment annually. The philosophy behind Dove Hair is that they will not create a product unless they would be proud to recommend it to their own family and friends.”


5. Don’t OD on the Conditioner 

Again, conditioner is often misunderstood. Sam points out that you only need to apply a blob the size of a 10 cent coin. And don’t go near your roots – it should only be applied to your mid-lengths and ends. “For the best results conditioner should actually be applied on slightly towel dried hair, but we all know we aren’t going to get out of the shower to do that,” says Sam. “So, instead, squeeze as much excess water out in the shower as you can.” He recommends Dove Conditioner, which utilizes the new Microsheet Technology which he explains “uses sheet conditioners versus traditional spherical conditioners, which allows for improved coverage of conditioning agents to the hair strand to enable smooth combing for soft, lightweight, stunning hair.” 


6. Get your teeth into it

Mum was right about not brushing your hair when it’s wet, but she never mentioned anything about combing it. Sam believes combing through the conditioner will yield the best results, but choose your weapon wisely. “Don’t use a normal comb to comb out your hair after you’ve showered,” says Sam. “A wide-toothed comb will be more gentle on the hair and distribute the product evenly.” 


7. Don a special hair towel

While it’s super fast, towel drying your hair creates friction and can cause damage to the hair cuticle. Instead, Sam suggests blot drying your hair to prevent damage and add lustre. Invest in a microfibre hair towel – it will absorb excess moisture, cut your blow drying time and most importantly, save your strands in the process.


Shop the Look:

Story by Claudia De Berardinis; Photography by Jake Terrey. Hair by Penny Baldas from Oscar Oscar Salon Paddington. Make up by Desiree Wise.