Listen, you have to wash your hair. And as an adult male, if you have to do something anyway, you might as well do it well.
Today your barbers spill their secrets on a very simple life task that most of us have been doing wrong, or at least ineffectively, our whole lives.
First, Don’t So Much
In our Winter is Coming / Gird Your Head post we talked about the best hair getting a little help from its friend sebum, otherwise known as your skin’s natural oils.
Wildlings need a little work
The majority of winter hair woes are caused by the cold and dry air sucking moisture out of your hair. Your scalp produces oils to protect your hair, not to annoy you. It’s trying to help, so stop killing it every day with shampoo. Under normal circumstances, you should be washing your hair two or three times a week (those with thicker/longer hair don’t need to shampoo as often).
Read the rest of that post (with even more ridiculous Blademaiden-made memes) for even more barberly info about bending nature to your will using nothing more than your excretions.
The Right Tool for the Job
While professional shampoo and conditioner is important for an entire post’s length of reasons (which you can find right here), just as important is that you choose the right formulas for your hair.
The barber or stylist working on your head should be the person to recommend the right one for you, but we know from our experience in the industry that not everyone is 100% on the science behind haircare.
While upcoming posts on the blog here will continue to provide you with all of our know-how, remember that the state of your hair is not a static thing. Dryness, oiliness, scalp conditions and more fluctuate from season to season and if you are using a product to balance out problem hair, once it is balanced, you might need to change tack.
Dandruff is a good example. If you have dandruff, caused by a buildup of these little yeasty buggers on your scalp (NOT the same as dry skin), and you treat it with a a pyrithione zinc or tea tree shampoo to the point that it goes away, you will want to switch to a normal, gentler shampoo to prevent drying.
Likewise, you may need more moisture in the winter, but if you keep using a moisturizing formula into the summer months, you might find yourself with limp, oily hair.
None of that. Switch it up to address your current needs.
Swipe our Technique
When most people wash their hair, they just smoosh on a bunch of shampoo until they get a ridiculous lather, rinse, same with conditioner (if they use it at all), rinse, done. Ever notice that your hair still feels kind of gross?
Sorry, couldn’t be helped
Not to tell you you’re doing it wrong, but…you’re totally doing it wrong. Don’t worry, we used to too. There’s a reason they teach us about this stuff in school. It isn’t all cervical spinal nerves and sternocleidomastoid muscles and pseudofolliculitis barbae in those books (not kidding, all on the test).
If your hair is less than a couple of inches long, sure, smoosh it. Any more than that, and you mostly just want to shampoo the roots and condition the ends. For long hair the rule is to only condition the ponytail area and only shampoo the rest, short of lots of product/dirt/whathaveyou.
Speaking of shampooing, none of this half-assed rubbing it in with your palms or flat fingers. Get in there. Think of any time you have gotten a shampoo in a salon or barbershop. Those fingertips get all scrubby and massage-y not just because it feels nice, but because it gets the damn job done.
Lather, Rinse, Repeat
You have read those words on the back of your shampoo bottle your whole life. Our contrary selves used to think “oh, so you can’t get the job done in one go? Screw you, shampoo, I’ll just use more.”
Shit gets out of hand
But no, there is good reason to double up. The first round, use just a little bit of shampoo. You’re not even looking for lather here. Just get it rubbed in there on your scalp and rinse to remove product and dirt of the day.
Then do it again with a similar small amount. Now the real cleaning happens, overall using less shampoo than you might have with a single application and leaving you with cleaner hair that can last a few days between shampooing, as it should.
Keep it Conditioned
If you have found that your hair ends up greasy when you use conditioner, it is likely that you are either using it wrong (smooshing it on your scalp, see above), or using the wrong kind for your hair.
A good professional conditioner suited to your hair type (moisturizing for thick hair, light weight for fine hair) will take care of business.
Conditioner hydrates, of course, but it also smooths down the cuticle of the hair, helping to protect it from damage.