Whatever product you’re using, there are some ways in which you can increase its effectiveness and reduce any negative impact.
1. Soft water – if you’re lucky enough to live in a soft water area, enjoy it. Those with harder water coming out of their taps and shower heads do have some options:
a. Install a water softener
b. Use bottled water – maybe not for your whole shampoo but if you are creating herbal rinses, think about using bottled water in your kettle for this
c. Collect rain water
2. Cooler water – don’t shower on the hottest setting, you hair, scalp and skin will appreciate luke warm water much more. Rinsing in cold water is ideal for closing up pores and thereby reducing sebum production from the scalp. Finish in the shower by blasting your hair with cold water to close the pores on the scalp and thereby minimize the sebum production. (then don’t then let heated styling products warm it up again, see below).
3. Accept that offer of a head massage, it’s great stress relief and can help stimulate hair growth.
4. Treat your hair before shampooing – many oil and other treatments (see details on eggs for hair) benefit from a good time to take effect, put them on half an hour before you plan to shampoo
5. Do a work out while you have your hair mask on, the heat will help and you’ll be washing your hair afterwards so don’t need to worry what it looks like.
6. Get your hair really, really wet before applying any product. That way you’ll be able to distribute the product more easily and it will wash out more effectively. You certainly don’t want to leave products on the hair if they’re not designed for that.
7. Always rinse thoroughly (see above), ideally using a herbal rinse and ensuring that this aids pH balance (often cleansers, including shampoos, will take your pH up, a rinse or toner will bring it back down).
8. Towel dry, only use your hair dryer in emergencies. And take care with your towel, treating your hair as the precious thing it is by dabbing and blotting, not rubbing (think sleek, not frizz). It may help to have a special highly-absorbent towel to do this. Look for the ones that are designed for travel – small, compact but ever-so effective. Invest in a simple absorbent turban that does the drying as you relax.
9. Touch your hair as little as possible – a general rule for throughout the day (think of all the dirt you pick up on your hands, don’t wipe this off on your hair) but especially when drying – more touching will mean less shine.
10 Minimise the use of heated styling tools and, when you do use them, have the temperature as low as possible and always use protective serums on the hair.
11 Have a mix of in-shower (rinse out) and out-of-shower (leave in) conditioners (makes hair easier to comb through)
12 Only use a comb, not a brush on wet hair to avoid pulling and breaking hair strands which could create split ends and frizz.
13 Make dry shampoo part of your hair-cleaning repertoire, not just a festival necessity
14 Spritz hair for shine and continual nourishment and to minimize fly-away hair. Include in your spritz some good essential oils for hair (tea tree or chamomile to soothe an itchy scalp, lemon to combat dandruff). Create the scented swish of just-washed hair.
15 100 strokes – your Grandmother was right. Distribute the oil from your scalp to the ends of your hair where it’s needed most and dislodge dirt along the way.