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How to Wash Your Hair the Right Way

May 26, 2018

5 Min read

Shampooing seems simple enough: Pump, suds, rinse, repeat. However, to maximize your hair’s health, you may want to rethink these four steps. The following dos and don’ts of how to properly wash your hair outline the best ways to shampoo and nourish your hair, as well as common cleansing mistakes to sidestep.

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Do find the right formula

All hair cleansers are not created equally—and they’re certainly not formulated for all hair types. This is one reason we created Prose: to make custom hair care products that address your hair and scalp’s specific needs. Our shampoos offer a wide range of active ingredients in formulas customized just for you: i.e. to protect color, to regulate sebum production, to add volume, or to soothe an irritated scalp. Choosing and using a shampoo that addresses exactly what your hair needs makes cleansing a more effective and efficient process—and keeps your hair at its healthiest. It’s also worth noting that all of Prose’s shampoo formulas are sulfate-free. We believe sulfates in a cleansing product are often unnecessarily harsh, stripping oil and color molecules from the hair.

Don’t apply your shampoo in one spot

As kids, when we first learned to shampoo our own hair, we were typically taught to pump a dollop of shampoo (step one, above) into our palms, slap it on top of our heads, then move it around with our fingertips. And when a shampoo contains sulfates and lathers up, we can usually get away with this because all that foam makes it fairly easy to move the cleanser around. But, sulfate-free formulas don’t suds the way we’re used to and are, therefore, trickier to distribute. This means careful placement—from the get-go—is key.how to wash your hair the right way infographic

A simple strategy: After wetting your hair, apply a line of shampoo across your 4 fingers and tap hands together (you can also add a little water to activate.) Place fingertips into scalp targeting your oiliest (or itchiest) spots: the crown, hairline and at your nape. Now, create a part on the opposite side of your head and repeat this process. Be sure to add water to help create the suds-y property. Finally, take your fingertips and gently massage the shampoo into your scalp (where we typically need the most cleaning) and rinse, allowing the shampoo to run through the rest of your hair, grabbing buildup, grime and excess oil as it goes. Unless it has been more than a week since your last shampoo, you won’t need to repeat this process. However, if it has been a minute since you’ve washed your hair a second shampoo is recommended as the first shampoo will remove dead skin cells, oil and product buildup while the second will properly cleanse your hair. But typically, one shampoo = plenty.

Do use a detangler

Before you hop in the shower, be sure to detangle using a ball-tipped hairbrush. You can also pair your detangling routine with a leave-in conditioner to help loosen knots and tangles. Then, post-detangle is the perfect time to use a pre-shampoo scalp or hair mask on damp strands. At Prose, your custom cleansing regimen also comes with a set of instructions, including how to wash your hair and exactly how to use your shampoo’s companion conditioner. For some, this means applying roots to ends. However, for most, starting conditioner about four inches from the scalp (eye/cheekbone length) is recommended to detangle and hydrate, without weighing down the hair or leaving roots too oily. Leave the conditioner on for the recommended amount of time to maximize penetration, then as you rinse, finish with a shot of cold water to seal your hair’s cuticle, the outer layer, locking in moisture and boosting shine.

Don’t over-cleanse

Just as you typically need not shampoo twice per shower, most of us should also not shampoo every day. OD’ing on cleansing can remove too much moisture from strands, leaving your hair dry and prone to frizz, as well as accelerating color fading. Many pros say shampooing between two and four times per week is plenty—and even less than that (more like once a week) if your hair is very coarse, curly or dry. On days when you do need a “wet restyle” after, say, a sweaty workout (but you just shampooed the day before), get in the shower and rinse your hair with water—or use a small drop of conditioner in place of your shampoo. This latter suggestion is called a conditioning cleanse and it will remove perspiration and revive your strands, without taking away too much moisture.

Do handle with care

Big, fluffy towels are great for drying our bodies post-shower, but they can be harsh on the hair. The friction they create as we rub them over wet strands can tear at hair and cause cuticles to lift, triggering frizz and enabling moisture to seep out. A better bet: Use a microfiber towel, or even a clean t-shirt. Both options absorb excess water, without roughing up the hair. Aim to leave the towel/t-shirt on for at least two minutes to take your strands from dripping to damp. Damp is preferable to sopping-wet when it comes to product application, as the latter dilutes a product’s potency. Damp hair also dries faster, so if you do blow-dry, you’ve just shortened the duration—and diminished the damage. However, if you have type 3 or 4 hair and are working to achieve a wash n go, products applied on soaking wet hair is key for moisture balance.

 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

The Prose Staff is here to share the best hair tips and tricks to help you achieve all your hair goals with custom hair care, breakthrough innovation and more

Comments [61]

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  1. I guess a vold shot of water might be ok for those who wash their hair in the sink, but 99% of us wash in the shower, and i’m Not finishing my show With a shot of cold water.

    1. Hi Michelle! A shot of cold water just helps to seal your hair’s cuticle, the outer layer, locking in moisture and boosting shine. Totally optional, though!

      1. Hi im someone who gets oliy hair very fast wIll thesE shampoos help my hair or make is more oily faster☺️?

        1. Hi Sofia! The first step in your Prose journey is to take an online consultation that will ask you questions about your hair type, needs, lifestyle, and more. From there, we will recommend products custom to you that address your hair concerns!

          -Keely, Prose Community Manager

    2. Michelle, I’ve been doing the “cold shot” for yrs and it really helps give me shine. I have long curly hair and after rinsing with warm water i use more of a tepid or cool temp rinse (when im chicken). It still helps tremendously! Just go as cold as u can handle. It will still be beneficial!

    3. I was happily surprised when i read this is good for my hair, and it makes perfect sense to me! as a little girl, my mom taight me to finish my shower with cold water for the same reason- it closes the pores (after having opened and cleaned them)in the warm shower.

    4. On the off chance you’re reading this (or for anyone else), I have a jar in my bathroom that i fill with cold water from the sink before getting in the shower. then, i just lean back a little and pour it over my head at the end of my shower.

    5. The shot of cold water is also good for the skin so it’s pretty ideal for a shower. Doing it abruptly also helps your body create shock proteins which help REPAIR your body more efficiently so it can help with muscle and joint pain too.

    6. IT takes getting used to and is also really great for Heart health. I do it more Often in the summer but try also in fall and sPring. Def a leap!

    7. I do it by sticking only my head under the shower. Summer it feels wonderful, in winter I keep it short.

    8. I do thIs when im in the shower but i flip my hAir over as if you did wash in a sink and stand with only your hair in the stream of water. If you take super hot showers it can actually feel nice to sooth your ScaLp too.

    9. Michelle, I usually put my hair up with a clip, when done washing my body, I then slowly turn the water down to cold turn my head upside down and rinse, I then scrunch out as much water out and immediately grab my cotton T-shirt and wrap my head so I don’t get chilled from cold hair. I hope this helps a little 😊

  2. Hi Prose team!! I received my products and
    I’m in love!!! My hair feels dIfferent
    And healthier. I do have a question,
    Do tou guys have styling products? If not
    What products do ypu recommend ? I like to flat iron my hair 🤷🏻‍♀️
    Love you guys!!! ❤️❤️❤️❤️
    Oh and how can i reorder!
    Liliana Rue

    1. Hi Liliana! So thrilled to hear that you’re loving Prose, you just made our day! Concerning styling products, we currently offer three custom hair care products: a pre-shampoo mask, shampoo, and conditioner. But, our team is working on some exciting new products for this year. Send us a note at hello@prosehair.com and we’ll keep you updated on any new additions. Since you’re loving your Prose so much, I would recommend joining our subscription program to reorder! You can choose when to receive your Prose, and you’ll receive 20% off every recurring order—along with free shipping and the same 100% satisfaction guarantee. Just head over to your Prose account, and click “Subscribe 20% off” to get started. Again, so glad to hear about your hair transformation!

  3. I cant wait to tey your products. I received them yesterday but am disappoinTed that there were no pumps in the boxes as promised.

    1. Hi Shannon! Prose boxes do come with pumps which are located at the bottom of your box. If you did not receive them, feel free to DM us on Facebook, or email hello@prosehair.com – we’d be happy to send you a set of pumps!

  4. Hi’

    I used the shampoo and conditioner for the first time I have baby fine hair,
    and it has never felt or looked so beautiful. Really! Even after 3 days, I can still run my fingers through it.

    For me, it’s a miracle! I cannot use another product after washing and conditioning my hair with Prose.

    cannot wait for styling products and hairspray to be be manufactured from you.

    Please keep me informed, and send tips on keeping ones hair in perfect conditioin.

    Regards,
    Sybil

    1. Hi Sybil! So happy to hear that Prose has transformed your hair! Besides our custom hair oil, we don’t currently offer styling products. However, our R&D team is constantly working on exciting, new projects, so stay tuned! As for tips and tricks, we cover all things hair here on the blog, so keep checking in weekly for more interesting and informative content. Thank you so much for sharing your positive experience with us, you made our day!

  5. Hi prose team!

    I used your products aNd its the 3rd day and my hair is still SHINING, soft & moIstUrizE. These products are my staples. Im super exciteD with the results. I was reading one of the storiEs in an email you sent me that talked about thinning hair aNd certain inGredients to use. How can i incorporate those ingredients in my current regimEn?

    1. Hi Sandi! So happy to hear that you can’t get enough of your Prose! The ingredients mentioned in the email you read would be ones featured in our Prose formulas, so depending on your consultation results, they would actually already be incorporated into your products!

  6. I tried Prose yesterday for the fiest time and my hair feels great! UnfortUnately i threw out the pumps because i didn’t realize They were underneath! I will know next time:)

    Kathy

    1. Hi Kathy! So glad to hear that Prose has your hair feeling amazing! Whoops, yes they’re underneath your products. Feel free to reach out to our Customer Service team by emailing hello@prosehair.com and they can send you a set of pumps!

  7. I am loving your products but haven’t used the Mask yet because i just feel too rushed in the morning. Can i apply before bed and leave in overnight?

    1. Hi Lisa! So glad you’re loving your Prose so far! Yes you can leave the mask in overnight, just be sure to rinse and wash it out in the morning!

    1. Hi Sheryl, yes! You are able to try out new scents if you aren’t happy with the one you chose 🙂

      -Keely, Prose Community Manager

  8. I received no information in my first order on how to shampoo or use the conditioner. I noticed in comments and your literature that information comes with your order?

    1. Hi Denice! Please email our Customer Service team, hello@prosehair.com, and they’ll get you set up with your leaflet. Inside it will explain how to use your Prose along with displaying the ingredients that make up your custom formula!

  9. I just recieved my Prose instructions before my order. My CONDITIONer says to apply to lengths and ENDs, does that mean I dont apply to roots at all?

    1. Hi Alex! Yep, just apply to your lengths and ends, avoiding your roots. Looking forward to hearing about your hair journey with Prose!

  10. One word for thEse products Amazing! I was very skeptical at fIrst because i have 4c curly hair. But omg my hair was so soft and very moIsturized. The pre-shampoo mask smells Wonderful and i could see my curls Come back to lIfe, before i even used My Prose shampoo and conditioner. Most shampoos dry my hair out, no matter how much it says it want. I’m very impressed and my hair is no longer a dry and frizzy birds nest!

    1. Hi Carma! Wow! So happy to hear that you’re loving your Prose. What fragrance did you end up choosing? Thrilled that you’re finally having happy hair days and thank you so much for your kind words!

  11. I received my products and when i pumped out the conditioner i was extremely confused because it was clear and sudsy, my shampoo was thick and creamy… is this how its supposed to be or could it be possible that my bottles were switched? I just want to make sure im doing the REGIMEN correctly for best results

  12. I found the conditioner to have the same consistency as the shampoo. Is this correct? I mean, it became sudsy like the shampoo and my hair was so tangled after the process that strands of hair came out. Is this correct? If so, Do you have A product for deTanGling?

  13. Just recEived my products today. In addition to my 3-step routine i ordered the oil. Would you recommend that i also use it before the mask or Just use it at the end Prior to styling?

    1. Hi Mariam, Hair Oil can be used both before cleansing as a treatment and after to help with frizz and smoothing!

      -Keely, Prose Community Manager

    1. Yes, Angela! You can always make a change to your custom formula’s fragrance. Just head into your consultation and make that selection within a day before your Subscription order’s charge date. If you have any questions, just let us know.

  14. Hi! For shampooing instructions, you say apply thE shampoo down your natural part, then repeat on the “opposite” side. What does “opposite” mean in this case? Perpendicular? Down the back of the head?

  15. Hi! I just RECEIVED my prose shampoo and conditioner earlier this week and am very excited for a change. My hair is quite confusing because it gets oily relatively quickly but im still super prone to dandruff. i was wondering if you had any tips on how to most effectively deal with that situation (how often should i shampoo/condition)? i often find myself touching my hair a lot when i have dandruff so i may be contributing to the oiliness that way but please let me know what you think. Thanks for your help!

  16. Hi. My custom Prose is on its way! My question
    Has To do with fragrance. I opted to go frAgrance free because i am sensitive to overpowering scents. For future reference, can anyone tell me if their products are overpowering? Does prose use harsh SYNTHETIC fragrances?

    1. Hi Heidi, we offer two 100% natural fragrances, “Napoli ” and “Botanica.” Our other fragrances do currently include man made ingredients, but are always completely phthalate-free and free of formaldehyde releasers . If you are interested in 100% natural fragrance, we recommend choosing Napoli or Botanica or opting for fragrance-free.

      -Keely, Prose Community Manager

  17. Hello,
    I tried the products for the firts time and i experience dramatic haIr loss when rinsing off my haIr.

  18. How long does it takE for the prodUcts to work. I have frizzy wavy thick hair and while it is soft – there is no curl enhancement – still very frizzy withoit shaPe. I only air dry amd wash 2x a week. Today was my first day. I even used the curl enhance cream post shower

  19. I have a friend who recommended Prose. I have been trying to ready an order but am having a hard time figuring out some answers to questions. My hair is hard to explain. I have had baby fine fairly straight oily hair most of my life. I am older now and it has dried, no longer oily, but still most conditioner makes my hair Flat and lifeless. I wear my hair pretty short and after showering and drying my hair it kind of appears a bit curly until I comb it out, then it is again mostly straight with the slightest curvE to it. Which answer to the straight, slightly curly etc. do I give? Also for the question of dry, oily or normal? My hair definitely is not normal as it is aging hair. I am 73. HOwever it is no longer oily either. The tips appear dry but putting oil into it makes my hair flat and lifeless as it is thin as well as baby fine. I do not want to spend a lot of time on my hair, but it needs a lot of Product, root lift, mousse And hairspray To give it body. I hate this about my hair! I seldom use a blowdryer as it is very drying to my hair. I use products and let it dry by itself and then brush it out. If I am going anywhere I will use my curling iron on it. When younger I could get a good cut and use product, let it dry and it was goOd, but lately not so much. Now it more often or not needs a curling iron as it ends up sticking out every which way. I thought this was the cuts and have tried different hairdressers with the same results…help! I want to order but do not know what I need. I do wash my hair every morning in shOwer Because after SLEEPING on it, it is Totally flat and sticks out in places, it also has product in it and I cannot brush it out. What do I need to do? My friend who recommended you is 15 years younger….is this just not appropriate fir aging fragIle thin hair? It gives no options for my type of hair.

  20. Just received my new Prose products! Almost threw out the pumps – luckily when I read my instructions and it said “pump out” products I went back to the box! Yay! used all my products today. Hair feels soft and light! Now to see how it holds up w/the humidity at my house and if my “frizz” is different. They smell lovely! Thanks for that! Here’ to hoping for a new hair experience! Thank you!

  21. Perfect timing for this post! Appreciating the time and effort you put into your website and in-depth information you offer. You’ve really covered up almost all the possible info that every female should follow. Worth sharing! Please do continue sharing updates! Thanks!

  22. I am waiting for my orders to arrive. I hope it will help me with falling hair and dandruff. My scalp is prone to dandruff, so I have to wash it everyday. But i have a lot hair fall.

  23. Just got my instructions emailed and my very first order is coming. Only the mask, shampoo, and dry shampoo were recommended does this mean my hair type doesn’t need conditioner?

  24. I got my products I notice a huge difference already. I live in Texas and my hair has held up to the humidity, it has held its style and its the end of the day!!! Still feels soft, not greasy. I”m so pleased with the results.

    Quick Question- I work out (hot yoga, pilates, crossfit) 5 days a week. I know it says not to was everyday. I noticed yall recommend 2-4 times a week?? However, my hair gets so sweaty, I feel like I have to wash it. Can you give me some guidance? I read above about using a little conditioner and rinsing my hair out. So should I alternate between shampooing/conditioner (routine from Prose) and conditioner/rinse?

    1. Hi Delinda! We’re so happy to hear you’re loving your Prose products. In between washing, you can definitely do a quick rinse and use conditioner to add some moisture back into your strands and/or you can also use our Dry Shampoo which will help absorb excess oils and sweat all while providing volume.

      -Keely, Prose Community Manager

    1. Hi Dorrian, our products are free of drying alcohols and can be made free of silicones if you’d like! Hope this helps 🙂

      -Keely, Prose Community Manager

  25. Hello, I am anxiously awaiting my first order. After I wash I use Moroccan Oil, can I continue this or just use the shampoo and conditioner for a while without it? Thanks!

    1. Hi Kathy, we can’t wait to hear what you think of your Prose products! You can continue using your other styling products if you’d like 🙂