Experts Want Us to Stop Making These 5 Mistakes Every Time We Wash Our Hair

I have very long, very thick, very tangle-prone hair, so it's safe to say that washing my hair is one of my most dreaded beauty tasks. So much so that I have managed to train my hair into only needing a weekly wash, and will literally do anything I can to postpone the hours I have to spend brushing, shampooing, scrubbing, rinsing, combing, drying, and (eventually) styling. 

I'm quite sure that I'm not alone. No one actually enjoys washing their hair, right? It's one of those time-consuming tasks that, much like cleaning your makeup brushes, feels more like a chore than "self-care". At the same time, it's one of the most essential. We all know that neglecting hair wash day for too long results in lank, greasy hair, product build-up, and scalp issues—the long-term repercussions of which can really impact hair growth, condition, and health in the long run, too.

So, in an effort to try to streamline and condense my hairwashing routine as much as possible—and without compromising my hair and scalp health—I reached out to the professionals. If you're looking to make wash day easier (maybe, even, enjoyable?), keep scrolling to discover the five hair-washing mistakes experts want us to stop making (and learn how to wash your hair properly).

1. Neglecting the Scalp


(Image credit: @SASHA.MEI)

"A really common mistake that people make is shampooing the hair and not the scalp," says hairstylist and salon owner Melissa Timperley. "The hair technically doesn’t get that dirty, but it’s the scalp that really makes a difference." Timplerley advises massaging shampoo evenly into scalp focussing it there rather than on the lengths of your hair. "Most importantly, you should avoid rubbing the ends of your hair because that can damage the cuticle," she adds.

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2. Overwashing Hair


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If your hair gets greasy so fast that you're in the habit of a daily hair wash, then it's likely that you're overwashing your hair. As a rough guide, hairstylist and Maria Nila ambassador Diego Miranda recommends washing hair every two to five days. "Of course, it will depend on your hair and scalp condition, and also the type of lifestyle you have," he adds. "For explample, if you exercise everyday you will feel the need to wash your hair more frequently as the sweat could lead to more grease." Above all Miranda emphasises that the hair and scalp shouldn’t be washed everyday. "It’s important to maintain the natural oils on your scalp to keep your hair hydrated."

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3. Skipping Conditioner


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We know that hairwashing is a tedious and time-consuming process, but don't be tempted to skip the conditioner. "Shampoo is one of the most important things you can put on your hair, but it should always be followed by a conditioner or treatment," says Timperley. "Shampoo opens the cuticle in order to clean, but conditioner closes it back down. This is why conditioner makes hair feel silkier, because the cuticles aren’t rubbing against each other," she explains. "Plus, this means hair stays fresher for longer."

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4. Using Too Much Shampoo


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One of the most frequently asked questions for hairdressers is 'how much shampoo should I use?', and according to both Timperley and Miranda, this is really important. "Shampoos are more concentrated than most people think," says Timperley. "You only need a 5p or 10p sized application, depending on length)." 

According to Miranda, overloading hair with shampoo, especially if you have fine hair or are prone to a greasy scalp, will only make things worse. "How much you use really is dependent on the thickness and length of your hair," he reiterates. "For a fine bob you’ll use a lot less than long thick curls." If you feel like your hair needs a more thorough wash, don't be tempted to use a double dose. Instead, rinse the first shampoo out and do a second application which will cleanse and rinse thoroughly after both.

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5. Not Rinsing Hair Properly


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Not properly rinsing the shampoo and conditioner out of your hair can lead to a whole host of issues, such as scalp buildup, greasy roots, dry hair, and dullness. According to Miranda, your entire hairwash routine should last between ten and twenty minutes, and half of that should be spent rinsing. "Always rinse thoroughly to minimise buildup in your hair, and pay particular attention to the nape of your neck and behind your ears," he adds.

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Next Up: Experts Swear By This Technique for Incredible Hair —I Just Put It to the Test

Freelance Beauty Editor

Grace Day is a beauty editor and content creator. She has over 10 years of beauty-industry experience, spanning editorial, retail, and e-commerce, which gives her a unique understanding into how people shop for their beauty routines. While studying for a history degree (specialising in the history of beauty) and working as a beauty adviser in department stores, Grace started writing her own beauty blog in order to share the products she discovered while dealing with acne. After graduating, she moved to Beauty Bay as beauty editor and content manager. Grace is currently a beauty contributor to Who What Wear. She has also written for Hypebae and PopSugar and works as a brand consultant and copywriter.