A good hair wash routine is an important part of keeping hair clean and healthy, although there are some men out there who don’t have a proper routine in place and maybe don’t understand the importance of shampoo and conditioner.
To properly understand the purpose of shampoo and conditioner and why it’s important to men’s hair we need to define what they are and the role they place in hair maintenance.
What are they?
Shampoo is a product designed to clean and clarify hair. It strips out the oils, dirt, dead skin particles, dandruff and product build up in your hair. Oil and some hair products can be difficult if not impossible to remove from hair without a cleaning agent because they are not water-soluble. You’ll quickly discover that if you only wash your hair with water that your hair will build up oils and dirt and feel greasy most of the time.
Shampoo is an important step, a life essential really, if you want to keep your hair feeling clean. Overdoing the shampoo can have the unwanted effect of leaving your hair feeling dry and brittle. A shampoo every 2-3 days is usually enough to keep hair feeling clean and fresh. It’s important to find a shampoo that suits the needs of your head and scalp. Different people have different hair needs. Some people might have oily scalps, or dry scalps and hair, while others may have a balanced ‘normal’ scalp.
There are shampoo’s out there designed to tackle dandruff, or designed to be gentle on the scalp, there’s others out there that are designed to be particularly good with managing oil. It’s all about considering your hair needs and finding the right product for you.
Conditioner is the next step in the hair washing process, and it’s a step that a lot of men ignore. Some men feel that they only need to use shampoo to get their clean. On short hair the roots have much more opportunity to add natural oils back, so your hair might feel relatively soft even after only a shampoo, but conditioner does more than just make your hair soft or nice smelling. In the process of shampooing your hair you will ruffle up the follicles, conditioner smooths the hair follicle back down. Conditioner also adds back in moisture to the hair, helping to keep it hydrated. Hydrated hair will be softer, silkier and shinier and healthier overall. It also plays a role in protecting the hair follicle and preventing tangling.
Combined together, shampoo and conditioner give the best results. Shampoo cleans and clarifies, and conditioner improves the look and feel of the hair follicle. If you’re not sure which is the best combination for your hair, then you need to find the right products for your hair. If you’re not sure where to start, ask your barber or hair dresser as they’ll be able to help you identify your hair type and what you need to get the best results with your hair. It’s also best to keep in mind that different seasons and weather may impact on your hair, and you may need to use different shampoo and conditioner depending on the climate.
How to apply shampoo and conditioner to your hair
It might not seem like rocket science, but there’s actually a bit of art involved in shampooing and conditioning hair correctly. There are plenty of men out there that might just slap a bit in their hair and then immediately wash it out. This isn’t the best way to wash your hair. There are a few steps you should follow to get the most out of your shampoo and hair conditioner.
When shampooing, it’s likely that you need much less than you think. When you’re in the shower, apply a small amount to the palm of your hand. Rub your hands together and distribute the product through your hair. Massage the shampoo through your hair and rub it gently on your scalp with your fingertips, before rinsing it out with lukewarm water.
The majority of conditioners can be used every day, to get the most benefit out of your conditioner you should leave it to sit on damp hair for two to three minutes. Whilst it sits you can take the time to shave or groom other areas of your face. Once it’s had time to sit and penetrate your hair for a few minutes, rinse it out with some lukewarm water.
5 things you should know about shampoo:
There are a few common types of shampoo out there that men should know about.
1. Normal Shampoo
Most ‘normal’ shampoos are suitable for the average guy with shorter hair. These are the most balanced shampoos, suitable for hair and scalps that aren’t too oily or too dry. Considering the proximity of the lengths of the hair to the scalp, this is usually the best solution for ensuring the ends or the scalp aren’t too dried out or oily.
If you have a specific scalp condition or hair concern then you should find a shampoo that targets your issue. There are shampoo’s out there designed to target oiliness and dryness.
2. Cleansing Shampoo
Shampoos designed to target oily hair contain strong cleansers that are made to remove as much dirt and oil from the hair as possible. If you have an oily scalp then you’ll find shampoos for oily hair will balance out your hair and leave it feeling clean and soft, but it may cause dryness for men with normal or dry scalps and can actually contribute to issues like dandruff.
3. Moisturising Shampoo
Shampoos designed for dry hair are usually branded as hydrating or moisturising shampoos and are formulated to hydrate the hair and scalp. If you have normal or oily hair you’ll find your hair will get weighted down and greasy. Very dry hair however will need the added moisture. If you’ve damaged your hair with bleach, or have fine hair that struggles in the summer heat, then a moisturising shampoo is a good idea.
4. Volumising Shampoo
If you have very fine, or thinning hair then you might want to purchase a shampoo that is designed to thicken or volumise the look of your hair. Shampoos that make hair look thicken contain the ingredient glycerine which retains water and makes the hair strand swell by lifting the cuticle of the hair. Hair cuticles are like shingles and will usually lie flat, but thickening agents will open them up and swell the hair shaft. These shampoos can make your hair more vulnerable to damage, so it’s essential to use a good conditioner after using one. Some volumising shampoos will mattify the hair and change the way light reflects of off your hair, making it appear denser and thicker. If you’re struggling with hair loss then thickening shampoos can make your hair look denser, but beware that they can put your risk of damage and might lead to more hair loss if you don’t properly protect it with a good hair conditioner.
5. Dandruff Shampoo
Dandruff is a common problem that a lot of people struggle with, which is why there are quite a few anti-dandruff shampoo products out there. Dandruff shampoos are designed to help with the prevention of itchiness and flakiness of the scalp. Before you use an anti-dandruff shampoo you should make sure you have dandruff. You’ll usually know If you do have it because dandruff will present as small, white flakes on your scalp and you’ll usually find it on the back of your shirt or through your hair. If you’ve got dandruff then make sure to alternate your dandruff shampoo with a good moisturising shampoo, otherwise you might find yourself struggling with excessive dryness.
Things you should know about conditioners
There are also a few common types of conditioners that men should keep in mind.
1. Moisturising Conditioners
The main point of conditioner is to add some moisture and softness back to the hair after getting it clean with shampoo. Moisturising conditioners are great for hair that is quite dry, curly or coarse as its main purpose is to help hair retain moisture. A lot of moisturising conditioners contain fatty acids and oils similar to sebum, which is the natural oil produced by the scalp. Moisturising conditioners basically replace the hair oils that shampoos strip out of your hair.
2. Volumising conditioners
Volumising hair conditioners make hair appear thicker by coating it with a protein. This makes your hair appear fuller because it will fill in any gaps in your cuticle and make it larger. If you have damaged hair then this can help to smooth out your hair cuticle and add shine to your hair. Thickening conditioners are great for people with fine hair, limp hair or those struggling with damage.
3. Balancing Conditioners
If you have fairly normal hair without any particular needs or issues, then balancing conditioners are a nice middle of the road option that will help you to keep your hair in perfect harmony and avoid creating any issues. Normal hair will usually end up greasy if too much conditioner is added, or dry when thickening conditioners are used. If you’re not oily or dry, then a balancing conditioner is probably the right choice for you.
4. Leave-in conditioners
If your hair is in need of a little more nourishment and protection, then a leave-in conditioner might be the way to go. Leave-in conditioners basically do for your hair what your moisturiser does for your face. Unlike your daily conditioner, you don’t need to rinse this product out and it can be a useful addition to your hair routine as it can make your hair much more manageable. It also acts as sun protection. If you’re a guy with shorter hair then some leave-in conditioner could protect your scalp from the sun and make your hair easy to manage throughout the day. If you’re spending a lot of time in the sun, or having trouble keeping unruly hair under control then try adding some leave-in conditioner into your routine. Your hair will feel softer and shinier and be easier to work with. If your hair is already feeling fairly hydrated however, you might find that it ends up feeling greasy or heavy with leave-in conditioner in. Make sure to use it sparingly, and wash it out thoroughly with water later to prevent unwanted product build-up.
Getting your shampoo and conditioner routine perfect is an important part of daily life and you’d be surprised what a difference the right products will make to your hair. Invest in good quality hair products to keep your hair clean and protected, your hair will love you for it and you’ll probably find it’s much easier to style and manage. If you’re not sure what your hair needs are, take some time to consider any potential issues you deal with or speak to your barber or hairdresser who should be able to offer you some helpful advice and guidance on the right products to use.