Tuesday, May 25, 2010

A couple of thoughts about our hair...

As I was singing in the shower this morning ("Evidence" by Faith No More), I started thinking about the nature of washing our hair. Here are my thoughts...

Do we need to rinse and repeat? Not usually. If your hair is especially greasy, yes, but otherwise, no. (Although I'm contradicting Homer who said, "Always repeat".)

When should we rinse and repeat? If your hair is especially greasy, either from sebum or oils you've added to your hair.

Why does the second shampooing feel more lathery than the first? Because some surfactants don't foam or lather well in the presence of sebum. The second shampooing always feels more lathery because you've removed the sebum with the first washing!

What's the best way to wash your hair? I can't really answer this as everyone has their own definition of "best", but I find if I wash my just my scalp with the first shampooing, then the scalp and ends the second shampooing, this works best for me. Don't pile your hair on top of your hair - just bring the shampoo to the ends of your hair and massage lightly. The ends of your hair really don't get that dirty.

How long should I leave conditioner on my hair? According to the Beauty Brains, just long enough for it to work, which is just about instantly. The key is to cover as much of your hair as possible. I tend to leave my conditioner on as long as it takes to sugar scrub and exfoliate my feet, but that's just because I'm kinda lazy.

Should I comb the conditioner through my hair? Yes and no. Remember that our hair is most fragile when it's wet, so if you encounter a tangle, let it be! Get the conditioner all over your hair, then use a really wide mouthed comb. If you can't comb your hair in the shower, leave it be and wait until you use your leave-in conditioner.

What questions do you have about the process of washing, conditioning, or styling your hair? Let me know!


Anonymous said...

Should you condition every time you shampoo?

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Definitely condition every time! Check out this post on how hair is damaged - you need to reduce the combing forces on your hair, and conditioner is the best way to do that!

p said...

Great informative post, as always! I've got a few questions for you!

- Is it better for your hair to wash it less often? It's definitely more convenient and cheaper, but I wonder if shampooing itself leads to wear and tear?

- I've read that doing a final rinse with cold water makes the hair shiny by sealing the cuticle - any truth in this?

- Are combs better for your hair than brushes? Plastic vs. wood?

- Is it bad to sleep on wet hair? I wash my hair at night and sleep on it, and I think this helps give my long hair volume (it's less weighed down when it's drying). But I wonder if the friction against the pillowcase is bad for wet hair?

Thanks, Susan!

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi p!

Yes, I think it's better to wash your hair less often, and washing can really trash your hair from friction! And sebum is good for your hair. So the less you can wash it, the better!

Rinsing with cold water doesn't seem to make a huge difference. The cuticle lays flat or it doesn't, and the best way to make that happen is with a cationic conditioner. We talk about "sealing the cuticle" a lot, but it's a misnomer...the cuticle is composed of a series of tough cells that are a lot like scales, and you want to make each of them lie as flat as you can.

As for combs vs. brushes - you want something that is fairly friction free, so if you can find a comb or brush that works, use it. Plastic should offer less friction than wood, but that isn't always true. So there isn't a solid answer, sorry...

For me, sleeping on wet hair gives me awesome volume and great curls...but it's not a great idea because our hair is more fragile when wet, and lying on it, moving around, tossing and turning can all cause serious friction! If I go to bed with wet hair, I wear my snood or hair net - my hair is still damp in the morning, but I get some serious curls!

Hope I've managed to answer some of the questions - more information to come!

p said...

Thanks for the answers!! I was worried that sleeping on wet hair might not be so good... but I just can't get behind the snood! Not yet, anyway! Maybe I'll just break down and get a silk pillowcase and hope for the best.

Great to know that rinsing with cold water doesn't do much - I always found it kind of painful!

I wonder if wood is better because plastic is more staticky?