7 Hair Washing Mistakes To Avoid For Achieving Silky, Strong Hair

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Written by Georgia Gould

Updated: March 18, 2024

Wash Hair 2
image via @mondayhaircare

Shampooing your hair is one of the simplest parts of your beauty regime, right? Actually, your hair is at its most vulnerable when wet so, while it might not be the most complicated of tasks, there are a lot of mistakes to be made when lathering up your hair in the shower.

From the temperature of your water to the way you use your hands, get certain things wrong and you could end up in all sorts of hair trouble.

Don’t want to end up with an irritated scalp or dry, dehydrated locks? Then don’t be that person. Ensure you’re shampooing with aplomb every time you wash your hair by nipping these easy-to-make mistakes in the bud. Like immediately. 

#1: Using The Wrong Products For Your Hair Type

You’d never slather a heavy moisturizer all over oily skin would you? Well, the same goes for your hair. Selecting the right products is everything. 

So, which type of shampoo is best for you? Well, it all starts with your scalp. If your scalp sometimes feels tight and itchy after shampooing, it’s dry, whereas if it looks shiny and your roots grease up quickly, then you have an oily scalp. Don’t fit into either camp? Then you probably have combination or ‘normal’ skin on your scalp. Jealous? Much?

Of course, there are also other factors to consider like your hair type and its condition. Is your hair thick, fine, curly or colored? It all counts when shopping for your perfect shampoo.

Once you’ve got a grip on all this, you can make informed decisions on the products you use on your hair. Oh, and remember, if your hair and scalp have different requirements, tailor your shampoo to your scalp and roots, and your conditioner to the mid-lengths and ends of your hair.

#2: Shampooing With Scorching Hot Water

As far as your beauty routine is concerned, cleansing with hot water is generally bad news all round. Sure, it feels good – especially on freakishly cold days when your bathroom feels like walking into a freezer – and it definitely cuts through grime and grease way better than cold water.

However, hot water opens up the hair follicles which weakens the roots and upsets the balance of your skin and scalp, stripping away all those natural oils and wreaking havoc on the keratin bonds that help to keep your hair healthy and hydrated. 

Instead of extremely hot water, stick with lukewarm temps and ensure you wet your hair thoroughly all over before even reaching for the shampoo. Every strand of hair and every part of your scalp should be soaking wet for the most effective cleanse. Got it? Good. 

Shower Filters: Helpful Or Hype?

Hard water is very common throughout the US so fitting a filter in your shower can be a great way to get rid of heavy metals and chemical nasties which may be upsetting the health of your hair. And your skin, for that matter. Worth an investment? If you live in a hard water area, yes.

 #3: Washing Your Hair Too Often (Or Not Often Enough!)

Some people wouldn’t dream of leaving the house without washing their hair every day, while others are happy with an every-other-day approach. Some TikTokers even swear that once a week is the true sweet spot. The truth?

Well, there’s an argument for both and, again, it depends on your hair and scalp. If you have oily hair and/or use lots of styling products you’ll probably need to cleanse your scalp every day to avoid buildup and an irritated scalp. However, if it’s dry, colored or if you have a sensitive scalp, over-shampooing may exacerbate dryness by stripping away your scalp’s natural oils.

The key is not to listen to anyone else (other than your hair stylist, of course!). You understand your hair and scalp better than anyone, so who better to make the most informed decision about when to wash?

#4: Not Paying Your Scalp Enough Attention

You know those uber-relaxing head massages you might be lucky enough to receive at your salon? Well, they’re not just a way to waste time and up your hairdresser’s tip. They’re actually a very effective cleansing step.

Not only does massaging the scalp help relieve stress and thoroughly remove sebum, dirt, dead skin cells, sweat and product buildup, but it’s a great way to improve blood flow to your scalp. This delivers oxygen and nutrients to the roots to encourage healthier, stronger, fuller hair. And that is not to be taken lightly.

Most hairstylists agree that three minutes is the perfect amount of time to spend massaging the scalp. Just remember not to let your fingernails get in the way as this may cause damage to the hair follicles. Which is not cool. Not cool at all. If you have super long talons, maybe invest in a scalp massaging brush to ensure they don’t ruin your shampooing skills. Just an idea.

#5: Practicing Poor Rinsing Skills

Not rinsing your shampoo properly results in product build-up which can cause dullness to your hair and irritation to your scalp. We imagine neither of these things are top of your hair goals, so make sure you rinse thoroughly. 

First, rinse your hands (yes, really) then part your hair into sections and rinse from the scalp to the ends of your hair. Once you’re finished, you can then run those clean hands through your hair to check you’ve not missed a spot. 

#6: Towel-Drying Like Your Life Depended On It

The way in which you towel-dry your hair can make or break the health of your mane. Sure, frantically rubbing it all over might cut down on your blow-drying time (by, wow, at least a minute!), but is it worth it?

The thing is, excessively towel-drying your hair with a regular cotton or terry-cloth towel creates friction and ruffles up the cuticles, causing frizz in the short-term and potential hair damage in the long-term. 

Instead, gently squeeze excess water from your hair before hopping out of the shower, then wrap your hair in a gentle, water-wicking hair turban, wrap or microfiber towel. These are designed to dry your hair quickly, without the need for any scrubbing. 

#7: Not Understanding The Importance Of Conditioner

Wash Hair 3
image via @pantene

Conditioning your hair is just as important as shampooing as it helps close down the cuticles and replenish any moisture that may have been lost during the shampooing process. It also helps smooth and detangle your hair which makes it easier to comb, minimizes breakage and reduces those pesky split ends we all know and hate. 

So make sure you do it on the reg, whatever your hair type. And make sure you do it right.


Always remember to start at the ends, coating all your strands and allow it to sit for atleast 2 minutes! #haircaretips #honestbeauty #haircare #hairtok @SalonCentric #ittakesapro

♬ original sound – Ave💫

The best way to condition is to first squeeze out excess water from your hair, then apply your chosen formula in long, sweeping motions through the lengths of the hair right down to the ends. The ends are the oldest sections of your hair so they’re gonna need it the most.

We recommend leaving in your conditioner for two or three minutes before rinsing thoroughly for the best results. However, if you’re using an intensive hair mask these are usually left in for 10 minutes or so. And if you prefer a leave-in conditioner? Explanation not required.

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