Wash day is, perhaps, one of the most dreaded days of the weekly beauty calendar. No one actually enjoys washing their hair, right? It's one of those time-consuming tasks that, more often than not, leaves us feeling beaten down and deflated. Whether your hair is long and fine or short and curly, the act of brushing, shampooing, conditioning, brushing again, and then drying hair can feel like a battle.
But what if we told you there were some simple things you can do to make it easier? In fact, we've recently discovered (through conversations with a bunch of our go-to experts) that washing our hair is one of the most integral parts of our beauty routine in general. Whether you're dealing with body breakouts, greasy roots, dry skin, or hair breakage, adopting some simple changes to your wash-day regimen could make all the difference. So if you're looking to make wash day easier, keep scrolling to discover the six hair-washing mistakes experts want us to stop making (and learn how to wash your hair properly).
1. Washing Twice
For years, hairstylists have been telling us that it's important to shampoo our hair twice if we want to prevent build-up, but it turns out this rule isn't blanket. "Yes, sometimes you should wash once to cleanse and then once again for moisture and protein, but if you're washing your hair every couple of days, it's not needed," says celebrity hairstylist Jason Collier. In fact, he warns that over-washing your hair can leave it dry and unbalanced. "Most of the time, you can get away with one wash. If your hair is in great condition, only wash it twice once a week to give it a deep clean, and for washes between, you can definitely just shampoo once with a gentle shampoo to give roots a freshen-up," he adds.
2. Not Rinsing
If you want to talk about hair-washing mistakes, this is the one to pay most attention to. Not rinsing your shampoo and conditioner out properly can cause a plethora of issues. To begin with, it's not great for your hair. "Not rinsing conditioner out properly is easily the mistake people make the most," says Collier. "You need to be rinsing your conditioner out properly, especially at the back—otherwise, hair can turn greasier quicker and have more unwanted weight." Likewise, not rinsing your shampoo out thoroughly enough can cause scalp build-up, dryness and even contribute to dandruff.
Beyond hair woes, however, not rinsing shampoo and conditioner well enough can also cause an array of skin issues. If you book in for a skin consultation with a dermatologist or skin expert in relation to body breakouts, we guarantee that one of the first questions they'll ask you will be how well you rinse your conditioner. Conditioner is formulated with moisturising (but pore-clogging) butters and oils, so not rinsing it off your shoulders and back when in the shower will no doubt be a contributing factor to any body breakouts.
3. Using the Wrong Conditioner
We know that shopping for hair products isn't easy, and we agree that the industry has a long way to go when it comes to adequately labelling its products to make them more shoppable. (What does "normal hair" even mean?!) However, using the right conditioner for your hair's wants and needs is of vital importance when it comes to its health. What's the best way to tell what sort of conditioner your strands require? "When your hair is wet, gently pull on it," says Collier. "If the strand goes back like an elastic band, then the condition is probably good, and you might just need some simple moisture. However, if you pull it and there's no bounce-back, it probably needs more protein," he adds.
4. Scrubbing Your Scalp
If you feel like you're constantly battling greasy roots, listen up. While we totally get that urge to massage and scrub your scalp silly in a bid to shift grease, it's important you treat it with some TLC. "If you have greasy hair, the automatic thing you want to do is massage your scalp with your fingers, but this isn’t the right thing to do—it actually encourages more oil to be released," warns Collier. Instead, he recommends simply using the palm of your hands to smudge the shampoo over your roots and mid-lengths to cleanse the hair without risk of releasing more oils. If you're concerned it won't do the job, use a clarifying or "detox" shampoo to supercharge your root cleanse.
5. Overusing Protein
Sadly, there is such a thing as overdoing it with protein. Sure, protein treatments are great for hair that requires it. (Remember the test we talked about earlier?) However, if your hair doesn't need protein, adding more isn't a harmless act. "You'd be surprised at the amount of people that come into the salon and tell me they sleep in protein treatments," reveals Scott Humphreys, co-founder of Kitch Hair salon. "Overloading your hair with protein will cause it to snap. Protein treatments (and bond-restoring treatments like Olaplex) should only be used for around 20 minutes," he adds. Be sure to follow the instructions on your protein product of choice, and don't use it any more than once a week.
The original (and arguably best) bond-repairing treatment out there, Olaplex No.3 is a game-changing strengthener. While Olaplex only contains low levels of proteins, stylists warn that sleeping in it and leaving it on for longer than the recommended 20 minutes probably won't do your hair a lot of good.
K18 is probably the most buzzy hair product of 2022. Already giving Olaplex's cult Hair Perfector a run for its money, it also only contains a small amount of protein but a hefty amount of amino acids to rebuild the hair structure at a deep level. And the best bit? It's a leave-in mask.
6. Overlapping Bleach
Okay, this isn't technically a hair-washing mistake, but if you do this, you will find it significantly more difficult to wash your hair. Overlapping bleach is the single biggest way to make wash day more hellish than it needs to be. Whether you get balayage, highlights or all-over colour, whenever you go for a colour appointment, make sure your colourist isn't applying bleach on bleach. "You can freshen up the already bleached hair with toner. Only the roots need doing," says Luca Jones, hairstylist and co-founder of Kitch Hair Salon. What's the reason for this? Bleach weakens and drys out strands. When you wash hair that has been over-bleached, you can guarantee matting and, as a result, breakage.