Have You Been Washing Your Hair the Wrong Way?

One day, my life changed forever.

I was watching YouTube when I saw a girl flick her perfect hair. “Have you been washing your hair the wrong way?” she asked me with a pointed glare.

Gasp! I ran my fingers through the tangled mess I called my hair.

“You!” she spat, pointing at me. “Your hair looks like a pile of dry bee hoon!”

Okay, she didn’t actually say that, but I felt personally offended by her smooth, glossy locks. Gawd, is that what I can achieve by washing my hair the right way??

So I dived deep into the Internet. And after sieving through tons of advice (some a little weird), I think I finally did it.

I managed to compile a (hopefully) useful guide on the correct way to wash hair in 7 simple steps.

STEP ONE: Wet your hair

Make sure all your hair is wet because shampoo lathers better on wet hair. Which equals better distribution. Which also equals saving shampoo because you need less shampoo on wet hair than on dry hair.

Use warm water to open the cuticles. This is so that the shampoo can penetrate deeper. The deeper the penetration, the more dirt and oil you remove.

Picture credit: Armin Rimoldi @ Pexels

STEP TWO: Apply shampoo

Pour enough shampoo to cover the palm of your hand. Mix it with water for an even distribution over your scalp. Slap the shampoo onto your head and create lots of lather. You’re not actually washing your hair yet, just creating plenty of lather. 

STEP THREE: Rub your scalp

When there is a healthy amount of lather, it is time to start the rub. Start from the hairline. Use the pad of your fingers and not the nails — this protects your scalp from abrasions. Rub it like you mean it; it should feel like a real finger workout. Avoid circular motions though, because it might knot up your hair. Hair is more vulnerable when it is wet.

Trace your fingers down to the ends. The ends of the hair are older than the roots and will end up more dehydrated from the shampoo. Therefore, the focus should be on the scalp.

Picture credit: cottonbro @ pexels


As you rinse, scrub your scalp and not the actual hair. Move your hair around to make sure the water gets to the roots. Clear as much shampoo as possible.

Some shedding at this point is normal, so don’t worry.

STEP FIVE: Shampoo again?

Some people recommend a second round of shampoo, in the same way that you wash your face twice if there’s still cosmetics on it. Others think that shampooing twice will strip your hair of its natural oil, affecting its growth and causing damage. My (humble) opinion: unless you have tons of products in your hair, there is no need to wash twice.

STEP SIX: Apply conditioner

When applying conditioner, do the opposite of what you do with shampoo. Use conditioner at the ends of your hair, away from your scalp. Conditioner on your scalp might turn the latter oily. Leave the conditioner in for at least three minutes.

Afterwards, rinse the conditioner off with cold water. Why cold water? Cold water closes the cuticles so that your hair can retain moisture. It keeps your hair from becoming frizzy.

STEP SEVEN: Dry your hair with a towel

Towel-dry around the hairline first and move down towards the tips. Pat and not rub. Rubbing is damaging so try to get as much moisture as possible by dabbing. 

And ta-da! There you have it — the right way to wash hair.

Now excuse me while I flip my hair around like I’m in a shampoo advertisement.

Picture credit: Jorge Fakhouri Filho @ Pexels


Brittney Gray


Head & Shoulders


Chow Ping Lee is a content writer under Headliner by Newswav, a programme where content creators get to tell their unique stories through articles and at the same time monetize their content within the Newswav app.
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Chow Ping Lee
Author: Chow Ping Lee

My guiding principle: The mediocrely courageous live a long, happy life.