The salon secret to bouncy hair straight from the backwash.
What is it about salon-fresh hair that leaves it so swishy, bouncy and glorious? Even if you’re not booked in for a razzy blow dry, the wash alone leaves hair both silkier and more voluminous. How?!
I was wondering about this when I asked the stylist (who was meticulously kneading shampoo into my scalp) whether there was a “right way” to wash your hair while getting my hair done the other day. I don’t know about you, but whenever I do it myself at home, it never ends up with as much oomf or polish. Her answer was interesting. “Most people who come to the basin have lovely, fresh, clean hair on top of their crown, then when you reach the mid-section of the scalp and the bottom, it takes a bit longer to work through because it’s not been washed as thoroughly.” Huhh.
I asked my mates about this when I saw them. “How do you wash your hair?” Most (having acted it out like a Herbal Essences advert) admitted that they focused their attention on the top of their scalp and either gave the bottom a quick once over, or missed it out entirely – the same as me. But it turns out, this could well be the death knell for a gravity-defying blow dry, since the oil and grime that disperses itself throughout our scalp (on the hair behind our ears, in the middle of our crown and at the nape of our neck) get left behind – hence sad, wilty hair that feels weighed down.
“Putting in a little bit of extra time and thought into how you wash your hair at home can leave you with that light, bouncy salon fresh feeling,” leading hair stylist, Hollie Rose Clarke, told me when I asked her if there was a solution. These are the easy tweaks she suggests to transform your usual hair wash into the formula for delicious swishy hair.
Brush your hair first
“Before you even get in the shower, brush your hair. This will help loosen dirt, remove stray hairs and untangle knots,” says Hollie
Make sure the temperature is just right
“Next up, water temperature is important. Wet your hair with lukewarm water. Water that’s too hot will open the hair cuticle and this will allow keratin proteins, your expensive salon colour and natural moisturising factors to escape," Hollie says. "It means hair loses not just colour, but strength, too.”
Double up on your shampoo
“Always, always wash your hair twice," she says. "The first shampoo removes dirt, pollution and product residue. The second shampoo essentially adds shine and gloss.”
Technique is everything
“You should use a hazelnut-sized blob of shampoo. The first shampoo will not lather as much as it’s busy removing all those nasties. The second shampoo will lather more.
Apply the shampoo directly to the roots and massage into the scalp. Pay particular attention to the areas that are harder to reach and often get overlooked," says Hollie. "Put those fingertips to work around the back of ears and the nape of your neck.”
Rinsing makes all the difference (if you’re gentle)
“Rinse using lukewarm water," she says. "Squeeze your hair in your hands during the rinse. You’ll know when all the product has left your hair as your hair will feel “squeaky” clean.
If you don’t rinse properly, your hair will be flat and lifeless and feel somewhat coated. That said, wet hair is weak and more prone to breaking so be gentle when washing your own hair.”
Use your shampoo and conditioner to their full potential
“Shampoo and conditioner serve completely different purposes and therefore belong on different areas of your hair. Shampoo is your cleanser, so you only really need it on the areas that get dirty and grimy – your roots.
Conditioner belongs on the drier areas of your hair and that is the mid-lengths of your hair to the ends – not the roots. Never the roots," Hollie says. "It always shocks me when clients tell me they do not use conditioner. I feel like it’s very misunderstood and kind of gets a bad rap because some blame it for weighing hair down and removing any natural volume you might have. That only happens when you put it on the roots. But conditioner when used properly makes all the difference. I always tell me clients, think of a strand of hair being the size of your arm and covered in fish scales (the cuticles). When we shampoo our hair, they slightly open and when we condition our hair it closes them back down, leaving your hair feeling smoother and stronger.
The best way to pick the right shampoo and conditioner is to seek professional advice. Ask your hairstylist. Most people don’t realise that many cheap products are full of silicones which leave behind a film that can dull hair and block hair follicles and this impedes new hair growth. As for sulphates, sulphate-free shampoos are much gentler and keep the cuticle tighter so colour doesn’t fade.”
Finish off with cool water
“If you can, give your hair a final rinse with cool water," Hollie says. "Cool water feels exhilarating, stimulates blood circulation, seals the hair cuticle and leaves your hair extra smooth and shiny which is a secret to it looking salon fresh.”
Stave off frizz
“Last, I’d say investing in a microfibre towel is an absolute must,” says Hollie. They’re much better for your hair, since the fibres won’t rough up your cuticles which means less frizz and they absorb much more moisture which will help your hair to dry quicker.
So there you have it, the secret to salon fresh hair is more manageable than you’d think – it’s just a DIY scalp massage away.