How to Properly Shampoo & Condition Your Hair

—Urban Beardsman
How to Properly Shampoo & Condition Your Hair

The quest for clean hair is nothing new—to say it has evolved over the years is an understatement. Today’s marketplace is loaded with shampoos, conditioners, and other hair products that help consumers deal with dirty hair.

But are you using your shampoo and conditioner correctly? There may be more to it than you think: enough so that we want to address the important issue of how to use shampoo and conditioner the right way. It can make a huge difference in the results of your routine.

We’ll discuss how to shampoo hair, how to condition hair, how often you should use shampoos and conditioners, what both products do, as well as take a close look at our awesome line of Beardbrand cleansing and conditioning products like Shampoo and Conditioner and Utility Bar.

We’ll even look at commonly-held myths about shampoo and conditioner to shed some light on what’s true and what’s false.

Shampooing Your Hair the Right Way

How It’s Done

If you’re like a lot of men, you don’t give all that much thought to shampooing your hair. You know you need to shampoo it, but you probably don’t spend a lot of time thinking about how you do it. You know the drill: pour some shampoo into your palms, rub it around on your hair until you get a nice lather, and then rinse it off before moving on to the next part of your grooming routine.

You should, however, approach shampooing your hair like you do any other important task in your life; give the routine proper attention, use the right techniques, and mix it with a bit of skill.

Correctly shampooing your hair accomplishes a lot of things, it’s not only to keep your hair clean and fresh. It also cleans your scalp’s pores, exfoliates the scalp by ridding it of dead skin cells, and even improves blood circulation to your scalp which, in turn, makes for healthier hair follicles.

So, let’s dig in and help you develop your own game plan for washing and conditioning your hair, one that will help make it healthier and, of course, clean.

Step 1: Choosing the right shampoo

A carpenter never begins construction on a house if he doesn’t have the right tools. The same principle applies to grooming—if you don’t have the right products, all of your efforts will fall short.

Choose your shampoo carefully. Our Beardbrand Silver Line Shampoo is a cut above the rest because it’s a premium product that gives your hair a thorough cleansing without damaging it. It’s gentle enough that you can use it every day. We’ll talk about it, and our Silver Line Conditioner, a bit later.

But, for now, do yourself a favor and don’t cheap out on your shampoo. Don’t pull the least expensive shampoo off the shelf of your favorite supermarket or drugstore with the misguided mindset of, “All shampoos are the same.” A cheap shampoo may technically clean your hair, but it may also create problematic issues, such as hair that’s moisture-depleted, or skin irritation.

Step 2: Choose the right temperature

We’ll assume for the sake of argument that you plan to wash your hair in the shower. If so, keep the water warm but not too hot. Shampooing your hair under hot water can strip it of the natural oils that your hair needs to be healthy. You can even use cool water, but we completely get it if you’re not in the mood for a cold shower.

Step 3: Get it nice and wet

Make sure your hair and scalp are thoroughly saturated with water before you apply shampoo. A wet foundation, particularly one created by warm water, will help loosen excess oil and open up the scalp’s pores to allow your shampoo to penetrate deeply. Applying shampoo to hair that’s dry, or not wet enough, will likely prevent it from removing all the dirt and grime. 

Step 4: Applying your shampoo

This step is fairly straightforward; squeeze out a small amount of shampoo into the palm of your hand, a nickel-sized amount is typically more than enough, and after rubbing the shampoo between your hands to work up a lather, go ahead and massage it through your hair with the tips of your fingers. If you have long hair, make sure you comb the shampoo through your hair with your fingers to reduce tangles. 

Whatever you do, don’t apply your shampoo directly to your hair. You don’t want your shampoo to sit in one glob on your hair before you rub it into the scalp, you’ll end up wasting product. Put a small amount of it on your palm, lather it up, and only add more if you truly think you need it.

Note: don’t be afraid to leave your shampoo on your hair and scalp for a little bit, up to a minute or so, after you’ve applied it. 

Bonus tip: Many hair experts don’t recommend using your fingernails to dig into your scalp and hair while shampooing. Why? Well, think of all the grime that accumulates under your nails, regardless of your occupation. Surgeons use a nail brush to clean under their nails before every operation. Digging your claws into your scalp may irritate it and could transfer germs, not to mention that it could yank and pull at your hair, causing hair loss.

Step 5: Rinsing your hair

It’s really important to give your hair a proper rinse when you’ve finished shampooing it. Not adequately rinsing is a common mistake many men make—when you don’t rinse your hair thoroughly, you leave behind a buildup of shampoo, gunk, and grime that can cause irritation, itchiness, flakiness, and even dandruff.

You don’t want to rush through the rinse. Shampoo can get left behind on your scalp and even on the hair behind your ears. Also, remember that men are at a higher risk for developing dandruff, and the accumulation of unrinsed product can bring on a snowstorm of white flakes if you’re not careful.

Does the water’s temperature matter for rinsing hair? It can. Exposure to hot water can negatively affect your hair’s health, and could make it look dull, so either rinse it with warm water, or with cold water to close the pores while sealing moisture and the shampoo’s benefits in.

Step 6: To Repeat, or Skip Round 2

A lot of shampoos include a step in the instructions on the back that says, “Rinse and repeat.” This is a step that will depend on your length of hair and/or how dirty your hair is. It’s something to keep in mind that this step is a sales tactic to get you to use more shampoo, so consequently you’ll need to re-up your supply sooner. But for some folks, this step can actually be pretty beneficial.

If you have short hair and your build up of daily grim is minimal, you’ll likely be just fine skipping the second lather. For those with longer hair, it can make a pretty substantial difference to do one more lather and rinse to properly remove the daily build up. If you’re doing a second lather, you can go with a dime to nickel size amount each time. The first round is going to help remove the oil build up, and then that second round is where you’ll really notice a difference in how much lather will suds up as you massage it into your scalp, ensuring for a really deep clean.

You can try switching up your routine as well—once a week try the rinse and repeat method, and for the other times you shower follow steps 1-5. Your routine will be unique to you, so with a little trial and error you’ll find your own habits for success.

Washing Different Hair Lengths

How to Wash Long Hair

The techniques you use for your hair depend on several variables, including the length of your hair. Washing long hair is different from washing short hair and requires different types of maintenance to remain healthy and always looking its best. Here are some tips if you have a rocking head of long hair:

Shampoo less often

We’ll discuss how often you should wash your hair in more depth a bit later in this article, but a common school of thought regarding long hair is that you don’t need to shampoo it every day.

While shampooing your hair less may seem counter-intuitive (“Wait, won’t my hair become too greasy?”), you may not need to clean it every day, especially if it’s not naturally greasy or oily to begin with, and what you don’t want to do is dry your hair out by stripping it of its natural oils.

Consider a Second Round

It’s worth a try anyway to see the difference in the results of one wash and rinse, versus adding in the second round. Mentioned above, it helps to have one round where you massage your shampoo into your scalp, rinse it out thoroughly, and then lather up again. You’ll be able to notice a difference in how much the second round suds’ up. The final result will feel thoroughly washed and ready for your style routine.

A little goes a long way

Using a large glob of shampoo doesn’t ensure that you’ll clean your hair more thoroughly. Instead, use a smaller amount and focus on your scalp and the roots of your hair while distributing it evenly. Don’t worry so much about the ends of your hair because the shampoo will clean them when you rinse off the shampoo.

Ease off the heat

There’s nothing quite like the feeling of a nice hot shower, whether it’s first thing in the morning or at the end of a long day, but all that steamy heat isn’t necessarily good for your hair. Over time, too much heat can dry out your hair and cause damage.

Go easy after you shower

Your hair is at its most vulnerable when it’s wet, so show it some well-deserved TLC after you’ve shampooed it and are ready to step out of the shower. For one, avoid drying your hair in the usual fashion (by roughly scrubbing it with a terry-cloth towel) because it can damage your hair. At the least, it can make it overly frizzy.

It’s better to use something made of a softer material, like an old T-shirt, and squeeze your hair gently to draw the excess water from it. Don’t shake your head side-to-side, like a dog drying itself off after a dip into a lake, because that can put undue stress on your hair, not to mention, your neck.

Use a hair dryer cautiously

If you don’t have time to air-dry your hair, which is the preferred method, use your hair dryer on a warm or cool setting, not hot.

Condition your hair

Conditioner is your friend, and you can use it every time you shower, even if you haven’t shampooed your hair. If you use conditioner, rinse it with cooler water because doing so closes up hair cuticles while sealing moisture inside.

Your hair is what you eat

Maintaining a healthy diet has nothing to do with washing your long hair, or hair of any length for that matter, but it does affect the overall health of your hair, and that is important for optimal, healthy growth. 

A healthy diet, in general, means avoiding too much sugar and processed foods, but also making sure you’re getting plenty of protein. Keratin, an essential building block for hair, skin, and nails, is a protein.

Vitamins B12, B6, B3, and B5 are also helpful in maintaining a healthy head of hair and may even prevent premature graying.

Other elements of a healthy diet that can improve your hair’s health are; vitamins C and E, Omega 3 acids, folic acid, iron, zinc, potassium, and magnesium. Beware of taking too much vitamin A because it can lead to hair loss.

How to Wash Short Hair

Nothing too complicated here because the overall process of washing short hair is much the same as washing long hair, as outlined above. As a general rule, however, you need to shampoo short hair even less often than long hair, and shorter hair doesn’t require as much conditioner. You can probably get away with conditioning it once or twice a week, if you want.

How to Condition Your Hair

Conditioning your hair is a big part of keeping it healthy and you’ll be pleased with the results if you take the time to condition it the right way. Here’s a look at some tips, rules, and other suggestions for conditioning your hair.

Choosing the right conditioner

You can choose a conditioner that’s suitable for all hair types, such as our Silver Line conditioner, or you may decide to buy one formulated for a specific hair type. For example, you may choose a thickening conditioner that works to strengthen fine hair, which is more prone to being weak or brittle, while dry hair calls for a nutrient-rich formula that keeps your hair and scalp well-moisturized.

You’ll want to be careful when you buy products that say, ‘strengthening,’ ‘fortifying,’ or ‘volumizing’ on the label, to look over the ingredients carefully. If your scalp and skin have a tendency to dry out or you have flakes, you will likely want to avoid those terms and stick with something that’s moisturizing.

If your hair is oily you should choose conditioners with ingredients such as tea tree oil or menthol. But, again, our Silver Line of conditioners (and shampoos) work well with all hair types, as we’ll discuss later.

Shampoo first, or not?

Most men and women apply conditioner after they’ve shampooed their hair. But you can also apply it without shampooing, especially if your hair is thick and prone to damage. To hear more about the co-washing method, as this is called, you can read our blog post here. There are many benefits and it’s always worth a shot to see how it works for your hair.

Not that there’s anything wrong with the traditional method of shampooing first and then applying conditioner. If you have finer and/or greasy hair, then there may be no need to apply conditioner more than a few times a week.

Wring your hair of excess water

After you’ve finished shampooing your hair, wring out any excess water with your hands. Doing so helps ensure that your conditioner will stick to hair follicles, allowing it to fully absorb and soak in, without just running off. 

Applying your conditioner

One of the most important things to know about using conditioner is that you only need to apply it to the ends of your hair, and not down to the scalp as you do with shampoo. Applying it to the ends ensures that you’ll coat the oldest, and generally most damaged, part of the strand and that you’ll reap all of the hair conditioner benefits.

Working your conditioner to the scalp and roots could clog hair follicles and cause an increase in oil production. 

The amount of conditioner you use depends on the length of your hair. You’ll need more of it if you have long hair.

Let it set

The longer you leave your conditioner in, the more benefits it can have for your hair. You can always rinse it out immediately if you don’t have much time, but your hair won’t be as a soft and shiny as it could be if you leave it in for a minute or two after applying it.

Rinse it out

Like with shampoo, you’ll want to rinse out the conditioner from your hair thoroughly. If your hair still has an “oily” feel, it probably means you haven’t rinsed all of the conditioner from it. Rinse with lukewarm, or even cold water.

Choosing the Best Products

Beardbrand Shampoo and Conditioner

Here at Beardbrand, we take a whole-body approach to grooming; we’re moving “beyond the beard,” so to speak. Our list of premium products now includes our Silver Line Shampoo & Conditioner, which will help you achieve the kind of healthy, nice-looking hair that you desire and deserve.

Both the Shampoo and Conditioner follow the Beardbrand ethos of natural ingredients. What you won’t find in our products are silicones, sodium lauryl sulfates, or parabens. Instead, we’ve formulated our Shampoo and Conditioner to work with your body’s natural chemistry.

The Best Shampoo

For starters, our shampoo won’t dry out your scalp and won’t cause damage beyond what you get on a day-to-day basis because of pollutants and normal combing and brushing. It also won’t create a lot of buildup, as you get with shampoos that include silicone, or that make your hair too oily and greasy. You don’t have to worry about over-cleansing your hair and stripping it of its natural oils while leaving it too dry, flaky, and frizzy.

The Silver Line Shampoo comes in three scents: Spiced Citrus, Tree Ranger, and Tea Tree, all of which you’ll love, but there’s a lot more to it than fragrance.

It’s a perfectly balanced premium shampoo that goes well beyond cheaper shampoos you’ll find at any drugstore or supermarket. Better yet, it works for any hair type and will maintain your hair’s health at an optimal level. Our shampoo’s formula creates a gentle lather and rinses cleanly while keeping your hair well-hydrated.

Like many people, you may wonder why you can’t just use our Shampoo and Conditioner on your beard instead of our Beard Wash and Softener. It’s a good question, but here’s the deal: we formulatd our Beard Wash and Softener to work both on the beard and the skin beneath the beard. The skin beneath your beard is thinner and more sensitive than the skin on your scalp.

Moreover, your beard has fewer follicles than your scalp does and scalp hair is thicker overall, although it may not feel like it when you’re maintaining, say, a lumberjack beard. Not that you can’t use our Shampoo and Conditioner on your beard, but you may experience a bit more dryness than you would while using products designed for your facial follicles.

The Best Conditioner

Our Silver Line Conditioner also comes in Spiced Citrus, Tree Ranger, and Tea Tree scents and contains no silicones or other chemical stuff that can damage hair over time. Instead, we use a Shea-based formula that essentially works like a bit of glue for your damaged hair to help deal with split ends.

Your hair will take on a healthier appearance overall—without feeling heavy or weighted—if you use our Conditioner regularly. It won’t leave you with oily hair, like you may get with a lot of cheaper products. Instead, your hair will look healthy, shiny, and be easier to manage.

The Scents

We pride ourselves on the unique fragrances of our grooming products and our Shampoo and Conditioner are no exceptions. 

The Spiced Citrus scent is warm, complex, and has a universal appeal. It consists of a unique blend of clove, vanilla, and spice that creates an aroma that’s second-to-none. It resembles the warm and comforting fragrances of the holidays at home.

Our Tree Ranger scent features a strong eucalyptus blend, with notes of cedar and pine, that will give you the fresh appeal of someone who just hiked through a Pacific Northwest forest. 

You’ll also love our Tea Tree scent which features a crisp, fresh blend that conjures up images of stepping outside into the brisk morning air of the mountains. It includes notes of vanilla and peppermint to provide a refreshing scent that you can wear anytime.

Here are a couple of other notes about our Silver Line Shampoo and Conditioner, that you can learn more about in this video: 

First, they come in round bottles that help differentiate them from our beard products (which come in square bottles). Also, we put them in 3.4 ounce containers, so they’re travel ready when you are. Both products should last you a couple of months if you use them every day. 

Why Natural Shampoos and Conditioners are Better

You may be comfortable using a shampoo or conditioner that contains harmful chemicals, or maybe you really don’t give much thought to it. It could be that you think your hair looks great anyway. But consider the following before shopping for shampoo and conditioner next time.

Natural products are gentler

We’ve discussed this in various ways already, but it’s worth repeating: the chemicals found in many hair products can damage your hair, especially if it’s already a bit fragile.

They’re better for your health

It’s hard to keep shampoo and conditioner from finding its way to other parts of your body when you rinse it off, which means your skin is coming into contact with the harsh chemicals found in many shampoos.

Plus, your skin can absorb those chemicals and they may lead to a variety of other health issues unrelated to your hair’s health.

They may help boost hair growth

While shampoo doesn’t necessarily make your hair “grow,” chemical-laden shampoos can put you at a greater risk for hair loss because they irritate oil glands, reduce the size of hair follicles, and dry out the scalp.

Natural shampoos, meanwhile, contain ingredients that create a healthier environment for hair to thrive and, subsequently, grow in. Tea tree oil, grapefruit extracts, and coconut oil are among ingredients often found in natural shampoos that may aid in hair growth.

They pack a one-two punch

Natural shampoos can prevent your hair from becoming too greasy and too dry. While that may seem like a tall task, they don’t contain silicone, which can cause an excessive build-up leading to greasy roots, or other harsh chemicals that dry hair out.

They’re eco-friendly

Washing the chemicals that are found in many shampoos down the drain means they end up in the environment. Sulfates, silicones, and other synthetic ingredients can cause damage to the environment. You don’t have to worry about that with organic ingredients that naturally decompose.

Make sure that your shampoo doesn’t contain silicones, sulfates, phthalates, and parabens if you want to ease the burden on the environment.

They may help save you money

While many natural shampoos cost a bit more than mass-produced shampoos that contain a lot of chemicals, you may opt to buy salon shampoos that address specific issues, such as overly-oily and dry hair, or dandruff. Those shampoos can get a bit pricey and may not give you the results you were hoping for.

How Often to Wash & Condition Your Hair

How Often Should You Wash Your Hair?

A great way to start a debate is to ask this question among a group of hair experts. There doesn’t seem to be a perfect answer and the “correct” one depends on many variables.

It’s a popular topic, no doubt, and we’re here to toss around some different views while, at the same time, trying to narrow things down a bit. 

One size doesn’t fit all

There’s no right answer to how often every individual should wash his or her hair. What one expert says could be contradicted by another’s opinion. The goal is, however, to maintain clean hair with a healthy moisture balance.

Excessive shampooing can dry out your hair and deplete it of its natural oils. Dry hair can become brittle, look dull and lifeless, and even create dandruff. Not washing your hair enough can leave it greasy and dirty.

Should I wash it daily?

Unless your hair is overly greasy, there’s probably no need to wash it every day. For people whose scalps produce a normal amount of oil, the greasy feeling that comes with waiting too long between washes may not even come on until the third day of no shampoo.

Some experts say that, even if you have a particularly greasy scalp, sweat a lot, or have super thin hair, you can still get away with washing your hair every two days. In any case, it’s important to maintain a healthy layer of sebum (the oils produced by your scalp).

On the other hand, not washing your hair enough can cause an excess buildup of oil that can cause an overgrowth of yeast, which may also lead to dandruff. 

How does hair become greasy?

Like your face, the glands found on the skin of your scalp produce the oily substance known as sebum. Sebum is good because it moistens hair while keeping it from drying out.

Sebaceous glands located next to the hair roots at the dermis layer of skin channel sebum to the hair follicle. But not everyone produces the same amount of sebum, which is the major determining factor as to whether you have oily, dry, or normal hair (“normal” in that the scalp doesn’t produce too much or too little oil, you’d have a good balance off the bat).

How much sebum your scalp produces depends on several factors, including genetics and hormones. Most adolescents experience a spike in sebum production which leads to greasier hair and acne.

Your hair texture matters

Your hair texture is something else to keep in mind when determining how often to wash your hair because texture affects how quickly your scalp’s sebum works its way from the roots to the tips of hair follicles.

If you have coarse or curly hair, it takes longer for sebum to spread, which means you may not have to wash your hair as often as someone with fine, straight hair. 

When to wash your hair daily

While there seems to be a consensus among many hair care gurus that washing your hair every day isn’t such a good thing, that doesn’t mean everyone has to follow the same rules. There are cases in which washing your hair daily isn’t such a bad idea, after all:

  • If you work out a lot, say daily, you should seriously consider washing your hair every day, or at least wetting and massaging your scalp to help loosen oils while exfoliating dead skin cells.
  • You may need to shampoo every day if you have an oily scalp. Chances are, you’ll know if you have an oily scalp or not, and it’s most likely due to factors out of your control. Either way, give yourself time to try a routine of every few days to see how your body reacts—it could be pumping out an excess amount of sebum simply to catch up with your frequent shampooing as it’s stripping the healthy oils off your scalp (in this case, less shampooing might help balance out your sebum levels).
  • If you work in a manual labor occupation where you work up a good sweat every day, you’ll want to consider washing your hair daily. And it’s not just the sweat; it’s also the dirt and grime that gathers on your hair and scalp at your worksite. Plus, it’s not a great idea to transfer the sweat and grime to your pillow when you turn in for the night.
  • Are you a smoker? If so, your hair probably smells like an ashtray, or least like cigarettes, cigars, weed, or whatever your preference and pleasure. It won’t hurt to rinse out the smokey overload.
  • Many other situations and occupations may require you to wash your hair daily, kitchen worker is another example. This type of work exposes you to a lot of grease that may build up in your luscious locks during the day.
When to wash your hair less

Not washing your hair every single day is helpful in many ways, including that it helps your scalp replenish its supply of sebum without letting your hair become too dry. If your hair isn’t overly oily, and if you work in an occupation that doesn’t expose you to too much dirt, grime, and sweat, then you may be able to get away with washing your hair two to three times a week.

If nothing else, you should give your hair a thorough rinse on the days you don’t wash it because it will help to wash away any build up of sweat and dirt. Then again, a bit of sweat helps your hair’s texture (think Beardbrand Sea Salt Spray) so go with your gut on how much body sweat is too much.

How Often Should You Condition Your Hair?

The easiest answer to this question is, “after every time you wash your hair.” But that doesn’t mean you can’t, and shouldn’t, use conditioner on its own. Conditioner has many benefits for hair, including sealing hair follicles to lock in needed nutrients while keeping grime and other pollutants out.

In general, you should condition your hair at least two to three times a week. But, like with shampoo, how often you use conditioner depends on several variables unique to you.

  • If you have longer hair, it makes sense to condition it more often because the tips of hair follicles are not only older, but more exposed to pollutants and other potential damage. 
  • Use conditioner more often if your hair is thick, dry, or damaged by the sun, chlorine, or from coloring your hair.
  • You should condition less often if your hair is naturally thin and oily. 
  • Men with short hair typically don’t have to condition their hair as often as men with longer hair.
  • Use a conditioner that hydrates your hair. Keeping it nourished and well-moisturized will also help prevent split ends and strengthen the hair to prevent any future breakage.
  • Men with dry hair generally benefit most from a conditioner because it helps locks in moisture while replenishing hair follicles.
  • You should still use a conditioner if you have oily hair, but probably not as often. Choose a conditioner with ingredients like tea tree oil or menthol that will remove excess oil without damaging your scalp. 
  • Remember, shampooing cleanses your hair but can also strip it of natural oils, especially the el-cheapo brands found at every supermarket, convenience store, or drug store.

Types of Shampoo & Conditioner

The Many Types of Shampoo

Shampoo has come a long way in the past century and part of the journey involves the creation of products that serve specific needs. For instance, if you have dry hair there’s a shampoo out there for you, and the same can be said if you’re flake-prone.

Here’s a look at the many types of shampoo available today:

Shampoo for oily hair

Shampoos for oily hair include ingredients, such as detergents, which serve to remove excess sebum from the scalp and hair follicles. They have minimal conditioning agents, if any. Good ones don’t strip oil from the hair completely, however.

Shampoo for dry hair

Also known as moisturizing shampoos, dry hair shampoo consists of formulas designed to add moisture to the hair. You shouldn’t use them if you have normal, non-dry hair because they can weigh down hair follicles.

Shampoo for normal hair

Most men can use shampoo for normal hair because they’re generally gentler and won’t strip oils from the hair and scalp. Shampoos for people with normal hair provide a nice cleansing experience while offering a bit of conditioning, as well. They clean just enough for normal sebum production.

2-in-1 shampoo

Two-in-one shampoos provide both cleansing and conditioning. They contain a bit more conditioner than mild shampoos, such as shampoos for normal hair, and can work well on fine hair that requires a gentle cleanser and a small dose of conditioning.

Clarifying shampoo

The primary purpose of clarifying shampoo is to remove the build-up of products from the hair and scalp. These work particularly well for people with greasy or limp hair that’s weighed down with oil and hair products. Clarifying shampoos tend to be more harsh than other types and you shouldn’t use them more than once a week.

Volumizing shampoo

As its name suggests, volumizing shampoo adds volume and thickness to hair by opening up the hair cuticles to encourage growth. They’ll add body to your hair.

Neutralizing shampoo

Neutralizing shampoos serve to balance your hair and scalp’s pH level. Styling products can throw your hair’s natural pH out of whack, so a neutralizing shampoo helps restore the balance while helping make your hair healthier overall.

Medicated shampoo

Medicated shampoos help relieve the scalp of infections, itching, and scaling and are typically prescribed by dermatologists, although you can purchase some of them over the counter. They include active ingredients such as tar, sulfur, or salicylic acid, as examples.

Dandruff shampoo

Dandruff shampoos have been around for decades and are formulated to prevent the symptoms of dandruff—i.e., the white flakes, itching, and flaking associated with it. Note: dandruff is often confused with a dry scalp, so make sure you have dandruff before using a dandruff shampoo. Symptoms include thicker flakes than your average dry scalp and causes an irritated scalp—not a dry scalp, which a moisturizing shampoo and conditioner could easily resolve. If you aren’t sure, it’s best to check in with a dermatologist and get their expert opinion.

Colored hair shampoo

If you color your hair, it’s best to use a shampoo designed for it. Most are sulfate-free and tend to provide conditioning, much like shampoos for dry and damaged hair. Some even come with color boosters.

Dry shampoo

Dry shampoo comes in a powder or fast-drying spray that gives you the appearance of clean hair without water. It also comes in paste form, although powders and sprays are the most commonly-used options. Dry shampoo absorbs excess oils and can help add volume to your hair. Moreover, it helps eliminate the odor that might linger on your hair, and usually is available in either an unscented or fragrance options.

Shampoo Bars

Like soap, Shampoo can also come in bar form. Unlike soap, however, a shampoo bar is specifically formulated to cleanse your hair. Using any ol' bar soap on your hair would be drying and likely cause unwanted buildup. Our Utility Bar is great for cleansing your hair if you prefer shampoo bars or want more of an all-in-one approach to your shower routine.

The Many Types of Conditioner

Like shampoo, not all types of conditioner are made the same:

Instant conditioner

Many men and women use instant conditioners, which are meant to be applied immediately after shampooing, and left in the hair briefly for quick conditioning. You can use them daily, or several times a week, with normal hair that hasn’t suffered much damage.

Deep conditioner

Deep conditioners are ideal for people with dry and damaged hair, or hair that’s been over-processed. They’re even more concentrated than instant conditioners and are designed for occasional use. A deep conditioner’s list of ingredients typically includes oils that help hydrate the hair and provide additional nourishment.

Cream-rinse conditioner

Cream rinses work well for detangling hair and provide heat protection for styling afterwards. They tend to have a thinner consistency than other types of conditioners.

Protein conditioner

Protein conditioners help to repair damage on the hair follicle. Protein reconstructors are like protein conditioners in that they help repair damaged hair, but also include a moisturizing element that offers extra hydration. Reconstructors provide deep conditioning by penetrating deeply into the hair shaft and don’t just act on the hair’s surface.

Leave-in conditioner

A leave-in conditioner is, as its name suggests, a product you apply to freshly shampooed and conditioned hair and leave in until the next time you wash it. Leave-in conditioners provide an additional dose of moisture and softness to hair and are ideal for anyone with thin, fine, or coarse hair that becomes brittle between shampoos.

How Shampoo Works

There’s much more to shampoo than meets the eye. Found within the lather and deep-cleaning properties are ingredients and chemical reactions that do the heavy lifting of cleaning and nourishing hair while also helping it to look and smell fresh.

The role of surfactants

The word “surfactants” gets tossed around a lot when discussing shampoo because they’re the main ingredients in many shampoos. But what are surfactants, also known as surface-active-ingredients? 

For starters, surfactant molecules have two distinct parts, one that’s attracted to water and another that’s attracted to dirt and grime. The fatty chain portion of the surfactant molecule surrounds dirt particles and lifts them away from the hair and scalp before being dispersed in water.

Anionic surfactants, which may consist of sodium laureth sulfate, sodium lauryl sulfate, and other sulfates, provide a lot of the lather and detergent-like qualities of shampoo.

Cationic surfactants, most commonly used in conditioners, are also found in many shampoos. This type of surfactant doesn’t clean hair but helps to improve its smoothness.

What shampoo does

The scalp, like the rest of your skin, produces sebum, the body’s natural oil. Sebum coats the outer portion of each hair strand and helps to give it a healthy shine. But an excess accumulation of sebum causes strands to stick together and can leave your hair looking overly greasy with a dull appearance.

Sebum also causes dirt, pollen, and other particles to stick to hair strands. Shampoo contains detergents, which work as surfactants, that carry sebum and dirt away from hair strands when you rinse your hair after shampooing. 

So, why not just use regular liquid detergent on your hair? Because common soap or dishwashing detergents may clean your hair, but don’t include ingredients that help replace the protective coating on hair like shampoo does. 

Last, but not least, shampoos often include ingredients that help produce a lather. Contrary to what many people think, a shampoo’s lather doesn’t contribute to its cleaning or conditioning power. But many consumers appreciate the sudsy feeling of a good lather, even if it has nothing to do with cleansing your hair.

How Conditioner Works

Why it makes a difference

Your hair strands consist of a cuticle layer. When it’s healthy, it gives hair a natural shine. Cuticle flakes—making up the cuticle layer of the 120,000+ hair strands found on an average scalp—look best when they lay tightly against one another.

When the cuticle layer begins to wear down, however, hair begins to look limp or frizzy as the flakes no longer lay tightly together. And that’s when it’s a good time to reach for a conditioner. 

What conditioner does

The typical bottle of hair conditioner doesn’t include a long list of ingredients, but it does contain cationic surfactants, which do most of the work for conditioning hair. A positive charge at one end of a cationic surfactant molecule binds to a negative charge of a hair strand with such force that the surfactant surrounds the strand while covering the cuticle flakes.

Meanwhile, a small amount of acid found in conditioner makes the cuticle flakes press tightly against each other to help hair feel smooth again. Other chemicals and oils found in conditioners help balance your scalp and hair’s natural pH level. The latter helps determine how dry or greasy your hair looks; adding conditioner to naturally oilier hair will only make it look greasier. 

The conditioner’s oils help to detangle your hair. A good shampoo will clean your hair but may leave your hair knotted, the oils in conditioners act as lubricants to smooth out the knots and tangles. Oils cover the hair strands to make styling easier and less damaging. Some oils, such as coconut and olive oil, can even improve the hair’s elasticity while making it feel softer.

A conditioner may contain humectants that work by attracting water to the hair and preventing it from escaping. If your hair gets frizzy, especially when it’s humid, a conditioner with humectants can provide a solution.

Other conditioners contain proteins that form a protective coating over damaged hair strands. Some of these types of conditioners reportedly repair hair, but that’s something of a misnomer because the repair isn’t permanent.

The bottom line is that a conditioner’s ingredients work together to replenish moisture, smooth out hair, and make it easier to style. It also helps to give your hair a healthy appearance, not one that’s dull and lifeless.

Your definition of what healthy hair looks like may differ from the definition of someone else, but if you like the look of smoother, silkier, and shinier hair, then a conditioner is for you.

Shampoo & Conditioner Myths

Common Shampoo Myths

Shampoo is like any other product in that what you’ve always heard about it isn’t necessarily true. Besides, your experience with shampoo may be quite different than someone else’s, and personal experience usually reveals the greater truth.

Here are some shampoo myths that may dispute or confirm what you’ve always heard.

Your hair will cleanse itself if you don’t shampoo it

Uh, no. Your scalp doesn’t automatically clean itself, although we’d all love a self-cleaning scalp, it becomes dirtier the longer you don’t shampoo it. Look at it this way, if you don’t wash your body for several days does it become cleaner? Ask your significant other or partner to see how that’s working out for you.

Too much shampooing dries your hair out

This isn’t as much of a myth as some of the others, because it depends on what brand and type of shampoo you use. If you use the right product with the right ingredients, shampoo can help to re-moisturize your hair.

Too much shampooing makes your hair fall out

Most humans lose up to 100 hairs per day whether they shampoo it or not. Shampooing it simply dislodges the hair that was ready to fall out in the first place.

You should always shampoo your hair before conditioning it

Not necessarily. Some experts suggest that you switch the order now and then, especially on those days when you want exceptional volume. It’s OK to condition your hair first to give your ends an extra bit of shine and health, and then shampoo your roots for volume. 

You should always try to get your hair “squeaky” clean

You may want to ditch your shampoo if it’s making your hair squeaky clean. After all, if your hair is clean enough to squeak, it probably means that your shampoo strips hair strands of their natural protective oils. 

Some Common Conditioner Myths

Conditioner is just like shampoo in that you can’t believe everything you hear about it. Here are some common conditioner myths:

Conditioner repairs split ends

Conditioner doesn’t “repair” split ends, it can temporarily coat, but the only way to rid yourself of split ends is by getting a trim. Instead, it helps prevent them from forming because it moisturizes and protects hair.

Conditioner works best if you leave it in for a while

Ever-evolving technology has improved conditioner, just like it’s improved a lot of things. Among the advances is that the conditioner’s benefits take hold almost instantaneously for most conditioners.

Conditioner weighs down hair

People with fine hair may think, or have heard, that conditioner will weigh their hair down if they apply too much of it. But, again, conditioner has come a long way over the years and today’s products work from the inside-out, from the roots to the tips, so you don’t have to apply a ton of it on the tips of your hair.

You’ll notice immediate positive results from your conditioner

What you’ll notice the first time you use a conditioner is its smell, feel, and some of the benefits. But you won’t experience its full impact until after several uses, which is also true of shampoo.

How to Use a Blow Dryer the Right Way

A lot of men blow dry their hair after shampooing and conditioning it, and proper blow-drying can leave your hair with great body and a healthy look and shine. It also works well for a wide variety of hairstyles and hair lengths.

Before you start

Comb out tangles before you blow-dry your hair

Use a quality comb to remove any knots and tangles before you fire up your blow dryer. Doing so allows your hair to dry more evenly. It’s better to use a comb than a brush during this step, because combs are gentler and won’t damage strands that are weaker when wet. Use a wide-tooth comb if your hair is curly.

The best techniques

Use your dryer on medium heat

Using too much heat to dry your hair may damage it and cause it to become frizzy and unmanageable. It’s a good idea to use your dryer on a medium heat, or even cool setting, especially if you have fine, weak, or brittle hair.

You can get away with using the highest heat setting if your hair is healthy but, again, medium heat works best for most men and regular use of the high heat setting is very likely to damage your hair over time.

Don’t hold your dryer too close

If you hold your dryer too close to your head you may damage your hair and scalp. Instead, position it 6 to 8 inches from your hair; you can tug your hair closer to the dryer with a comb or your fingers if necessary.

Be sure to avoid drying one area of the hair for too long. In general, five seconds is enough before moving onto a different section. Wave the hair dryer back and forth to help prevent you from directing the dryer on a particular spot for too long. Focus on drying your hair from the roots to ends.

Direct your hair with a comb, brush, or your fingers

You can style and direct your hair with a comb, brush, or your fingers. Style from the roots to the tips for better control and less frizziness. Drying your hair in an upward motion will give it more volume.

You can use an air-flow attachment, that often comes with a dryer, to make it easier to direct the airflow onto your hair. Direct the airflow downward if you want your hair to lay flat.

Lift and dry your hair upward from the hairline

If you want to add extra volume, use your fingers or comb to lift beneath the hairline above your forehead. Gently lift the hair while you dry to create a natural lift and volume. Using a round brush to pull the hair up and away from your head while drying it also helps to create more volume.

Set your style with cold air

To set your style, finish drying it with a blast of cold air from your dryer. The cold air makes hair follicles more rigid, which makes it easier to set your preferred style in place. The cold air also adds shine to your hair. 

The History Of Shampoo & Conditioner

You probably didn’t learn a lot about shampoo or conditioner during high school. Like the rest of us, you knew you needed to include them (especially shampoo) as part of your grooming routine. But the history and some facts about shampoo and conditioner? Not so much.

Not that you need to know everything there is to know about shampoo and conditioner to use them effectively. Just like you don’t need to know every obscure part of a Harley to enjoy riding it. Regardless, a bit of extra knowledge is fun to learn.

Where it all began

German chemist Hans Schwarzkopf gets credit for creating the first commercially-viable liquid shampoo in 1927. But Kasey Hebert is credited with inventing the first commercial shampoo in 1914, a product he first started selling on the streets of London.

The word shampoo comes from a hair and body treatment (called “champo”) that colonial traders discovered in India around 1800.

Schwarzkopf, meanwhile, created a water-soluble powder shampoo which he started selling in 1898.

Conditioner’s roots trace to 1900 when Frenchman Eduoard Pinaud introduced a product called “brilliantine” at the World Fair.

Later developments included the first shampoo containing synthetic surfactants in 1930, and the introduction of 2-in-1 shampoo and conditioner formulas in the 1980s. Additionally, shampoos have evolved to target specific hair types, such as thin, thick, curly, dry, blonde, etc.

Historians also tell us that early hair cleansing included the use of products such as vegetable starch or wood ash, which served to absorb excess oil created by the scalp. 

Conclusion

As you can see, there’s more to how to use shampoo and conditioner than meets the eye. But doing both tasks the right way will help your hair look and feel better, while also keeping it healthy and free from damage that can lead to issues such as hair loss.

We welcome your feedback, as always. Do you have a favorite shampoo or conditioner? We’d love to hear from you.