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The Proper Way To Wash Hair & Prevent Hair Loss

Table of Contents

You wash your hair regularly and you have been doing it for as long as you can remember. It has become so habitual for you that you don’t even think about how you wash your hair when you shower. 

But are you even doing it the right way? What if I told you that there is a proper way to wash hair and that improper hair-washing habits could lead to hair loss and hair damage? Sounds a bit harsh and hard-to-believe, doesn’t it?

Well, guess what? It is true.

In this article, I will teach you how to wash your hair the right way to reduce hair fall. I will also teach you why it is important to wash your hair regularly, how often you should wash, and the do’s and don’ts of proper hair washing.

Reasons For Hair Loss

Hair loss, as you already may know, can occur due to many reasons and these reasons for hair loss in women are different from woman to woman. 

You could be losing hair because of a certain kind of nutritional deficiency in iron or vitamins. Perhaps you have a medical condition like an irregular thyroid or hormonal imbalances as in PCOS or even menopause can be contributing to the onset of your hair loss. Maybe you have recently gone through a divorce or suffered a traumatic injury and the stress is causing your hair to fall out in clumps. The list can go on endlessly. 

If none of these reasons apply to you and you are still noticing a whole bunch of hair pooling in tangles near your feet in the shower or near the drain in the bathtub, then most likely, it has a lot to do with how you are caring for your hair ..or lack thereof.

The Importance Of Washing Hair

Good hygiene is important to overall health. We practice proper hygiene when we want to remove the dirt from our hands, face, or body. Speaking of dirt, we wash anything and everything we think may be dirty like clothes, dishes, produce, etc. But what about scalp hygiene- what do we do when our scalp gets dirty?

Scalp Hygiene

Our scalp is an extension of our face and sebum (scalp’s natural oil) is constantly secreted, causing scalp build-up. While sebum is essential to nourishing the scalp and hair, too much sebum can make the hair look greasy, lackluster, and brittle. Allowing the oil build-up to remain on our scalp causes the pores to get clogged, dandruff (or other scalp conditions) to develop, and so hair becomes more prone to damage and breakage.

Hair Hygiene

If this wasn’t enough, we frequently weigh our hair down with conditioners and hairstyling products that also create build-up on our scalp and hair. This buildup must be removed by properly washing the hair with a good quality scalp-friendly shampoo.

The weather and environmental factors also lead to hair being exposed to pollutants and debris that cause scalp buildup. Summer heat or humidity can create a sweaty scalp, whereas blistering cold weather can deprive hair shafts of much-needed moisture and so the oil glands in the scalp work much harder to produce more sebum.

How Often To Wash Hair

Now that you know how important scalp hygiene is, you are probably wondering how often you should wash your hair? This is a great question; And a very important one!

“Wash your hair as often as you would like,” said someone.

No, please don’t listen to that ‘someone’.

Everyone’s hair is different and depending on whether your scalp is oily or dry, you may or may not need such frequent washes. The general rule is to allow 2-3 days between washes or wash your hair at least 2 times a week. However, this rule is not set in stone so you don’t have to feel obliged to wait 3 days before you next wash your locks.

If your scalp is generally oily, then it is best for you to wash your hair with a shorter interval. The opposite is true for dry scalps. 

Notice how I said dry scalp and oily scalp instead of dry hair and oily hair? This is because the purpose of shampooing is to clean your scalp, not so much your hair. Having said that, the type of scalp you have is directly relevant to how often you should wash. Hope that makes sense?

Proper Way To Wash Hair

Finally, let us move on to the proper techniques of washing your hair. Follow these simple but effective steps and watch a massive reduction in hair fall!

STEP 1: 

Untangle your hair before showering. 

Jumping into the shower with tangled hair will cause more breakage and consequently lead to more hair loss. Hair is most fragile when it is wet. Always remember to comb out the hair before you wet your hair. This also ensures proper blood circulation on the scalp.


Treat your scalp before you shampoo. 

Oils are a great way to provide nourishment to the scalp. You can apply a mixture of carrier oils with essential oils for added hair benefits 30 minutes before you shower or leave it on overnight so the oils can do their magic! Applying the oils to an inverted head is a great way to stimulate blood flow to the hair follicles.


Adjust the water temperature. 

Hot water can damage the hair follicles and dry out the scalp, whereas cold water won’t open the hair cuticle for proper cleaning. The right temperature for hair washing is 100 F/40 C. For reference, this is just above your body temperature. After you have adjusted the water to the right temperature, allow your hair to soak in this water for about 30 seconds to open up the hair follicles.


Dilute your shampoo with water. 

Take a small pea-sized amount of shampoo in your palm and add water to it. You do not need too much shampoo; less is more. Some shampoos create less lather than others and that does not mean it is not working. On the contrary, more suds do not mean a better clean either.


Massage the scalp with shampoo for 2 minutes with gentle fingers. 

Besides feeling amazing, the scalp massage will improve blood flow and increase hair growth. You want to focus your shampoo on your scalp as that is where all the dirt and buildup is located. As you rinse the shampoo out with water, it will naturally clean the length of your hair down to your tips. This is why you do not need to put shampoo on the ends of your hair.


Shampoo up to two times, not more. 

If you do the steps properly, you should be good with shampooing your scalp once. However, if you feel like your scalp is still oily and needs another clean, go for it a second time. But don’t shampoo more than 2 times. Over-shampooing will dry out your scalp completely and you definitely do NOT want that!


Squeeze water out from the hair as much as possible before you apply conditioner. 

This is important. Conditioner will not penetrate and absorb into the hair shafts if hair is soaking wet. Once excess water is removed, make sure to apply your conditioner starting from the mid length of your hair to the ends, then applying only the leftover conditioner to the hair on your crown. Your scalp does not need conditioner. Leave on for 2-4 minutes while you continue to body scrub, wash your feet, or even shave.


Rinse conditioner out of hair with cooler water, not cold. 

Doing this will close up the hair cuticle, sealing the outer layer and ensuring moisture is locked in throughout the length of your hair. This step also is responsible for all the shine you will see in your hair once it dries. Rinsing with cooler water also tames frizz and flyaways, so you definitely do not want to miss this step!


Squeeze out water again from hair after the final rinse and before wrapping head in towel. 

A common mistake everyone makes is wrapping up dripping, wet hair in a towel as soon as the tap is turned off. Instead, you should remove excess water from your hair by squeezing the hair from root to tip first. Then, with the help of a towel, “blot” or squeeze out the remaining water from the hair.


Apply hair serum to damp hair for extra moisture and protection. 

You can also use a leave-in conditioner at this point or a light essential oil of your preference. I use a small amount of 100% Argan Oil and rub it into my palms before applying to the ends of my hair first and then work my way upwards.


Allow your hair to air-dry but if you must use a hot hair-styling tool, make sure to apply a heat protectant. Also, when using a hair dryer, make sure it is 3 inches away from your hair and the temperature setting is set to medium or low heat.

Hair Wash Mistakes To Avoid

Now that you know the proper hair-washing techniques, what if there are still a few habits that you need to work on? I am going to quickly list the common hair-washing mistakes that you must avoid.

  • comb your hair in the shower as wet hair is really fragile and may break easily.
  • put your hair over your head with your head down to wash your hair. This will also cause more breakage.
  • massage your scalp aggressively while shampooing as it will tug and tear the hair from its roots, resulting in more hair loss.
  • rush the steps of hair-washing as this may lead to shampoo still remaining in your hair and leftover shampoo can irritate the scalp over time.
  • skip using a conditioner. A 2-in-1 shampoo is not going to moisturize and condition your hair.
  • towel-rub wet hair vigorously. Friction can permanently damage the hair cuticle and lead to breakage and frizz.
  • brush wet hair from roots to untangle it. Instead, use a wide-tooth comb to untangle the ends of your hair first. Once done, move to mid lengths and untangle. Repeat, each time moving higher up on your hair until you reach the crown of your head last.

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Hair Washing Hacks

I have to be honest: as I write this, I cannot stop myself from dreaming about jumping in a steaming hot shower and lathering up with some good suds. But before I do that, I want to leave you with some awesome hair-washing hacks that you can incorporate into your hair-hygiene regimen.

Body First, Then Hair

Speaking of hot and steaming, please make sure you adjust the water temperature (as mentioned above) before you put your head under the water. I always step into a warm shower body first, then hair.

What this does is that it gets your body adjusted to the temperature of the water. Once this is done, the hair on your head won’t go into so much of a temperature-shock. This further means that water damage on hair will be reduced. Capiche?

Condition First, Then Shampoo

If you have long hair, I have a very useful hack for you that will leave you super surprised. The widely used rule to washing hair is to shampoo first and conditioner second. But if you have long hair, you may want to apply conditioner to the ends of your hair first.

Yes, before you apply shampoo, apply conditioner but only on the tips of your hair and then rinse and continue with shampoo on your scalp. Long hair is driest at the ends and so conditioning it first ensures that hair remains healthy, protected, and free of split ends. If you do this, you will notice a world of a difference in how smooth your hair feels when it dries and you will also notice fewer and fewer hair fall in the drain!

Hair Towel Matters

Another hack worth mentioning is to use the right kind of towel to dry or wrap your hair with. Yes, not just any kind of towel will do. Use a microfiber hair towel to remove water from your hair. Why is this important? 

A microfiber towel removes water from the hair quickly and more thoroughly than a regular, commonly used cotton towel. This ensures the hair remains healthy because it eliminates frizz, breakage, and other damages done to hair from a cotton towel.

If you are a visual person and learn better if you see things, you can watch this video below for a wonderful demonstration of the majority of hair hacks discussed in this article!

What do you think about these hacks?

What techniques are you going to incorporate on your next hair-wash day?

What mistakes did you catch yourself making while washing your hair?

Leave me your thoughts below – I love hearing from you!

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Hair-enthusiast turned blogger helping women achieve their hair goals with natural and sustainable haircare methods.

14 Responses

  1. Hello Sasha,

    I never thought there were so many things to consider when washing hair. I’ve definitely been doing a few things wrong, Thanks for providing insight into these factors, I’m sure many people will benefit from them. At least I know I will. I was told once that giving your hair a blast of cold water at the end of washing it will help give it a shine. Do you know if this is true or am I putting myself under unnecessary suffering?

    Very insightful, thanks for sharing it.

    1. Hey Sharon, I am glad to know you found my post insightful. 🙂

      Yes, for an added shine to your hair, make sure you give your hair a rinse with “cooler” water, not “blasting cold”. You will definitely see a big difference!

  2. Hi Sasha,

    I guess this article is aimed more at women (or guys with long hair), but I had to sneak a peak.

    I’m almost horrifed that I have typically gone against every “rule” or tip” you’ve mentioned here, and that will probably explain why I end up paying for it soon.

    I’ve always kept my hair fairly short, but used hair gel for over 20 years. This got me into a habit of washing my hair daily, initially just with shampoo every single day. Can you believe the only time conditioner was added to my hair over this 20-year period was during my once-monthly visits to the hairdresser?

    I have stopped using hair products over the last few years and I condition my hair now, but I’ve still have the habit of washing daily.

    Plus, I must admit I do towel dry my hair fairly vigorously. I’m a walking disaster as far as my hair’s concerned. LOL.

    I’m guessing from the “hair history” of males in my family I’ll eventually go bald, although I’m already at an age where many families members had already lost their hair.

    I’m hoping it’s never too late and intend to start taking more care and following your tips here.

    Thank you for an awesome article.


    1. Hey Partha, Thanks for stopping by again!

      Yes, it is never too late to start taking care of your hair! Although this article is mainly hair-washing hacks for women, men can totally take advantage of this info as well. Most, if not all, the hacks apply to men as well!

      I am not surprised to hear that you have been doing things wrong when it comes to washing your hair. I was in the same boat! I have towel dried my hair super vigorously as well and this is why it is important for me to put these tips out there so that more and more people can read and adjust their habits.

      Men in my family have started to lose their hair dramatically at an earlier age too and maybe that’s inspiration for another article! Stay tuned!

      I am glad you found these tips useful and please feel free to share the post with friends and family and drop by again 🙂

  3. I enjoyed this post as I also have long hair and found your tips useful. I always use a wide tooth comb before and after washing my hair, and prefer cool water to rinse. I remember as a child my mum would add a drop of vinegar in a bowl of cool water for a final rinse. It always seemed to give it a shine. I loved your video and I’m sure many others with long hair will find your tips useful as well! Thanks for sharing:)

    1. Thank you Kathy 🙂 So happy to hear you have great hair-washing habits! instead of white vinegar, try apple cider vinegar diluted in water for a final rinse for shine in hair!

  4. Hi and thanks for sharing this. I learned a lot actually – I really mean that btw. I had never heard of using conditioner on the tips first if you have damaged or dry hair before you wash with shampoo. I must admit these days I am quite careless when it comes to taking care of my hair. That wasn’t always the case. I guess one of the funniest things is this notion that you have to use two rounds of shampoo to get your hair squeaky clean. This was something we had learned as very young children from our aunt who was wise in the ways of the world. Since that essential lesson, I had always washed my hair with two rounds of shampooing – and I am talking many decades of hair washing here – and it wasn’t until a girlfriend asked me why I did that and she said that was just nonsense. The only reason my aunt had thought that was some commercial persuading people to use more of the stuff than was necessary so they would make more sales. For many many years, I would always wash my hair every other day and for some but not all of those years, I’d use conditioner as well. Now I am down to twice a week. At least I still have hair to wash which many guys my age and many much younger do not. I also check the drain of the shower every time and there is no build-up of hair falling out. So I must be doing something right, or at least not everything wrong.
    Thanks again and best regards

    1. I can totally relate when you said you were washing your hair twice – this is what has been ingrained to us from very early on. Very rarely do we stop and think about how damaging that is to our scalp and hair health. It is great that you take extra steps to take care of your hair -totally love it! 🙂

  5. Hi Sasha,

    Thanks a lot for this interesting post about hair washing.

    I’ve been doing some things different since a couple of months and I’m glad to read I’ve made the right adjustments.
    I’m more aware of the product I use, as I try to avoid sulfates and parabens. I use a shampoo and then a conditioner. I let my hair dry while folded in a cotton t-shirt on top of my head, instead of a towel.
    This makes my hair less fringy… I also noticed my hair needs less washing than before. Now, I have to do it only once a week because it stays smooth an isn’t that greasy. I use a dry shampoo for about 1 day and that’s it!
    Do you believe that this can be the effect of different products and another hair washing method?

    Kind regards,


    1. Hey Catherine,

      You have shared some great tips in your comment in itself!

      Switching to a sulfate- and paraben-free shampoo is the very first step in making a healthier choice in hair-washing! Secondly, using a cotton t-shirt is another great hack because it is wayyy softer on the hair than any towel is (microfiber or not). It definitely makes the hair smooth and less frizzy. Third, using a dry shampoo to space out hair washing is also a very good tip. Although it takes the hair some time getting used to but since you have been doing these three simple things, you don’t have to wash your hair more than once a week- which is amazing! So yes, to answer your question: your hair is thanking you as a result of your awesome methods of hair-washing ! 🙂

      Keep on hair-slaying!


  6. This is a very informative post! The points you made are extremely Important in regards to caring for your hair and scalp. Although I’m a man I am sure some of these points relate to men as well. I used to wash my hair every day and now i reduced to every other day and I have noticed a considerable difference.

    1. Yes Russ, these tips definitely apply to men as well! Thanks so much for stopping by and leaving your thoughts! SO glad to know that you have seen a massive difference just by leaving a day in between washes. It is definitely the small steps that count! 🙂

  7. OMG Sasha…what a great article! I absolutely loved reading it.
    This is something that is very interesting to because I have 2 girls and I’m always in search of ways to properly take care of their hair and mine of course. My youngest daughters hair is healthy long and strong. She is natural curly(all 3 of us are) and when I had it flat ironed it was where her bra strap would be ( when she starts to wear one).
    My oldest daughters hair is nowhere near as long. As a matter of fact it actually seems as if her hair just doesn’t grow. For the longest time I couldn’t figure out what I was doing wrong even though I do the exact same thing to her hair that I do to my younger daughter.
    I think she may have been stressed or something because since the Corona virus hit and there has been no school I’m actually starting to see progress but now I’m confident that I will see even more progress once I start incorporating some of your tips on our wash days.
    Thanks for writing such an awesome article!

    1. Thank you Ashley for your lovely comment!

      It is great that your youngest daughter’s hair is long and healthy! However, for your older daughter, I would not be too worried as hair goes into a “resting” phase and this is probably why it may seem like it is not growing. After a short period of time, it will return to its normal cycle and go into a “growing” phase as well. These hair-washing tips will definitely help and make sure you add in regular scalp massage with or without oils to help boost hair growth.

      Let me know how it goes! 🙂

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Sasha's Bio
hi, I'm Sasha

Covid-19 changed not just the world but my hair too. Unfortunately, for the worse.

As I struggled to try everything under the sun to tame my mane (while being in lockdown), I noticed that natural remedies were most effective!

Here I am now,  sharing my tried & tested haircare methods to help women who are in the same boat as me.

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