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10 Hair Washing Mistakes You Didn’t Know You Were Making

Washing your hair can be a relaxing and therapeutic activity, but to protect it from damage, it’s essential to know how to clean it properly. It doesn’t have to be complicated, but you should avoid making hair-washing mistakes that most people make.

Hair Washing Mistakes to Avoid

Below are the biggest mistakes people make when they wash their hair. Avoid these and get the most out of your wash.

1. Water Is Too Hot

Though a nice hot shower can be a luxurious treat after a long day or when it’s cold outside, it is a grave mistake people make while washing hair. As heat can cause damage to your hair, even if it’s wet. It’s also hard on your skin.

Generally, it’s best to take warm to cool showers whenever possible. Opt for warm showers at night before bed and cool showers in the morning. If you can tolerate it, give your hair a quick rinse in cold water before getting out.

2. Washing Daily

Washing your hair daily can be detrimental to your hair’s health. Pay attention to your hair’s cues to determine when to wash.

If you are experiencing excessively oily hair, washing it more may be your problem. Try using a dry shampoo between washes to help extend the length of time you can wait.

3. Forgetting To Detangle

Hair Washing Mistakes - not detangling before washing hair

Getting the tangles out of your hair before you take a shower is an essential part of the routine. If you don’t detangle before you hop in, not only will you make the tangles worse, but it will be harder to rinse products out.

To avoid this hair-washing mistake, all you need to do is brush or comb your hair before you hop in. If your hair is difficult to wash before using a conditioner, try using a detangling spray.

3. Not Getting Hair Wet Enough

If you hop in the shower and immediately start applying shampoo, your products are unlikely to work as intended. Making sure all of your hair is wet can help get your hair thoroughly clean.

Fortunately, all you have to do to combat this is stand under the water for at least a minute or two. Run your fingers through the strands to ensure water reaches each of them.

4. Too Much Shampoo

Washing Hair Mistakes - too much shampoo

Truthfully, most people use way more shampoo than they need. Unless you have particularly dense or thick hair, you only need a small amount.

Aim to use between a nickel and a quarter-sized dollop of product. Once you add a little water to activate it, this should be more than enough to clean your hair.

5. Neglecting The Scalp

Washing Hair Mistakes - Not Massaging Scalp

Gently massaging the scalp with your fingertips is a great way to encourage hair growth. It helps exfoliate the skin and stimulate blood flow.

When washing your hair, don’t forget to gently rub the scalp with your fingertips as you wash and rinse. Be gentle; using your fingernails can cause damage.

7. Uneven Application

If you are applying shampoo to your hair unevenly, then your hair is likely to look oily in some spots and dry in others. Thoroughly washing your entire head is essential to an even shine.

If you have a habit of putting shampoo in the same places on your head over and over, try switching up your routine. Make sure to get your hairline and behind your ears.

8. Condition Before

Washing Hair Mistakes - conditioning last

As it turns out, not everyone should follow the standard of shampoo before conditioner. People with particularly fine hair may not benefit from shampooing first.

Try using a conditioner before your shampoo. This will allow you to get the moisture your hair needs with less risk of build-up. You may notice that your hair gets better volume.

9. Applying Shampoo and Conditioner Wrong

Washing Hair Mistakes -Applying Shampoo and Conditioner Wrong

It’s also an incredibly common hair-washing mistake for people to apply shampoo and conditioner incorrectly. When used incorrectly, strip moisture from the strands or create build-up at the scalp.

The shampoo is for roots and scalp, whereas the conditioner is for the middle length and ends. Apply each to the correct area, and you are less likely to experience dryness or oiliness.

10. No Extra Rinse

It can be easy to miss a spot or two when you’re rinsing your hair; even if you don’t, not all of it may come out on the first pass. Not rinsing your hair enough can cost build-up and weigh it down.

The best way to avoid product build-up is to rinse your hair a second time before getting out of the shower. It may be wise to flip your hair over to ensure you get everything underneath.

How to Wash Your Hair Properly

How to Wash Your Hair Properly

Figuring out how to wash your hair properly will depend on your hair type. However, for a quick wash and rinse, here’s a great method to follow:

  1. Detangle your hair.
  2. Set the shower to warm, lukewarm, or cool, and rinse thoroughly.
  3. Apply shampoo to your scalp and the roots of your hair.
  4. Massage evenly through the strands.
  5. Rinse again.
  6. Apply conditioner if desired to middle length and ends.
  7. Give your hair a cold rinse before getting out.
  8. Dry as desired, preferably without heat.


If you still have questions about how to wash your hair, you’re not the only one. Here are some frequently asked questions about washing hair mistakes.

What will washing my hair every day do?

Washing your hair every day can strip it of its natural oils and cause breakage. It can also create an overproduction of oil at the scalp making your hair heavy and limp but dry at the ends.

Can washing hair cause it to fall out?

Yes, excessive washing can cause hair to fall out. Sometimes this is due to the ingredients in the shampoo.

It’s also likely to be a problem if you scrub your scalp too vigorously. Breakage can happen anywhere on your hair, including at the roots.

How often should I wash my hair?

Most people will only need to wash two to three times a week, but it depends on your hair. Some people will need to wash it more or less often, so it’s best to get to know your hair’s ideal state.

If your hair looks healthy and your scalp clean, you probably don’t need to wash it.

What should I do before washing my hair?

You can do a few things before washing your hair to make it more effective. Brushing or combing is a good start, but you can also use restorative oils for a few hours before getting in the shower. It might also be useful to dilute your shampoo a little before applying it.

You can make several washing hair mistakes, but it’s also not difficult to avoid them. In most cases, the simple lesson that “less is more” still applies. Find a good routine that works for your hair and preferred style, then stick to it. As with all things in health, consistency is key.

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