How To Wash Your Hair

Author: Angela Sturm, MD, FACS

How simple, right?  How to wash your hair seems like one of those things you learn as a young child and shouldn’t have to think about.  Guess not!  How you wash your hair makes a difference on how it looks and how strong it is. Our last blog discussed how often to wash it, but now we get into the nitty gritty of how to actually do it!

Start with untangled hair

Brush or comb your hair before you even get into the shower.  While you are washing your hair, you don’t want to pull on the hair and stretch it.  This can damage the hair or pull it out of the follicle.  If you have dry hair, you may want to put natural oils, like argan oil, on your hair before you brush it to help it untangle easily and to protect the natural oil in the hair.  Doing this may allow you to skip conditioner entirely. 

Rinse the hair with warm water first

Thoroughly wetting the hair will rinse the large particles of dirt from the hair and loosens the oil that you want to remove.  You want to use warm water because it opens the cuticle to absorb oil or moisturizers in your shampoo or conditioner.

Choose products tailored to your hair type

Just like you wouldn’t put any old product on your face, you shouldn’t just grab any shampoo for your hair.  They are made with specific ingredients for different types of hair.  I consulted with my hair guru and celebrity stylist, David Ellis, on his recommendations for shampoo and conditioners.  Curly hair tends to be dry, so needs more moisturizing products that won’t weigh down the curls, like Moroccan Oil or Living Proof.  Color treated hair also needs even more moisturizing products, like Joico or Living Proof.  Oily hair does well with a basic shampoo.  You can usually use a shampoo with sulfates.  Sulfates are strong detergents, so they break up the oil and make the shampoo lather, which is great, but they can be harsh on your hair and skin if your hair is not oily.  If you have had a Brazilian blowout, the sulfates make the cuticle open up and rougher, which makes the hair frizzier but have more body.  On relaxed hair, sulfates can make the cuticle lay down, so the hair is shinier and smoother.

Don’t use too much product

You only need between a dime and teaspoon size of shampoo.  Using too much can strip your hair of your natural oil.  Lather the shampoo starting at your roots and let it run down the rest of the hair.  You want to focus on the area that is producing extra oil, the follicles and scalp.  Rinse the shampoo thoroughly until it is “squeaky clean”.  Depending on how hard or soft your water is, this can take a little longer in the shower, but will be worth it to get off all of the residue and have softer hair.

Condition the hair sparingly

Many people over condition their hair.  You only need a small amount and should apply it to the mid-shaft of the hair and the ends.  If you apply too much or to the roots, it can make the hair limp and flat.  Also, squeeze the water out of the hair before applying the conditioner to get the best absorption where you want it.  Do a final rinse with cold water to rinse all of the residue and close the cuticle so the hair will be shiny.

Handle with care

Scrubbing the hair doesn’t necessarily make it cleaner and it can tangle or pull the hairs, which are more vulnerable when they are wet.  Don’t use circular motions that can tangle the hair.  Also squeeze the hair and towel dry gently, but don’t rub it because this can break the hair and rough the follicle causing the hair to be frizzy.

Taking the time to wash your hair thoroughly can make it look fuller, shinier and have more body and it just plain feels good!

NeoGraft Disclaimer: To learn more about women’s hair loss and what you can do to help it, visit our Resources section and learn if the NeoGraft procedure or HairMedica Products are right for you.


Dr. Angela Sturm Biography – Facial Plastic Surgery Associates:

Dr. Angela Sturm is a facial plastic surgeon at Facial Plastic Surgery Associates. In the field, Sturm’s meticulous nature makes for exceptional results and satisfied patients. Dr. Sturm completed medical school and residency at Baylor College of Medicine. During her medical training, she received numerous awards for surgical excellence, including the Outstanding Otolaryngology Medical Student Award and the top medical student research prize from the national academy of otolaryngology. Dr. Sturm has also co-authored and published numerous medical journal articles on head and neck surgical techniques, as well as facial plastic surgical techniques.

Following her medical education, she entered the distinguished American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (AAFPRS) fellowship program where she trained alongside Dr. Russell Kridel who has performed hair transplants for over 30 years to gain extensive expertise in cutting edge head, neck and hair surgical techniques. After her formal training, Dr. Sturm also pursued further training specifically in hair transplantation.  Dr. Sturm completed important clinical research in areas of ethnic rhinoplasty, revision lower eyelid surgery, septoplasty, male rhinoplasty, revision rhinoplasty and the long-term effects of using irradiated cartilage in rhinoplasty.

Dr. Sturm is passionate about promoting health and wellness as well as rejuvenating our community through involvement with Leadership Houston, D-tag Tattoo Removal Program, and the Fittest Doctor Challenge. She holds an interest in helping victims of domestic abuse and as a result supports Aid to Victims of Domestic Abuse and provides free care through the Face Foundation. Dr. Sturm holds a warm spot in her heart towards animals and children. She was a Citizens for Animal Protection Honoree in 2013 and was a member of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo and on the Lamb and Goat Auction Committee.  She was a Woman of the Year Candidate for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.  Dr. Sturm was named Texas Monthly’s Super Doctors Rising Star in 2016, Texas Magazine’s Top Doc in 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016, Houston Business Journal’s People on the Move in 2013 and 40 under 40 for 2014, Blazing Star Award by Texas Women’s Chamber of Commerce, Top Women in Business, one of the Top 30 Influential Women of Houston in 2013, Best Female Cosmetic Surgeon in Out Smart, Top 25 Beautiful People in Houston, and given the Patients’ Choice Award and Compassionate Doctor Award by