Recently, I went to the salon with my mum, and our hairstylist commented that her hair is softer than mine even though our hair went through the same bleaching and dyeing process.
Like a proud straight-A student, my mum told him that she religiously stuck to the hair washing method he had taught her and shamed me for not doing so.
I could sense my stylist becoming appalled by my ignorance, and walked me through the right way to wash it.
I’ve been doing it for days since, and my hair has become tamer than before, even with more bleaching done.
Condition first, shampoo after
Forget everything you’ve learnt about washing your hair. The instructions on the bottle may say shampoo first… don’t. Now is the time to channel your inner stubborn kid.
Instead, I was told to put on conditioner first, from the midsection of the hair to the ends. Then, without rinsing it off, apply shampoo while the conditioner is still left on the hair.
A quick search on the internet and I realised it’s actually a thing! Called the ‘reverse hair washing’, the popular hack is sworn by those who have tried this method.
Except that the method found on the internet suggests washing off the first layer of conditioner before shampooing. One colleague who tried it felt it was counterproductive, as it stripped off the moisture from the pre-conditioning.
As weird as it was to pre-condition the hair, the shampoo lathered on easily with the existing layer of conditioner and it was easy to work through the wet strands without getting my fingers stuck in the tangles.
Shampoo from the side of your scalp
Many may know that scrubbing your scalp with fingernails to make them cleaner is a no-no. Doing so will only irritate your scalp and cause it to produce more oil, say experts.
Similar advice was share by this redditor’s hairstylist.
Another Quora thread explained further about the likelihood of fingernails cutting the scalp and causing a full-blown inflammation.
Because I have an oily scalp, I was taught by another staff in the salon who specialises in scalp treatment that I should not lather from the crown, and never use hot water to wash as it opens up the pores.
Instead, use the pads of your fingertips and work from the sides towards the middle, then upwards to the crown and all the way to the bottom.
Take your time to give it a good lather and a few minutes of scalp massage, then rinse thoroughly.
For a cleaner wash, use a clarifying shampoo on your scalp and a regular shampoo for the midsection and ends.
Use hair mask or conditioner again
If you have coloured hair, skip the second round of conditioning and use a hair mask for maximum hydration.
Otherwise, it’s best to apply the conditioner again for about three minutes so that your hair absorbs all the nutrients it can.
The process is time-consuming, but it’s worth the trouble if you want soft and voluminous hair. Though I have to agree with my colleague, who highlighted that it wastes a lot of water.
I tried my normal washing method and the reverse hair washing hack on two separate days.
Both were given a blowout and hair serum to help with the shine.
Evidently, my hair was frizzy and had more flyaways when using the regular washing method, as compared to when my hair was conditioned before shampooing.
The ends were dry and messy, and using hair serum did little help in making it look healthier.
I thought I had to live with dry hair since bleaching it out, but not with this hack.
I’ve been enjoying more manageable hair that is also softer in texture.
Another thing that I noticed was that my hair was bouncier than before and slightly more voluminous; it even retained its body and shape throughout the day.
We checked with another hairstylist about this hair washing method and he said that it’s subjective, depending on your hair type.
If your hair is dry and tangled, then conditioning before shampooing works. Otherwise, sticking to the usual way of washing will suffice.
Some of my colleagues tried it too, unfortunately, they weren’t as sold to the idea as I was because it was time-consuming, wasted water and the use of more conditioner meant spending more money.
Try this hair washing method and let us know if it worked for you.
Text: Melissa Goh / AsiaOne / July 2019
Images: Melissa Goh