How To Shampoo Your Hair Like a Pro

Is there anything better than getting your hair done at the salon? Catching up with my stylist and getting fresh hair is one of my favorite things in the whole world! One of the best parts of the experience for me is the shampoo bowl—I feel like the attention given to the process of a simple shampoo and condition is honestly magical. I wanted to know how to recreate it myself at home, and I’m sharing my research with you today!

Shampoo = Scalp Care

Of course scalp care is important, but doesn’t that just naturally happen when you lather up your shampoo and clean your hair? Not exactly. One of the things I noticed the last time I went to the salon and really paid attention to the shampoo step is my stylist (if you’re in the Nashville area, Alexa at Crescent Salon is amazing) spends A LOT of time on my scalp and it’s not just for a relaxing massage effect—there is a lot of buildup that can form from product and dead skin on your scalp that needs to be cleaned.

The next time I shampooed myself, I wanted to make sure I was super thorough and cleaned every inch of my scalp instead of just focusing on “scrubbing” my head really hard which is what I normally did. First up, I worked my shampoo into a really good lather — my stylist gave me a great tip for doing this when you’re using sulfate-free shampoo which can be hard to lather. You’ll want to dab a small amount on each ‘zone’ of your head (temples, crown, nape, etc.). start to work into a lather, then quickly duck your head back under the water for just a second — this extra water will help your shampoo to work into a rich lather.

Now onto the “massage”— using the pads of my fingers to apply medium-firm pressure, I started by vigorously working my hairline to remove any product/makeup buildup, then moved to the front of my scalp, continued to take it on back through the crown and down to the nape of my neck where I gave a lot of attention since, let’s face it, that area can get kind of sweaty— especially if you’ve worked out or been out in the heat. I have to say, I noticed a huge difference in the way my scalp felt, and because I took the time to be thorough (about 2.5 to 3 minutes), my hair felt cleaner as well. Alexa also recommended this amazing tool that can really help scrub your scalp. it’s easy to grip and has silicone bristles.

Condition Properly

Just as shampoo is for scalp health and the top of your head, conditioner should be used from the middle of your hair down to the ends. Be sure to leave it on long enough—a few minutes is usually good unless you’re doing a deep conditioning treatment, which usually gets left on anywhere from around 10 minutes to overnight. I’ve found that using a wide-tooth comb really helps me evenly distribute the conditioner so it coats as many of my strands as possible. You also want to squeeze out any excess moisture from your hair before you condition so that the conditioner can properly penetrate your hair and do its job.

Prep and Rinse Thoroughly

In order for your shampoo to lather its best and for each strand to be cleaned properly, you’ll want to make sure your hair is completely drenched before you start shampooing (alternately, as mentioned above, you’ll want to squeeze out extra moisture before you condition). The shampoo bowl has those awesome sprayers to easily get the job done, but it’s a little harder when you’re in the shower—same when you’re rinsing shampoo or conditioner out of your hair (unless you have curly hair, then you may opt to leave some conditioner behind). You may need to take a little extra time than you’re used to to be sure that all of the product is out so you can avoid buildup/have the most manageable hair possible.

I hope these have been helpful tips, and that the next time you shampoo, you feel that glorious salon-fresh feeling! xo, Keely

**Side note: Odele is Target’s new affordable clean hair care line and they’re products for every hair type!

Credits//Author: Keely Rust. Photography: Amber Kelly. Photos edited with A Color Story Desktop.
  • Love these tips and have been using them for a while and my hair feels way much more cleaner and smoother!!!
    Thanks for this post

  • this odele conditioner is great, but what do you guys think about ” BLACKWOOD FOR MEN” The conditioner for men cleared up dandruff.”

  • I love this post. I’ve also been trying to be more thoughtful of how I shampoo and condition. I think I’m going to make some changes based on your post like using the wand to really get the hair saturated before starting the shampoo process, dabbing the shampoo in different areas – because you’re right, sulfate free shampoo doesn’t really lather and I’ve had a hard time getting it distributed, taking the shampoo down the neck – they always do that at salons and idk why it never occurred to me to replicate that at home because you’re right, my neck was kind of a forgotten region before I started making a point to face wash back there and maybe shampoo is more appropriate, and just spending more time on shampooing and the conditioning step. I tried a version of the scalp massager tool – they all seem to have rave reviews – but for thick hair, it just didn’t penetrate through the hair to the scalp the way reviewers described it working. It was more like how boar bristle type brushes work – grabbing the surface hairs and not making it through to the scalp. For thick hair I think there is room for a version of this tool where the points are rigid plastic instead of flexible silicone. I’ve been looking for one that is stiff like that for a long time but haven’t found one. That’s the reason I am posting this comment – in hopes that someone out there knows where to get one like this. It seems like such a good idea!

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