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Richard Kavanagh - Shampooing - 27 July

Choosing the right shampoo and conditioner for your hair and scalp can be a bit of a challenge. With the myriad of products available today sometimes we can be overwhelmed and end up buying the one we like the smell of best. A few easy tips will help you understand your needs better and will help get the best out of your hair care regime so that your hair shines and behaves itself when it comes to styling.

If you have any scalp issues or challenges, like oily scalp, dandruff, itchy or irritated scalp, choose a medicated shampoo recommended by your hair professional. If you have a clear scalp then you need to choose the right product for your hair's needs.

Fragile, sensitised hair, or hair that has been heavily colour treated and has a tendency to break (usually finer hair) needs a hair care regime to add protein and strengthen the hair.

Dry unruly hair (usually thicker hair) needs moisture to soften and tame it.

Thick coarse hair that has been heavily coloured may need a combination of protein and conditioner to strengthen it and add softness. Again, your stylist knows your hair and should be able to make the right recommendation for your hair type.

1. Start by wetting your hair thoroughly. The more water you have in your hair the easier it will be to create a lather and get the shampoo to spread. Once your hair is dripping wet, take approximately 5ml (one teaspoon) of shampoo, rub it between your palms before distributing it through your hair from ends to roots. Try and avoid squirting the shampoo into one hand and plonking it on top of your head before distributing it. That will just make it harder to work through and is a waste of valuable product. Give your scalp a good scrub with the balls (tips) of your fingers and really get your hair clean. While the shampoo is in your hair, try to avoid rubbing the hair together like laundry, this can open the cuticle layer and damage it causing your hair to look dull.

2. Rinse the shampoo thoroughly from your hair and repeat step one. Rinse really thoroughly and be sure to get all the bubbles out from the back of your head. That's where most people leave a little bit of shampoo which can cause an itchy scalp when it dries and can also make it hard to style your hair properly.

3. Squeeze the excess water out of your hair before applying conditioner by wringing it out. You can even squeeze it with a small hand towel or facecloth. When it comes to conditioning your hair, unlike with shampooing, the less water left in it the better.

4. Take approximately 10-15ml (one dessertspoon) of your conditioner (more for longer or thicker hair, less for shorter or finer hair) and rub it between your palms before gently squeezing it into your hair from ends to roots. Most conditioners have an anionic charge, which makes them attracted to the areas of your hair that need it most. By squeezing it into the ends it means you get the majority of product on the areas that need it most and the areas that need it least or not at all (i.e. closer to the scalp) get less conditioner. Leave it on for a couple of minutes before rinsing really thoroughly.

I recommend that you wash your hair first in the shower so that your conditioner can stay on and really work while you wash the rest of yourself.

Rinsing your conditioner thoroughly is really important if you want your hair to shine and be easy to style. If you leave any conditioner in it will make your hair look a little dull and also makes it harder to blow dry and style with hot tools.

Now, here's my biggest tip for looking after your hair. Remember as a kid, after your bath mum wrapping your hair up in a towel and giving it a good old rub dry? How many of you still do that to this day? Rubbing your hair between a towel when it is wet can cause the cuticle layer to shatter, leaving your hair dull and tangled and undoing all the good you've just done with your professional quality shampoo and conditioner. Instead, gently squeeze the water out of your hair much like you do with your delicate hand washing.

If you like, you can also use a leave in treatment to boost your hair's health. An antioxidant is great for colour treated hair and can help to keep your colour looking fresh for longer. Extra moisture can help to make your hair more pliable if you like to straighten it or protein can help with strengthening brittle hair before hot styling.