Relax on the shampoo, man!
This is a post that has been in the works for a long time and some of this information is already spread out in some of my previous posts, but I wanted to address the issue, bang on! So you’re buying a bottle of shampoo and conditioner and these two bottles are the same size. You ask yourself why that is because you always run out of shampoo way before you run out of conditioner. A smaller bottle of conditioner would make more sense and you could buy them as a set at normal intervals, right?
Do the makers of shampoo and conditioner know something you don’t? The truth is that most men are using WAY TOO MUCH shampoo! When it comes to washing anything, we take it seriously! Lots of suds along with some deep scrubbing. No dirt is hanging around on our watch!
That brings us to another truth: most guys don’t condition their hair and scalp nearly has much as they should. You probably wash your hair on a daily basis and on gym days maybe even twice. Bottom line, you gotta be clean! Here’s what’s happening. Shampoo is a detergent with sudzing agents. Yes, it does a good job of washing dirt and oils out but it does so indiscriminately. In other words it washes everything out, good and bad. Your scalp produces natural oils to protect itself and your hair. The repeated washing strips these oils out, eventually winning and causing your scalp to be itchy. Itchy scalp = dry scalp.
Your scalp is craving some oils and moisture. If I may do a simple comparison, it is like washing your car with dish soap. Yeah, you get me! That’s not right!
Yes, you need to shampoo, but perhaps not as often as you think. Secondly, that bottle of conditioner is your best friend as it will help restore some balance on your noggin!
You might also be washing your hair every day because this provides you with a better canvas to style your hair. I get that and I was in that boat for the longest time.
So let’s tackle some situations and solutions. Here is my routine.
I wash my hair with a quality shampoo like the one from Crown Shaving and do a conditioner treatment about every 4-5 days. Before you throw up thinking WTF you dirty pig, here is what I do in between. Depending on the styling product I am working with, I might skip a day all together. The other option is to simply rinse the product out under the shower head – no shampoo or conditioner. Then and this is the kicker, you can rinse the old pomade out under the shower head but follow that up with a conditioner treatment. When I started doing that, I almost immediately noticed that my scalp wasn’t itchy and that my hair felt healthier. Basically, I gradually reduced my usage of shampoo and that change alone improved my hair and the terrain on which it grows.
In case you forgot about chemistry, a lesser density oil will dissolve a higher density oil. Read that as our natural scalp oil can be dissolved with a conditioner. The beauty about conditioner is that it leaves a bit of oil behind and restores some balance to your scalp.
Coming back to the point above where you wash your hair in order to be able to get a good styling. My secret weapon to revive my style on the day after is “Salt Spray”. There are a number of different options and they can be found under different names: Salt Spray, Texturizing Spray, Volumizing Spray and last but not least Hair Tonic. Hair Tonic is an older name. True Hair Tonics were wide spread in the 1920’s to the 1960’s as they were the companion product to oil or grease based pomades. Basically you want a product that will loosen the fixative you have in place enough so that you are able to restyle it. Now a day, most brands have at least one hair tonic option. I am using the term hair tonic loosely and I am including all of the above mentioned sprays.
It is really important to be aware that a hair tonic is not a hair spray. Hair Spray is a lock everything in place fixative. A real simple way of distinguishing these products will be by their containers. Hair Spray usually comes in a metal aerosol bottle like the bottle by 1821 Man Made on the left. While salt sprays will come in a plastic bottle with a manual spray handle.
When it comes to the composition of hair tonics it is mostly made up of water along with a few other participants. The simplest versions have salt which offer just a smidgen of hold. Reuzel offers 3 fantastic tonics. My favorite these days is their Surf Tonic.
The other alternative is to buy yourself a barber spray bottle and fill it up with water. As a side note, I like this solution with a spike of tonic in my water bottle. I have the bottle pictured on the right. The mist it produces is the perfect amount of water to allow you to restyle water based pomade. If you are doing grease pomade, than you will need a proper old-school hair tonic made with oil and alcohol.
Coming back to our topic. It’s a guy thing! Most of us poor fucks will lose some if not all our hair at some point. Wouldn’t it be great if you could do something to slow that process down? Stop washing your hair with so much force – be gentle! Reduce the amount of shampooing you do in a week. Keep your hair clean in a more natural way, by rinsing it and giving regular conditioning treatments.
The abrasive detergents are very hard on your hair and the deep scrubbing is not helping. The combination of the hot water and the vigorous scrubbing is actually making your hair fall out. The same is true when towel drying – take it easy man! Last but not least, get yourself an appropriate brush or comb. While your hair is wet it is quite vulnerable. If you are struggling to brush it, you will just pull hair out. I swear by the “hair pick”. This is a very wide tooth comb which has the merit of being extremely gentle – no tugging! Another very good option is a flat head brush with widely spaced strands. Treat your hair like do that delicious and delicate loved one in your life.
Using some of these tips, you will probably now finish your conditioner bottle at the same time as your shampoo. In the best case scenario you will finish the conditioner first.
To recap things:
- Rinse the crap out of your hair under the shower head only
- Rinse the crap out of your hair and do a conditioner treatment (use conditioner as your shampoo)
- When washing with shampoo, do a conditioner treatment.
- Use a gentle detangling brush or hair pick
Last but not least, use quality products! I know this sounds like a generic BS statement, but often enough the main stream brands use low grade ingredients or many chemicals to reduce their costs. Look for ingredients you recognize. Good shampoos and conditioners will contain natural oils. Argan, coconut, jojoba, grapeseed, avocado are some of the best oils out there.
Be gentle with those locks and they just might stay with you longer!