When did shampoo get so tricky?
Co-washing, pre-washing, not washing at all – experts decode the best new strategies for your hair. Before you buy, read this to find the technique for you and your tresses!
Once upon a time, a shampoo was simply a shampoo. Its purpose was straightforward, and using it was pretty simple: lather, rinse, repeat if necessary – done! Today, we can’t stop talking about shampoo. Experts consider the humble hair cleanser to be the top dog of your styling regimen, with a unique formula and technique for every hair type.
“Your shampoo choice really dictates [how good] your end style [will look],” says celebrity hairstylist Sally Hershberger. “Bad shampoo can leave your hair limp without any styling power.” Other pros, like hairstylist Michael Gordon, assert that if you have the right formula, you can actually cut a lot of styling products out of your life.
This all sounds very promising and enticing. But how to know which techniques and tools will work for you? Your road map starts here.
First, know your terms Co-wash
Co-washing (also known as washing with conditioner) became popular about 20 years ago in the natural-hair community. If you have curly, kinky or colour-processed hair, all of which are inherently fragile and dry, it’s worth a try. Here’s why: conditioners have small amounts of cleansing agents – significantly less than traditional
shampoo, but still enough to clean the hair while preserving its natural oils.
“Don’t be put off by the lack of lather, and remember to fully work the conditioner into the scalp with your fingers,” advises hairstylist Ana Paula Cota. “The motion of your wet hands is what really gets the hair clean,” Ana explains. Rinse, and follow with the same conditioner, like  Unwash Bio-cleansing Conditioner (R585), from the midshaft of the hair down to the ends.
You can co-wash instead of shampooing daily – or if that leaves your hair feeling less clean than you’d like, try alternating co-washing with traditional shampoo.
Pre-washing means applying a treatment before shampooing to help cut down on styling time later. If your goal is volume, we recommend a reverse-wash system, like  Tresemmé Beauty-full Volume Pre-wash Conditioner (R96.99), designed to soften your hair without weighing it down.
If extra detangling is what you need – or if your hair is super damaged – try a preshampoo mask with nourishing coconut or olive oil. Simply apply to dry hair 20 minutes before you shower, then shampoo with a formula that won’t weigh down your locks.
Spot-washing, in which you shampoo only one area of your hair that needs to be degreased, has been a go-to technique for women with fringes for years. Now women are zeroing in on the hairline or crown in order to extend a blowdry. Simply section the area that needs attention from the rest of your hair, carefully shampoo in the sink, and restyle.
But which shampoo works for my hair? If your hair is curly or kinky
Treat it delicately. Curls might look hearty, but they are the most fragile hair type; one reason, explains Anabel Kingsley, a trichologist for Philip Kingsley, is that “weak points form along the hair shaft where it twists or curls”.
Not surprisingly, shampooing too frequently, especially with products that contain lathering agents like sulphates, should be avoided. Instead, opt for gentler formulas created especially for curly hair. TRY  Redken Curvaceous High Foam Lightweight Cleanser (R346.62).
If your hair is fine
Wash it every day. “People with fine hair have more oil glands on their scalp, so it easily becomes infuriatingly limp at the roots,” says Anabel. Or, as Sally puts it, “like a string on your head.” Anabel suggests shopping for a shampoo specifically made for fine hair, like  label.m Thickening Shampoo (R284). As a rule, avoid heavy silicones (anything on the label that ends with ‘-cone’, like dimethicone).
If your hair is colour-treated
Shampoo gently and less often. A colourprotecting shampoo, like  Nak Aromas Colour Shampoo For Coloured Hair (R320), is the place to start; add a colour-depositing formula or gloss a few times a month to temporarily brighten the colour.
Minimising heat exposure, with both the water temperature and styling tools, also helps to extend the life of your colour. But washing with cold water – a frequent suggestion for colour-treated hair – is unnecessary, according to celebrity colourist and salon owner Rita Hazan. “It’s unrealistic to take cold showers – I’m not doing it! And neither should you,” she says.
If you have dandruff
Use a shampoo with pyrithione zinc, coal tar extract or piroctone olamine which targets the specific yeast that causes flakes and itchiness. TRY  Head & Shoulders Cool Menthol Anti-dandruff Shampoo (R79.95).
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