I posted photos recently of a color job I did on a client and received so many questions about what she does to get that hair!
This client’s hair has come a long way. Just six months before the photo was taken, it was dry, brittle, and not in the best shape.
So I asked her what I ask every client: What’s your routine and which products do you use?
She tells me:
- She uses drugstore shampoo and conditioner (I faint)
- She washes maybe once a week to week and a half (I gasp)
- She uses dry shampoo regularly, almost daily (I shiver)
- She uses purple shampoo often (I have a mini panic attack)
- She has no routine for scalp health (I hyperventilate)
- She doesn’t redeposit moisture and lipids into her very dry hair strands (I cry)
With a cracked and weary voice I say, "Oh that’s cool, you might as well be shampooing your scalp and hair with a TIDE POD."
Needless to say, we got her on a healthy hair routine to build her mane to its present glory. Since people were interested, I thought I’d share those pro tips with you!
How to build a healthy hair routine
I’m here with honest advice that comes from being a colorist for over 10 years and noticing we have a real gap of information and education in a highly unregulated industry. Having a routine and a good system is everything! Here’s what I recommend.
1. Check the bottle
When you disrupt the natural pH of your scalp and hair, you’re going to pay for that imbalance later as your scalp overcorrects with grease, dandruff, or other fun surprises. Many shampoos rely on harsh sulfates that are awful for your pH, like sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS).
Drugstore shampoos and conditioners and common offenders, but many pricy shampoos are also going to harsh your hair with the same ingredients as the cheap ones. I know this very well, because I’ve been in this industry for over 10 years and have tried almost every product line.
You want to start with a shampoo that’s gentle, effective, and pH balanced above all. Not all bubbles are bad, but look for products that use gentle sulfates or are sulfate-free. If you have any sensitivity, your best bet is to look for a hypoallergenic, fragrance-free shampoo that won’t cause irritation, itchiness, and flakes.
Our Najeau Shampoo is my favorite, not because it’s mine, but because it has a gentle lather and soothing, hydrating ingredients like aloe vera and oat amino acids. It was created by my many years of R&D of working on clients and recognizing what worked best and what didn’t.
2. Don’t be afraid to shampoo
Now that you have a good shampoo, don’t be afraid to use it! Contrary to popular belief, going as long as you can without shampooing is NOT the answer to a healthy scalp. While you don’t want to strip your scalp of its natural oils, infrequent washing can lead to lots of buildup, and an overly oily scalp can cause dandruff, funk, and even dermatitis.
Washing 2-3 times a week is the sweet spot for most people. But if you’re a runner and get super sweaty every day, it’s totally okay to shampoo more often.
3. Get a scalp routine
EVERYONE should have a scalp routine in addition to their hair routine. Everyone. Just like you take care of the skin on your face and body.
A scalp routine is about taking care of the skin of your scalp and your follicles. At Najeau we have two systems, our Hair System and our Scalp System, which uses two pre-shampoo treatments for different scalp issues:
- A weekly Scalp Mask: for protein and anti-inflammation
- Follicle Drops 2-3 times a week: for hydration and pH balance
Think of it like tending the soil for a more nutritious crop. Hair health starts with scalp health.
4. Replenish your strands
Even though hair starts at the scalp, it doesn’t end there. You also need to treat your strands!
When it comes to a quality conditioner, you should have one that replenishes moisture and lipids back into your hair. Our Najeau Conditioner is again, my favorite, because it uses oils from chia seeds, linseed, and the orchid flower to help seal the cuticle and deposit moisture onto every strand.
If you tend to have hair that’s on the drier side, a weekly Hair Mask will help reintroduce moisture to your actual hair to reduce breakage and split ends. I’m also a big fan of leave-in conditioners for any hair type.
5. Don’t overuse dry shampoo
First off, let’s remember that dry shampoo doesn’t clean your hair. Instead, it just absorbs oil, but all the dirt, sweat, grime and oil that accumulate throughout the day aren’t getting washed away.
A buildup of dry shampoo on your scalp plus infrequent cleansing can clog your follicles or even cause folliculitis (a bacterial or fungal infection).
Many dry shampoos also contain aerosols, a kind of alcohol, which can dry out your hair and scalp. When this happens, your dry hair fibers can snag on each other when you comb or style, leading to breakage.
If you’re going to use a dry shampoo, use one that’s a powder versus an aerosol, and apply it sparingly.
6. (Or purple or clarifying shampoo)
People use purple shampoo to control brassiness in blonde hair. But most should actually be used as a treatment, not as a daily shampoo to cleanse your hair.
Why? Overusing purple shampoo can dry out your hair or cause buildup that makes hair dull and brittle. If you use a purple shampoo, try to use it once a week tops. If you still have brassiness you’re trying to manage, it might be time to see a colorist.
Clarifying shampoos should also NOT be your go-to everyday shampoo, as they are meant to be stripping! This is what you need MAYBE once a month and only if you find that your hair is no longer holding a wave or if there’s heavy product buildup or metals and salt from your water.
7. Invest in a shower filter
The quality of your water matters too! A good water filter helps to remove metals and salts, chlorine and copper, toxins and bleaching agents from the water that’s being showered directly into your scalp. Our skin absorbs a lot, so be good to it.
8. Use heat protectant
If you’re using heat, you need to be using a heat protectant! Pattern™ by Tracee Ellis Ross makes a good one. These products contain ingredients that help seal your hair’s cuticle, making it more resistant to heat damage.
9. Customize your routine
Everyone’s hair is different, and everyone’s hair changes with time, stress, and seasons. Our line is meant to be easily customizable, with different recipes you can use.
Add a fresh ingredient (like egg whites, avocado, or bananas) to your weekly masks for extra nutrients, or add Warming Drops or Cooling Drops to your Scalp Mask. Mix some Hair Guard or Conditioner with your Hair Mask. Wear your Follicle Drops or Hair Mask overnight if need be!
If you want to mix a little bit of this shampoo with that shampoo, a little bit of this conditioner with that conditioner, do it! I promise you’ll begin to become more in tune with your hair and scalp needs. First get the basics down and establish a consistent routine, then make changes when needed!
Oh, and don’t stress! Keep it simple! Keep the products quality, mix-and-match, and don’t worry about being perfect. There’s no wrong way, just wrong products.