Product Guide: getting the most out of your key hair products

January 27, 2016 3:39 pm

Choosing the right product for your hair is only half the battle; making sure you’re using it in the right way is sometimes the biggest challenge! We’ve spoken to our salons for insider tips on how to get the most out of your favourite products, and common mistakes people make while using them:

SHAMPOO:

  • Common Mistake: only shampooing hair once. To get the best results from your shampoo, and washing your hair in general, you should always shampoo your hair twice. The first will loosen any dirt, pollution, oil or grease that has built up, and the second will ensure that all impurities are washed away for a deep clean.
  • Common Mistake: lathering hair in circles. This commonly accepted technique produces a great lather, but also tangles, knots and damages the hair cuticle. Hair is most prone to damage and breakage when wet, so you need to be more gentle with it than when dry. Instead of using your fingertips in circular motions, try using the lengths of your fingers and moving your hands in a downwards motion so you’re following the direction of hair growth.
  • Common Mistake: using lots of shampoo to create a lather. There are 3 things that effect how well your shampoo lathers; the quality of the product, how wet your hair is, and how dirty your hair is. Lots of lather isn’t always an indication of how a shampoo is performing (think of how much washing-up liquid lathers – not something you’d want on your hair!) Make sure your hair is soaking wet before applying your shampoo, and instead of squeezing into your hand and applying it directly to one spot on your head, try working the shampoo between your palms first. This will make it easier to distribute though the hair, and create a better lather. Aim to use a 10p size amount of shampoo (although if your hair is particularly thick or long you may need a little more).

 

CONDITIONER:

  • Common Mistake: avoid using a conditioner if you have fine/greasy hair. The purpose of a conditioner is to seal the hair cuticle (which shampoo’s open to clean) leaving hair feeling stronger, healthier and smoother. The way to avoid conditioner weighing down fine or greasier hair is to only apply it to the lengths and ends (never the roots) and to pick a lightweight product. Also make sure you rinse it off thoroughly, as any residue left on the hair will make it feel heavier and look limp.

 

MOUSSE:

  • Common Mistake: mousse is only for people who want a solid, crunchy finish. This may have been the case in the 1980s, but mousse has come a long way! It’s one of our Stylists’ key products in their session kits, as it’s so versatile. It can be used everyday to provide subtle volume and texture to the hair, or before a blow dry for a longer-lasting result.
  • Common Mistake: apply mousse using your hand. Mousse works due to a mixture of styling ingredients and the product being aerated to help it remain lightweight, which is great for creating volume. If you apply mousse by hand you are removing this light, airy texture, making it much harder to distribute evenly to avoid any sticky patches. The best thing to do is shake the can vigorously, then dispense approximately a tennis ball sized amount of mousse into your hand (you’ll get a feel over time for how much you need). Section your hair horizontally in two, then using a comb apply small amounts of mousse, combing it through from roots to ends to make sure it is all covered. Repeat this process through the top layer of hair.

 

HAIRSPRAY:

  • Common Mistake: applying a light mist of spray over your head. This technique is great if you want to gently coat the hair to help avoid frizz, but it won’t help hold a more defined style for very long. A good hairspray won’t go crispy or flake, so don’t be afraid to apply a liberal amount to your style. If it starts to look too stiff you can brush the hair to soften the finish, but still benefit from great hold.
  • Common Mistake: always spray directly onto the hair. If you’re using hairspray to try and control frizz or flyaways, the best way to apply it is either by spraying the product onto your palms then gently running them over your roots, or try spraying onto a blusher brush and using this to calm any problem areas.

 

HAIR OIL:

  • Common Mistake: hair oil is only for very thick, dry hair. Hair oil is a great source of moisture so it is perfect for dry, damaged ends, however it’s also fantastic on all hair types. The key is just to make sure you’re not overloading the product. Try working only 1 pump at a time between your palms, then run through the lengths and ends of damp hair – only apply nearer the roots if you truly have coarse, unruly hair. You should be able to feel the oil in the hair, so if it feels slightly slippy you’ll know you’ve applied enough.
  • Common Mistake: hair oil is only for use on damp hair. This is the easiest way to apply it, and helps to protect and moisturise during the drying process. However, you can also use oil on dry hair to add shine and calm flyaways, just be careful to only use a tiny amount at a time to avoid greasy-looking roots! The other lesser known use for hair oil is as a pre-washing treatment. Apply evenly all over the hair about 20 minutes before washing, then simply shampoo and condition as normal. The oil helps to penetrate the hair shaft to soften it before washing, which helps to loosen impurities to help the shampoo take effect.