Washing your hair should be as basic as slipping on your favourite blue jeans. After all, the process would seem rote at this point. But if the clients at Christophe Robin’s Paris salon are any indication, there is plenty of confusion.”That’s my most asked question at the salon now: ‘How do I wash my hair?'” said Robin, the star colourist who tends the locks of Catherine Deneuve and Tilda Swinton.
Part of the problem is the baffling messaging about shampooing: Women have been told they are both overwashing and underwashing.”A lot of this is also from all the products we have out there now,” Robin said. “And women are so often in a rush. You have to cleanse properly. You have to take time to make sure you rinse all the products out.”
Here, Robin offers a tutorial on the right way to shampoo. He also has some tips for maximising shine and volume, all without styling products.
Step 1: Detangle hair with a quality brush. Robin recommends starting at the ends. Then double back to the roots to finish the process.
“You detangle first so that way you don’t have to detangle hair after, when it’s wet,” he said. “You never should use a comb on hair that is wet. It’s very stressing on the hair.”
Step 2: Before shampooing, apply a vegetable-derived oil to the ends of hair and brush to disperse. Robin uses the moisturising hair oil with lavender ($59) from his namesake line, but he said pure almond oil or argan oil would do as well. Ideally, you would leave the oil on overnight, but even a good 15 minutes will be beneficial. Then you can skip the conditioner.
“I don’t love conditioners,” Robin said. “They can weigh your hair down.”
Step 3: Wash with the cleanser best suited to your hair type.
“The problem is, some women are not choosing the right shampoo for their hair,” he said.
Considering the sulfate-free trend in hair care lately, he noted that coloured hair should never be treated with sulfate products but that sometimes a sulfate shampoo, which has a stronger detergent, is appropriate “for someone who has virgin hair and greasy roots.”
Curlier hair, he explained, tends to be drier and can benefit from co-washing – that is, washing with a nonfoaming, conditioning cleanser as a substitute for shampoo. Robin released one of the first luxury brand co-washes some 20 years ago, his cleansing mask with lemon ($66).
Robin said most women used too much product: “You should use only about a teaspoon and then you emulsify that with water.” Lather only the roots of your hair with your fingertips (not your nails), avoiding the ends. To increase volume and circulation, shampoo with your head upside down.
Step 4: Rinse thoroughly.
“This is actually a big problem because people are not taking enough time to rinse out all the product,” Robin said. “Hair should be squeaky clean.”
Step 5: If you decide to add a conditioner, apply only to the ends. Robin recommends a deep conditioning mask once a week to address various hair issues, including brittleness or brassy colour.
Step 6: Don’t rub hair dry. Robin demonstrated a Moroccan tip he learned to detangle and lift the roots: “Flip your head upside down and run a towel over it from both sides quickly,” he said. The towel’s flicking motion will also remove excess water.
Bonus Tip: Robin acknowledges that his washing process may take more time than the usual regimens, but that if done correctly, the method can make each shampoo last longer.
“Most women should not be washing more than twice a week,” he said.
That is not to say that dry shampoo is the answer for the other days.
“Dry shampoo should only give you maybe one night or one day extra,” he said.
Instead, especially for active women, a few spritzes of a vinegar solution at the roots will remove oil. (Just add five drops of apple cider vinegar to 150 ml of water in a spray bottle.)
Robin added, “Unlike dry shampoo, there’s no residue, and the vinegar is a wonderful tonic for the scalp.”