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Caring for the great unwashed

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Clean up your act.

Clean up your act. Photo: Gabrielle Charlotte

It's something you do every day, as routinely as cleaning your teeth, but chances are you're doing it wrong.

Yes, we've got tasks such as shaving and toenail clipping down to a fine art; but something as simple as keeping the crowning glory clean is not as straightforward as you might think.

The fact is, most men don't know how to wash their own hair. That's especially heinous as many are rubbing in ever-increasing amounts of gel, wax, paste and mousse in an effort to look sharp.

"A lot of guys use shower gel on their hair, or the cheapest shampoo they can find in the supermarket," says Jo Smith, of Toni & Guy Georges in Melbourne.

"Eight out of 10 men are using shampoos that are too harsh. There's this mindset 'I'm just a guy; that'll do'."

But all that these cheap shampoos do is strip the hair and scalp. They're harsh. You might as well be using dishwashing liquid.

What you can be left with is a type of oily dandruff. "The scalp thinks it's dehydrated so it produces more oil to compensate, leading to excess sebum," Smith says.

And now, as they say, for the science bit. Sebum is the oily, waxy stuff that's secreted from the skin's sebaceous glands to keep hair shiny and flexible. You need some, obviously, but making your scalp think you need more? You end up with oily dandruff. Yeuch.

I got my scalp thoroughly and properly cleansed the other day and it felt so good. Mark Rippon, who revels in the title of Shu Uemura's Artistic Master, offered to spend an hour cleaning and rinsing and massaging my scalp.

I was a bit nervous at first - especially after he brushed my hair for about 10 minutes and made it stand up as if I'd stuck my finger in the light socket. But it was fabulous. I always think the pre-scissors shampoo is the best bit of a haircut, and this was like that for a whole hour.

It's like the next level in pampering and left my scalp feeling cleaner than I can recall without the constant low-level itch I get, especially in winter.

That itchy feeling is probably because men also use far too much shampoo, as if we need a huge head of foam to get clean.

"Men get through shampoo too quickly, which is one of the reasons they shy away from good shampoos," Smith says. "But a professional brand lasts six months."

A dollop of shampoo the size of a 10-cent piece should do it, and Smith suggests men use shampoos containing menthol, peppermint or tea-tree (American Crew and Label M both do good ones) so the hair and scalp feel refreshed and rejuvenated.

They also have an anti-bacterial effect. A nourishing shampoo means you don't need to use a conditioner, unless your hair is long and curly, Smith advises. "Men with shorter hair, they never get 'old' hair. A nourishing shampoo is all that's needed." Along with a thorough rinse.

Do you think you know how to wash your hair properly? What's your method?

16 comments

  • So what do you do if you're bald? How do you stop your scalp from getting oily or dry?

    Commenter
    Hair Today..
    Location
    Melbourne
    Date and time
    August 27, 2013, 1:44PM
    • Lacquer :)

      Commenter
      Gesthemene
      Location
      Brisbane
      Date and time
      August 27, 2013, 2:53PM
  • Well Mums arent doing a very good job ,then ,are they?Anyway , only wash your hair with conditioner.

    Commenter
    Kane
    Date and time
    August 27, 2013, 2:16PM
    • So then what is a "good" shampoo?

      Commenter
      PO
      Location
      Brisbane
      Date and time
      August 27, 2013, 2:23PM
      • the best thing for your hair was velvet soap but sadly thats gone.

        Commenter
        Screamer
        Location
        Sydney
        Date and time
        August 27, 2013, 2:32PM
        • Imagine that... representatives of salon brand shampoos recommending their own products! More than a few inaccuracies here.

          Shampoo and conditioners from major companies that sell via coles, woolies etc are fine just pick one appropriate to your needs . No need to spend $20 a bottle. Also ingredients such as menthol and peppermint are known irritants. The cool tingling feeling is your scalp fending off irritation. Tea tree is good though.

          Best option is to pick something appropriate to your hair type and use a small amount. Conditioner only if you need it (curly haired guys this means you) and only on the ends. Pantene, heads & shoulders, Herbal essences, sunsilk etc... are all great (and inexpensive) options.

          Commenter
          i think not
          Location
          Sydney
          Date and time
          August 27, 2013, 2:38PM
          • To mis-quote something I heard somewhere: "Trying to make soap for hair sound sexy and expensive".

            Commenter
            M
            Date and time
            August 27, 2013, 4:47PM
        • I think I use the right shampoo; which ever brand it has to be fairly expensive, contain moisturiser and/or volume building; when I wash my hair I leave the shampoo on for a few minutes before rinsing it off, I avoid too much sun, avoid too many coffees which tends to dry my hair, use conditioner at times, at most important...don't stress too much, it's extremely important for my hair. I eat healthy, exercise, try to do the least possible at work, I meditate through most work hours...Beautiful Hair Indeed. Most important hint: Do not Stress. I don't care whatever happens in the world, don't give a damn about anything or anyone, I just care about myself and my hair....F...the rest.

          Commenter
          Daniel
          Location
          Sydney
          Date and time
          August 27, 2013, 2:42PM
          • Havent washed hair with shampoo for months..much better ..water is just all you need

            Commenter
            H
            Date and time
            August 27, 2013, 2:57PM
            • There are high quality Australian made shampoos and conditioners available like MJ Skincare, Natures Quest, Sanctum, Sukin and Beauty Mate. And as the article says you don't have to use much so the bottle lasts a long time.

              Commenter
              BuyAustralianMade
              Location
              Melbourne
              Date and time
              August 27, 2013, 3:57PM

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