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I’ve Been Washing My Hair Wrong My Whole Life, And This Is How You Should Actually Do It

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A friend recently told me about the app PRIV where you can essentially press a few buttons on your phone and, a short time later, have a hairstylist (or manicurist or facialist or whatever) in the middle of your living room (or office, or whatever) giving you beauty treatments. As I am both a sucker for convenience and someone who has been repeatedly scarred by overzealous hairstylists who get angry at my comically thick hair, I figured I had little to lose. Once the app was available on Android (yes, us non-Apple users are constantly discriminated against, but hopefully this will change with the new, unintentionally bendy iPhones), I decided that I would try. With a few taps, Michael was ringing my buzzer with all of his tools in hand.

To be honest, my only goal in the whole thing was to finally have the center-part bangs of my retro dreams (something Michael made a reality, which was awesome), but the idea of having someone cutting my hair in the middle of my living room floor kind of weirded me out. Would it be awkward? Would he judge my bold wall color (that frankly I cannot wait to change, green was a shortsighted choice)? Would the cleanup be time-consuming? But all of these concerns paled in comparison when, a minute into my blow dry — and after he had asked me a few times what my shampooing routine was — he asked if he could re-wash my hair. Umm??? In my not-that-deeply-cleaned-that-I-would-want-a-stranger-looking-at-it-bathtub? Or in the kitchen sink?? It was unexpected, to say the least. And I had my hesitations. But that’s what you get when you have someone in your home to cut your hair.

“That’s what’s great about this service,” he said. “You get to see how people actually care for their hair, and you get to show them how to do it right. When they come to a salon, you just do it yourself.”

Two minutes later and I was on my knees in front of my bathtub while Michael vigorously scrubbed my roots, working a relatively small dollop of shampoo into a ton of lather.

“This is what you have to do,” he told me. “You only have to wash your hair every few days — washing it every day will dry it out — but you need to only work on the roots. The ends will get clean by themselves, you don’t need to scrub them. And if you do it this way, you don’t even have to wash it twice. And then when you condition, only condition the tips, never near the scalp.”

As he was blow-drying, I remarked at least three times how soft and bouncy my hair was. Suddenly, when not weighed down by oil or product, the roots of my hair had lift and volume, and the ends didn’t feel dried out and lifeless. And it only used half the shampoo I had been using before. (Full disclosure: All my life I had been washing my hair frequently, but not focusing on the roots, and pretty evenly distributing both the shampoo and conditioner. Then I would wonder why my hair felt heavy and unmanageable near the scalp.)

In a few minutes, Michael changed my hair’s life. And all because he was able to see, in the calm of my own home, exactly what I had been doing wrong. Yes, if I had known we would have been so up-close-and-personal with my bathtub, I would have cleaned it more thoroughly first. But letting someone see your real routine is priceless when it comes to improving your beauty strategies. And on top of all that, I finally have my center-part bangs.

And they’ll never be lifeless again. TC mark

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