For a solid three years of my decade-long retail career, I worked for Lush Cosmetics in Sydney. In that time I learned more about my own hair and skin health than I ever expected. One of the things that have stuck with me the longest is understanding hair care right down to the follicle, and how to treat it to keep it looking and feeling primo.

Although Lush is a chain of stores that are wildly popular for bath bombs, bubbles, and other bathroom bits, hang around in the strongly-scented store long enough and you’ll come to know there’s more to it than just turning your bathtub into a multi-coloured fever dream.

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When it comes to your hair, you’re going to have a different experience than everyone else. Your hair has different needs, and different behaviours than your mates’ manes. You have your own likes and routines, too. It’s all about finding that sweet spot between what your hair and scalp needs, and your hair washing routine.

Your own preferences and routine for washing your hair are an important part of the process. If you’re the kind of person who loves a hair wash every day, you don’t necessarily have to stop doing that, but instead, figure out what works for your hair type and think of moments when you’ve felt like a 10/10 babe, and find a way to marry the two together.

hair washing tips hacks

Starting at the very top of things – well, at the root, really – is the best way to learn how your hair and scalp behaves, and how you can care and maintain it from there. If you’ve ever wondered why your poker-straight hair needs washing multiple times a week while your curly-haired mate can get away with a once-a-week washout, it’s all to do with what’s happening under the surface.

Your hair follicle (a tunnel-shaped structure in your outer layer of skin, or epidermis) determines how your hair strands form, and how much of your natural oils (sebum) is released, and how fast.

Here’s a really science-y diagram, for a visual, but we’ll dive into it properly.

hair types follicle washing tricks

[Image: iStock/Getty Images]

For people with straight hair, your follicle is also straight, and the opening on your scalp is like a big full moon. This allows sebum to be released super easily and quickly, meaning your hair feels greasier faster, and you probably wash it more.

Wavy and curly-haired folk, your hair tunnel (follicle) is on more of a slant, and the opening on your scalp is like a half-moon. This creates your hair strands to curl, and also means sebum takes a bit longer to come through. It results in your ends becoming dryer, because those naturally-produced oils struggle to coat the whole strand of hair. On the other side, you probably don’t have to wash your hair as often.

I’ve got a pretty strong natural curl and I wash my hair with a co-wash (a clarifying conditioner wash) once a week, so I don’t strip my scalp and hair of much-needed hydration. If you’ve got curls, maybe consider trying out the Curly Girl Method and ditch the shampoo for a bit – see how it works for you.

Real tight coils and afro hair happens thanks to the follicle being on a sharp angle, and an opening that’s like a waxing or waning moon. This means even less sebum is able to leave the follicle and get into the hair, so you need to moisturise and hydrate it more often yourself. It also means that you likely don’t have to wash it as often (because it takes longer to get oily) but it also means you need to wash your hair with products that won’t strip the natural oils from your hair entirely.

There are plenty of products out there that help keep the scalp and hair nice and hydrated, and steering clear from synthetics that just coat the hair strand instead of penetrating and hydrating from the inside out is super important to keep your ends from drying out and getting damaged.

washing hair care tricks

Some Tips For Washing Your Hair Your Hairdresser Will Be Proud Of You For

While you’re washing your hair, it’s also good to remember a couple of key things: you don’t need as much product as you think you do, you gotta shampoo (or co-wash) on soaking wet hair, and you gotta massage it right into your scalp – just like hairdressers do.

If you’re a rinse and repeat kinda person, try and work the product down into your roots and scalp for a full three minutes, and then use the second wash to focus on your mid-lengths and ends. Then rinse thoroughly (to avoid build-up) and squeeze as much of the water out as possible before putting conditioner into your mids and ends, and working it through with a wide-toothed comb to make sure it’s getting in there evenly.

And as much as you probably thought it was an old white lie your parents told you, doing a final rinse with cooler water actually does help to close your hair cuticle, and keep all that moisture locked in.

Once you jump out, curly and coily-haired people should be wrapping up in a t-shirt or something gentle – using a towel to dry off actually makes the hair frizzier, so wrapping up and then patting or scrunching dry with an old t-shirt or a microfibre towel will help your curls form instead of looking like a cotton ball.

So there you go, some handy hair care wisdom imparted from the caverns of my brain to you. May you always have excellent hair days and treat your tresses with kindness.

Just be thankful you don’t have to do it in space like NASA astronauts, hey.

My hair would 100% look like Marge Simpson.

Image: Instagram / @selenagomez