Sometimes you gotta go back to basics. After all, can't build anything great without a good foundation, right?
That's why we called up hairstylist Caterina DiBiase. She's the L'Oréal Professionnel Ambassador and holds the title of 2016 Australian Hairdresser of the Year, so we knew she'd be able to tell us why our hair always feels so much better after a visit the salon even if we use the same products (and how the hell to get the same feeling for ourselves, for real).
You need to shampoo twice
"I really recommend shampooing your hair twice. It's like a double cleanse that you'd do on your face to remove makeup and clean the skin. Although the exception is if you're washing your hair everyday, then shampooing twice is probably not necessary," DiBiase said.
Monitor the amount you use
You should really only use a five-cent-piece sized dollop of shampoo, though DiBiase is a realist when it comes to people's desire to overindulge.
"Hairdressers always advise that you only need a dollop of shampoo about the size of a five cent piece, but like when we know we should only have one scoop of ice cream and we have three, people are always going to use too much. In reality people use anything between the size of a 20-50 cent piece, depending on the length of their hair. What's more important than the amount is how it's applied," DiBiase said.
Which brings us to...
Application is paramount
"A lot of people plonk the shampoo directly onto the top of their head. The trick to better hair and to use less shampoo is to put it in your hands, rub your hand together, pat it over your head and hair, and then work it in. It's so important to disperse it all over rather than put it on the roots or scalp," DiBiase said.
Rinse like your life depends on it
If shampoo is not rinsed from the hair properly it can cause sensitivity of the scalp and flaking.
"People often say to me that they think they have dandruff when in reality it's a build up or irritation from shampoo. Especially if they're using the method I mentioned earlier and putting it right on the scalp, that's just going to build up on the scalp and it's very hard to fully rinse out. Also, if you don't rinse shampoo properly it will really dull the shine and it will weight the hair down, not just at the scalp but on the hair shaft. If your hair is excessively long don't use more shampoo, just always wash twice," DiBiase said.
Pair conditioner with a comb
"If you're shampooing twice and conditioning once, you should effectively go through your shampoo faster. Though sometimes people use more conditioner because they think more equals more effective and that it will make their hair feel softer. Not true."
"The trick with conditioner is to use the same amount of shampoo, but to comb the conditioner through the hair to disperse it right through the ends. If you have very curly hair, apply it near the roots, but everyone else should apply it from the ears down. Rather than massaging your head, use a wide tooth combed that lives in the shower and comb it through the hair," DiBiase said.
More is not better with masks
Sometimes more is more, but that's not the case with hair masks. In fact, more is only going to make things worse.
"Rather than using a lot because you think you hair needs it, do a hair mask more regularly. You don't need a lot of it, but to make your hair mask more effective make sure you really squeeze out as much of the water in your hair as you can so that the water in your stands does not dilute the mask.
"Use a hair mask once a week, and don't leave it on too long. Don't sleep in it or leave it in all day as it will just weigh your hair down and dull it. Products these days are designed to perform quickly, so follow the instructions and if you feel you hair really needs it, rinse it off and do it again rather than leaving it on for longer. Back to back is much more effective than leaving it on for longer," DiBiase said.
Be systematic about your shower
You can still get a really good treatment done in the time it takes to have a regular shower.
"When it's hair-washing day, do so first before you wash your body or shave your legs. Wash, then put your conditioner or mask on, then put your hair in a shower cap, then go about your other chores in the shower. The shower cap will prevent the mask or conditioner from washing out while washing your body and also from body wash getting in your hair. By the time you're done with those things it will be the perfect time to rinse your hair," DiBiase said.
Don't be afraid of styling products
Products such as mousse, serums and thickeners are like dogs -- they can smell fear and that's when things go wrong.
"When it comes to styling products a lot of people are unsure of how to use them. Like with mousse -- they have come a long way from the crunchy curly 1980s look and mousses these days are designed to condition, heat protect and add shine and volume. A good mousse will give you an even strength right through the hair and never be crunchy," DiBiase said.
With all hair products, they are designed to make your hair feel and look beautiful and make your blowdry or style last longer. If they don't, you're likely overusing them or not distributing them through the hair properly."