How Do Professionals Shampoo Their Hair?

client getting their hair shampooed by a professional

What does it take to have hair like a stylist? Professional hairstylists have all the secrets for creating healthy, beautiful hair. This is why people seek them out for professional styling and maintenance. Cosmetologists are educators by default. Cosmetologists are passionate about helping others look and feel their best. In fact, many of the personal techniques and tips that cosmetologists use are the same insider tips that they pass on to their clients. Take a look at the tips and tricks professional hairstylists use at home.

How Do Professionals Shampoo Their Hair?

Professional hairstylists know that there’s no one-size-fits-all answer for shampooing techniques. However, many people are walking around with hair that’s hard to style because it’s actually dirty. Yes, the common techniques for shampooing that most people use don’t properly clean hair. While the top layers may look and feel clean, it can be difficult to style the middle section of the crown and bottom because the strands haven’t been fully cleaned. This can make it difficult to get hair to cooperate with different styles. It also robs follicles and strands of volume and shine. How do professional stylists shampoo their own hair at home? Take a look at the process for shampooing the right way from a professional angle:

Step #1: Begin by brushing your hair thoroughly. While it may seem counterproductive to brush tresses that are about to be washed, this actually helps to loosen up dirt and oils that are weighing your hair down. It’s much easier to clean hair that has been properly “prepped” with brushing.

Depending on your hair type, this step may be skipped. Those with curly hair should avoid the damage caused by brushing dry hair.

Step #2: Use lukewarm water. Yes, temperature actually impacts the look and health of your hair. When water is too hot, hairs can lose moisture and strength. When it comes to color-treated tresses, the heat can actually strip strands of color prematurely.

Step #3: Shampoo twice. This is the big shampooing secret that most people don’t know about. One of the reasons why a wash at the salon is so important is that the stylist is usually shampooing twice. The first shampooing is intended to remove all of the dirt, grime and residue from styling products hiding in the scalp. The second is used to apply essential nutrients to give hair what it needs for a shiny, glossy look.

Step #4: Know how much shampoo to use. In addition to producing the best results, using the right amount of shampoo saves money. A penny-sized drop of shampoo is really all that’s needed for most hair.

Step #5: The right technique is also important when shampooing. The key is to apply shampoo right at the roots before working it into the scalp slowly and softly. It’s also important to pay attention to nooks and crannies that might be ignored.

Step #6: When rinsing, continue to use lukewarm water. It’s important to continually squeeze the hair in your hands during the rinsing phase until it’s clear that all styling products are gone.

Step #7: Lastly switch to cool water to give your hair a final rinsing. This is the secret to how hairstylists create ultra-shiny, ultra-smooth hair with bounce. Cool water seals your cuticles to create shine.

How hair is dried can bolster the impact of a proper shampooing. That’s why many stylists use microfiber towels for drying instead of regular towels. The benefit to microfiber is that they won’t be abrasive to the hair cuticles the way that regular towels are. The big tip to keep in mind throughout the entire process is that wet hair is actually more fragile than dry hair. It’s important to handle hair gently when shampooing and rinsing because wet hair is very prone to breakage.

Why Is Good Hair Hygiene Important?

People want strong, healthy and attractive hair. Creating amazing, healthy hair works the same as creating health in any other part of the body. It takes care and maintenance. Taking time to treat hair properly can help to preserve its natural strength. This means stronger follicles with less breakage. For people who treat their hair with dyes, it’s especially important to maintain good follicle hygiene to preserve color. Ultimately, giving hair the care it needs helps people to feel their best.

Shampoo and Conditioner 101

As a hairstylist, you will put in long hours to become an expert and learn about all the different formulas for shampoos and conditioners. This is why you will be able to make product recommendations just by seeing and touching a client’s hair. While it’s impossible to absorb all that knowledge overnight, there are some universal rules for shampoo and conditioner that apply in nearly all cases. In fact, the “rules” for which types of shampoo and conditioner to use for specific hair types are pretty straightforward. A good stylist knows that the same shampoo is not for everyone because different hair types demand different types of nourishment. Here’s a look at the different cleansing options that you can strategically pick for hair that is oily, dry, brittle, frizzy, natural, and treated:

Regular Shampoo: Used on people with untreated hair that doesn’t have any specific needs. It helps to clean debris and oils without stripping natural oils or hydration from the scalp.

Clarifying Shampoo: Ideal for people who use lots of different products to get their hair style.

Anti-Breakage Shampoo: Good for frizzy, split hair in need of moisture and replenishment.

Moisturizing Shampoo: Used for dry, brittle hair.

Volumizing Shampoo: Ideal for hair that needs the cuticles opened.

Cleansing Conditioner: Used on curly hair that drinks up moisture quickly.

Color-Treated Shampoo: Ideal for dyed or highlighted hair.

As a stylist, you can also recommend some easy “hair rescues” like dry shampoo. While many people are intimidated by dry shampoos, getting professional guidance on how to use these products can make all the difference. Available in liquids, powders or sprays, dry shampoos allow people to extend time between washing without feeling like their hair is dirty or greasy. Dry shampoo absorbs oils and grease without robbing the hair of its natural shine. It creates a fresh look with an even fresher smell without the need to devote time to a full wash. However, becoming overly reliant on dry shampoo as a replacement for real washes can damage hair.

A professional hairstylist can spot an oily, dry or combination scalp a mile away. They’re able to do a “hair diagnosis” that will help to pinpoint appropriate products for giving hair health and vitality without stripping away anything that’s needed. The knowledge of what not to strip from hair can be just as important as the knowledge of what hair is lacking when creating balance and beauty.

What Skills Are Needed to Educate Clients About Shampooing Their Hair?

A hairstylist needs to be passionate about healthy, strong hair. With passion comes good communication and customer service skills. Although there are many other skills that are helpful for a hairstylist to hone, these two in particular are vital to success.


Communication is an important part of helping people wash their hair properly because most people have never been instructed on this topic before. The most important thing is to make recommendations without any judgments or harshness. You must be patient about showing clients how to recreate the proper washing experience at home to get the results they want. You also have to practice active listening to ensure that you are answering the exact questions that clients are asking.

Customer Service

There’s a component of customer service when you share washing techniques with clients. Many salons choose to stock the hair products that they feel confident about recommending to clients. As a result, you are in a position to sell these products to your clients to help them recreate the salon look at home. It takes research and commitment to confidently recommend products. Prior to recommending specific products to clients, you may use the products on your own hair. With so many new products coming on the market, it is a lifelong journey of learning and product testing. In fact, many stylists look forward to trying every new product that comes out so they can recommend the latest, best products to their clients with some firsthand knowledge.

Final Thoughts

Many people who enjoy testing out products at home find that they are called upon to be professional hairstylists. This passion for learning the science behind various shampoos and conditioners is a sign that you have a passion for the cosmetology industry. The next step is getting a diploma that turns that passion for hair products into a career.

Want to Learn More?

Now that you know how professionals shampoo their hair, ready to learn more? At Minnesota School of Cosmetology, we are dedicated to helping our Cosmetology program students develop a solid foundation and a flair for style through hands-on training in basic and advanced industry techniques. You will learn how to cut, color and style hair, give manicures and pedicures, provide spa treatments and perform various skin care techniques from industry-experienced instructors in a professional salon setting.

Contact us today to learn more about becoming a cosmetologist and start a rewarding career in the beauty industry.