How To Use An Anti-Dandruff Shampoo Properly

When it comes to getting rid of dandruff, it’s not only vital to get the correct shampoo but its equally important to understand how to use an anti-dandruff shampoo properly.

Generally speaking, shampoos are most often used to clean the hair and scalp of dirt, product build-up and pollutants [1]. For controlling dandruff, it’s primary function is to inhibit dandruff growth and remove dandruff from your scalp.

Most anti-dandruff shampoos contain several ingredients that help against dandruff. Each ingredient has its own respective benefits. Some ingredients are natural, while others are chemicals which can harm your skin if you let it sit on your scalp for too long.

I have written this guide on how to properly wash your hair with anti-dandruff shampoo to serve as a general guideline. Please note that each manufacturer has clear written instructions that you should follow.

Follow this guideline below if you want to try out a general routine that I use, which has helped me get rid of dandruff in no time.

1. Use the right shampoo

Before you start applying shampoo, make sure that you know exactly what is causing your dandruff. Dandruff can be caused by many skin conditions. It’s therefore vital that you get an anti-dandruff shampoo that is suitable for your condition.

I advise you to stay away from generic shampoos, as they often remove all the sebum on your scalp leaving it extremely dry and irritated. Most shampoos also contain harsh chemicals that can cause a sensitive reaction on your scalp, leaving it red and inflamed [2].

Most commonly dandruff is caused by a fungus called Malassezia, which grows on your scalp. If you have too much of this fungus, it reacts with the natural oils (sebum) on your scalp creating a by-product called oleic acid, which can cause dandruff.

Nizoral A-D is one of the best anti-dandruff shampoos that has an active ingredient call ketoconazole. Its anti-fungal properties help suppress fungal growth and ultimately gets rid of dandruff [3]. Read the complete Nizoral A-D review for more information.

A collection of shampoo bottles in a store

2. Rinse your hair with water

Now that you have chosen a suitable anti-dandruff shampoo you can start preparing to use it. Before you even start applying the shampoo to your scalp and hair, you should start by rinsing your hair with water.

The trick is to firstly moisturize your hair. You can easily do this by running warm water through it and make sure the water runs through your scalp as well. Warm water will help open the cuticles of the hair. Once the cuticles are open, the shampoo is able to penetrate deeper and remove all the unwanted dirt and pollutants [3].

Another important reason for rinsing your hair is so that the anti-dandruff shampoo will lather more easily. Without water, the product will be exceptionally hard to distribute evenly across your head and hair. Make sure that your hair is not soaking wet and dripping all over. I usually run my hands through my hair a few times so that the dripping comes to a stop.

A woman who is rinsing her hair in the shower

3. Use the right amount

After your hair is slightly wet it’s time to take your anti-dandruff shampoo and squeeze the product into your palm. Please make sure that you follow the instruction of the manufacturer on how much liquid you should pour out.

If it’s not indicated, a good guideline is to use a moderate amount first, and if your entire hair is not yet fully covered, then you can reapply a little more. On the one hand, you should also make sure that you aren’t too wasteful.

You also want to ensure that you pour out enough to cover your entire scalp and hair with the shampoo. If you have longer hair, be prepared to use a lot more shampoo then people with shorter hair.

Woman who is pouring shampoo in her hand

4. Apply shampoo evenly

It’s important that when you start applying the anti-dandruff shampoo on your hair. Make sure that you distribute it evenly. You want to make sure that your entire scalp is covered with shampoo so that it can remove all the excess sebum as well as the unwanted dirt and pollutants.

Sebum also spreads from your scalp to your hair, as they are in direct contact [4]. Therefore, it is vital to also ensure that your full set of hair is covered with shampoo. To even distribute shampoo on your hair simply use your fingers or a wide-tooth comb.

Once the shampoo is on your head and in your hair, run your fingers or the comb through it. Make sure you start from the roots and move all the way through to the ends.

Don’t use a fine-tooth comb for this as you will accidentally remove the shampoo from your hair.

Woman who is applying shampoo on her hair

5. Massage your scalp

Now it’s time to massage your scalp. This process ensures that the shampoo distributes evenly. There are many additional benefits that a short scalp massage can give you. It not only helps you to relax, but it also helps with blood circulation to your scalp [5]. Make sure that you massage your scalp using the tips of your fingers. Avoid scratching, as it may irritate your skin, which can leave it red and inflamed.

So, be careful if you have long fingernails. The goal is to massage your scalp and not cause the skin more irritation. I usually massage for around 3-5 minutes, after which I will let the shampoo remain in my hair for some time.

Woman who is massaging her scalp with an anti-dandruff shampoo

6. Let it rest for a while

Leave the shampoo in your hair for around another 3-5 minutes. This gives it enough time to penetrate the fungus and do its magic.

You need to be a little more careful when using anti-dandruff shampoos with harsh chemicals. I would advise you to not leave it in your hair for too long, as it can make your hair and scalp extremely dry and uncomfortable.

If the shampoo bottle has a label which indicates how long you should leave the shampoo in your hair, please follow it. You can be more flexible with milder shampoos, but generally speaking 3-5 minutes is optimal.

A woman who is showering

7. Rinse off shampoo thoroughly

Now it’s time to rinse your hair and scalp thoroughly. If you don’t rinse your hair properly, the remaining shampoo can leave your hair extremely dry and your scalp may experience some irritation. You can rinse off the shampoo effectively with the help of your hands. Give it a few good rinses to ensure that all of the shampoo has been removed.

A woman who is rinsing off shampoo in the shower

8. Dry and brush your hair

You should now use a towel and dry your hair gently until it stops dripping. If you have shorter hair, it may be already completely dry after just a few minutes.

For long hair, I recommend that you do not use a hair dryer too often, as it can damage your hair. Instead, pat your hair until it’s relatively dry. Then, untangle your hair using a wide-tooth comb. Using a fine-tooth comb instead could cause you to accidentally rip out some of your hair stands.

At this point, your hair and scalp should only be moist with most of the water being absorbed by the towel. Now simply leave your hair to dry naturally. If you want to speed up the process, you can use a fan (this should save you some waiting time).

Woman drying her hair with a towel

Congratulations, you’re done!

When using an anti-dandruff shampoo, please make sure that you follow the instructions on the label carefully to avoid over-usage. Generally speaking, it is recommended to wash your hair with an anti-dandruff shampoo around 2-3 times a week. Overuse can lead to scalp irritation and dryness of hair.

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