The One Spot to Check to Determine Whether or Not You *Actually* Need to Wash Your Hair

Photo: Getty Images/ Antonio Saba
I once asked a hairstylist how I could tell if my hair was actually clean, and she suggested that I ask my significant other to sniff my head for me and let me know what was going on up there. Since I haven't had a boyfriend since Obama was president, her advice made me assume that I was going to be stuck with a potentially stinky scalp (and no way to know for sure whether it was or it wasn't!) until I found one. But recently, a different hairstylist filled me in on how to check my hair was clean while also maintaining my status as a strong, independent, good smelling woman.

The key? Giving a touch-check to the back of your head. "When it comes to washing their hair, the first mistake I often see clients make is that they put conditioner in the wrong places," explains Dana Hodges CaschettaEufora International national trainer and a stylist at New York City's newly-opened Eufora salon. "There is a common misconception that you should put conditioner directly on the scalp, which can lead to hair falling flat, product build-up and even dry flakes—which nobody wants." When you apply conditioner this way, the product tends to glom onto the back of your scalp, which can make just-washed hair feel dirty almost immediately.

If you feel like your hair gets dirty in these specific places—particularly at the nape of your neck or the back of your scalp—it's a sign that you're not washing your hair correctly. But thankfully, fixing the sitch is about as easy as it gets... without having to ask your Hinge date to smell your scalp for you. Look for water-soluble products that don't have added water or artificial ingredients in them (Eufora's line fits the bill), because all of these things can contribute to build-up instead of breaking through it. When you're shampooing, make sure that the product is lathering evenly through your hair. If it isn't, it likely means there's some sort of an oil build-up going on, so you'll want to repeat that lather and rinse process for a second time.  And when it comes to conditioner, "focus on applying from ends to mid-shaft and then work your way up—this avoids product build up and helps to assure full, bouncy locks," says Caschetta. No significant other required.

This is the most important thing to know before you get your haircut, no matter how long your hair is. Plus, "sweaty hair" and "dirty hair" are not the same thing, and it's safe to say that I am *shook.*

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