What Happens if You Leave Shampoo in Your Hair? Will That Damage It?

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At some point or another, you’ve probably accidentally got out of the shower and noticed that you didn’t rinse all of the shampoo out of your hair. It’s nothing to be embarrassed about, it happens all the time!

Or perhaps you have very thick and curly hair, and it usually takes you at least two attempts to rinse out all the suds from your locks each time you wash it. Why does this happen? And what happens if you leave shampoo in your hair, either by accident or intentionally?

It’s not great for your hair to leave shampoo in it, but if you only do it occasionally it’s probably not a big deal. That depends on your hair type, though!

We’ll go into detail below.


What Happens if You Leave Shampoo in Your Hair?

Well, the simple answer to this is that if you have shampoo residue in your hair after you’ve washed and rinsed it in the shower, what will happen exactly depends on your hair type and texture.

For instance, if your hair is thin and straight, and prone to attracting dirt, then shampoo residue will bind with your scalp oils and collect even more gunk and environmental toxins.

This will, in most cases, cause your hair to feel very sticky, tacky or even more oily.

If you’re negligent at rinsing shampoo out of your hair on a regular basis, then this will cause more build-up of residue — not just from the shampoo, but also from all of your other hair styling products.

The resulting appearance can look similar to dandruff, as this product build-up will leave behind a trail of white flakes on your shoulders.

Yuck!

Meanwhile, your scalp will also potentially become irritated and itchy. Your hair may also appear either oily or dry, depending on the circumstances.

If you’re negligent at rinsing shampoo out of your hair on a regular basis, then this will cause more build-up of residue from your other hair styling products. The result can look similar to dandruff.

If not rinsing your hair of shampoo completely happens only every once in a while, or by accident, then any shampoo residue that’s left over will probably just make your hair feel yucky.

It will possibly feel a bit crunchy or slick and sticky.


Rinse and Repeat

You can avoid leaving behind shampoo residue in your hair by mixing a teaspoon of shampoo into a quart-sized plastic bottle of water. Shake the bottle to create a sudsy mixture, and use this to apply to your roots, working the foam down your strands to your hair ends.

Dilute For Fun and Profit!

By diluting the shampoo, you’ll make it much easier to rinse it out. After giving your freshly shampooed hair a full dousing of cold water from the shower, you’ll be at less risk of leaving shampoo residue in your hair, thus reducing the possibility of product build-up over time.

Another way that you can avoid leaving any shampoo residue in your hair is to always finish off your washing routine with a cool (or cold) water rinse — if you can handle the shock, that is.

Finishing with a Wim Hof-style cold shower is not only great for your immune system, but also great for your hair.

Another way that you can avoid leaving any shampoo residue in your hair is to always finish off your washing routine with a cool (or cold) water rinse — if you can handle the shock, that is.

Applying a rinse-out conditioner after your shampoo can also help to eliminate any shampoo residue. While the shampoo’s job is to clean your hair, a conditioner works to make your hair softer, and improve its texture.

Just make sure that you then completely rinse out the conditioner before getting out of the shower.


Suds Enough

The chemical synthetic sulfates that are contained in most commercially available shampoos are what makes them sudsy when mixed with water. Sulfates act as a detergent, and the lathering effects they cause are what cleans oil and dirt from your scalp and strands.

If the sulfates are left in your hair too long, then this will make your scalp itch and your hair feel dry, dull, and lifeless. 

So, now that you know what happens if you leave shampoo in your hair, you know exactly what to do to rinse your hair the way it should be done.

Written by Kayla Young

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