How to wash and dry your hair

Here are some tips to help you with your hair care routine so that washing, drying and styling your hair is simpler and gives you a confidence boost.

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Washing your hair in the shower

Familiarise yourself with the shower, showerhead and taps, or if you're using a bath, with your showerhead attachment and taps, and check that you know where your shampoo and conditioner bottles are.

Top tip! To tell the difference between the shampoo and conditioner bottles, place a different number of elastic bands over each of the bottles. For example, one elastic band for shampoo, two for conditioner and three for body wash. If you'd rather, you can use any labelling method that makes sense to you like Braille or tactile markers, but try to keep it consistent.

My shampoo and conditioner bottles are identical to the touch, so I put an elastic band around the shampoo bottle.
Linda, guide dog owner

Step-by-step guide to washing your hair

You may find it easier to think of the process of hair washing as several steps:

If this a new independent living skill for you, practise some of these steps separately to build up your confidence and perfect your technique.

Drying your hair

Familiarise yourself with the hairdryer before you use it for the first time. If you find it difficult to identify the settings, place tactile markings such as bump-ons or Tacti-mark to help you find the controls you need.

If you have some remaining vision and want to take a closer look at the hairdryer’s settings, use a magnifier or other low vision aid. Read our viewing or reading nearby objects page for a guide to using low vision aids and your smartphone or tablet.

To help you see where you're blow-drying, use a magnifying mirror. Some magnifying mirrors can be mounted on the wall or stuck onto an existing mirror and have an adjustable arm to make looking into it more comfortable.

Step-by-step guide to drying your hair

  1. First, brush your hair so that there are no tangles. 
  2. Use the hand that’s not holding the hairdryer to gauge the heat and how close the hairdryer needs to be to your hair without the heat causing you harm.
  3. Then dry your hair in sections, working your way around your head, and using your free hand to judge when your hair is dry. 
  4. Once you've finished, brush your dry hair to smooth out any tangles.
  5. For safety, make sure you switch the hairdryer off when you’re not using it and let it cool on a heat-resistant surface. You should also never use a hairdryer anywhere near water.

Blow-drying your hair isn't always practical or convenient, so maybe save yourself some time by letting it air dry now and again.

Styling your hair

Choosing and maintaining a style can be difficult if you have sight loss.

A shorter hairstyle is easier to maintain and style but will mean more hair appointments and money.

Styling products

There’s a wide range of hair styling products from gel, putty and clay to wax, mousse and hair spray. It’s important you know exactly what the hair product does and how to use it before you apply it to your hair.

If you have some remaining vision, read the bottle for directions for use, using a magnifier or low vision aid if needed. You could read the product's instructions on the company's website or request them in your preferred accessible format, such as Braille.

Watch Emily Davison, an influential voice from the visually impaired community, demonstrate how to curl your hair.

I keep my hairbrushes in a tin with the handles facing up. They’re easier to find and identify safely.
Margaret, guide dog owner