The world’s most famous hairstylist taught me how to wash my hair the right way

In the hair industry, you’d be hard-pressed to find a name more recognizable than Frédéric Fekkai’s. He’s the godfather of the modern hair salon, he managed to bring luxury haircare to the masses via his namesake line (which you’ve likely on the shelves of your local drugstore), and, in what is perhaps my favorite claim to fame of his, has cut the hair of none other than Hilary Clinton.

So when Frédéric Fekkai—a true beauty legend, no matter how you slice it—serves up haircare advice, suffice to say it’s worth listening to. This morning, he hosted a group of editors for a fireside chat in his Soho salon to celebrate the launch of his first ever foray into natural haircare, called The One Atelier Fekkai: The Pure Collection, and schooled us all in the most basic of hair practices: how to wash it the right way.

While it may seem simple, washing your hair is really the first step in your styling process—everything you do to your hair outside of the shower depends on what you do in the shower, so you certainly want to do it correctly. “The right way to do the shampoo is actually not to put it on the hair,” he says (cue jaw drop). “Put just enough [product] in your palm, and then apply it only on your scalp.” He explains that you don’t need to worry about lathering up the entirety of your strands, because the water will do the work of distributing it for you.

Next comes the massage, which Fekkai says is critically important to ensuring your products do their best work. Massaging the scalp activates your hair follicles at the root by stimulating blood flow, and “the root of the hair becomes more alive and gives you more lift and shine,” he says.

As for conditioner, chance are you’re doing it wrong. “People put conditioner all over their hair, and it feels great because it detangles, but it’s not a good idea to put it at the roots,” he says, and suggests that you should instead apply it three to four inches below the root and comb it through your hair. “The scalp is one of the most porous parts of the hair, so if you put conditioner on the roots and the scalp, it’s difficult to rinse. Keeping conditioner away from your roots is important to eliminate grease.”

Finally comes the hurts-so-good part of the process—the cold-rinse—which Fekkai says is critical. “Warm water opens the shaft of the hair, and cold water closes them,” he says, noting that you should try to rinse with “the coldest water you can bear.” This helps seal ingredients inside the hair shaft, and will make strands look extra shiny.

While receiving a 750 dollar haircut from Fekkai himself may be a pipe-dream (unless, ya know, you’re Hilary Clinton), washing your hair in a way he approves of feels like a comparably close second.

Can’t tell if your hair actually needs a wash? Check this one spot. Here are three signs you should probably get your haircut, none of which has to do with split ends.