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Hair Care

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Mar 5, 2023.

Why is it important to keep hair clean?

Hair care increases blood flow to the scalp and removes oils and dirt. Clean hair prevents skin irritation or inflammation. Clean hair also helps a person feel and look better.

How do I comb or brush someone's hair?

Comb or brush the ends first and move toward the scalp. Use a comb with wide teeth to remove tangles. If needed, use a little hair oil to loosen tangles. Braid long hair or tie it back to prevent tangles. You can comb or brush a person's hair several times a day.

What do I need to know about shampooing someone's hair?

Use a shampoo tray if possible. A shampoo tray can be found at medical supply stores. It is made of hard plastic with a U-shaped opening for the neck to rest on. The tray is shaped to allow water to drain into a bucket. You can also make a shampoo tray at home:

  • Roll a large towel into a log.
  • Shape the towel log into a U.
  • Put the U-shaped towel log onto a large plastic trash bag.
  • Place the curve of the U under the person's neck and head. The person's head and hair should rest inside the trough made by the shape of the U.
  • Make sure the end of the plastic bag is hanging off of the bed.
  • Direct the edges of the plastic bag so the water drains into a bucket.

How do I shampoo someone's hair?

  • Gather supplies:
    • Shampoo tray
    • Towels and washcloths
    • Comb and brush
    • Shampoo and conditioner
    • Bucket
    • Basin with warm water
    • Plastic pitcher
  • Prepare the person and protect the bed:
    • Cover the person's neck, shoulders, and chest so he does not get wet.
    • Put the bucket on the floor or on a footstool at the head of the bed.
    • Cover the head of the bed with a waterproof pad to keep the bed from getting wet.
    • Gently lift the person's head and place the shampoo tray under his head with the U opening under his neck.
  • Wash, dry, and style the person's hair:
    • Wet the person's hair with warm water. Avoid his ears and eyes.
    • Put a small amount of shampoo on the person's head and gently rub his hair and scalp.
    • Rinse the person's hair with warm water until the shampoo is gone.
    • Apply conditioner to the hair, if desired, and rinse well.
    • Remove the tray or trough and replace it with a towel.
    • Gently dry the person's hair with the towel.
    • Comb or brush and style the person's hair.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

© Copyright Merative 2023 Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.