Haircare: Shampooing, shaving.


        Hair that looks and feels good can influence your loved one’s appearance and psychological well-being. Clean hair prevents scalp and hair breakdown and improves circulation to the scalp. In general, you will only need to help your care recipient with combing hair. Remember to protect the pillow and shoulders with towels, remove any eyewear, and brush or comb the hair from the scalp to the hair ends. If the hair is tangled, start at the ends of the hair and work up to the scalp to remove the tangles. On some occasions, you may have to shampoo the care recipient’s hair. This can be done either at the sink or in bed. There are several devices you can buy that can make shampooing hair easier—especially if the care recipient is in bed. Follow the care recipient’s personal preferences when styling the hair or when buying shampoo and conditioner.

The following general rules always apply:

  • Wash the care recipient’s hair as outlined in the outlined procedure below.
  • Keep the care recipient out of drafty areas.
  • Never cut or color the hair.
  • Never give a permanent.
  • Never use a hot comb or curling iron.
  • Dry and style hair as quickly as possible.

        Washing, drying and styling a resident’s hair can take 30-60 minutes. Consider scheduling a shampoo on a non-bath day to conserve the client’s energy.

        Hair should be combed or brushed every day to stimulate scalp circulation and distribute natural oils to the ends of the hair shafts. Daily washing is not necessary, but hair should be washed on a regular basis, at least once a week, with a mild, non-irritating shampoo. Include the client in the planning of this routine. Be sure to check the individual’s hair and scalp before each shampooing to determine if any changes are needed in things like the type of shampoo.

        The client’s sense of dignity and well being are affected by the appearance of their hair. Some are not able to groom their own hair due to disability or illness. If hair care is part of the care plan; the following guidelines may be helpful.

        Brushing and combing are part of daily personal care. Vigorous brushing on a regular basis stimulates the circulation of the scalp. However, each person has a preference for the styling, combing, and brushing of their hair. They should be encouraged to do as much as possible for themselves.


        Most people wash their hair at least once a week; some prefer shampoos 2-3 times weekly, or even daily. There are several ways to assist with a shampoo. The method used depends on the client’s condition, safety factors, and personal preference. Always be sure the client’s hair has been brushed and all tangles have been removed.

Shampooing during the bath or shower:

        Clients who can shower will probably be able to shampoo at the same time.

        The aide should plan ahead and have the appropriate supplies for washing hair during the shower: shampoo, conditioner, a washcloth to shield the eyes, and an extra towel for the hair.

        Offer to help in whatever way the client may need. This may mean just handing supplies to the client or it may mean performing the entire procedure.

Shampooing at the sink:

        If a client can sit comfortably in a chair, she can probably be shampooed at the sink.

  • The chair is placed so that the person faces away from the sink. A rolled towel is placed at the edge of the sink counter to protect the client’s neck.
  • The client’s head is tilted over the sink and water is poured from a pitcher or sprayed from a nozzle during the shampoo and rinse.
  • Some clients prefer to stand and lean forward over the sink.
  • There is also a shampoo tray that can be used at the sink.
Shampooing the client in bed:

        Some form of the plastic trough or “shampoo ring” is needed to protect the bed linens from water. (Commercial products are available and recommended for the person who routinely needs to be shampooed in bed).

  • If using a makeshift trough, obtain a piece of plastic; a large trash bag will do. Wrap the edges of the plastic over a large rolled bath towel. This will make a raised boundary to prevent water from spilling onto the bed.
  • Place the raised edge of the plastic under the head of the client, draping it over the bed, and leading to a bucket positioned at the side of the bed.
  • A pitcher can be used to wet and rinse the hair. The bucket will collect discarded water as it runs off the bed.


  1.       Shampoo
  2.       Conditioner
  3.       Brush and comb
  4.       1-2 towels
  5.       Washcloth to cover eyes
  6.       Electric hair dryer, if desired
  7.       Shampoo ring or trough, bucket, and a pitcher of warm water
  •       Check the water temperature. It should be lukewarm when tested on the inside of your wrist.
  •       Ask the client to hold the washcloth over their eyes, if desired.
  •       Using a pitcher or the shower nozzle, apply water until the hair is completely wet.
  •       Apply a small amount of shampoo.
  •       Work up a lather with both hands. Start at the hairline and work toward the back.
  •       Massage the scalp with your fingertips.
  •       Rinse the hair thoroughly.
  •       Apply conditioner, if desired, according to directions on the bottle.
  •       Wrap the client’s head with a dry towel. Dry face and ears with the washcloth used to protect eyes.
  •       Rub the client’s scalp and hair with the towel.
  •       Comb the hair to remove tangles and snarls. A woman will probably prefer to have her hair curled in a preferred style.
  •       Dry the hair as quickly as possible.

        Both men and women often prefer to keep various parts of their body shaven. Most males feel much better when their face is clean-shaven. Some women may need to have their face shaved, as aging sometimes causes the growth of facial hair. When the care recipient cannot shave his or her own face, you may be asked to do it. Use only an electric or safety razor. Never use an electric razor when the care recipient is receiving oxygen. Do check with your care recipient to see how he wants a beard or mustache cared for. Women may want their legs and underarms shaved, also.

Shaving the care recipient
  1. Assemble equipment
    1. Towels;
    2. Washcloth;
    3. Shaving cream;
    4. Shaver;
    5. Basin of warm water;
    6. Shaving lotion or aftershave.
    7. Wash your hands.
    8. Place basin of warm water by the bedside.
    9. Have the care recipient in a semi-sitting position or on the back.
    10. Cover the care recipient with a bath towel.
    11. Wash the face and apply a warm, damp washcloth for 3-5 minutes to soften skin.
    12. Spread shaving cream generously over the area to be shaved.
    13. Hold the skin taut and shave skin in the direction of hair growth. Begin at sideburns, work downwards over cheeks, and down over chin. Work upward on the neck under the chin. Use short, firm strokes.
    14. Rinse razor often during the procedure.
    15. Rinse off any leftover shaving cream.
    16. Apply shaving lotion, if desired.
    17. Make care recipient comfortable.
    18. Clean and replace equipment.
    19. Wash your hands.

        An individual’s appearance makes a statement about how they feel about him/herself. Encourage the client to care for his/her hair so that they can present a neat and attractive appearance.