You’ve gone to the beauty supply store, and your bag is about to burst—with hair care brands you’re impatiently waiting to test. Now, the moment is finally here! But before you tear through that packaging, consider this: There’s a science to trying new products. That means, don’t just slather on layer after layer of shampoo, conditioner or oil. First, set yourself up to get the best results possible. How? Let give you a high five: Rules to use when trying new products.

Rule 1: Thoroughly wash your hair.

Do you have leftover styling gel in your tresses? Maybe a little bit of coconut oil or just plain ol’ dirt? Any residue left on your scalp and in your strands affects how a new product works on your hair. When chemicals react, your ’do might suffer. To avoid bad results, wash hair with a simple shampoo and let your tresses dry before you begin to experiment.

Rule 2: Select a style with care.

Don’t try a new product the same day you test out a new hairstyle. Why? Because one is bound to fail. Chances are that you either didn’t master the hairstyle technique or didn’t figure out how your hair will behave with a new shampoo, conditioner or gel. When your style falls flat, you won’t know what’s to blame. Instead, when you try something new, style your hair in a favorite style you’ve perfected. This way, you’ll be able to focus on how the new product works on your hair instead of how the style looks.

Rule 3: Follow package directions.

No, you don’t know everything, so before you pour a bottle’s contents take the time to carefully read the label and follow instructions to a T. Does it say to apply the product after moisturizing? When hair is wet or damp? Do you comb the stuff through or wash it out? For the first time, always follow the manufacturer’s recommendations. After a few experiences with the product, you can develop your own routine.

Rule 4: One product at a time, please!

Repeat this rule: Only try one product at a time. Don’t test several new products at once. Why? Because you wont know which product worked and which didn’t. When you test one product at a time, you’ll be able to focus on its effects exclusively.

Rule 5: Try the product again.

Don’t expect every product to be a rock star. In general, use new stuff twice before ditching it. And if it doesn’t work, don’t be scared to try another new product.

Now that you’ve tried a few new shampoos, conditioners and whatnot, here’s how to use them to get picture-perfect hair every time. Click here for more.