14 Sep Hair care
The condition of your hair relies on many different factors:
- genetics, which you can’t do anything about,
- lifestyle: which you totally control, and
- grooming habits, which you also totally control (well maybe not totally depending on your budget and parents’ involvement in style monitoring!).
Let’s start with lifestyle
Lifestyle: The health of your hair is greatly influenced by nutrition. The only way hair is able to repair itself and grow is through the nutrients you provide it in the foods you eat. Thus, a good varied diet means healthier hair (read about nutrition here). Smoking is horrible for hair (it’s horrible for just about everything) and so is stress. Try to limit stress, don’t smoke. Click here to read about smoking. Click here to get some stress tips.
- Wash your hair in warm water—hot water can dry out the hair shaft. Use a shampoo that matches your hair type. Rinse your hair with water first, then apply shampoo, and then rinse thoroughly. Shampoo left in the hair can dry it out. Repeating the shampoo process can dry out the hair as well, OR, with oily hair, stimulate the glands to produce more oil (washing removes the oil, so the body will sometimes produce more oil to compensate)! So only lather up once! As a general rule, wash your hair according to your hair type, your lifestyle and how often your hair needs it. For example, people who exercise may need to lather up more often. Some hair stylists recommend washing your hair every 2-3 days on average. The less you wash your hair, the more it adjusts to that time table and the less oily it may become over time. Your hair becomes dry after washing it, so too much washing produces dry hair. Something to think about!
- Conditioners moisturize hair, protecting it and reducing static (goodbye electric shock head!). It also makes it easier to detangle and thus less likely to break as you comb out those tangles. You generally don’t need to put conditioner on your roots, because the roots have the most oils already, and you should leave the conditioner in for a minute or two so that your hair can absorb it.
- Hot air drying can dry out your hair, so many hair experts recommend letting your hair dry naturally first, squeezing out the excess water with a towel. When blow drying, try using a cooler setting and do not keep the nozzle in one place for more than a few seconds. Excessive use of hot irons–curling or straightening—will also cause damage due to the heat.
- Brushing and Combing–use a natural bristle brush–it’s softer and thus less damaging to the hair. Hair is most vulnerable to breakage when it’s wet so avoid excessive brushing, until your hair is dry. A wide toothed comb can help tame your hair while it’s wet (notice hair stylists only comb your hair when it’s wet). Don’t forget to clean out your brushes and combs and to wash them regularly as well!
- Avoid products with alcohol in them as they, too, dry out the hair, and try not to put mousses, gels etc., directly on your scalp as it will clog your scalp pores!
- Use soft bands when tying back your hair. Rubber and even many elastic bands cause breakage.
- Any type of coloring will dry out the hair shaft–whether you are stripping your hair of color or adding color to it.
- Don’t chew on the ends of your hair. Yes, obvious, we know, but we had to say it.