Are those locks fried and frizzy? Dry and damaged? Here’s how to take care of your mane.
We spend a lot of time looking at our hair, touching it, tending to it: Choosing the most effective shampoo and conditioner. Washing, blow-drying, and styling it. Colouring it. Curling or straightening it.
But that doesn’t necessarily mean our tresses are healthy.
People often don’t have a good hair routine, we’ve got a bazillion moisturisers and protectors for our face, but we’re abusing and depleting our hair.
So how do you keep those locks shiny and healthy?
Hair is an ever-growing tissue affected by our physical well-being.
Diet, particularly getting enough protein and iron, is vital to hair health.
Stress can accelerate shedding, particularly in the shower.
And a medical condition, such as a thyroid problem, could also cause hair issues.
What could possibly dampen a day at the beach or pool? Salt water or chlorine.
Both can wreak havoc on hair, drying it out, causing split ends, and stripping colour.
We recommend applying a strong leave-in conditioning treatment to damp hair before hitting the water.
They’re convenient and cute, yes, but they could lead to traction alopecia, or hair loss caused by styles that pull on your scalp.
Instead of tying tightly, aim for loose braids, buns, and ponytails, and let your hair down before going to sleep at night.
It’s important to get the right tie, some are better than others.
The thicker ones work well, and the ones that don’t have a seam breaking up the middle.
They’re a little gentler on your hair.
Even better: Try holding it back with a headband, instead.
And if you must go the ponytail route, alternate the way you put it up—tie it low one day, high another, to the side the next—so you’re not always stressing the same strands.
Eyeball shampoo and conditioner labels before heading to the checkout line.
If a product contains more than two detergents—like sodium lauryl sulfate, sodium laureth sulfate, or ammonium lauryl sulfate—it could strip your hair.
We recommend organic products, which are made with natural plant ingredients instead of chemicals.
Even if they’re pricier, invest in good tools.
Make sure they offer different heat settings and, in the case of flat irons, display the temperature.
Hair dryers should have a diffuser to help distribute heat more evenly.
Still, it’s best to let your hair dry naturally whenever possible.
Reserve dryers for special occasions, and keep the air cool.
Beware flat irons, too: While they may make your hair look smooth and sleek, they can also turn it dry and brittle, leading to frizz and heavy-duty breakage.
If you must use a flat iron, keep it on the coolest heat setting possible.
And don’t even consider turning it on until your hair is completely dry; otherwise, you’ll end up with a lot of steam and damaged locks.
Spend some time brushing each morning to remove dust, dirt, and dry scalp material.
If you’re untangling wet hair, use a wide-tooth comb, since a hairbrush will be too harsh.
Opt for a brush with a natural bristle instead of one that’s metal or plastic.
They’re less likely to needlessly pull hair out.
Shampooing and conditioning every other day will suffice, unless your tresses are extra oily.
Washing too frequently causes dryness.
Just like when you wash your clothes too much—they fade.
It pulls out too many of your natural oils, so you won’t have as much shine.
This is particularly a concern if you’ve coloured your hair; red and blonde tones are especially likely to fade if you shampoo too often.
Note, however, that you don’t need to wash with cold water: That’s just a myth. Warm water works just fine.
Parting ways with even half an inch can be excruciating if you’re in pursuit of long, luscious locks.
But it’s necessary.
Ideally, head to the salon every six to eight weeks, though you may be able to push it to 10 if you’re trying to maintain length.
Regular trims keep split ends from splitting more and more.
Those with an intense styling routine—straightening or curling every day—typically need more frequent trims than those who sport a more natural look.
One way to tell if it’s time to call the salon: Inspect the bottom of your hair.
If it doesn’t come to a blunt end, you may be overdue.