How To Keep Your Hair Healthy
Over the years my hair has been through a lot. At one point in time my inability to decide on blonde or black hair left me with hair unspeakably damaged. The constant back and forth had my hair breaking so badly I felt I was left with no choice.
My waist-long black hair was chopped onto a bob so short that the back of my neck was shaved. I was devastated and cried for a week straight. I also learned a lesson that’s never been forgotten. Since that time my hair color choices have been more conservative and consistent. And now with an autoimmune disease that wreaks havoc on my hair whenever it flares up, it’s just as important to maintain a good hair care routine.
It’s a sad irony that the things we do to make our hair look good can also cause a lot of damage to it. Getting our hair regularly bleached or colored plus constant heat styling will quickly leave hair damaged and hard to manage. Eventually, the bad hair days become more frequent and we end up trying even harder to tame our hair. The extra products and hot tools, unfortunately, create even more damage.
The good news is that with some small tweaks to your hair care routine, you can mitigate the damage and make a huge difference in your hair’s health. Even more, the damage can start to be repaired so that hair is strong, shiny, and easier to manage.
Here’s a list of my top hair care tips. All things that I’ve learned over the course of my own hair journey. These are the rules I stick to in caring for my own hair now. And I can honestly say that my hair is the healthiest it’s ever been.
How To Keep Your Hair Healthy
Avoid Excessive Hair Washing
Washing our hair strips it of natural oils and the moisture we need to keep it healthy and strong. Doing this too often can lead to dry brittle hair.
Wash your hair once or twice a week at most. If you have an oily scalp, it should eventually adjust to the less frequent washings and lessen its oil production. Use the right shampoo and conditioner for your hair type and look for one that doesn’t contain SLS. We love that rich lather that it produces, but it isn’t good for maintaining hair color and it drys out your hair. Gently massage the shampoo into your scalp and then rinse through to the ends. Unless for some reason your hair is very dirty or oily there isn’t a need to concentrate the shampoo on the ends of your hair. After washing be mindful of towel drying your hair. Gently dab at hair, never rub the towel into it. That will only cause breakage and frizz.
Deep Conditioning Hair Treatments
Once a week do a deep conditioning hair treatment. I personally rotate these two treatments each week.
Coconut oil is a super hydrating and easy all-natural treatment for your hair. Before you shampoo your hair, coat your hair in unrefined coconut oil. Leave it in for at least 20 minutes then shampoo as usual. If necessary double shampoo to remove all the oil before using conditioner.
Hair Masks. A deep conditioning hair mask after you shampoo will also add moisture, reduce frizz or strengthen hair. Adding this to your hair routine will immediately give you noticeable results.
Proper Hair Care Products
Using the proper hair care products is crucial in protecting your hair. Especially if you are using any hot tools for styling.
Products. A heat protection primer like this one from Gisou protects hair from heat damage caused by blow-drying, styling tools, and the sun. Finishing your freshly done hair with a lightweight styling oil can help protect color, add moisture, shine and fight frizz. And if making it through the week without daily hair washing is a challenge, a good dry shampoo can help. Dry shampoo powder works by instantly absorbing oil and refreshing styles while adding texture and volume.
Tools. Using the right hair tools matter. Always use a wide-tooth comb or a special detangling brush when combing wet hair. Wet hair is more delicate and can snap and break more easily. Picking the right hairbrush for your hair is equally important.
A boar bristle brush helps to condition your hair by transferring your body’s natural oils from roots to ends. It helps close the hair cuticle for maximum shine and color retention. This one from Mason Pearson has long been considered the Rolls Royce of brushes. And while they are expensive, I’ve used mine every day for 12 years now. And it won’t need replacing for many years to come.
Color. There is obviously a significant price difference between a salon visit and the price of a box of dye. Besides the difference in product quality, you’re paying for someone’s experience and expertise. This is one area where “you get what you pay for” is very obvious. Talk to your colorist about ways to lengthen the time between visits. Ombre hair has soft graduation of color that allows your roots to grow out without looking like it’s time to get your hair redone. Fewer salon visits mean, less bleach and less damage.
Cuts. Keep up on regular hair trims lets you make the most of new hair growth. This is especially important if you’re trying to grow out your hair. Waiting too long between trims leads to a lot of split ends and breakage. Hair can continue to split up the shaft causing further damage than to just the ends. In the end, your hair will have to be cut shorter to remove as many damaged ends as possible.
Minimize The Use of Heat Styling Tools
Applying too much heat to your hair when styling it will eventually lead to dry, dull, and damaged hair. As much as you can avoid heat styling tools altogether. Embracing our natural hair can be hard, but try playing around with different hairstyles that allow hair to look “done” without actually being done. When time allows, opt to air dry your hair instead of blow-drying it.
Tools. Invest in high-quality heat styling tools. They’re made with materials that cause less damage, keep a consistent heat level and offer more temperature options for varying hair types. Not only will they reduce the damage done to your hair, but they will also reduce the amount of time spent styling your hair.
Having beautiful healthy hair is an investment, whether it’s time, money, or both. But with a few tweaks and some commitment, every day can be a good hair day!