In the age of blowout bars, extreme dye jobs, perms and heated styling tools everywhere you look, it’s not a question of if your hair is damaged but of how bad the situation really is. Before you start feeling hopeless because you’d sooner sell your soul than give up your flatiron, consider that even wrecked hair can be revived with a few adjustments to your routine.
Brush Your Hair Gently Once a Day
The idea of needing to do 100 vigorous strokes through your hair each day is nothing more than a myth, and can actually cause more damage than good because brushing your hair too harshly, as well as too frequently, scratches the scalp and damages hair.
So, how often should you be brushing your hair? This all depends on your hair type, but, generally, once a day should be enough. If your hair is extremely long or fine, you may need to brush it twice a day to prevent knots from forming, while those who have curly hair may even be able to brush it less, especially since curls are more fragile than straight hair.
You should begin brushing the lower half of your hair first, before working your way up to the roots, as this prevents your brush from tugging at your hair, because of any tangles, at your roots.
Do Not Wash Your Hair More Than 2-3 Times a Week
Many people often wonder how often they should be washing their hair, and the answer is… No more than two to three times a week. Your scalp produces natural oils, which are distributed down each strand of hair. The purpose of these oils is to nourish, condition and protect your hair, but, each time you wash your hair, these oils are stripped away. In order to compensate for this, your scalp’s oil production goes into overdrive, producing an excess amount of oil. This leaves your hair feeling thick and greasy, likely prompting you to wash it again, resulting in a never-ending vicious cycle.
In addition to interfering with your scalp’s oil production, water actually causes hair to swell from within, pushing the cuticle up. Over time, this causes more frizz and breakages.
Stock Your Shower
On those days when you do wash your hair, add a pre-shampoo to your routine. It works like a sealant, smoothing the hair’s cuticle before it gets wet so there’s less damage. We recommend this for all hair types except fine. It also protects against friction from massaging in shampoo. When your hair rubs together, the edges fray.
Be Gentle with Wet Hair
Wet hair is so much more delicate and fragile than dry hair, meaning that you need to treat it with the utmost of care. To begin with, make sure that you do not rub at your hair with your towel to dry it. Instead, blot it gently, as this will not only help to prevent damage, but will also encourage quicker drying.
You likely already know that you should never brush wet hair. A wide-toothed comb is a much safer alternative to help remove any tangles, saving your brush for once your hair is completely dry.
Use Your Shampoo Correctly
It can often seem as though the more shampoo you use, the cleaner your hair will be, but this is not at all the case. A dollop that is about the size of a quarter for average-length hair, with slightly more for long or thick hair, and less for short or thin hair.
Shampoo should only be applied to your scalp, and not to the ends of your hair. The ends will be cleansed as your shampoo runs down your hair when you are rinsing it off, so you do not need to be scrubbing away at them too. Instead, focus on your scalp, giving it a brief massage at the same time. This helps it to detoxify, while boosting circulation.
Do Not Underestimate the Power of a Conditioner
When you shampoo your hair, the cuticles, which are basically the outer shell of each strand, are roughed up quite a bit. A conditioner helps to smooth this back down, while re-balancing your hair’s pH level, which is usually thrown off by the ingredients in a shampoo. Conditioners also provide hair with a protective coating, not only important for when you style your hair, but also in terms of preserving color and moisture.
The key is choosing the right conditioner for your hair type…
Here are a couple of tips to keep in mind:
- Those with oily or limp hair should stay away from hydrating and moisturizing conditioners, as these will only add too much moisture to your hair. Instead, look for conditioners that strengthen or balance the hair, with added protein.
- Those with dry, dull or damaged hair need a moisturizing and hydrating conditioner, as well as one that is able to repair and protect the hair.
When it comes to actually applying your conditioner, this is designed to be used in the opposite way to a shampoo, meaning that it should only be applied to the ends of your hair, rather than the roots because applying conditioner to your roots will only end up causing greasy locks.
Never Use Heat Styling Tools Without A Heat Protector
When you are in a rush, it can be all-too-tempting to reach for that curling iron or your hair straighteners, and give your hair a quick once over. However, using heat styling tools on bare hair is something that you should never do. Heated styling tools can severely damage your strands, leaving you with breakages, frizz and split ends.
Make sure that you always apply a heat protecting product. These come in many forms, from oils to mists, so you will no doubt be able to find one that works well for you and your hair type.
Use a Regular Hair Treatment
Unlike regular conditioners, hair treatments are designed to target specific hair issues, whether this may be heat damage or a reduction in hair growth. Just like when choosing other products, the type of treatment you opt for should depend on your hair type, as well as its individual needs.
Here are a few guidelines to keep in mind:
- Damaged hair – An emollient treatment infused with botanicals and plant oils will contain antioxidants that repair and protect your hair, and should be used two to three times a week
- Dry hair – You need a deep-conditioning treatment once a week that will moisturize and revive your hair
- Curly/afro hair – This hair type needs constant attention, meaning a deep-conditioning treatment every three days, as well as leave-in conditioners through the week
While all of this may seem like a lot to remember, it will not take long until each of these ten rules become a habit for you. This is something definitely worth working on, as your reward will be hair that is healthier, stronger and shinier than ever before.