There is a lot of opinion as to what it takes to maintain healthy hair. Most people approach it with a combination of the information that they have learned through generations and what the new trends are. While healthy hair starts from the inside (consuming plenty of iron and protein), there are things that can be done on the outside. It is normal to lose up to 150 strands of hair per day, so don’t be alarmed when a small handful comes out—this is not always a sign of damaged hair. With a few precautions and a few tips, you will be able to treat your hair with the care that it deserves.
Only Wash Your Hair a Few Times a Week
Washing hair every day is a huge mistake in the long run. This will strip the natural oils from the hair—these oils are what protect and condition the hair naturally. When the hair is washed every day, the oil tends to over-produce and cause the hair to feel like it needs to be shampooed sooner. Two to three times a week is sufficient, and it will take a few months for the scalp to get used to this new routine. In the meantime, a quality dry shampoo will curb the oils.
Brush Hair Twice a Day
Regular brushing will lead to healthy hair, but take a page from Marsha Brady and pay attention to what you are doing. Once in the morning and once at night, give your locks a gentle brushing. Never brush hair when it is wet, as this is when it is weakest, and do not start directly at the scalp. When hair is wet, use a wide-tooth comb to get the tangles out.
Often times, we don’t really look at the amount of shampoo that we use, be it too much or too little. First of all, the type of shampoo should match the hair type: curly, color treated, damaged, etc. The amount of shampoo depends on length of the hair, but a dollop the size of a coin is a good start—and it should be applied to the scalp and not the ends of the hair. Massage the shampoo into the scalp to stimulate it and encourage circulation, all while avoiding hot water, as it dries out the hair.
Oil is Your Friend
Hair oils can aid in regulating the actual oil production for the scalp. It should be used in moderation, but it is beneficial for all types of hair including naturally oily. Castor oil is a friend to hair, when used sparingly it nourishes the scalp but many stores carry oil that is blended especially for different hair types.
Look Out For Alcohols, Sulfates, and Silicone
These are common additives in hair products, but more recently they are being phased out of popular brands. Alcohols and silicones cause the hair to be weighed down, and silicone will actually coat the hair. Sulfates strip the hair of oils and even color that has been applied. This dries out the hair, even when used with a conditioner because conditioners may also contain sulfates, silicone, and alcohols.
Lay Off the Heat
You already know to not wash with hot water, but stay away from over-use of heated styling tools as well. These heated tools will fry and dry the hair, making it more fragile and susceptible to breaking, split ends, and overall damage. If using a heated tool like blow dryer, straightener, or curling iron is absolutely needed, ensure that you are using a protective spray made especially for heat styling.