Hair: How to Look After Your Hair and Improve Its Health

In a time of hair straighteners, dyes and perms, it can be a scary thought to think you’ve had it with your hair. It may seem too much damage has been done and things are now beyond repair. Well, there is hope and all is not lost.

Some of the common foul plays that contribute to bad hair include washing every day, using really harsh chemicals to applying wrong products. Hopefully after reading this post you can learn and change your hair care routine and revive its health.

When it comes to hair care, it’s more about doing less and avoiding certain bad practices, rather than using every product under the sun. As they say, less is more, and getting healthy, strong hair is not as difficult as you think. Let’s first look at some of the things to avoid.

Avoid At All Cost…

Shampoo Every Day – Our hair produces its own natural oil (also known as sebum), in order to keep it moisturised. Of course throughout the day it gets dirty due to external factors such as pollution or dirt, so it needs to be washed. But washing it daily strips out the natural oil and will lead to hair becoming dry, dull and more prone to breakage.

We all have different hair. So how often you wash it will depend on your hair type. Thicker, less oily hair will require less shampooing. In these cases, you can go without shampooing for 2 to 3 days. While those with oily scalp or those living in humid environments can wash more often.

There are those who advocate the ‘no poo’ approach. This is where you don’t use shampoo altogether and use other techniques such as applying baking soda and apple vinegar to wash your hair. Personally I’m not a fan of this method as I don’t believe it cleans the hair well enough.

Harsh Chemicals – I’ve never been a fan of strong hair dyes or shampoos filled with harsh chemicals. When buying hair products I always make an effort to go for ‘more natural’ ingredients. They are as effective and much kinder to my hair. The problem with harsh products is the long term, in some cases irreversible damage they cause. The most obvious range from hair fall, dull texture, split ends to itchy scalp.

One of the common ingredient to avoid is sulphate. Sulphate is notorious for stripping away the natural oil in the hair. It acts as an emulsifier which leads to hair becoming dry and brittle. Another one to avoid are parabens. These are preservatives which extend the shelf-life of products. Research seems to suggest a link between parabens and breast cancer. Though the validity can be questioned, it would be best to avoid.

Instead, if you’re looking for natural and organic shampoos, then Green People have a wide range of sulphate and silicone-free that are worth looking at. Natural plant extracts make up most of the ingredients and the shampoos are suitable for all hair types.

Be Careful with Straighteners – Overusing hair equipment such as straighteners can really damage your hair, especially if its already dry and unmanageable. You are also likely to get split ends as the heat will make it more prone to breakage. Of course you shouldn’t use straighteners everyday, but that doesn’t mean you have to stop using them altogether.

When buying a straightener make sure it is good quality. A cheap alternative may be tempting but it’s not worth the effort. A quality straightener won’t overheat and will ensure the heat is distributed evenly. Ideally you should set it to a low temperature and work through to get the desired results.

Before you start straightener, make sure the hair is dry. Never use on wet hair as you’ll certainly do serious damage. Also, I would strongly recommend you buy some heat protective spray and use that before. It will help protect your hair from extreme heat by forming a protective barrier on top.

Clean Your Brush – It doesn’t matter how clean your hair is, if you’re using dirty hair brushes or combs then you are simply putting bacteria back in. Think about it, what sort of things get stuck in your hair brush – dust, germs, oil from your scalp. Unclean brushes and hair equipment are a breeding ground for bacteria. Therefore it is important to remove the hairs from your brush and once a month give a thorough clean – You can use wipes to clean straighteners and hairdryers, and shampoo-clean your combs and brushes.

Trim Split Ends – If your hair is prone to split ends, it is a good idea to get them trimmed every 6 to 8 weeks. Doing this will allow hair to grow more as it reduces breakage. Otherwise hair will appear rough and hard to manage. For those who suffer from split ends and breakage, there are decent conditioners in the market. Again, Green People have a good range on offer.

Environmental Factors – Staying out in the sun for long durations will certainly affect the health of your hair. Hair that has been exposed to heat will tend to be more dry and lifeless. The most obvious advice would be to wear a hat or cover your hair. However, there are hair products that will give some protection from the heat. I would suggest buying one at least in the summer months.

Give Life to Your Hair…

Below are a few things you can do to your hair that will give it life and help it to stay healthy.

Hair Oil – Certain oils such as olive or coconut oil are really beneficial for the health of your hair. Olive oil is rich in vitamin e and helps in reducing hair fall. It is ideal for those with itchy scalp or dandruff. Apply and massage the oil into your hair, making sure it gets to the root. Doing this will nourish the scalp and moisturise the hair. As a result, hair will appear smooth, break less and have a healthy glow. The benefits of olive oil go beyond hair, read the post ‘Is Olive Oil Good for Your Skin, If So, How?‘ to find out how it benefits the skin as well.

Hair Masks – I’ll probably do a separate post on this… There are a lot of effective homemade hair masks you can make that are really good for bringing hair back to life. For example, those with dull, lacklustre hair can try an egg hair mask. Simply get 2 tablespoons of egg yolk, 2 tablespoons of aloe vera and 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Mix well and apply to hair. Leave on for 30 minutes then rinse with cold water. This remedy really works to prevent hair breakage and helps in hair growth.

Good Diet – You are what you eat and eating the right food will help when it comes to the health of your hair. Make sure to consume lots of fruits and vegetables. For example did you know that avocados have 20 vitamins, including vitamin c, iron and biotin. While oranges are loaded with vitamin c and antioxidants. By consuming these regularly it will help keep your hair healthy and aid its growth.

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