Hair care seems simple: shampoo whenever you’re in the shower and condition if your hair needs it, towel dry and add some sort of product to it before you dry and style. For some people though, this process can damage their hair and leave them wondering what to do. How do you begin to take care of your hair so that it looks smooth and shiny like hair in all the ads?
To begin with, it is important that you start from the inside. Your hair can only be as healthy as you are. It is important to make sure you eat a balanced diet, keep hydrated, and avoid unhealthy habits such as smoking.
Your scalp naturally makes a substance called sebum to protect your hair and skin. Sebum is an oily substance which, when there is too much of it, can make your hair look and feel oily. When you wash your hair and scalp you get rid of this natural layer of oil and your scalp works to replace it. If you feel like you have oily hair, washing it all the time will not keep it from looking oily. In fact, it has the opposite effect of stimulating the scalp to produce more oil!
Hair is as diverse as the people who have it, so there are many different types of hair out there. No matter what your hair type, there are many products out there that claim to tame it, thicken it, straighten it, etc. Here are a few guidelines when choosing a hair care regimen for your hair:
If you have Oily Hair it is best to start with a shampoo that is slightly acidic. You may want to shampoo twice to make sure you remove all the extra oil. If you feel like you need a conditioner, apply it only to the ends of your hair and not near the scalp.
To remove any residue that might weigh oily hair down use a clarifying rinse, or you can make a rinse out of lemon juice or apple cider vinegar and water that acts as a scalp tonic. For the lemon juice rinse: mix the juice of two lemons into a quart of distilled water and pour over your hair after you’ve shampooed. For the Vinegar solution: mix a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar into a pint of distilled water for a quick rinse after you’ve shampooed. A final rinse with cold water helps to constrict the openings of the glands that produce sebum, reducing oil production.
If you have Fine Hair, it is possible that you also have Oily Hair. People with fine hair tend to have more hairs on their head, and with each hair there are up to 3 oil glands—so that means more oil production! You should use our tips for Oily Hair making sure to keep buildup out of your hair (using a clarifying rinse or shampoo should help) so your hair won’t become limp. If your fine hair lacks body, you can use a shampoo formulated to add volume.
There are special hair cutting tricks that stylists use to make fine hair look fuller. Usually, a short haircut can make your hair seem fuller, adding layers to that short ‘do (or longer hair, if you don’t want to go short!) can also increase the look of fullness. Discuss this with your stylist—he or she can help maximize your hair with good cutting techniques!
If you have Dry Hair you should start with a shampoo that is ph neutral. Make sure you don’t shampoo any more than you need to. Too much shampooing can make your hair more dry and damage it. Make sure all of your hair care products, shampoo/conditioner and styling products, do not contain alcohol. Alcohol will dry your hair out even further.
There are products that you can apply daily to return moisture to your hair such as specially formulated conditioners. Home remedies such as plant oils can be used sparingly such as olive oil and coconut oil. However, do not heat your hair with an iron or blow dryer after applying these oils, it will burn your hair. A hot-oil treatment once a week can also be used to return moisture to your hair.
When styling dry hair, make sure you apply a product formulated to protect your hair against heat. Limit the use of heat treatments (curling irons, hair straighteners, etc.) on your hair as much as possible. If you blow your hair dry, try to do it on the lowest heat setting. Along the same lines, you should limit chemical treatments (coloring, perms, straighteners) of your hair since they will make dry hair even drier and may even damage it.
If your hair is dry, then you may also have Frizzy Hair. Following the tips for dry hair above may help get rid of your frizzy locks. Additionally, there are products available specifically designed for frizzy hair. Usually it is in the form of an oil that adds moisture back to the hair shaft. Home remedies may be used in the form of coconut or olive oil. Use these oils sparingly—just a few drops to your hands, rub them together, then run your hands through your hair concentrating on the ends. These oils should help to add moisture back to your hair.
Many women who have Curly Hair also complain of frizziness. It is important to keep product buildup off of your hair (using a clarifying shampoo) and using a good conditioner to keep your curly locks well hydrated. You can also use leave-in conditioners and anti-fizz serums for easy hydrating.
Keeping your curly hair free from damage is key. Don’t let your hair get too dried out or damage such as split-ends and breakage can cause your hair to look frizzy. A good cut from your stylist and a trip every 4-6 weeks should keep your hair healthy and maximize its curly potential.
Many people do not know what causes Dandruff, let alone how to get rid of it. It may surprise you to know that people with oily hair may have a greater tendency to get dandruff than those that have dry hair! This is because the sebum (oil) in the scalp causes clumps of dead skin cells from your scalp to stick together and become more noticeable. People with dandruff shed the skin cells from their scalp more often, creating more and more of these noticeable clumps (that then end up on your shoulders).
Dandruff can be caused by frequent exposure to extreme heat or cold, excessive perspiration, an allergic reaction to food or hair products, or a scalp-specific fungus (Malassezia globosa). Special shampoos can be used to combat dandruff. They work by decreasing the excessive shedding of skin cells (shampoos that contain Salicylic Acid) or combating the fungus (shampoos containing Zinc Pyrithione, or Selenium Sulfide). You may need to try them all to find out which shampoo works best to treat your dandruff. When these fail, consult your doctor for prescription medication. Home remedies for dandruff use Tea Trea Oil, which has anti-fungal properties.
Women’s Hair Loss is another issue that is not always understood. There can be many reasons why a woman loses her hair or has thinning hair. Some of it is a normal part of aging, some of it is inherited, and some can be caused by medications and even emotional stress. It is important to see your doctor if you experience a large amount of hair loss to determine if a treatment regimen will work for you. See our information regarding thinning/thin hair above for some tips on hair care and cuts to make the best of what you have!