THE MANE EVENT

tips for healthier hair

text by Fiona Clarke

In recent years the number of hair products available on the market has increased dramatically. Realizing that each woman’s locks are different, the beauty industry has responded by focusing on products that address texture, length, style, climate, etc. But there are some basics that apply to everyone. From curly to straight, thick to thin, short to long, here some are tips for healthier hair.

CLEAN & CLEANSE

There continues to be an on-going debate among professionals about how frequently to wash your hair. Some feel that daily washing leads to hair frizz and breakage, while others think the shampoo itself causes dryness and damage.These experts recommend skipping a day or two between shampoos to give your hair time to recover its natural hair oils. 

On the flip side, others feel that oily hair requires more frequent washing. Working out, stress factors and dealing with the Valley’s triple-digit summer temps will increase your oil production, prompting you to shampoo more frequently. Advocates of frequent hair washing frown on using dry shampoo spray in-between cleansing because they can cause buildup over time, clogging the pores in the scalp. 

What it comes down to it, how often you should wash your hair really depends on your hair type, lifestyle and personal preference. What is important is that you wash your hair properly. Use a clarifying shampoo to deeply cleanse your hair, getting rid of any product build-up. Really use your fingers to stimulate the scalp, get the blood flowing, and get in there and dislodge dead skin and product buildup. Remember to wash the hairline where makeup and face cream cause greasy buildup.

MOISTURIZE & MORE

The right amount of moisture helps give your hair shine and bounce. Without it, you run the risk of dry, brittle hair which can lead to breakage and split ends. Moisturizers are designed to hydrate and reduce frizz, coating strands with soothing agents. Since hair is nourished from the roots, be sure to give special attention to the ends.

If your hair needs an extra pick-me-up, a moisturizing mask will do wonders. It’s more extreme and will need to stay on your hair upwards to 30-minutes before rinsing. Use when necessary or, depending on your hair’s condition, make it part of your weekly or monthly regime. Everyday wear-and-tear can add up, so counteracting it with an intense treatment can be more restorative than your usual routine alone.

For the final rinse to remove conditioner, use a generous amount of cold water. It will help lock conditioner into your hair by closing the cuticles, resulting in a healthy sheen. After combing, but before using your blow dryer, flat iron or curling iron, use an intense hydrating hair product to protect each hair strand and keep it shiny and silky. A silicone spray will be helpful. Just be sure to use it sparingly as it can weigh down delicate hair. 

COMB & BRUSH

Be gentle with your hair. Pat and never rub your hair dry after a shower—if possible, switch to a microfiber towel which is less abrasive than traditional bath towels. All hair requires gentle hair detangling before drying and styling to avoid hair breakage. Unfortunately, most of us attack our wet hair as though it’s the enemy. The cardinal rule when detangling hair is to comb in small sections, starting at the ends and slowly and very gently working your way up. This way you can remove the tangles instead of aggressively trying to break through them.

Hair is more fragile when wet, so it’s a good idea to apply a product first to help the comb glide. Experts say that anything you put between your hair and a comb is better than nothing at all. Even a texture spray or gel can work as a detangling agent. Finding products that work takes trial and error. How you apply them matters, so don’t be afraid to experiment. Try a little one day and more the next until you strike the right balance. And, be sure to distribute evenly, going through the strands. 

Using the right hair tools in your beauty regimen makes all the difference.  To smooth wet hair, consider a wide-toothed comb or pick. Then, when it’s time to blow dry hair, many professionals recommend a boar bristle brush. Boar hair is very similar in texture to human hair and allows the brush to gently massage the scalp, which helps distribute hair oils and produce perfect shiny hair while styling.

DIET & SUPPLEMENTS

What we eat and drink affects our entire body, including our hair. Staying well hydrated each day can keep your hair looking healthy and glossy. Food such as leafy greens, nuts, meats, poultry, fruit, cheeses, eggs, fish and whole grains are good sources of vitamins, minerals, fiber and proteins that can help to build strong keratin.

Many professionals recommend an over-the-counter supplement. In addition to promoting hair and nail growth, they also improve the quality of your hair. Containing fish-derived collagen, biotin, amino acids, B12, folic acid and antioxidants these supplements, when taken daily, have proven to strengthen and improve the health of hair. 

Consider resting your head on a silk pillowcase. Cotton cases, even at the highest thread count, are damaging. When rubbing against cotton, the texture pulls the hair, opening the cuticle, disturbing it. Silk reduces the friction and absorbs less moisture, keeping your hair more hydrated and therefore healthier. 

LAST WORDS

The key to healthy hair is to be gentle. Pat and never rub your hair dry after a shower. If possible, switch to a microfiber towel which is less abrasive than traditional bath towels. Use a brush specifically designed to be used on wet hair to detangle your strands to avoid snags and breakage. Detangle your strands pre-shampoo using the ends to roots method above to help avoid more tangles in the shower. When brushing your dry hair use a wide-tooth comb to get rid of tangles and knots instead of your paddle brush which can be harsher on tangled hair. By treating your hair with a gentle touch you’re less likely to experience tangles, split ends and damage in the first place.