Our hair is like a hat we can never take off, so it makes sense that a lot of people want to do what they can to make sure their hair looks (and ideally is) healthy. And while yes, getting regular trims can cut down on split ends and other troubles, they’re not always a possibility — whether it’s because you’re extremely busy and all about that dry shampoo, never seem to get around to the salon when it’s actually open, or there’s something like a global pandemic that can cause everything to shut down for months on end. And while salons are considered “non-essential,” keeping up with your hair care and maintenance is essential if you want to keep it healthy. Here are a few quick beauty tips for keeping your hair healthy, regardless of the type.
Know Your Hair Type
Before we get into specifics, it helps to understand a few key factors. According to Healthline, these are:
- Your hair type and texture
- How often you use hair products
- Your activity level
Once you’ve figured that out — and factored in your personal preferences — you’ll have a better idea of things like how frequently should you wash your hair (depending on whether it’s usually dry, oily, or a combination of the two).
No matter your hair type, getting those regular trims, avoid washing it every day (we’re looking at you oily hair types, no matter how tempting it may be), and load up on antioxidant-rich foods, and don’t forget your vitamins.
Vitamins For Healthier Hair
Speaking of vitamins, not all serve the same purpose and, as such, some are better than others when it comes to your hair. Vitamin A, B, C, D, and E are the five most important ones when it comes to hair and help to strengthen, fortify, increase hair growth and impede hair loss in the case of Vitamin D.
A good and balanced diet that includes iron, zinc, and protein can also strengthen and lead to healthier hair and scalp.
Brush Your Hair Before You Wash It
For most hair types, it’s a good idea to brush your hair out before hopping in the shower. “When your hair is wet it is more vulnerable to breakage,” Sunnie Brook, a Los Angeles-based celebrity hairdresser tells Good Housekeeping, “so always brush knots out of your hair when it’s dry.” Brushing your hair when it’s dry (regardless of whether or not it’s immediately before a shower) helps distribute its natural oils, so they aren’t all stuck on your scalp and can condition the ends.
Pay Attention to Ingredients in Products
Again, regardless of hair type, you should check the ingredients in any products before they go on your hair. To start with, try to avoid shampoos, conditioners, and other treatments that contain parabens, formaldehyde, and sulphates that can each damage your hair and/or scalp in different ways. And while you’re reading that label, if you see ingredients like coconut oil, Argan oil, aloe, or spirulina, those can help your hair look especially healthy.
Use Conditioner (But Not Too Much)
Though it can be tempting to think that more conditioner is better, that’s not necessarily the case. In fact, unless your hair is super long, a dollop of conditioner the size of a nickel is plenty. “Apply your conditioner first to the mid-shaft and ends of your hair; then work your way up to the scalp,” Brook tells Good Housekeeping. And make sure to keep the conditioner on for at least a minute (2 to 3 minutes is even better) to let it sink in and work its magic. Also, you may not need to use conditioner every time you wash your hair. Experiment with this a little to find out what works best for you. And, as the AAD points out, you should make sure that you coat the ends of your hair with conditioner because they are the oldest and most fragile part of your hair.
Cool Things Down
If you finish blow-drying or flat-ironing your hair and it still feels hot to the touch, you may shrug it off as a logical byproduct of heat-styling your hair. While that’s true, it also means the heat is continuing to damage your hair. You probably used high-quality products to prep your hair before heat styling. However, protecting your hair from heat doesn’t just happen before you style it. In fact, a big part should take place right after — using the cold-shot button on your hairdryer after heat-styling will stop heat retention in its tracks.
Dry With Care
When you get out of the shower or bath, you probably wrap your hair in a towel and leave it that way for a while, right? You’re actually committing a hair sin and didn’t even realize it. After getting out of the shower, women tend to leave their hair in the towel for like 30 minutes,” Giovanni Vaccaro, Glamsquad’s creative director, told Prevention. “A cotton-based towel causes friction on the hair, and it’s more prone to damaging the strands to the point where the hair breaks off.”
Vaccaro recommends using a microfiber towel or old, clean t-shirt to soak up excess water instead. Then, let your hair air-dry (to about 80 percent dryness for fine-to-medium hair and 50 percent for thicker hair) before hitting with the hairdryer.
Postpartum Hair Loss Tips
If you’ve ever been pregnant you’ve definitely heard other women give you that side-eye and warn you to enjoy your hair now before it all falls out after you give birth. But what is postpartum hair loss anyway and what can you do about it? In short, your natural hair cycle is altered during pregnancy, so hair that would normally fall out does not. But at around three months postpartum, as some of your hormones return to normal, the hair growth cycle slowly returns to normal, which makes much of the hair that should have fallen out do so all at once. It may feel like the process may never stop, especially when you’re shedding hair literally as you go about your day, but it truly is temporary. Most women’s hair cycles go back to normal within six to 12 months postpartum.