When every day is a bad hair day
More often than not, a ‘bad hair day’ says as much about the health of your hair and how damaged it is, as it does about other factors. Proper hair care is about taking steps to avoid damage in the first place and knowing what to do when hair issues arise. Below we look at some of the most common hair problems and suggestions for dealing with them.
The environment has a large impact on how hair looks, feels and behaves. Whether it is heat, cold, humidity or wind; changes in the weather are a challenge for all hair types. Often, these conditions cause hair to become dry, so it is recommended to use products designed for dry hair to restore moisture levels.
Regular haircuts can be an important part of your hair care regime. Going too long between cuts can lead to dry, damaged hair and split ends. It is a good idea to get a trim every 6-8 weeks to maintain healthy ends, especially if you use hot tools frequently. The use of blunt scissors can further damage the ends of hair so be sure suitable implements are used.
Treatments involving the use of harsh chemicals such as hair dyes and bleach cause damage to your hair by permanently altering the structure of the hair. This weakens the strands and removes their natural moisture causes hair to be frizzy, brittle or look dull. Hair dyes work best if you select a colour within three shades of your natural colour. This is especially true if you are moving from dark to light shades. Extending the time between touch-ups is also beneficial to the health of your hair. Where possible, opt for semi or demi permanent procedures. Also try to only put your hair through one aggressive treatment at a time. For example, if you are colouring your hair one week, it is best to wait a week or two before subjecting it to straightening or perming, etc. to minimise damage.
Allowing hair to dry naturally is certainly the gentlest approach but if you must use blow dryers, it is important to hold the device at least 15cm from your hair and keep it moving continuously to reduce damage. When using curling or flat irons, it is often not necessary to use the hottest settings, which can cause heat damage and affect the texture of hair. This is especially true for those with fine hair. It is best to use heat tools only once a week and to use heat styling creams or other protective products to limit damage.
Shampoo and conditioner
When washing your hair, make sure to use shampoos and conditioners that are most suitable for your hair type. There are a range of products available for dry hair, oily hair, frizzy hair and hair which has been dyed. Don’t shampoo your hair every day and when doing so, rub near the scalp moving down your hair. With conditioner, rub near the ends, not the scalp.
While some products claim to moisturise your hair, some are not designed to soak deep into your hair strand. Products containing mineral oil or petrolatum simply coat the outside, preventing moisture from getting in. Look for products with natural oils like glycerine, olive oil or argan oil.
Treatments and hair masks
You’ve no doubt heard of face masks, but how about trying a hair mask! You can purchase one or even make your own using ingredients from your kitchen. For hair which has been overexposed to chemicals, a protein mask is a good idea. For those with dry hair, a moisturising mask is appropriate. If you’re using an oil treatment, don’t go overboard. Start with a few drops on the damaged areas and wash it out afterwards with a moisturising shampoo and conditioner to avoid heavy, greasy hair.
Finally, healthy habits can help to maintain healthy hair. A diet high in essential fatty acids (such as olive oil, salmon, avocado) will benefit your hair as will protecting your hair from sun damage by wearing a hat or using UV protection hair sprays. When swimming, it is a good idea to use a swimming cap in the pool and to rinse your hair before and after swimming as chlorine and salt water can strip hair of moisture. Be gentle when drying your hair as it is most fragile when wet and strands are at a greater risk of overstretching or breaking. If using a towel, don’t be too rough and avoid brushing your hair while wet. Make sure to brush gently, starting at the tips and working slowly towards the scalp. And at the end of the day, you can even care for your hair while you sleep! Long hair is best tied loosely back and short hair will benefit from a smooth pillowcase where friction is minimised.
While hair damage is generally difficult to reverse, with a few targeted treatments and better hair care habits, you can help to restore your hair back to looking and feeling great. For information about our range of hair care products, ask one of our friendly staff at a Chemistworks pharmacy near you.