Healthy Hair: The Do’s and Don’ts

Most women do their best to achieve healthy, shiny hair. But are you aware that everyday mistakes can leave your hair dull and lifeless? Some common bad habits in hair care can result in damage, such as drying, breakage, and even hair loss. But how do you keep your hair healthy and shiny? Well, here are some kickass ways to maintain those locks and avoid bad hair days.

The Do’s

Look after your overall health

Our physical well-being affects our hair since hair is an ever-growing tissue. Have you had physical activity recently? How well are you eating and drinking? Are you controlling your stress, or it’s controlling you? Diet, especially getting enough iron and protein, is essential for healthy hair. Stress can speed up shedding, especially in the shower. In addition, a medical condition like a thyroid problem might also cause hair problems.

Protect your hair in the summer

And you think sunburn is only harmful to your skin? Well, it’s just as bad for your hair, although it won’t start to peel or turn red. Rather, repeated exposure to the sun will leave your locks dry and damaged, while lightening your dye-job. Whenever possible, cover up your hair with a scarf or wide-brimmed hat. Go for conditioners and moisturizing shampoos that provide protection against two kinds of ultraviolet rays that cause sunburn (UVA and UVB), and an SPF hair spray. Use the hair spray whenever you wear sunscreen.

Take care of your scalp

Your scalp is the bedrock of all hair follicles. But most people never tend to their scalp or even give it some thought. It’s recommended that you apply a scalp mask once a week, to help moisturize and exfoliate the scalp. Scalp masks typically have ingredients such as aloe vera, and help soothe the scalp while minimizing flaking.

Check on ingredients

Keep an eye on conditioner and shampoo labels before proceeding to the checkout queue. If a product has more than two ingredients—such as sodium laureth sulfate, ammonium lauryl sulfate, or sodium lauryl—it could damage your hair. It’s best to use organic hair products, which contain plant ingredients rather than chemicals.

Brush properly

Take the time to brush every morning to remove dirt, dust, as well as dry scalp material. If you are untangling wet hair, however, use a comb with wide teeth, as a hairbrush can be too painful. Choose a brush with natural bristles instead of one with plastic or metal bristles. It’s less likely to pull your hair out.

Trim regularly

Giving up even an inch of hair can be rather difficult if you’re looking for long, luscious hair. It’s necessary though. Ideally, go the salon every 6-8 weeks but you can go every 10 weeks if you want to maintain length. Trimming regularly prevents split ends from continuing to split and looking worse. If you have an intense styling practice—curling or straightening daily—you typically need more regular trims than someone who spots a more a natural appearance.

The Don’ts

Don’t swim unprotected

What could possibly spoil your day at the pool or beach? Chlorine or salt water. Both can damage your hair, causing split ends, drying it out, and stripping color. It’s recommended that you apply a strong leave-in conditioner on damp hair before swimming.

Don’t tie a very tight ponytail

Yes, they’re cute and convenient, but they could cause traction alopecia—hair loss due to a style that pulls on the scalp. Rather than tie tightly, opt for loose ponytails, braids, and buns, and let your locks down before going to bed.

It’s an even better idea to try holding back your hair with a headband. And if you can’t without a ponytail, vary the way you tie it—tie it to the side one day, high another, low the next—so you aren’t always stressing the very same strands.

Don’t over-wash it

Conditioning and shampooing every other day is enough, unless your locks are extremely oily. Washing too much causes dryness. If you over-wash hair constantly, it’s going to fade. It removes lots of natural oils, leaving hair less shiny. This is especially a problem if you’ve dyed your hair; blond and red tones are particularly likely to fade if shampooed too frequently. However, note that warm water is just as good as cold water for washing hair.

Don’t overuse appliances

Even if they’re more expensive, invest in reliable tools. Ensure that they have different heat settings and display the temperature (in flat irons). Your hair dryers should feature a diffuser to distribute the heat more evenly. Be sure to check out Oomphed for more about hair dryers. However, it’s best to dry your hair naturally whenever possible. According to a study published in 2011 in Annals of Dermatology, brow-drying your hair can cause loss of color, dryness, and roughness. Use dryers only on special occasions, and make sure the air is cool.