Do you like your hair?
For some people, the answer is an emphatic yes. For others, it’s an emphatic no.
For most of us, it’s probably somewhere in between. If that sounds like you, then something that might help you feel better about your hair is to improve your hair health.
So let’s learn. Here’s a quick guide that will show you how to boost hair health—and it'll make your hair look and feel better as a result.
Wash your hair.
You should wash your hair. We’re just full of mind-bending advice, aren’t we?
Obviously, washing your hair is a good thing, but there are nuances to how you wash your hair that can hold major sway over its general health. Is your hair ever a little greasy? Does it sometimes get dry? Do you have to deal with dandruff?
Even though you wash your hair regularly and use good shampoo and conditioner (more on that in a bit), you still have these problems. What gives?
Well, there are a couple of things.
First, (and we touch on this a lot) you might not be washing your hair with the right frequency. If you wash too often, you’ll dry your hair out and the absence of natural oils will cause your hair to get brittle and unhealthy. But if you don’t wash your hair often enough, it might get greasy or your scalp could get clogged pores. Either scenario makes your hair unpleasant.
Getting the timing right is important, and most people need to wash their hair somewhere from two to four times a week. Very few people need to wash their hair every day, and most people need more than once a week. If your hair isn’t exactly how you want it, experiment with this timing to figure out what works best for you.
The second thing you need to think about is water quality. Hard water really dries out hair, so you’ll need to reduce washing frequency to compensate for that. Artesian water often needs extra chemical treatments to remain safe, which can fry hair. Depending on where you live, tap water can have a range of pHs too.
How do you deal with this? Pay attention to what kind of water is coming out of your tap, and get haircare products that help with your specific situation.
Fortify your hair.
Speaking of products, getting the right stuff goes a long way. You need a good shampoo and conditioner, and you want a few key things from them. You want a shampoo that can reduce the oil content in your hair, remove microbes that could cause damage, and generally make your hair clean and clear.
The conditioner is mostly there to moisturize your hair. Removing oils is essential for cleanliness, but it can dry out your hair. Conditioner undoes this with things like coconut oil or aloe to hydrate the scalp and hair and keep it healthy.
If you have these essentials, you have good products. The last thing is to make sure that they’re designed to restore or maintain a healthy pH level in your scalp. That’s especially important if you live somewhere with alkaline water.
Use leave-in conditioner.
That actually covers the basics. From here, we can get deeper into hair care and advance your knowledge.
One of the most powerful weapons in your arsenal is leave-in conditioner. This is something that you work into your hair after a shower, and as the name suggests, it stays in your hair all day.
Your leave-in conditioner is your best opportunity to specialize your hair care. If you have oily hair, get a conditioner that accounts for that. If you have dry hair, compensate with the conditioner you choose. You get the idea.
Using leave-in conditioner regularly makes it easier to wash your hair less often, and it raises hair health to the next level. If you’ve ever wanted your hair to look like a model in a shampoo commercial, this step is mandatory.
Theoretically, you want really healthy, good-looking hair so that you can style it and show it off. Styling your hair is a natural thing to do, but if you aren’t smart about it, you can easily undo all of your other efforts with brutal styling products.
Aim for gentle products. Minimize how much you use things to color your hair (It can be fun, but many hair dyes are very damaging.) and be sure that none of your products are leaving your hair feeling dry, crispy, or otherwise unhealthy.
Also, don’t brutalize your head when you comb or brush. Gentleness is your friend, and a simple, gentle brushing session can help keep your hair clean and spread around your natural oils to keep it looking great.
Promote healthy hair.
Lastly, you want a lifestyle that helps with hair health. Washing, conditioning, and styling your hair are all part of the equation, but the rest of your daily life matters too.
You may not wash your hair every day, but if you need to shower every day, then learn how to shower without drenching your hair. Also, consider activities that can be hard on your hair. If you swim daily, your hair will take a beating, so you need to compensate with things like leave-in conditioner.
Your diet matters too. If your hair seems a little off despite doing everything else, look for deficiencies in your diet. A whole host of vitamins end up in your hair, and unhealthy hair is a sign that you need to revisit nutrition to find out what’s missing.
Sleep is on this list as well. If you’re not sleeping enough, the signs will show up in your hair. It’s pretty much impossible to have glorious hair on a sleep deficit, so figure that out.
The good news is that the things that make your hair healthy make your whole life healthy. So get in shape, eat right, and make time to sleep. You’ll feel better across the board, and your hair will look great.