Tips for healthy hair
I went to the store yesterday with wet hair. When commented upon, I replied that using a hair drier just made me look like a poodle. The other problem I have with using hair driers is that they make my hair even more dry than it normally is. Curly hair tends to be dry and mine is no exception so to counteract this tendency I use rich shampoos, minimise hair washing to twice a week and ensure I get heaps of good oils in my diet. Whether you have dry, normal or oily hair, there are some key ways you can look after your hair.
You are what you eat
We’ve heard it all before, but nutrition is key when it comes to healthy, shiny hair. Why? Because hair not only depends on a constant supply of blood and oxygen, but also nutrients, and a deficiency in these nutrients will show up on your skin, hair and nails. Brittle, dry or dull hair that easily breaks is therefore a tell-tale sign of poor nutrition. Eating protein three to five times a week will help maintain hair colour and texture, while keeping a close check on sugar levels will also help – high sugar consumption creates a higher demand for B group vitamins, which can also affect your locks. On top of this, an imbalance between good and bad fat consumption can either lead to an overly dry and flaky scalp and dry hair or excessive oil production. Correcting the imbalance will help to normalise the health of the scalp and the relative dryness or oiliness of the hair.
It’s all in the suds
The type of surfactant in your shampoos may also be wrecking havoc with your locks – those containing sodium or ammonium lauryl sulphate contribute to irritated and dry scalp and hair issues. Softer surfactants such as decyl glucoside and coco glucoside or coco betaine are better choices.
Try to avoid conditioners and stying products containing added silica as this will build up on the hair shaft and create ‘artificially’ shiny and silky hair. These products also increase the need to wash hair, which in turn dries the hair out, creating a cycle of poor hair management and ultimately poor hair health.
Blow-drying or straightening your hair, if done excessively, can also cause damage, weakening the hair shaft. The less you dry and straighten, the better the hair condition will be. In conventional styling products synthetic plastics such as PVP (polyvinyl pyrrolidone polymer), acrylic copolymers, VA (vinyl acetate), polymer and acrylamide polymer are used as holding agents, all of which are synthetic petroleum-based plastics. While these may not be specifically damaging to your hair, they are not environmentally friendly and are easily absorbed through the scalp, contributing to the total toxic load your body has to deal with. Instead look for natural products containing beeswax or coconut oil and sugar biopolymer-based products instead of hair spray or mousse. The natural wax products will also help to keep the hair shaft moisturised.
Wash less often
Most people wash their hair too often, stripping back the protective oils from the scalp and hair. If your scalp is dry or itchy try waiting an extra day before washing, allowing the sebum to protect the scalp for longer. Washing twice weekly for normal to dry hair is a good benchmark – obviously oily hair needs to be washed more frequently.
If you have any great hair tips please let us know.
Read other articles on this topic:
- Hair Health & Common Issues with Styling Products
- SLS free shampoo & silica free conditioner
- The chemicals in clean hair
- Hair washing and scalp care