You may think that beautiful hair is a result of expensive treatments and a lot of time invested.
But the truth is that many expensive treatments are done to try to recover hair from accumulated damage caused by bad hair rituals.
If you take good care of your hair daily, probably you will need less of those ‘extra treatments’ and even better, when you make them you will see better results since you are starting already from a well-cared hair.
On average the hair grows 1 cm (around 0.4 inch) per month. That means that after 12 months you have around 12 cm (or about 4.8 inches) of ‘new hair’!
If you start today to change the way you care for your hair, those changes will be increasingly noticeable, especially in your ‘new hair’!
See below for 12 tips to improve your hair appearance and health, and why you should do that. They are all science-based tips and do not require a lot of resources to work.
Your ‘current hair’ (the piece that is already there) will also benefit from the tips below.
1. Be gentle in the way you manipulate your hair from washing to combing and style.
The hair fibers are ‘dead structures’, in other words the damage in your hair accumulates with time. Studies show that friction, excess of hair combing and hair pulling are factors that contribute significantly to hair damage, removing hair protein and weakening the hair structure.
2. When shampooing, focus the massage on the scalp and hair roots, avoiding excess of friction.
There’s a belief that to provide a good hair cleansing, the hair needs to be massaged a lot, while generating a lot of foam. But that just contributes to tangle and damage the hair. Studies show that friction can contribute to 7x more protein removal on hair that’s massaged a lot than hair washed with minimal friction.
3. Use conditioner, focusing the application from the middle to the tips of the hair.
Conditioners decrease the friction between hair fibers, facilitating hair combing and helping protect hair against damage. Some people feel the conditioner leaves their hair oily. To avoid that, focus the conditioner application on the middle to hair tips and rinse well.
4. Reevaluate the frequency of your hair washing. Does your hair need to be washed with your current frequency or have you just entered a habit of daily washing?
Shampooing keeps the hair and scalp clean and that is an important step to have beautiful hair. But the washing process also helps to damage hair through removal of hair protein and potential removal of hair color. Sometimes we enter into a habit of daily washing without evaluating if that is really needed. So why not try skipping some washings and see how you feel? If you conclude that you need daily washing, try to use a mild shampoo and avoid excess of friction.
5. Avoid use of extreme hot water when washing your hair.
Studies show that use of hot water (about 40C or 104F) combined with hair washing contributes to damaging hair, causing holes and cracking the fibers. So, try to avoid washing your hair for a long time with water at high temperatures.
6. Avoid combing your hair while it’s wet. Get the hair as dry as possible before combing and detangling.
When hair is wet, it elongates more and breaks easier compared to dry hair. In other words, you need to put less force to break your hair if you comb it wet than when the fiber is dry. Since it’s difficult for most people to wait for their hair to dry before combing it, the main message is to be even more careful and gentle when combing wet hair.
7. Apply a leave-in conditioner in your hair tips before detangling.
This tip is more important for medium to long hair. The application of the leave-in conditioner helps to decrease friction between fibers, facilitating detangle. It also helps to keep a layer of protection on the hair tips to avoid split ends.
8. When you use the hairdryer avoid using it in the hottest temperature. Instead try to use it set to ‘warm’. And keep a distance between the hairdryer and your hair.
Studies show that usage of a hairdryer contributes to changing the hair color and damaging the hair structure. The main reason is the high temperature combined with the act of pulling the hair with a brush. To minimize the damage, you can avoid constant usage of the hairdryer and keep a distance between the equipment and the hair while using it.
9. After drying your hair, apply a bit of hair oil in your hair tips.
Again, this tip is more important for medium to long hair, the hair oil helps to facilitate combing, keep a natural moisture in the hair, and avoid breakage and split ends.
10. Don’t style wet hair; dry the hair first and when you style, avoid hair styles that keep the hair too tight.
Not styling wet hair is important because it’s easier to break hair that is wet. And hair styles that pull the hair too much can lead to hair loss (tractional alopecia). One great tip here is if you feel pain when styling your hair, that’s an indication that you are pulling the hair too much.
11. Apply a bit of hair oil in your hair tips before shampooing your hair, especially if you have medium to long hair.
Especially for long hair lovers, it’s very important to protect hair tips; e.g. the tips of a hair that is 48 cm long (around 19 inches) are around 4 years old. Those tips were exposed to many cycles of washing, combing, drying, bleaching, coloring, etc. Since we know shampooing removes hair protein, applying a little layer of hair oil on the tips before shampooing can help to preserve the structure of the hair tips.
12. Trim your hair tips to help keep beautiful hair that’s free of split ends.
Even with a lot of care, the hair ends can still open due to damage of the cuticles, generating split ends. So, it’s important to trim the hair ends on a regular basis to avoid increasing split ends and unhealthy looking hair. There’s not an ideal frequency; overall that depends on the hair length and the types of treatments you make in your hair as well as the level of the hair damage.