6 Ways to Maintain Healthy Hair
We’ve all dreamed of having everyday hair that looks like it’s been through the hands of our very own celebrity hairstylist. With all the stress our locks endure, it’s understandable that healthy hair requires effort to keep it looking lush. Our hair is constantly prone to damage, which comes in the form of thinning, breakage, dryness, or frizz. While keeping strands strong requires some commitment, the good news is that making just a few small tweaks to your routine can mean healthy hair that is almost effortless. Follow these six tips to make everyday hair care easier.
1. Condition with care.
For many of us, blowdryers and flatirons are our best friends. If this is the case for you, conditioner is critical when it comes to protecting your hair from the heat. Unless your hair is very long, a nickel-size drop of conditioner is plenty for most hair lengths and types. Apply it to the mid-shaft and ends of your hair and then work your way up to your scalp. Massage it in and then leave it on for a full minute before washing it out. If you are a dry shampoo addict, conditioning is especially important to prevent dry scalp.
2. Feed your locks.
Though maintaining a healthy, plant-based diet might seem like it doesn’t directly affect your hair, it actually does. Nutrient-rich foods—especially those rich in protein and iron—are essential for hair health. Eat your way to good hair by incorporating beans, greens, lentils, tofu, and soymilk into your every day and drink plenty of water to keep yourself hydrated (which will help your skin and nails, too). Other good sources of hair food include berries, spinach, and avocados, all of which will result in stronger, longer locks.
3. Be mindful of product ingredients.
Choosing the right hair-care products from the endless options in the beauty aisles can be overwhelming. But the most important thing is to be aware of the ingredients those products contain rather than the smart packaging they come in. Start narrowing down your options by looking for strengthening plant-based ingredients, such as coconut oil, argan oil, aloe, and spirulina, which will nourish your strands. As more research is done into certain ingredients that can negatively affect your hair—and your internal health—our best advice is to avoid them. The most common hair product ingredients you should avoid are silicones, isopropyl alcohol, sodium lauryl sulfate, and synthetic fragrances.
4. Get a scalp massage.
According to one study, a weekly scalp massage can thicken your hair, which is attributed to increased blood flow from the massage. And considering the relaxation benefits of massage, who could argue? The research suggests that massage increases hair thickness by stretching the cells of hair follicles, stimulating the follicles to produce thicker hair. The best ways to massage your scalp include the traditional way (using your fingertips to apply light pressure and moving them in small circles), massaging your scalp while washing your hair, and using scalp massage tools—which you can invest in if you’re committed to regular scalp love.
5. Brush it out.
Regular and deliberate hair brushing with a good-quality brush can affect your hair’s health and thickness because it helps distribute the natural oils that protect your hair from damage. It also helps exfoliate the scalp, remove dead hair, and add shine. Be sure to invest in a good quality brush that doesn’t contain plastic or animal-based bristles. And take care when brushing your hair when it’s wet to avoid pulling and breaking strands.
6. Don’t wash too often.
Washing your hair too often can damage your hair and dry out your scalp. It also washes away essential oils that travel from your scalp to your roots. If you can, aim to wash your hair only two to three times a week. If you feel the need to wash daily because you have fine or short hair that gets oily easily, be sure to use a mild shampoo and only use a quarter-size amount. Try to avoid using very hot or very cold water when washing, which can damage your hair, too.
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Nicole Axworthy is a Toronto-based writer and author of the vegan cookbook DIY Vegan.
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