Everyone wants strong, healthy hair, in great condition, right? But sometimes achieving that can be more difficult than you think.
You might not have the time or patience to look after it… I mean who has time to apply several different products, wait around for conditioner to work its magic and then wait whilst your hair dries on its own…
Or you might be stuck in a hair care routine which is difficult to break (you’ve used the same shampoo for 10 years and your hair hasn’t fallen out yet so it must be fine, right?).
Whatever the reason is, you want to take better care of your hair, and you’re not the only one.
And you might be surprised to know that your hair needs almost as much TLC as your skin, so don’t skimp on the haircare.
Here are nine simple tips to take care of your hair. Even if you only make one or two changes, your hair will thank you for it.
1. WASH IT LESS/GET IT WET LESS
When your hair gets wet, the strand swells and the cuticle opens. When the hair dries, the hair strand shrinks again. The more this process happens, the more stress the hair is under and the fibres gradually get worn. The hair starts to look frizzy and then breaks.
Your hair doesn’t need to be washed every day, so try and avoid doing so. Washing strips the hair of its natural oils and proteins which are vital to keep the hair and scalp healthy. Stripping these oils causes the hair to become more brittle which eventually leads to breakage. And if your hair has been bleached or coloured, it’s likely to already be fairly brittle so likely to snap much more easily.
If you’re an everyday hair-washer, don’t panic. Try to skip a day here and there and use dry shampoo instead. Especially on days when you don’t need to leave the house (or if you need to pop out quickly, throw on a hat!).
2. USE DAMAGE REPAIRING SHAMPOO
The shampoo you use can affect the condition of your hair. Most people know to look out for sulphate-free shampoos, but also try and opt for a ‘damage repairing’ shampoo where possible. These shampoos generally contain extra proteins to strengthen the hair.
A couple of my favourite shampoo and conditioner duo's at the moment are from We Are Paradoxx, in particular the repair and thickening ranges, and the Blonde Baby Duo from Bondi Boost.
You can use code KAREN to get 26% off We Are Paradoxx here.
3. ALWAYS USE CONDITIONER
Always. Like I’ve just mentioned, washing your hair strips the natural oils and proteins away from the hair – combined with swollen hair which is susceptible to damage and breakage, a conditioner is needed if you want to prevent breakage.
Applying a conditioner and rinsing with cool water seals the cuticle and gives the hair that silky smooth look.
Conditioner also acts as a layer of protection if you’re blow drying your hair or applying any kind of heat. When applying conditioner after shampooing, leave it on for at least 5 minutes. Rinsing with cool water will also help to keep more of the conditioner on the hair.
4. MINIMISE HEAT EXPOSURE
We all know heat is bad for your hair, but how many of us still blow dry/straighten it on a daily basis? I bet most of us. Busy lives mean that leaving your hair to dry naturally just isn’t possible – people don’t have time to wait for hours for their hair to dry, especially if it’s long or thick.
Heat damages hair, it’s as simple as that. So if you can wash your hair before bed and leave it to dry naturally overnight, try it. Not only are you preventing damage, you’ll also have a nice beachy wave if you plait the hair before you go to sleep.
If you need to blow dry your hair, try not to hold the hair dryer too close to the hair. Also, to avoid using the straighteners after you’ve finished with the hair dryer, learn how to blow dry the top layer of your hair with a brush to make it smooth.
5. USE A HEAT PROTECTOR
Whilst conditioner protects the hair to an extent, applying a heat protector is key to minimising the damage caused by heat appliances. Spritz the protector through the hair and brush through to make sure all your hair is covered.
My current go-to is the Bondi Boost Heat Protect Spray.
6. USE THE RIGHT SHAMPOO
Different hair types need different types of shampoo. Shampoo created for thick, coarse hair is likely too strong for thinner hair as it can strip too much of the oils and protein from the hair and make it more susceptible to damage. Whereas on thicker, coarser hair it won’t have as big of an impact.
Look at the labels on the shampoo bottles to work out which shampoo is best for your hair.
7. TRY A SCALP TREATMENT
A recent addition to my haircare routine is a scalp treatment. Hair follicles can get blocked and inflamed which can affect hair growth and cause hair thinning. A scalp treatment removes blockages and helps to keep the follicles clean and healthy.
Scalp treatments which contain salicylic acid are particularly effective at keeping the follicles clean. If you don’t want to add a separate product to your routine, dandruff shampoos are also effective at cleansing the scalp.
8. USE THE RIGHT HAIRBRUSHES… & CLEAN THEM
‘You shouldn’t brush your hair when wet’; ‘Brushing your hair when it’s wet damages it’… you might have heard these before, but if you have the right tools, you can actually brush your hair when wet.
When the hair is wet, it’s more fragile and susceptible to damage. Opting for a wide tooth comb will minimise damage as it’s designed to glide through wet hair. A de-tangling brush such as the Tangle Teezer or The Wet Brush is also a good option.
When brushing wet hair, make sure you brush gently and never brush it from the root downwards. Start at the ends and work your way up to avoid damaging it.
9. EAT A HEALTHY DIET
Long, luscious locks don’t grow on their own, they need a little help in the form of nutrition. You might be taking care of your hair now but if you want to encourage healthy growth, you need to think about diet and lifestyle.
Diet can affect hair growth and hair loss. It’s recommended to eat a balanced diet with enough proteins, complex carbs and healthy fats and drink enough water to keep your hair growing at its optimum pace.