Hair care doesn’t have to be complicated. If you don’t like spending a lot of time or money on your hair, you can still have shiny, healthy locks – you’ve just got to treat your hair right. Here are six easy ways you can keep your hair healthy and happy.
1. Cut back on how often you shampoo.
Do you wash your hair every day? It might feel good to have squeaky-clean hair, but frequent washing is one of the most damaging things you can do to your locks. Washing strips away your scalp’s natural oils, and if you aren’t gentle, you can easily break or pull out hairs while you’re shampooing. So how often should you lather up? For most hair types, two to three washes a week is ideal.
But what if your hair gets oily when you don’t wash it for a day? You’ll probably still benefit from shampooing less frequently, but it may take time to adjust. Over-washing your hair can stimulate your scalp to produce extra oil, making your hair get greasy faster than it normally would. If you cut back to three washes a week, you’ll probably find that your oil production goes back to normal levels within a month or so. In the meantime, use dry shampoo and put your hair up during non-washing days to keep the oil under control.
2. Wash your hair the right way.
If you pile all your hair on top of your head to shampoo it, stop. You don’t need to scrub the length of your hair – that can dry it out and cause breakage. Just shampoo your scalp and the roots of your hair instead. Massage your scalp thoroughly to get rid of oil and product buildup. The length of your hair gets all the washing it needs when you rinse the shampoo out.
3. Detangle damp hair with a comb, not a brush.
Ideally, you should let your hair dry for fifteen to twenty minutes before you even think about detangling it. Hair is weakest and most prone to snapping when it’s wet, so the longer you wait, the better. Once you do detangle your hair, use a wide-toothed comb, which is gentler than a brush. Look for a seamless comb, since it’s less likely to cause breakage than a regular comb. Start at the ends of your hair and work your way up to your scalp. Patience pays off here – remember that you can’t undo breakage!
4. Avoid using heat on your hair.
Heat is terrible for your hair. It can cook your strands, leaving your hair feeling brittle and straw-like. If you blow-dry your hair, use the cool setting, and don’t use styling tools like curling irons or flat irons if you can help it.
Sometimes a little heat is unavoidable, though. If you need to use heat on your hair for a special occasion, then use a heat protectant product first — and don’t make a habit of it.
5. Don’t skip the conditioner.
Your hair can dry out, just like your skin, so you need to moisturize it regularly. Condition your hair every time you wash it. For best results, towel-dry your hair before applying your conditioner; your hair will absorb the product better that way. Leave it in for at least a few minutes before rinsing it out.
It’s also a good idea to deep-condition your hair every week or two. There are plenty of drugstore products you can choose from, but if you’re on a budget (or you just prefer natural products), you can also use kitchen staples you have at home. Coconut oil, olive oil, and even mayonnaise are good choices. Apply your deep conditioner to your hair, wrap up your hair in a damp towel or a shower cap, and leave it in for up to an hour before gently shampooing it out.
6. Brush your hair from the bottom up.
Snarls and tangles can be damaging to your hair, especially if you yank your hairbrush through them. Minimize tangles by brushing your hair carefully. Start at the tips, and work your way up to the roots. If you do hit a snarl, slow down and work it out gently.
You can have healthy hair without spending hours maintaining it every day. A few simple changes to your hair care habits can make a big difference in how your hair looks and feels. Start treating your hair more gently today, and you’ll be happy with the payoff down the road.