The market is inundated with products you can buy to improve the condition of your hair. You could easily spend a fortune on potions, deep conditioners, miracle products, and 10-course banquets of proteins and nutrients that promise to transform your hair in a day. Is your hair frizzy, sun-damaged, full of split and broken ends, brittle, or just dried out? If so, there’s good news and bad news. The bad news is that it takes more than a day to repair the damage to your hair. The good news is that, with a few carefully chosen products and a handful of new habits, you can repair the damage over time, and prevent damaged hair in the future. Here are the 5 most important Habits of Healthy Hair you should start today:
1. De-Gunk Your Tresses
Shampoos and other products, and even minerals in tap water, can build up on your hair leaving it dull, limp and damaged. Removing all the gunk is Step 1 in improving the health of your hair. You can buy a good quality clarifying shampoo, or you can save money by using a paste of baking soda and water, or a rinse of apple cider vinegar that you can make at home. Do a clarifying treatment whenever your hair starts to look lifeless, limp, or dull – for most people a monthly treatment is about right.
2. Protect Your Hair from Sun Exposure
We all know what the sun’s UV rays can do to our skin, and to the colors of paint and fabrics in our homes. The sun can also cause our hair to look faded and feel dry and brittle. Protecting your hair from the sun should be a year-round habit, though it is especially important during the summer. If you are out in the sun all day (swimming, hiking, or playing sports) you should use a treatment to hydrate your hair afterwards. This ongoing, regular damage control will help keep your hair looking and feeling healthy.
3. Use Hot Oil Treatments
A hot oil treatment is the easiest and most effective way to hydrate your hair and leave it looking shiny and healthy. You can buy a good product such as Moroccan Oil Treatment or Silk Infusion by CHI, or you can use lemongrass oil or even the olive oil in your kitchen cupboard. Apply a generous amount all over your hair, and wrap it in plastic or tuck it into a shower cap. There are three easy ways to apply heat:
wrap your head in a towel that you’ve heated in your dryer;
use a hair dryer;
or just sit outside on a warm sunny day.
Once the oil has been heated, let it cool down at room temperature, and then rinse your hair with lukewarm or cool water. Use a hot oil treatment once to three times a month, depending on how dry or damaged your hair is. Overdoing it can make your hair look and feel greasy.
4. Invest in a good-quality deep conditioner
Deep conditioning your hair once a week is the only really effective way to repair damage and prevent problems in the future. Not all the deep conditioning treatments on the market work the same way, so it’s important to find the right one for your hair. You want one that will rehydrate your hair without making it feel greasy or weighing it down. Deep conditioning is particularly important if your hair is color-treated, as dry, damaged hair fades more quickly than healthier hair. See our advice about what deep conditioning product is best for you.
5. Get a Haircut
If your hair is very badly damaged, it may be tempting to cut all of it off and start again. However, if a pixie cut or short bob is just not your style, take heart. You can still undo the damage gradually over time. Trimming, layering, and experimenting with bangs and face framing, can all help you get rid of the worst of the evidence and speed up the recovery process. With your new healthy hair practices, your hair will soon start to look shinier, more flexible and more vibrant.