Would you like shinier, healthier-looking hair? Fortunately, you achieve this with just a few simple changes to your hair care routine. It’s a common misconception that healthy hair is as simple as the shampoo and conditioner you use and getting rid of your styling tools. But don’t worry, you don’t have to completely give up your beloved straightener just yet. So here are 7 rules for healthy hair.
7 Tips for Healthy Hair
To help bring back your hair's natural shine and bounce, here are seven tips for healthy hair.
1) Treat wet hair gently and use a hairdryer
When you jump out of the shower, you probably want to grab your hairdryer or towel straight away and give it a dry, but if you’re not careful with how you do this, you could actually be damaging your hair.
First of all, you should not vigorously towel-dry wet strands of hair because this can cause the follicles to become frizzy and lead to breakage. All you need to do with the towel is press, pat and gently scrunch the hair to remove excess water. It’s important not to rub too hard on water-weakened hair, otherwise, your hair can become frizzy.
It’s commonly believed that it’s better to let your hair air-dry naturally than using a hairdryer. However, a Korean study found that letting your hair dry naturally could actually be worse for your hair.
When your hair is wet, it swells, and if you leave your hair like this too long it puts pressure on the delicate proteins that keep your hair intact, ultimately causing more damage. So let your hair dry naturally to about 70-80%, and dry the remaining with a hairdryer on cool a temperature.
2) Eat a healthy, balanced diet
You can’t control the way your genetics and age affect your hair, but one thing you can control is your diet. A healthy, balanced diet can actually promote hair growth. For example, hair follicles are mostly made up of protein, so eating a diet rich in protein is particularly important for growth. Other vitamins and minerals play a role in your hair health, which we’ll take a look at next.
3) Look after your scalp
According to hair care experts, the skin on your scalp is basically an extension of the skin on your forehead with oil glands and sweat glands, and like the face, it can be beneficial to tone and exfoliate it regularly.
The scalp is often overlooked when it comes to healthy hair but the key to healthy, bouncy hair lies in a healthy and clean scalp. Since the follicles emerge from the scalp, it’s important to maintain a healthy scalp by cleansing it to remove bacteria and sweat, excess oil and sebum build-up.
4) Use healthy hair treatments
Even if you wash your hair with salon-quality shampoo and conditioner, your hair will benefit from treatments, such as a deep conditioning mask. If your hair is dry and damaged, opt for a mask that’s rich in natural oils, a couple of times a week.
Research has found that oils particularly smooth and rehydrates the hair shaft, so why not opt for a home remedy treatment? Olive oil is an excellent and affordable option that’s been shown to replenish moisture and soften damaged hair.
5) Don’t over-brush
You might think that brushing your hair is as simple as detangling and smoothing it out. Stop there. There’s a right and a wrong way to brush your hair, and you can cause damage by brushing incorrectly.
When your hair is wet, it’s particularly vulnerable to breakage so it’s especially important that you use a comb or a brush designed for wet hair. Since hair is weakest when it’s wet, a great way to detangle your hair is to brush it prior to washing it in the shower.
The other hack you need to know is that the type of brush you use is important. Generally speaking, combs are better for your hair because they are gentler on your hair follicles, but if you are going to use a brush, choose one with widely-spaced plastic bristles. Natural bristles can be sharp and too close together and make sure you stay away from metal prongs.
6) Minimise the use of hot tools
The good news is you don’t have to completely ditch your straightener and curling iron to have healthy hair. There are ways to minimise the damage to your hair when styling it, such as using a thermal protectant, which puts a barrier between the heat and your hair.
If you’re someone who uses a blow dryer to style your hair, be sure to invest in a good quality blow dryer with a proper nozzle, and correct your blow-drying technique. Try to limit the number of times you apply heat to your hair to three to four times, because the less heat you apply to your hair the better.
7) Zinc + B complex
If you’re experiencing hair loss, it could be the result of a zinc deficiency. Zinc is important for hair tissue growth and keeps the oil glands around the follicles healthy.
B complex is a group of eight different vitamins involved in converting food to energy. Each of the different vitamins has a different role in the body. The B7 vitamin, known as Biotin is essential for healthy hair and hair growth. Studies have found that people with biotin deficiencies experienced greater hair loss.
Both zinc and B-vitamins can be found in foods, but you may also want to consider a supplement. Excellent sources of zinc are beef, spinach, oysters, lentils and pumpkin seeds.
Foods that are rich in biotin are whole cooked eggs, oysters, organ meats, wheat bran and baker’s yeast. At the end of the day, you can easily achieve healthy hair with a few small changes to your hair care routine.
Find out more about other areas that the above supplements can help you with:
*Always read the label. Follow the directions for use. If symptoms persist, talk to your health professional. Vitamin and/or mineral supplements should not replace a balanced diet.