We all want natural hair that is gorgeous, shining and blowing in the breeze like the models on TV. And to do that we need healthy hair. Of course, the gals on the commercials and in magazines are chosen specifically because their hair is so spectacular and most of us don’t, and never will, look like that. But there is definitely room for improvement in all of us. So to maximize the appearance of you hair, consider the ideas below and chose your products accordingly. The better you understand the mysteries of your hair, the more pleasing it will be to you – assuming you operate in its best interests, of course. And you will, won’t you?
Healthy Hair “Must’s”
Obviously, healthy hair needs vitamins and minerals for strength – and therefore beauty – so your diet is important. You can buy bottles of “hair vitamins”, but if your diet is lousy, no bottle is going to make up all the misplaced nutrition.
Heat is not a friend to your sun. Excessive roaring sun beating on your hair is very damaging, just as it is to your skin. It might not seem that way, but protecting your hair from excessive sun is definitely a wise preventative move.
Even more common a heat source than the sun is a blow dryer or curling iron. I use a blow dryer, even though I know it’s a bad idea – but at least we should use the coolest setting and blow dry as quickly as possible. Hair curlers are just A Bad Idea. Sorry but it’s true.
Your scalp needs circulation and stimulation. There is an ‘old wives tale’ about giving 100 strokes of a hairbrush to your scalp and hair every night. The only thing we can say about this advice is: those old wives really knew something! 100 brush strokes every night are wonderful for loosening the hair on your scalp so that it can grow more easily, not to mention the stimulation for your hair.
There is a caveat to that tale, though – be sure you use a natural bristle brush. Nylon brushes cut into your scalp and damage it, rather than promoting health. This kind of natural hair will lubricate your hair using the natural oils that come from your scalp.
Your hair is at its most vulnerable when it’s wet to don’t brush or vigorously comb your hair when you’ve just stepped out of the shower. Use your fingers and a wide-toothed comb to detangle your locks and then allow it to air dry a bit before styling.
The chemicals that you use on your hair can be causing all kinds of damage. The chemicals in most shampoos, conditioners and gels are definitely damaging.
Whenever possible use shampoos with natural cleaning ingredients and that also include those that fortify and strengthen human hair like keratin, chamomile, seaweed extracts, rosemary, lemon verbena and plant proteins. Be careful that these are REAL ingredients and not just chemicals made to smell like them. Note: it’s important to know that the amount of suds in your shampoo aren’t directly related to its gentleness or its contribution to your hair health so don’t be fooled by a low-lather shampoo. It might be great, although it might not be – learn to read labels.
Conditioners may or may not truly ‘condition’ your hair. Common household products like olive oil or mayonnaise can make a wonderful conditioner. When I was in college, some irresponsible guy in a hair salon ‘frosted’ (burned!) my hair for way too long trying to make it blonde. The shop owner recommended mayonnaise to repair the damage and it did help quite a bit – although not totally.
Some products, like the Wen ingredients pictured here, have a powerful reputation for helping damaged hair. I have not personally used this product so I can’t comment on its effectiveness but many celebrities rave about it. Does that matter? We seem to think it does because those folks live or die – professionally speaking, of course – but their physical beauty so they are usually fairly knowledgeable.
If you use mousse or gel on your hair like I do, be sure not to buy any products with alcohol in them. It is a very drying substance.
And then there’s color … the bottom line, is that there’s no way to use coloring products long term without somewhat damaging your hair. You might not want to hear that, but it’s still true. So invest the time to find the ones that are the least damaging to your healthy hair.