Here are 7 key elements to healthy hair. Now, there are always the lucky ones who can get away with hair murder & still have fabulous locks. Unfortunately most of us don't lie in that category. Yes this is a long post so if you need to break it up into a couple days go for it. This is a breakdown of all my secrets I've learned over a 10 year period of consistent trial & error.
1- Shampoo & Conditioner.
Yes yes you hear this all the time. And yes yes it's 100% key to healthy hair. If you wash your clothes in nail polish remover they probably will fall apart & look terrible. Same concept goes for hair. If you wash your hair in harsh surfactants & cheap emollients your hair will hate you for it. And IT WILL catch up to you one way or another. I myself used a variation of Pantene, Suave, Dove, Tresemme, Herbal Essence & my all time fave- Aussie, all growing up & throughout high school. Loved the smells. Loved the cheapness. Loved it all..... Except my hair didn't grow...Wonder why.
Now, this doesn't mean you absolutely must buy the most expensive products on the market. And no, just because it's a Professional product doesn't mean its amazing. Yes, generally speaking, the more expensive products are higher end because they are more efficient in getting you results. I really recommend going to a hairstylist you trust to get advice on the best shampoo & conditioner for you to use. It varies for everyone. But don't kid yourself into thinking you can have gorgeous hair & a healthy, dandruff free scalp for under five bucks. It's just not real life.
2- Styling Products.
Same concept as shampoo & conditioner & just as important. Cheap styling products will create build up on your hair that will leave it feeling greasy, grimy, gooey & not so healthy. There are also two kinds of products. Products for health & repair & products for texture & volume. I myself generally recommend using a hydrating oil, heat protectant & hairspray/texturespray for girls & a palmade & texture spray for guys. You really don't need a smorgasbord of products. Keep it simple so you don't get confused. Again, ask a stylist you trust what products would be good for you & your budget!
Generally you're not going to find a girl who flat irons or curls her hair every day & is able maintain soft, sleek touchable hair. However, the amount of times you can put heat on your hair & get away with it totally varies based on how blonde you are, how damaged or strong your hair is & how good your heat tools are. Yes, blow dryers count as heat! I myself use heat on all my hair maybe 3 times a week (not counting a little shaping around my face). Besides that I have hit Pinterest up time and time again for ideas. Braids are great. High Buns & Ponytails be careful with. The more pressure & tension you put on your hair the more not only your ends but your hair follicles will get damaged. As in you could lose density around your hairline from damaged hair follicles that won't grow back. Loose is better with any hairstyle. Your brush also counts! If you can hear your hair ripping, STOP! Always start at the ends and work your way up. To avoid tangles get a wet brush or pick to comb your conditioner through your ends in the shower. Use the same to brush out post shower, AFTER towel drying & putting a little of your hair oil through your ends. The old wives tale about brushing your hair before bed is real life. As long as its a good brush don't be afraid to brush! This increases circulation/ blood flow which helps your hair to grow & your scalp to be healthy! Yay!
Wha? The amount of times your wash your hair a week makes a difference?! Totes it does. But it really varies according to type of hair, condition of scalp, weather & how much your sweating. First off, cool temperature water is best. As for number of times per week? For those who have very thick, long hair they can go as long as 1-2 times a week and be totally fine. But someone who has really fine hair & works-out a lot might need to every day. If you have dandruff or are prone to bacteria like sores on your scalp sooner may be better. And for heavens sake, if your scalp/ hair stinks wash it! If you're worried about looking oily just around your face try baby powder or dry shampoo. As a general rule i usually say shoot for 2-3 times a week. But again, ask a stylist you trust to assess your scalp & hair condition & give you a recommendation. SIDE NOTE: I keep referring to "a stylist you trust". What does that mean? Someone who you have gotten a referral to, knows you already or has great hair themselves. Please don't just waltz into a chain salon & ask any random girl to give you all the recommendations your looking for. Your odds might not be in your favor.
5-Hair Coloring & Treatments.
No coloring is actually going to repair & do wonders for your hair health. However, some don't have much of a negative effect at all & some definitely do. Ask your stylist what kind of lightener they use. If its powder lightener you may want to use Olaplex underneath (an additional charge). I myself use cream based lightener which is softer on the hair but more expensive itself. When going lighter, go in increments! Don't try & go from black or dark brown to blonde in one time. Big color changes usually take 2-3 times. When going darker you generally aren't going to be causing very much damage. But if you color your hair in any way it's smart to keep up on a treatment of some kind. Anything from a take- home hair mask to an in salon treatment is good. My three favorites are: Brazilian Blowout Mask, Brazilian Blowout Split End Treatment, & Brazilian Blowout Smoothing Treatment. All effects ranging from 1 week, 1 month & 12 weeks.
6- Hair Trims.
For years i would get a trim every 2 months. Trim meaning about an inch. What I didn't know was that I was cutting my hair too frequently. This is another reason why my hair never grew. Again, hair trim amounts & frequencies change person to person. But generally speaking 2 months is too soon. But 5-6 months is too long. And a year? Well i can guarantee your'e getting breakage out the ying yang. BALANCE IS KEY! Cut off the split ends as the manifest themselves, if you don't they will split up further and further & cause the hair the snap & feel nasty. Ask your stylist to be conservative if you're growing out your hair. But don't be scared of trims. But don't go overboard either.
7- Inner Health.
Super Important! Water water water. Greens & Fruits. Nuts. Salmon. B- Complex & Biotin. All of these are key elements to healthy hair & skin. Yes, in a sense you are what you eat. Super never helped anyone for more than a 15 min period. Rosemary is the best essential oil for hair health & growth. Exercise helps with circulation which is very important! Now for some, you may do all these things & still not see results. In that case make sure your Thyroid is working correctly. This will make or break your hair as well.
There you have it! Remember to be patient & to get advice from a stylist you trust. Remember. No ones hair gets to a certain length & quits growing. So if it's healthy, long hair you want I can guarantee its possible if you are willing to put in the effort!