More often than not, our skin looks tired and dry and our hair is just downright unruly. And while that mostly comes down to genetics and is out of our control, there are also things that we do, such as the way we treat and style our hair, not using a skin care routine, or using the wrong hair and skin care products that also causes our skin and locks to be more drab than fab.

So what can we do to ensure that our hair and skin are in peak condition? It’s all about understanding some skin and hair care essentials.

Essential #1: Know Your Hair Type and Skin Type

Knowing your hair type will not only help you to care for your hair, it will also make a difference when it comes to choosing the right haircut and the kind of hairstyles that your hair can pull off. The easiest way to work out your hair type is to determine your hair density, texture and elasticity.

Hair Density

Your hair density comes from the number of hair follicles that you are born with and determines if your hair is thick or thin. Redheads usually have the least amount of follicles, blondes have the most and brunettes fall in between.

Hair Texture

When it comes to hair texture, hair is usually fine or coarse. Fine hair is silky, soft and drops quickly if set. Coarse hair is thick, strong and will set well.

Hair Elasticity

Hair elasticity refers to your hair being straight, wavy or curly. Now this might seem obvious to work out just by looking at your hair, but if you’re unsure you can try wrapping a strand of your hair around your finger. Straight hair will spring right back, wavy hair will hold its shape and very curly hair will wrap very tightly or refuse to wrap at all.

Skin type and hair care essentials

As for looking after your skin, knowing if you have a dry skin type, a greasy skin type, combination skin or balanced skin will help you to correct any problems such as skin that looks oily or feels dry. For more info on determining your skin type see our Skin Type Consultation. Like your hair, once you know your skin type you can then take steps to make the most of what you’ve got, which brings us to essential #2.

Essential #2: Use the Right Hair Styling and Skin Care Products

One of the reasons why it’s so important to know your hair and skin type is because it will help you to choose the right products. Using hair styling and care products that are wrong for your hair type, such as heavy wax in fine hair, will make it impossible to hold certain styles, and using the wrong shampoo or conditioner can cause your hair to become limp or your curls to frizz out. The same applies if you use the wrong skin care products, for example, teaming an alcohol-based cleanser with dry skin will cause it to become even drier. For an idea on the right skin care products to use see our beauty article, The Right Skin Care Products for Your Skin Type. As for hair products, our Hair Styling Products: Tools Of the Hair Trade hair care article lists the main hair products available and includes a “Great for” section to let you know if the product is good for your hair type, along with other helpful tips and advice.

Our skin and hair are the best indicators of our health so it makes sense to understand them and use the right products. That way you not only help to look after your wellbeing but you also get skin that looks great and is easy to apply makeup to, and hair that's easy to control as well as the knowledge to choose a haircut and hairstyle that works with your hair type, not against it.