The best cure for toxic hair is prevention. Like your skin, your hair should be protected from sun damage and cutting out cigarettes and caffeine will not only do wonders for your health, it will also boost your hair heath.
Eating as fresh and as healthy as possible will also keep your hair strong, shiny and manageable. Foods that are particularly great for hair are eggs, which promote growth and shine, avocado, which can delay the onset of grey hair, and oily fish, which is perfect for nourishing the scalp and adding shine.
The basis for any hair care routine is regularly washing the hair. Here are a few simple tips and tricks to follow to get the best from your hair.
Step One: Comb
Before washing it's a good idea to comb your hair. Not only will combing get out any knots (making your hair easier to wash) it will also remove dirt and distribute your natural oils.
Step Two: Shampoo
Shampooing is necessary to cleanse the hair shaft and remove grime, dust, dirt and any built up natural oils (sebum). Shampoo has certain ingredients in it which opens the cuticle and allows the foam to cleanse the hair and clean out the dirt, dust and excess natural oil.
Successful washing starts with drenching the hair. Only a small amount of shampoo is needed (about half a tablespoon) and should be lathered on the scalp and then lightly run through the rest of your hair. Massaging your scalp at the same time will stimulate glands and feels fantastic. Finish your wash by rinsing the hair really well. Shampooing only needs to be repeated if your hair is extremely dirty.
- Long hair needs a little more than half a tablespoon of shampoo and shorter hair needs even less.
- Using too much shampoo makes it harder to rinse out.
- If your shampoo doesn't lather into a mountain of soapy bubbles, don't worry. Rinse it out and wash again as this is a good indication that your hair is soaking up the shampoo and you will need more washing to get that dirt out.
Step Three: Conditioner
Using a conditioner nourishes and repairs the hair. Conditioner also closes the cuticle and protects the hair from day to day damage so it is very important to use a conditioner after shampooing as leaving the cuticle open will result in brittle hair that doesn't have any shine.
Once you have washed the shampoo out of your tresses, squeeze a small amount of conditioner into your palms and then coat through the hair, concentrating mainly on the ends. It's a good idea to comb the conditioner through your hair to make sure it is spread evenly and gets to every strand. A standard conditioner only needs about 30 seconds to work and should be rinsed from the hair extremely well. It's a good idea to give your hair a final rinse in cold water to flatten the cuticle and boost shine.
- Comb conditioner through your hair and make sure to coat the hair extremely well.
- A leave-in conditioner is great for dry, curly or frizzy hair.
- For extra conditioning, massage a deep treatment through wet hair and then wrap the hair in a warm towel for 30 minutes before rinsing.
Step Four: Hair Drying
Letting your hair dry naturally is the best way to minimize damage to the hair shaft – it's also the cheapest.
Your hair should be blotted gently with your towel – don't rub or scrunch the hair because it will cause the hair to snap. Gently comb through the hair, starting from the ends and working your way up.
Hair Drying Tips
- Blot really curly hair with paper towels to soak up the water without causing the hair to frizz.
- If you regularly use styling products and heated appliances during the week, try to go natural on the weekends to allow your hair to be balanced by its own oils and to minimize heat damage.