Temperatures in Boston are finally warming up. People are out, people are happy and as we look over at the bodies relaxing on the Greenway, people are letting it all hang out. Not just their skin, but their hair! Ah! We know that most people are still not into the habit of protecting their hair as well as they should. This time of year is typically when we receive the most inquiries regarding hair care and hair products. The long dry winter is over and the summer sun looms. And those lazy, hazy days of summer usually include sun, salt, and chlorine. Before you head out into the sun or if you are emerging from the winter months needing a rejuvenating hair care routine, here are the top ten hair care tips for your hair’s care and maintenance:
- Protect your hair from the sun – Excessive sun exposure damages your hair and skin equally. Apart from leaving your hair dry and dull, the harsh rays cause brittle hair with all those nasty split ends. There are a plethora of light-weight, non-sticky hair protection sprays on the market at all price points, so no excuses for not using protection! These products act as an invisible screen, shielding your hair from the sun-prone damages. This is a must for color-treated hair to keep the color lasting longer and looking fresh. Bonus – many of these products also contain a blend of moisturizing oils which condition the hair as well.
- Protect from chlorine as well – If you do nothing else before going into a pool, wet your hair with clean water. Do not go into chlorinated water with dry hair! Your hair acts like a sponge and soaks in the chemicals; especially if you have color-treated hair, it can discolor your luscious locks. Rinse after swimming as well.
- Don’t wash your hair everyday – Most shampoos contain sulfates which strip your hair of the essential oils it needs to look healthy and act bouncy. (Trivia fact: Adele NEVER washes her hair with anything but water! Many of our natural hair care friends agree.) If you need to get your head wet to feel clean, do so, but use a conditioner on the ends, not the scalp. Or, use a dry shampoo, do up a fun bun, braid or ponytail for inbetween wash days.
- Rinse hair with cold water – While warm water opens a hair’s cuticle to allow shampoo and conditioner to do their job, cold water helps to close the cuticle and seal in moisture from the conditioner, which helps your hair look shiny and healthy.
- Comb wet hair with care – This is an important tip in your hair-care routine. Wet hair is quite fragile and prone to breakage. Use a wide-toothed comb and run it from roots to ends as gently as possible. Switch to a microfiber towel which is less harsh on your hair then traditional terry cloth bath towels.
- Tone down the heat – Try not to use your blow dryer and/or curling iron/straightener every day. Its effects are similar to that of the sun: weak, brittle and dull hair. If you must use your dryer, do so on a warm or cool setting.
- A heat protectant for styling is key – When you do blow out your hair, there are a multitude of styling oils and creams that, like sun protectants, shield your locks from the brutal effects of the heat from drying and styling tools. Most of the serums and oils not only smooth frizz, but seal split ends for a high-gloss, super-smooth finish.
- Improve your diet – Just like other cells in your body, hair cells are affected when you don’t eat right. Iron-rich foods like leafy vegetables, fish, seeds, and beans offer your body and hair plenty of iron it needs to thrive. Protein strengthens your hair so include complete proteins in your diet for healthy hair.
- Deep Condition once a week – Especially if you color your hair, deep conditioning is a must. Weak, dry strands are unable to effectively hold color, so adding moisture back into the hair helps it to become stronger, healthier and shinier, building a great foundation for your next color. Use a sulfate-free deep conditioner or treatment that is on the market (Sephora has a bunch: some to condition curly hair, some for straight and fine…) for stronger, healthier hair.
- Trim your hair regularly – You need to trim at least ¼ an inch of your hair every six to eight weeks to get rid of those rough split and dry ends. A regular cut does wonders in keeping your locks looking great.
These are the top ten basic tips for growing and maintaining strong, healthy hair. Even if you cannot do all ten or even two, pick one and stick with it!