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By April Summers
By fabulous, we mean pampering the hair your body is meant to have. If you naturally have a full mane of silky, straight hair, it means achieving the silkiest, straight hair a person could ever want.
Excellent hair TLC doesn’t mean changing your hair structure through violent tactics to become something else. It means learning to do what your hair responds to the best and keeping it clean, healthy, and fabulously you.
Poor hair care can lead to uncomfortable conditions like hair loss, dandruff, and dryness, leaving your hair unmanageable, greasy, or dull. It can even cause your hair to fall out prematurely, which might be sexy for some, but super annoying for others (1).
Changes in the texture, color, or tone of your hair are affected by the following:
As you can see, the last four of these categories change over time and circumstances, and genetics have also been shown to be affected by lifestyle (2).
The outer layer of each strand of hair is the cuticle. It wraps tightly around the cortex, which surrounds the inner medulla. The cuticle lies flat in an overlapping protective layer against the cortex in healthy shafts, making each strand smooth (3).
With harsh treatment, no matter what type of hair you have, destruction of the outer cuticle causes its layered surface to fray, exposing the cortex and leaving it vulnerable to breakage. (4).
Whether straight or coily, dry or oily, following expert advice will nurture the best hair your head can make.
Hair Type and Texture
Hair type is how much curl is present, from none to a ton. The shape of your hair follicles determines the abundance or lack of curl. Oval or asymmetrical follicles produce curlier hair are 4 basic hair types with subtypes that indicate texture, volume, and tightness of curls (5):
Hair strands that form an ‘S’ pattern stay curly no matter how much you try to straighten them, and they’re more prone to tangles and frizz.
Coily hair follows a ‘Z’ line. It may feel rough or coarse and be prone to breakage.
Each hair type and subtype responds better to its own unique formula for care.
Straight hair tends to be oilier and flatter than curly hair and needs less frequent washing to prevent more oil production by the scalp.
Wavy hair is typically straight from the roots to about eye level, then loosely wavy to the ends. These can be redefined using gels instead of creams and oils. If you must blow-dry your hair, use a diffuser to prevent frizzies.
Curly hair doesn’t need much brushing and loves moisturizers like aloe vera and shea butter. Avoid sulfates and silicones in shampoos and styling products to keep your hair’s natural moisture. Use a leave-in conditioner to avoid tangling and breakage.
Coily hair is delicate and does well with extra moisturizing, deep conditioning, and loose styling. Avoid overbrushing or tight braids and keep your curls intact with cream or gel (6).
Another way to showcase your locks’ natural beauty is to pay special attention to improving their texture. Here are some interventions you might consider:
Tip #1 – Nourish It
Many of us are overfed with artificial food-like substances and undernourished with what our bodies need to function optimally. While malnutrition is more prevalent in developing countries, it exists in affluent communities as well (11).
One of the most prevalent deficiencies worldwide is lack of protein (12).
But other deficits caused by crash diets, medical conditions, and picky eating where entire food groups are eliminated from the diet can also take their toll on our hair, such as leaving hair dry, stringy, dull, and sometimes sparse. Health can be restored to hair when nutrition is improved (13).
A healthy, human diet contains protein, fruits, vegetables, grains, and fats. When something is absent from this list, it can create problems for your hair (14).
When illness, injury, or malnutrition occur, your body does triage by shunting essential nutrients to vital organs instead of prioritizing hair and skin. Hair growth problems can even help in diagnosing some conditions (15).
The nutrients your hair needs most are:
These nutrients are plentiful in:
Of course, your body needs plenty of water for all its functions, and hair is included, even though the part you see is made of dead cells. Deep inside your scalp, capillaries bring blood to growing hair buds, and that operation calls for water (18).
Tip #2 – Massage It
Your follicles love massage to stimulate hair growth—not a violent, scratchy, hair-tearing workover, but light to medium pressure, using your fingers moving in gentle, circular motions.
You don’t need oil, tools, or much time for this treatment, just fingers and a scalp. The recommended dose is 5 minutes, 2 times a day. Of course, one time could be in the shower or tub.
There are tools for effective and soothing head rubbing at various price points, customer reviews, and industry ratings (19).
With most massagers, you control the intensity and pressure. A savvy shopper will check the materials a device is made of to determine whether they want something super flexible or stiffer. Remember, gentle is best. You don’t want to damage your skin or follicles.
Although not vital for a massage, essential oils aid hair growth, regulate sebum production, and control dandruff (20).
Essential oils are potent and safer when used with a carrier oil to dilute their strength (21).
Do a test on a small skin area before rubbing it over your entire scalp to ensure skin tolerance.
This treatment is recommended twice a week, and popular choices to use on your scalp and hair include these essential oils:
Tip #3 – Wash it
Have you ever had ingrown hair? Neglecting to shampoo can cause ingrown hairs on your scalp, and they aren’t pleasant. Your follicles can become inflamed and oozy, with pain and scabbing (23).
Taking a hot shower will strip your hair of the natural oils produced by your scalp, leaving it dry and flaky. Cool showers are best, especially after a challenging workout when you’re sweaty and hot.
Some people promote going without a good shampoo for long periods. You can find anecdotes online to see how these went (26).
If you’ve abused and damaged your hair for years using harsh styling techniques and chemical-laden products, giving your mane a break can be transformational (27).
But the weeks or months it takes to get there can be misery as your hair and scalp endure the task of regulating hair growth and sebum production, which has been frantically trying to keep up with daily, chemically drying cleansing practices.
Another, less drastic solution to abuse resulting in hair loss is to use a natural shampoo that doesn’t contain damaging chemicals. The following are top-rated products you might look into for hair loss solutions:
Tip #4 – Condition It
Condition only the lower half of your hair shafts. All of them. Be sure to avoid the scalp to prevent the build-up of oil.
Even natural conditioners have hydrating oils that your hair will love. If your hair is super short, pat the ends with your palms rather than rubbing the conditioner into your scalp.
Comb a leave-in conditioner through the ends of your hair if needed it even if you used conditioner in the shower. If you wash your hair before bed, you can leave it in all night (32).
Tip #5 – Dry It (Gently)
If you use a regular towel to sop up extra water from your hair, gently push the towel against your hair rather than vigorously rubbing it back and forth, which can damage the cuticle of your strands.
A microfiber towel is a loving tool for drying your hair. Microfibers are a hundred times finer than human hair, providing a large surface area for the towel to absorb moisture.
More absorption means less friction and strain, and softer, silkier hair is the result.
High heat can burn your hair and scalp, making shafts break easier tangles more likely. Layers of cuticle become frayed and catch on one another as they pass in the night (or day).
Alternating warm/cool blow-drying, is optimal for minimizing breakage due to prolonged swelling of the wet cortex of the hair shaft (33).
Tip #6 – Supplement It - With Collagen
Collagen is the most abundant protein in your body and helps build and fortify tendons, ligaments, and 75 to 80% of your skin, which contains the root of each hair.
Your body uses several amino acids to build keratin, the protein your hair is made from.
Your body produces collagen, but you can also get it from supplements and foods, such as bone broth. These are some excellent collagen supplement providers:
Tip #7 - Protect It
Stress, especially acute trauma, can cause hair to move quickly out of its growth phase and push strands prematurely from your scalp.
Employ stress-relieving such as these interventions to provide some TLC to your body:
Chemicals from dying, perming, and other products can affect follicles and disrupt hair growth. Use naturally formulated hair products to limit scalp irritation and shaft damage.
Saltwater and chlorine damage the hair cuticle, irritate the scalp, and tangle hair. When swimming, a cap can reduce these effects.
Over-brushing Use a wide-toothed comb after hair is dry to avoid breaking fragile, wet hair (39).
You Have Fabulous Hair
There’s a pretty good chance you’ve damaged your hair at some time or another and that you’re currently struggling with hair care.
The beautiful thing is that hair keeps growing back, and new, healthy locks will follow as you learn to care for your crowning feature.
We’re each unique, and our hair care is individually as fascinating as we want it to be. By implementing the tips we provided in this article, you’ll build a foundation for what works best and doesn’t work for your hair.
Disclaimer: The information contained within this site is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice. If you have, expect to have, or suspect you may have any medical condition, you are urged to consult with a health care provider. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.
These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any diseases or medical conditions. Results are based on Hairlossable.com Ranking System and do not necessarily reflect typical results from the use of these products. Please visit product websites for more information.
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