As a gal in the long-hair club, I notice firsthand when I've neglected my locks. Hello, brassy texture and frizzy ends! It's no surprise daily hair maintenance wears out those precious strands. On the regular, we may dye, brush, iron, dry, braid, and wash it. But being more mindful of our hair care can go a long way to keep those tresses shiny and healthy.
Over the years, I've worked to learn how to get healthy hair naturally by leaning into oil-based hair masks, proper washing techniques, and even being selective about how I dry my hair. Here are my healthy hair tips!
Choosing Hair Care Products
I'm a label reader. When I select a new shampoo, conditioner, or other topical product for my hair, I prefer formulas that are made with naturally derived ingredients from plants, free from artificial dyes, and scented with essential oils. I've discovered these products work best for my hair and scalp since I have sensitive skin that's prone to eczema flare-ups. And, these choices fit my eco-conscious lifestyle.
My favorite ingredients are nourishing plant-based oils, such as coconut, jojoba, almond, and argan. When it comes to coconut oil specifically, it's able to penetrate inside the hair shaft (unlike mineral or sunflower oil), which helps to reduce protein loss in hair, according to a report in the Journal of Cosmetic Science.
What does protein loss have to do with hair? The publication Dermatology Practical & Conceptual explains that when we have a nutritional deficiency in protein (due to poor diet, a health condition, genetics, or medication), it's reflected in our hair through thinning and loss. If you notice these issues, chat with your healthcare provider to pinpoint the root cause.
7 Healthy Hair Maintenance Tips
Whether it's dry winter air or hot summer sun, my hair is exposed to a variety of weather conditions in Iowa. To keep my hair healthy in texture and full of body, I follow these tips from the American Academy of Dermatology Association.
1. Wash Your Scalp, Not Your Hair
When it's time to lather up, focus on massaging the base of the hair follicles on your head. As you rinse, the suds will flow through the length of your hair. Rubbing the strands of your hair can promote breakage, which leads to flyaways and frizziness. Then, finish with a conditioner carefully combed through your hair with your fingers, not rubbed.
2. Air-Dry Your Hair
I know blow-dryers are convenient on busy mornings, but with a little practice, you can get into the habit of letting your hair dry naturally and get beautiful results. After showering, wrap your hair in a towel so it can wick away most of the moisture. I wash my hair at night, so it can air-dry naturally while I sleep. Then, I wake up with clean, dry hair!
3. Limit Your Use of Leave-In Products
This includes hairspray, mousse, gel, and other styling helpers. These tend to weigh down the hair and may cause damage. Instead, try using soft cloth headbands or hair ties to keep long hair in place. For short, spiky, or tousled dos, water-moistened fingertips can work just as well as gel. Simply wet, style, and let air-dry.
4. Give Your Hair a Spa Moment
I look forward to a long lingering bath paired with a coconut oil hair mask at the end of a busy week. I add soothing salts to the bathwater, gently comb the oil through my hair with my fingers, and let it work its penetrating magic to hydrate and revive tired tresses. Then, I shampoo and towel dry.
5. Don't Pull on Your Hair
I love a quick ponytail, but I also know day after day of using elastic hair ties gives me headaches and leaves me with fewer strands. So, I've switched to soft cloth scrunchies and looser, low ponytails and braids to keep my head happy!
6. How You Brush Matters
Think gentle and slow. Use a wide-tooth comb to remove tangles or fix messy hair. You can also use your fingertips to create parts or move the hair that frames your face. The key is not tugging at your hair to get it to do what you want. Be patient and use a detangling spray or a few drops of jojoba oil to work through any tough spots.
7. Limit Your Specialty Services
Do you go to the salon for a perm, color, extensions, weave, or relaxer? Cool! Next time you plan your appointment, see if you can wait an extra week or two. This leads to fewer salon visits each year, which means you save a few dollars and put your hair through fewer treatments that can cause hair damage. Before your appointment, drink lots of water and deep condition your hair so it's ready for its glow-up!
People often ask me how to get healthy hair naturally when they see my long, wavy hair. I attribute it to all the fresh produce in my vegetarian diet, my careful selection of hair care products, and my limited use of heat-based styling tools. Most days, I just wash, air-dry, and go!
Are you looking for more ways to live naturally? Check out the DIY Naturally board from @tomsofmaine on Pinterest.
Image Sources: Unsplash | Angela Tague | Angela Tague | Angela Tague
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Why It's Good
Simple hair care is the secret to beautiful tresses. By choosing shampoos and conditioners made with plant-based oils and being mindful about how you brush and style your hair, you can reduce hair breakage, flyaways, and dullness. Give your hair some TLC by applying fewer leave-in products, skipping the blow-dryer, and letting your hair flow naturally!