When you run your hands through your hair, do your fingers slide right through? Or do you feel a lot of tugging? If you answered yes to the latter question, then keep reading.
You might be quite familiar with the hassles of living with dry hair if you feel frizzy, coarse strands with a texture indistinguishable from straw when you touch your hair. Well, hair never actually shines and bounces like shampoo commercials want you to believe, there are ways to care for your hair that can help you get pretty close to that.
First things first. What causes dry hair?
Several reasons may be behind hair dryness so it’s necessary for you to know why your hair is the way it is before having it treated. First of all, you have to understand that your hair has its natural conditioner – sebum. Sebum is what you call the oil produced by glands under the skin and scalp. It seeps its way out of the hair follicle and runs from root to tip.
Now that you understand that your scalp has its built-in moisturizer, why is your hair still dry? Keep reading and you might just find out.
Sometimes, it’s in the genes.
In some cases, it’s just in your family, specifically, your parents. A change in your diet and simple home remedies (explained further below) can be a huge help if you have a genetic predisposition to dry hair.
Watch what you eat.
A diet that’s missing essential fatty acids such as omega-3 (found in fish like salmon and mackerel and some seeds) will show in your hair health. Other sources of healthy fats are salmon, avocados, and olive oil. And because your hair is made up of predominantly protein, foods like beans, eggs, shrimp, cottage cheese, oysters, walnuts and almonds help promote healthy hair growth. You can also never go wrong with a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables to meet your nutritional needs, and benefiting your skin, hair, and your health overall at the same time.
Shampoo can also be a culprit.
Hair products never run out of brilliant marketing strategies, and shampoo products do a good job of marketing themselves as all things nice. But you have to look past catchphrases and learn to read ingredient labels when making hair decisions. Shampoos usually contain odium laureth sulphate or ammonium lauryl sulphate which are both powerful cleansers that are just as capable of stripping your hair of natural oils. And while oil-enriched shampoos sound like the better choice, mineral oils, petrolatum and lanolin, seal your hair and prevents if from absorbing moisture. The correct option are products with natural oils, coconut, olive, tea tree, jojoba, and hemp seed. Silk and milk proteins are also good for your hair.
How often should you wash your hair?
Having clean, washed hair, always feels nice, but washing your hair everyday is actually doing more damage than good. Frequent shampooing washes out natural oils along with dirt, and before your scalp could even compensate for the moisture loss, you’re washing your hair again. In such cases, the sebum in your scalp might not make it to your tips (which is why ends are often the driest part of the hair). If you don’t live under hot and humid climates, washing twice to thrice a week is ideal, and never skip conditioning. It’s best to use cold water each time you wash your hair but at least cool water to wash and rinse is fine.
Styling is damaging.
A trusty flat iron is easily the easiest way to temporarily enhance your hair’s texture, but heat styling is harmful. Flat irons and blow driers are only temporary solutions that make your hair spiral accelerate further down the road of damage. Avoid heat styling for good, but if you must, apply a heat protection serum or spray before using heating tools. The same rule goes for dyes and chemical treatments. Use products that are meant to be used on treated or colored hair to make sure your hair gets the right type of care.
Trim your hair regularly.
I’ve already talked about this before that I’m afraid to get hair cuts. In one way or another, I think we all are because we’re just not ready to lose our hair. But if your mission is to be a real-life Rapunzel, I’m afraid you need to rethink that goal. Our hair is made up of dead cells and there’s only so much life you can breathe into them. While topical solutions can make hair feel smoother and look shinier, only long term care can make a healthy hair. Get a trim every 6-8 weeks.
It may be in your water.
If you live somewhere with water that has a higher mineral build-up, be thankful that it doesn’t make your hair weaker. However, it may be the cause of the dryness. There are shampoos and conditioners that can help combat this specific problem. Showerhead filters may also somehow work.
The weather is not your friend.
No matter how much we care for our hair, unfortunately, weather is not within our control. There’s the sun, humidity, smoke and pollution that make our hair into a frizzy puffy mess. Use umbrellas, scarves, and hats to cover your hair during long periods of sun-exposure. There are also plenty of products that offer climate-specific benefits, and you just need to find something that suits your environment and exposure levels.
Know when to see a doctor.
If you experience sudden changes in your hair, a deeper health problem may be the cause. Certain birth control pills, pregnancy, and menopause are some of the things that can cause hormonal changes that easily reflect in your hair texture. You may need to be tested for hypothyroidism or anemia as they are known to cause dry and brittle hair among other things.
Do you have more advice on how to care for dry hair? Please share them below!
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