Have you always wanted to know how to maintain healthy hair all year long? Follow our easy tips on how to get and keep your tresses looking their best, no matter the weather.
Top 15 Ways to Achieve Healthy Hair
1. Incorporate nutrient-rich foods into your diet
The easiest and fastest way to improve and maintain healthy hair is to eat a healthy, balanced diet. Hair is made up of protein (keratin, to be exact!), so a protein-rich diet can be beneficial in replenishing any lipids lost due to overstyling, bleach damage or other chemical processing.
Vitamins (A, C and E) contain anti-aging properties that can help promote healthy hair. While you can consume those vitamins in nutrient-rich foods, adding a supplement like Nutrafol that has been formulated to target the root causes of thinning hair, including nutrition, can help ensure even more that you are getting the vitamins and minerals needed for optimal hair growth. Supplementing a healthy diet with Nutrafol also helps give you a more thorough approach to dealing with compromised hair health since it can assist with metabolism, hormonal changes and even stress.
2. Feed your scalp
Scalp treatments, like scrubs or weekly detoxifying sessions, are essential for maintaining healthy hair. These treatments stimulate blood circulation, which in turn feeds hair follicles and promotes hair growth. Scalp treatments can also regulate excess oil, moisturize your scalp, and protect brittle and damaged hair—a well-balanced scalp flora provides the proper foundation for strong, robust hair follicles. Want a (literal) head start on those scrub sessions? Nexxus Clean and Pure Scalp Scrub removes excess oil, build-up and impurities and gently exfoliates your scalp, leaving it refreshed and renewed.
3. Watch the temperature
A hot shower may feel oh-so-blissful—especially in the winter!—but can be very damaging to hair. Hot water can make the hair cuticle swell up, and when these swollen cuticles dry, hair dries frizzy, brittle and more prone to damage as the cuticles aren’t smoothly laid flat (think of broken shingles on a roof).
Prevent damage by washing and rinsing with lukewarm or tepid water instead. The cooler temperature helps seal the cuticle down, resulting in a smoother dry-down. Using a shower cap after washing and conditioning can also protect hair against potential damage: Use a shower cap when not washing hair, as the cap helps protect tresses from hot water damage while also help “set” the conditioner for a deeper hydrating experience. Win-win!
4. Use the right shampoo and conditioner
Use shampoos and conditioners that are gentle and formulated to strengthen strands and will help maintain healthy hair. Look for products that contain biotin, Argan oil, coconut oil, aloe vera, Jojoba oil, or spirulina. We love the gentle damage-repairing action we get from Love Beauty and Planet Hope and Repair Coconut Oil & Ylang-Ylang Shampoo and Hope and Repair Coconut Oil & Ylang-Ylang Conditioner, which helps visibly repair hair and prevent dead ends—all in a 93% naturally derived, cruelty-, sulfate-, paraben-, silicone-, dye- and phthalate-free formulation!
5. Brush before you cleanse
Before you wash your hair, brush or comb out knots. Wet hair is very fragile and combing out knots while wet can cause damage and breakage.
6. Deep masking
Unless your hair is very dry and damaged, use a deep conditioning mask once a month. Masks impart a more intense shot of moisture while maintaining healthy hair. If hair is very damaged or brittle, use a mask once a week. We love the supremely hydrated feel our locks get from TRESemme Repair & Protect 7 Instant Recovery Mask, which leaves hair silky-smooth.
DIY hair masks, alternatively, can be created by using mashed avocados or contain either grapeseed or coconut oils. To do some serious Sunday self-care using these common household ingredients, place a shower cap over your head after applying the mask, as the heat from your head will help lock in moisture; watch a show or two on Netflix, and then rinse out. For an even deeper level of saturation, leave overnight.
7. After you shower
Using a leave-in conditioner can add shine and manageability while preventing hair damage. Look for leave-in conditioners that contain proteins, biotin, rice milk, Argan or coconut oils, as they help infuse hair with high levels of moisture and reparative lipids as well as promote hair growth. SheaMoisture Jamaican Black Castor Oil Strengthen & Grow Leave-In Conditioner is a superstar product with keratin, peppermint and shea butter, as well as coconut oil and rice proteins (!), that softens and detangles hair while controlling frizz.
8. Hot tool etiquette
Hot tools like blow-dryers, curling and flat irons and heated rollers will not only suck the moisture out of your hair with regular use, it can also fry strands if used incorrectly or used too often! When using heated tools, don’t crank up the heat and use the lowest setting possible needed to achieve your look.
9. Use a barrier
…And create a barrier, while you’re at it! A thermal protectant, also known as a heat protectant, applied on your strands helps shield your hair from “hotspots” and damage from direct exposure to heated tools. Before using the product, separate your hair into sections, then apply the protectant and gently comb through. We like the easy, lightweight, all-over spritz we get from Dove Style+Care Smooth & Shine Heat Protection Spray, which also protects against frizz and flyaways.
10. Be style-smart
An easy way to maintain healthy hair and to prevent damaged hair from getting worse is to let your hair air-dry whenever possible. You can also experiment with some overnight hair hacks, like an updo, Bantu knots or some pin curls, that help give you an instant style when you wake up. Or try a quick way to get some waves without heat-styling with a curling iron: Dampen hair (either by cleansing or misting with some water), then create a braid. When dry, unbraid and finger-comb.
11. Invest in a silk pillowcase
Cotton pillowcases can leech moisture from your hair and create friction during sleep, which can lead to breakage. Switching to silk pillowcases helps lessen this friction and can help both your hair and skin retain moisture.
12. Hair oils
Many shine products contain drying ingredients; the more they’re used, the drier the hair becomes. It’s a vicious cycle, as the very product you’re using to stop frizzy hair can be inadvertently causing it! Instead of relying on chemical compounds, switching to hair oils can help you maintain healthy hair naturally. Hair oils help add shine, but they can also maintain healthy hair, promote hair growth by minimizing breakage and damage, and fix dryness issues, like Love Beauty and Planet Rose and Almond Natural Oils Infusion, which moisturizes as it also fixes pesky frizz and flyaways. An oil cheat sheet: Coconut oil can be used on all hair types, macadamia and Argan oils are great for dry, damaged hair, and baobab oil can help promote hair growth.
13. Stay on schedule
Stress and a poor sleeping schedule can mess with one’s health, and as such, can contribute to compromised hair health. Getting into the habit of sleeping 8 hours a night (or whatever amount is best for you) and meditating can help lessen the effects of stress in your life—and on your hair.
14. Wash more mindfully
You now know that washing hair in hot water can damage hair, but not many people know that washing hair too frequently can cause damage or breakage too, particularly if hair is already on the drier side. Try using a dry shampoo in between washes (we like the convenience of Dove Care Between Washes Go Active Dry Shampoo Wipes) to refresh and maintain healthy hair, or opt for a gentler, more moisturizing co-washing approach on days that you do wash.
Hats and scarves are physical barriers that help prevent the sun’s rays from damaging and drying out hair. Try to incorporate these accessories into your outfits, especially on days when you know you’re getting lots more sun exposure than usual!