12.3.13

Hair Diaries - Best Kept Hair Secrets


We all want our hair to look its best. There are hundreds of products available, from straightening sprays to leave-in conditioners - but what really does make a difference to our hair?

Protect Shine With Lukewarm Water

Hot water can strip the protective oils that act as a natural conditioner. And your hair's natural shine can disappear. This doesn't mean you have to suffer through cold showers to avoid dull hair. Instead, use lukewarm water to wash your hair. Pamper the scalp by massaging it while you shampoo.

Skip High-Powered Blow Dryers

When you shower, water gets inside each strand of hair. When you power up the hair dryer, all that moisture heats up and expands, and this pushes the hair fibers apart leaving open spaces. Those spaces make hair weaker and more susceptible to damage. Style hair on low heat or on cool setting to prevent the heat related damage.

Mend Split Ends With Protein

If you often style your hair with hot tools -- or you color, bleach, or perm -- you can damage hair's protective outer layer. The result is "split ends." Thankfully, there are hair products to help mend the damage.

Look for conditioners with protein. They sink into the hair shaft and repair split ends. The fix only lasts until the next shampoo, so you'll need to use them regularly.

Boost Thin Hair With Silicone

Thin, lifeless hair is a common complaint, yet few women know the best remedy. Heavy conditioners will  just leave your hair limp. A better bet is to use products with silicone, such as dimethicone or cyclomethicone. These coat the strands with a thin film, creating fuller hair that doesn't look greasy. The silicone stays put even after you rinse.

Brush Less to Limit Hair Loss

Don't believe that myth about 100 brush strokes a day. Too much brushing will snap off hairs. Some hair loss is normal – most people lose 50 to 100 hairs every day. These have stopped growing and have reached a resting stage. To keep from losing any more hair than normal, use a brush with ball-tipped bristles. And never brush wet hair, use a comb instead.

Take Care With Tightly-Wound Hair

Ponytails and braids are great way to showcase your personal style. But when they're too tight, they can break off hair and damage the roots. Wearing a tight style around the clock can even make your hair fall out. Set your hair free every night! For braided styles meant to last months, leave hair a little loose at the scalp. If you wear heavy extensions, give your hair a break after three months.

Use Gentle Color to Cover Grays

Hair doesn't just change color as we get older – it also becomes weaker and grows more slowly. That means damaged hair won't be snipped off as quickly by haircuts. Chemicals used on "mature" hair should be weaker to avoid damage.
Avoid Extreme Color Changes

Perhaps you're a brunette who always wanted to be a blonde, or a blonde who wants to go darker. Be aware that you're risking damage to your hair with more extreme color changes. Some dermatologists recommend staying within three shades of your natural color.

Calm Frizz

Humidity gets the rap for causing frizzy hair days. But there's more static electricity when the air is dry. This means frizz also flies in winter months and in the desert climates. Use conditioner to stop static electricity. Shampoos that are pH-balanced also can calm the frizz for hair that's colored or relaxed with chemicals.

Don't Treat Dandruff With Oils

Dandruff is not a type of dry skin at all -- despite the white flakes that float down to your shoulders. Dandruff is a scalp infestation with a fungus called Malassezia furfur. Rubbing oil into the scalp can just make it worse.

Shampoos with anti fungal medicine are the best fix -- from a drugstore or a dermatologist. Leave the shampoo on for 5 minutes to soak into your scalp. Be sure to rinse thoroughly.

Eat Fish and Nuts for Healthy Hair

The same nutritious foods that are good for your body promote stronger, healthier hair. Load up on salmon and nuts! Their protein and omega-3 fats help create a healthier scalp. Leafy vegetables, beans, and carrots are also good for your tresses.

Beware of fad diets aimed at quick weight loss. They can starve your body of important nutrients, which can lead to brittle hair or hair loss.