Hair is such a big symbol. Perhaps it shouldn’t be? We throw so much weight onto how we look and how, that in turn, makes us feel that we often gift our hair...
If there’s one thing a woman will always be striving to improve, it’s her hair. The feeling that comes with a good hair day could be bottled up and sold for an obscene amount of money, so important is it to helping boost inner confidence. But without a personal stylist or daily blowdry, most of us just don’t have the time needed to maintain beautiful, healthy hair that looks and feels great.
Hair breakage can be caused by a variety of factors, some of which can be prevented and others which are harder to break. The decade of the straightener (aka the 00s), saw most of us straightening our poor ends to within an inch of their lives. Luckily, we’re now much wiser about the strain excessive styling can have on our hair, but for quick fixes, it can still be hard to resist the pull of the GHDs. With the arrival of Winter, our hair is also subject to extreme weather conditions, from icy, cold winds to drying heat from radiators and air conditioning, both of which, can take their toll. Stress, lack of sleep and poor diet are also factors which can cause hair to break and fall out which in turn, can lead to more stress, promoting a vicious cycle which can be hard to break.
If, like me, healthy hair is one of the primary factors that helps you to feel great, then the below tips are for you. In true Full Agenda style, they are all manageable and can be introduced to your haircare routine with minimal fuss or expense, one step at a time. By mixing some of the simple tips below into your daily routine you will soon be on the way to improving the health of your hair, both inside and out.
1. Brushing hair
Boar bristle brushes are much more gentle than traditional plastic brushes which can pull and snag. Ever wondered where the old wives tale of ‘100 brushes every night before bed’ came from? This was a ritual introduced in the 20th Century, at a time when a Boar Bristle Brush could be found on every dressing table in town, used to brush the hair from root to tip every night before bed. Nowadays, it isn’t recommended to use quite so many strokes, but the benefits of a Boar Bristle brush are still very much valid. The soft bristles of the brush, help to run sebum, an essential oil produced by the scalp, from the root of the hair, down to the tip – conditioning each strand along the way.
Boar bristles are also great for massaging the scalp to promote blood circulation, which can improve hair condition and the rate at which hair grows.
The great thing is, you don’t have to spend a fortune to get the right one either – you can pick this Denman one up from Superdrug that’s a mixture of Nylon and Boar Bristles for less than £10, or for a 100% pure Boar Bristle Brush, head over to Amazon for another bargain.
2. Washing hair
Try to avoid washing the hair more than necessary as this can dry the length of hair out and also cause the scalp to release more oil, making the hair greasier than it should be and in turn, prompting you to wash it even more frequently.
While washing hair, be sure to massage shampoo directly into the scalp and not throughout the length of the hair, which will help to promote good blood circulation at the root while avoiding drying the length. Always condition from mid-length to end and leave conditioner on for 2-5 minutes where possible, ensuring that hair is moisturised throughout the driest parts.
Hair is at its most fragile while wet, so always avoid brushing while wet and use a wide-toothed comb to untangle before drying.
Synthetic chemicals dry the hair and products that contain parabens coat it in a substance which can make it brittle and prone to breakage. Try to incorporate as many natural shampoo products into your routine as possible, which can help to replenish hair more naturally and also protect you from known carcinogens and harsh chemicals.
3. Drying hair
Towels feel soft to our skin but are actually quite rough when it comes to the delicate fibres of the hair. Never rough dry hair with towels, instead use the towel to pat dry and then wring the water from the ends until it is as dry as possible.
If you can, leave hair to dry naturally as much as possible as this will help it to retain natural volume and will prevant breakage from heat and overstyling. Niomi Smart claims to always leave her hair to dry naturally and if her locks are anything to go by, it must be worth a try. If you do need to speed up the process, then press water out of the hair gently with a towel, before drying with the coldest heat setting possible, holding the dryer at least 6 inches away from the hair at all times.
4. Styling hair
While styling can make your hair look great, it is also one of the main contributors to dry, frazzled hair that then needs even more styling, to make it resemble a healthy hair look. This is a nasty circle which is hard to break and can lead to brittle, frazzled irreversible hair damage.
Everyday use of heat and styling products, such as straighteners and hair tongs, can cause hair to dry and break off. Tight hairbands and kirby grips can also snag hair and weaken it at the mid-point where hair is tied. To avoid this, try to style your hair as little as possible and avoid artificial heat through straighteners, dryers and tongs. Easier said than done, but there are plenty of sites out there that offer quick and easy heat-free ideas that can help you to experiment with a fun new style, while protecting your locks from damage.
5. Replenishing hair
Even the most well-cared for hair can sometimes need an extra moisture boost. This is particularly important in the Winter months, when our hair is subject to extreme weather conditions and our immune systems are lower. Go for masks and treatments which contain the below ingredients (depending on your hair type), or even better – try making your own!
Avocado Oil: Great for restoring moisture to dry/damaged hair and enhances natural shine
Shea Butter: Best for thicker hair types to moisturise and reduce frizz
Sweet Almond Oil: A light oil perfect for stressed, fine hair which nourishes without weighing the hair down
Coconut Oil: Perfect for retaining moisture and keeping hair soft and supple. The fatty acids found in Coconut Oil are also great for dandruff and dry scalp conditions
6. Feeding hair from the inside
As well as treating hair on the outside, it’s important to eat a diet rich in protein, Iron, vitamins and minerals, in order to condition hair from the inside. Hair is made of the protein Keratin (as are your fingernails), so a diet rich in Protein, taken from fish, eggs, lean white meats, nuts and legumes is essential for feeding it correctly. Vitamin A is also essential for a healthy scalp, as it is needed for Sebum production, the hair’s natural conditioner, which helps to keep the hair and scalp moisturised. Vitamin A can be found in cheese, eggs and natural yoghurt, or in carrots, peppers and sweet potatoes all containing Beta Carotene, which can be converted to Vitamin A within the body.
Dark leafy vegetables such as Spinach, Kale and Swiss Chard, as well as Broccoli, are rich in calcium and iron, both of which bring oxygen to the root of the hair, promoting healthy hair growth and preventing hair loss.
Image sourced via WeHeartIt
Beth is a Writer and Digital Marketer who founded The Full Agenda as a place to talk about the things that kept her and her friends up at night. Currently working as a Marketing consultant to various SMEs she is a big fan of the startup market and loves technology, apps and anything social media related. When not obsessively checking Google Analytics, she can be found reading, writing or relaxing with a glass of Prosecco.
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