For many of us, our hair is our pride and joy. Whether you prefer long, luscious locks or a short, choppy bob, our hair is often as impactful on our style as the clothes we choose to wear.
Clothes require adequate care to keep them looking good, so it makes sense that our hair does too. Today we're showing you how to take care of your hair on a daily basis to keep it looking and feeling healthy. We'll also be sharing some natural hair care tips to give it an extra boost from time-to-time.
How to take care of your hair
Think you know how to take care of your hair? You could be making some BIG hair care mistakes!
Many of us have bad habits that can contribute to damaged hair. Make sure you heed our advice if you want strong, healthy hair that looks and feels amazing.
1. Don't sleep with wet hair
Are you guilty of rolling into bed with wet hair on those nights where anything other than watching TV seems too tasking? We know how you feel, but you could be making a big mistake!
Sleeping with wet hair may save time in the short run, but it can really damage your hair in the long run. It can cause bacteria growth, acne, and even hair loss.
2. Avoid tight styles
Are you never without a high, tight ponytail for work? It may be worth rethinking your hairstyle.
Tight styles can put pressure on hair follicles and, over time, lead to hair loss. It's best to avoid repeating the same hairstyle too often, as it will cause repetitive strain on your scalp and will also cause breakages.
Along with varying your hairstyle, try using bobby pins instead of hair ties wherever possible as these are much more gentle.
3. Pat not rub
Another haircare mistake many of us make is when it comes to drying our hair.
It's important to remember - no matter how tight for time you are - to always pat your hair dry and to never aggressively rub it with a towel. Rubbing, along with the texture of the towel, are a match made in hell for hair. It'll cause split ends and frizz as you're working in the opposite direction of hair growth.
Patting might take longer, but it'll save you time (and inches!) in the long run.
4. Avoid over styling
When you throw a piece of meat onto the grill, the heat changes it significantly. Whilst our hair doesn't respond in exactly the same way as a sausage, it also experiences changes when hit with heat.
Over styling with heat tools can dry hair out and cause breakages, making it dull and brittle over time.
To prevent your hair from looking lacklustre, stay away from styling tools as much as possible. Air dry your hair instead of using a hairdryer, use plaits and braids to create waves, or best of all, leave it completely au natural!
5. Use heat protection spray
If you really do have to style your hair, we'd recommend investing in a good quality heat protection spray to create a barrier between your hair and the heat source.
Whilst this isn't as good as avoiding heat entirely, it will go some way to protect your hair from damage. Whether you're drying, straightening or curling, never be without your heat protection spray - you'll be amazed at what a difference it makes.
6. Cold water rinse
Your skin might not particularly enjoy showering in cold water, but your hair sure will!
Before you jump out the shower, give your hair a rinse with cold water. It will help seal the hair cuticle so hair lies flat, giving it a sleek, shinier appearance.
All that, without a single product!
7. Balanced diet
We can't emphasise the importance of a healthy, balanced diet enough when it comes to beauty.
Everything from our toenails to our hair benefits from the nutrients found in food, which is why our diet is so important for hair health.
For best results, eat a varied diet of natural foods, including:
- Eggs - Zinc and selenium
- Berries - Vitamin C
- Fatty fish - Omega-3
- Nuts and seeds - Vitamin E
- Sweet potatoes - Vitamin A
- Wholegrains - Biotin
8. Stay away from dye
Remember when your mother always used to warn you about the dangers of bleaching your hair? Well, it turns out she was right!
Dyeing our hair isn't as simple as colouring a piece of paper in with a pen. In order for the hair dye to take, the cuticle must be broken. Ammonia is used to lift it and then, usually, peroxide is used to strip the hair colour. The longer your cuticle is lifted (i.e the amount of time the dye stays on your hair) the weaker the strands become.
Everytime you dye, your hair gets weaker - something to bear in mind next time you fancy a change of aesthetic.
9. Proper brush technique
Turns out you could even be brushing your hair wrong.
There are a surprising number of mistakes to make when brushing your hair, including:
- Using the wrong tool - round brushes are for styling purposes only. A boar bristle brush or a comb with staggered teeth are best for brushing.
- Starting from the scalp - this can create more knots and damage hair. Start a few inches from the end and brush downwards, slowly working your way upwards as hair becomes smooth.
10. Wash less
Another common mistake we make is washing our hair too frequently. Although this may seem like a good idea at the time, every time we wash our hair, we strip some of the natural oils out of it.
Natural haircare tips
If you've only just learnt how to take care of your hair properly, it's worth checking out our natural haircare tips too. They'll help give you hair a welcome boost to improve overall health and appearance.
We'd recommend using some of the natural products below intermittently as and when you have the time to keep hair healthy.
Eggs are full of nutrients, and egg yolks are particularly beneficial for hair health.
Containing Vitamins A, E and also biotin, using eggs on your hair will help it build up a barrier and prevent it from being damaged so easily.
TRY IT: Mix 2 egg yolks with 2 tbsp olive oil and massage onto hair. Leave to sit under a shower cap for an hour before rinsing.
Bananas contain both Vitamin C and potassium, both of which help to keep hair in good condition.
TRY IT: Mash 2 ripe bananas with 1/2 cup raw honey and massage into hair from roots to tip. Leave for 20 minutes under a shower cap, then wash with lukewarm water.
It may sound like a weird one, but mayonnaise can actually be highly beneficial for hair health. Common ingredients include lemon juice, vinegar and oil which contain fatty acids to nourish hair.
TRY IT: Apply mayonnaise to wet hair and massage in from roots to ends. Pop on a shower cap and leave to sit for 20 minutes before washing off.
4. Coconut oil
Coconut oil has been hailed as an amazing natural beauty product for a while now and for good reason.
It's a wonderful alternative to other fats not only for cooking but for our appearance too. Coconut oil moisturises dry hair, helps the scalp to fight bacteria, prevents breakages and splitting and also adds shine and softness to hair.
TRY IT: It's easy to reap the hair benefits of coconut oil. All you need to do is massage the oil in your hands until it melts, then apply to dry hair from root to tip. Leave for at least half an hour (and a few hours if possible) before washing out with warm water.
Honey isn't just delicious on yoghurt - it both attracts and retains moisturise making it an ideal conditioner, especially for dry hair.
TRY IT: Mix 1/4 cup honey with a little water until it's thin enough to spread over the hair. Massage it in from root to tip and leave to sit for 30 minutes before rinsing off.
Fenugreek seeds - otherwise known as methi seeds - have some amazing hair-health boosting properties. Full of protein, iron, potassium and Vitamin C, it's wonderful when used as a conditioner to renourish hair.
TRY IT: Soak 15g of fenugreek seeds in water overnight. Drain, and grind into a paste the following morning. Apply to your hair and leave for at least 30 minutes before washing out.
These bright Summer berries can do wonders for your hair. Full of magnesium, omega 3 fatty acids, copper, ellagic acid, folic acid and B Vitamins, they promote shiny and silky hair whilst preventing hair fall and dandruff.
TRY IT: Puree a handful of strawberries and massage into hair. Leave for 15 minutes before washing out.
Taking a break from alcohol? Use those last beer bottles on your hair instead. Vitamin B and the protein found in malt and hops can repair hair damage, add shine and even give hair more body.
TRY IT: Once beer has gone flat, pour it over wet, clean hair and massage it in. After 15 minutes or so, rinse the beer out with tepid water.
9. Apple cider vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is another one of the most popular products used by lovers of natural beauty. It's extremely cheap, versatile and beneficial so it's easy to see why.
With regards to hair health, apple cider vinegar contains anti-fungal properties that keep the scalp bacteria free and prevent things like dandruff from forming.
TRY IT: Make a solution of equal parts water and apple cider vinegar and slowly pour it over wet hair, massaging it in as you go. Leave it to sit for 10 minutes then rinse.
10. Aloe vera
Aloe vera not only has antiviral and antibacterial properties but also proteolytic enzymes which work to repair dead skin cells on the scalp. An aloe vera treatment will leave your head healthy and your hair looking and feeling amazing.
TRY IT: Cut an aloe vera plant and squeeze out the gel. Apply it to hair after shampooing as you would a conditioner, leaving for a few minutes for it to work its magic before rinsing.
Avocado is another supposed superfood that can also be used for hair. The fatty acids are particularly good for calming dry, frizzy hair and the antioxidants can help prevent it from becoming damaged.
TRY IT: Mash a ripe avocado then mix with 1 tbsp or 2 of olive oil until a thick paste is formed. Lather the paste onto your hair, starting at the roots and working it down to the tips. Pop on a shower cap, then cover your hair in a warm damp towel to help the nutrients penetrate your scalp. Wait 20 minutes before rinsing off.
Now you'll have the most beautiful, natural hair around! What are your biggest hair dilemmas? Share them with us in the comments below and we'll do our best to help.