Do you wish you had healthier, more luscious hair? Do you feel like you've tried every hair product there is, but still wind up with hair that's dull and dry?
Many of us struggle with the health of our hair. Perhaps that's part of the reason why the hair care industry is worth a whopping $89.7 billion in the US.
Luckily, there are plenty of things you can do to improve the health of your hair without spending a fortune on hair care products.
Check out this guide to learn how to keep your hair healthy.
1. Protect Your Hair
Just as you protect your skin from the sun and the elements, so too should you protect your hair. Exposure to excess heat, sun, pollution, dirt, and rain can add more trouble to your already existing hair woes.
All of these elements in your hair can lead to debris build-up as well as drying out of your hair and scalp. That, in turn, increases the chance of a scalp infection.
2. Dial Down the Heat
Hair straighteners, blow dryers, curling irons, and other heating tools can take a major toll on your hair.
This is especially true if your hair is dry, fine, or prone to breakage. Plus, too much heat can damage your hair, resulting in strands that are weak and frizzy.
In a 2011 study, researchers found that holding a blow dryer 6 inches away from your hair can help limit damage. They also recommend that you keep the dryer moving around and not concentrated on one spot.
You should also try to limit your blow-drying and other hot tool sessions to two to three times per week. When you do use these tools, set them at a lower heat setting so that you can reduce damage to your hair. You may also want to consider investing in a heat protectant product to minimize the damage to your hair.
3. Don't Overdo it On the Shampoo
While it's important to keep your hair clean, overdoing it on the shampoo can strip the natural oils in your hair in an effort to remove dirt and reduce oiliness.
Unless you have extremely oily hair, you can probably cut back to shampooing two to three times per week as opposed to every day. Be careful about the amount of shampoo you use during each session. You only need about a quarter-sized amount of shampoo, and most of it should be applied to your scalp.
4. Boost Your Vitamin Intake
Just like the rest of your body, your hair needs specific vitamins and minerals to stay healthy and strong.
Here are some of the most important vitamins and minerals for healthy hair:
- Vitamin A: This vitamin is found in pumpkin, carrots, sweet potatoes, milk, eggs, spinach, and yogurt
- B Vitamins: (Particularly Biotin) These vitamins are found in liver, egg yolk, avocados, salmon, seeds, nuts, and dairy products
- Vitamin C: This vitamin is found in citrus fruits, bell peppers, and strawberries
- Vitamin D: This vitamin is found in egg yolk, fatty fish, orange juice, and milk
- Vitamin E: This vitamin is found in almonds, sunflower seeds, spinach, and avocados
- Iron: Found in clams, oysters, red meat, eggs, lentils, and spinach
- Zinc: Found in beef, oysters, pumpkin seeds, and lentils
If you find that you're having trouble getting these necessary vitamins and minerals through your diet, then you may want to consider taking a multivitamin. However, before starting a new multivitamin, it's important to talk to your doctor.
5. Up Your Protein Intake
In addition to consuming the right vitamins and minerals, you should also up your protein intake in order to improve the health of your hair.
This is because hair follicles are made up of mostly protein, so consuming enough is important for healthy hair growth. Here are some protein-rich foods that can improve your hair health:
- Nuts and seeds
- Fish, especially salmon and mackerel
- Spinach and kale
- Lean meats
- Legumes and beans
6. Give Yourself a Scalp Massage
Healthy hair all begins at the scalp, which is why it's so important that you take care of it.
By massaging your scalp, you rev up the blood circulation in this area and increase the blood flow to your hair follicles. In fact, a small study in 2016 found that massaging your scalp for just 4 minutes a day can increase strength and thickness in your hair over time.
To massage your own scalp, apply pressure using your fingertips and massage in circular motions. You can either massage your hair when it's wet or dry. You can also use a scalp massager instead of your fingertips.
7. Switch to Cold Water
We all know that a long, hot shower feels great. But, all that hot water isn't great for your hair.
If you shower with water that's too hot, then your hair may experience heat damage, both in the cuticles and at the roots. Plus, steam in the shower can open up your hair cuticles and cause your hair to become frizzy, dry, and prone to breakage.
To protect your hair from the heat, we suggest lathering up using lukewarm water. Then, finish your shower by spraying your hair and scalp with a cool mist of water.
This can help seal your hair cuticles and make it easier for your hair to retain moisture. You should also use a shower cap on the days you don't wash your hair.
How to Keep Your Hair Healthy: Wrap Up
Now that you know how to keep your hair healthy, it's time to put these tips into action.
Before you know it, you'll have the healthy, shiny hair that you've always dreamed of.
For those of the curly origin, check out these 5 tips for taking care of naturally curly hair.