It’s one thing to dream about how you want your hair to look, but it’s another thing to actually ensure you’re making the right choices that will aid its growth. You could have a bunch of products in your closet, but what if there are a few things you’re doing wrong? You may not know that what you are or are not doing, is probably harming your hair and therefore impeding its growth. For this reason, I’m going to let you in on some healthy hair care tips-just so that you know the right way to treat your hair, and you can correct your mistakes.
Take it Easy with your Hair Dryer, Straightener or Curling iron
You get out of the shower and you just need to dry your hair quickly, so you pick up your blow-dryer. Maybe you want to look different on a special occasion so you get your straightener or that curling iron that would help “transform” you. These objects have served many people well, including me-or so we thought. In a world where many people believe “beauty is pain”, it’s very easy to not acknowledge the fact that this so-called “pain” is a lot more than what we bargain for.
Now, what really happens when you use any of these tools? It leads to your hair getting damaged. Some people are aware of this, but they don’t know how this actually happens. We’re about to get a bit “sciency” here, so bear with me for a moment. So, there’s this lovely protein our hair is made of and it’s called keratin. It’s responsible for making the hair strong and therefore plays a very important role in its health. Heat causes keratin to change its conformation, and it makes it weaker.
The application of heat also causes the hair to be stripped of water that’s bonded to it. This eventually leads to the hair becoming brittle and it makes it frizzy as well. These damages would probably not be noticeable the first time you apply heat on your hair. The fact that your hair may look okay whenever you use a blow-dryer, curling or a straightening iron, doesn’t mean that nothing is happening to it. Unfortunately, you may notice these changes when the damage has reached an extreme level. Sadly, once your hair is extremely damaged by heat, it can’t be repaired.
I’m not going to say you should completely get rid of these (even though I feel it may be the best option). However, I’ll definitely say you should use them to a minimum. The truth is, the exact temperature that would cause damage isn’t known. Everyone’s hair is different, so it’s best to be careful when using these objects. The temperature that could give you those curls could literally burn someone else’s hair off-I’ve seen that.
Say Goodbye To That Hair Relaxer
Hair relaxers have become very common with a lot of women and a couple of men, who happen to have tight coils. I used hair relaxers for many years while growing up because having a permanently straight hair made it easier for me to maintain it. This is a popular reason why many people use it, but it’s important to know that using it is extremely detrimental to the health of your hair, for so many reasons.
Our hair is made of disulfide bonds which are responsible for the curls or coils that a person could have. The more curly your hair is, the more bonds you have. Hair relaxers are chemicals, and these chemicals break these bonds to make the hair straight. Now, anything that has the power to change your hair this much should be avoided as much as possible, don’t you think?
When someone uses a hair relaxer, there are many consequences. One of them is that the hair would definitely lose its strength and moisture. For this reason, the hair could become very brittle, especially if the relaxer wasn’t applied the right way. If you’re not careful, you could risk getting your scalp burned which could cause even more problems because you need a healthy scalp to maintain a healthy hair. Unfortunately, there’s no way your hair would thrive for long if its base of attachment is burned.
It’s a lot to tell someone to get rid of their relaxer, and I totally understand. If someone said that to me a couple of years ago, it may have upset me even. However, it’s important to understand that if you truly want your hair to flourish, you need to make the bold decision of refusing to feed it any more chemicals.
Eat Healthy and Drink Lots of Water
Ever heard the saying, “you are what you eat”? There are many factors that determine how fast your hair grows, and how healthy it is. Diet is just one of those factors, and the good thing is that it’s controllable. There are key nutrients that are needed for your hair to flourish. Some of them are iron, vitamins, proteins and zinc. People who are lacking in these nutrients have very slow hair growth or suffer hair loss. However, pattern baldness is genetic, so diet wouldn’t come to play in this situation.
One very important thing to know is that your hair is made of proteins, so as one of the routines to keep it alive, it would only make sense to eat foods that are richly packed with proteins. Beans, lentils, eggs, chicken and salmon are great sources of this nutrient. These foods also contain iron, which is one other important nutrient because without it, your body can’t produce hemoglobin. It is a component of your red blood cells that transports oxygen to your cells, which include the follicles of your hair. Foods like oysters, spinach, red meat, broccoli and tomatoes contain high levels of iron.
As iron is very important in your diet in order for your hair to be healthy, it should be noted that there are two types-heme and non-heme iron. Heme iron comes from plants that have the nutrient, while non-heme is found in animals. Non-heme iron is more readily absorbed by the body than heme iron, which is why it needs assistance. Vitamin C does an amazing job of helping with its absorption, especially when the heme iron based food is taken with it. With all this said, it’s really important to eat foods rich in vitamin C like citrus fruits and vegetables like brussels sprouts, kale and broccoli.
A lot of these foods are also rich in other nutrients like zinc and other vitamins. Foods like carrots, kale, egg yolk, are rich in vitamin A, which helps prevent hair loss and helps maintain a healthy hair. Vitamins that perform similar functions are B, D, and E. Some food sources are milk, eggs and bell peppers. Zinc is important as well because it helps with keeping your hair healthy by balancing the sebum that your scalp produces. Nuts and meats are rich in this nutrient. Zinc deficiency could lead to hair loss, however, an excess amount could lead to the same effect, so it’s important to maintain a balance.
Although having meals rich in nutrients is key for the survival of your hair, keeping yourself hydrated is one other important factor that needs to be added to your hair regime. Unfortunately, some people don’t think water is as important as any other nutrient that’s required for your hair to thrive. It’s so essential because it keeps your hair from thinning out and prevents it from being brittle and falling off. If you don’t hydrate yourself enough, your system doesn’t function at its best. This means that the nutrients that you consume won’t work as well as they’re meant to. In general, it’s best to maintain a healthy and balanced diet for a healthy hair.
Keep it Clean, but Don’t Overdo It
A clean scalp is key for your hair to thrive, but unfortunately this is overlooked by so many people. You can decide to have all the styling products that’ll make your hair seem lustrous and beautiful, but if your scalp isn’t well taken care of, then your hair won’t be as healthy as you would like it to be. It’s very important to wash your hair and make sure your scalp is clean, because if it’s dirty, it could impede your hair’s growth and even cause it to smell. Your scalp could get itchy, and you may suffer from dandruff. Not washing it could also leave room for scalp infections to thrive. Now, I’m sure you don’t want that.
Your scalp naturally secretes sebum, which helps to moisturize and protect it. Depending on the texture of your hair, the sebum production could leave your hair very oily, dry, or somewhere in-between. Now, people with straight hair tend to have really oily hair, more than other hair textures. It would be advisable to wash it at least three times a week. Not washing it as often as it needs could result in buildup from sebum, sweat and dirt, which could clog your pores and eventually lead to hair damage.
People who have curly or wavy hair may still have oily hair, but not as much as those with straight hair. This is because the curls prevent the sebum from reaching the tip of the hair, so the oil isn’t evenly distributed. If you have this hair texture, then you should wash it at least once a week. Those who have really kinky hair can get away with washing their hair once a week or two weeks, not only because their hair is the least oily of all the textures, but it’s also the most delicate and therefore requires the least form of manipulation.
Even though you should take measures with your wash routine depending on how oily your scalp is and the texture of your hair, it’s actually detrimental to your hair if you wash it more often than you should. If you have straight or curly hair, washing it daily gets rid of the natural oils that your hair produces, which forces your hair to produce even more sebum. This leaves your hair more oily than it should be. For people with kinky natural hair, washing it daily shouldn’t even be an option, because the hair texture can simply not withstand it.
Moderation is Key
A very important message is that everything needs to be done with moderation to achieve the best results possible. You need to be careful with how you treat your hair AND yourself. As I’ve shown you, being healthy does play a role in having really healthy hair. This means that while you might take external measures to take care of your hair, you need to be fine on the inside too. Eat a balanced meal, drink enough water. Just make sure your overall health is in check, and you’re going to have results that will make you glad. Cheers!