12 Tips for Healthy Hair

Your hair says a lot about you: whether you are high maintenance or low, funky or traditional, daring or conservative. It’s one of the first things people see when they look at you, so keeping your hair healthy and shiny is essential. The following tips will keep your hair saying fabulous things about you:

  1. Ditch the Plastic – Using a brush with the right bristles is essential to keeping hair healthy. On dry hair, use a brush with a combination of natural boar bristles; on wet or damp hair, use soft, rubber-toothed wide-paneled brushes.
  2. Reverse the Order – To remove product buildup and scalp flakes, try brushing your hair before you get in the shower. This will also stimulate circulation to deliver nutrients to your hair follicles.
  3. Check Your Tap – Don’t overlook your water as a source of dull or hard-to-style hair. For instance, if you get your water from a well, which usually contain natural minerals (known as “hard water”), it can leave your hair lusterless and hard to manage, or give it a brassy, orange hue. Soft water contains fewer minerals. Call your local water department to find out whether your water is soft or hard. To remove mineral buildup from your hair, use a clarifying shampoo once a week.
  4. Prep Before Coloring – Before you color your hair at home, mist the ends of hair with water. The ends of your hair are more porous, so they soak up excess color. Wetting them first will prevent them becoming oversaturated with color.
  5. Trim Often – Ends become prone to splitting as it get older and damaged by styling. In between your full cuts, get at least ½ inch trimmed off every four to eight weeks to maintain healthy ends.
  6. Protect Your Color – Chemical treatments such as coloring penetrate the outer layer of the hair to allow the color to be absorbed. While this results in fabulous color, it also damages your hair follicles. To fight the damage, use color-protective products that are specifically designed to minimize dryness, keep your color true, and prevent damage.
  7. Be Gentle – Wet hair stretches and can snap more easily than dry hair, so treat it gently. Use a wide-tooth comb to gently detangle wet hair, and then switch to a salon-quality brush when towel-dried. Avoid wooden combs, which can have microscopic divots that snag hairs.
  8. Two Week Treats – Deep condition your hair every two weeks to repair damage and strengthen hair. To intensify the conditioning, add heat from a blow dryer which will cause the cuticle to open and allow the product to penetrate more deeply.
  9. Go Ionic – Ionic blowdryers bathe your hair in negative ions, which help break up the water molecules faster and cancel out hair-damaging positive ions. They also dry your hair more quickly.
  10. Concentrate Airflow – Use your dryer’s nozzle to aim the airflow on specific sections, thereby helping to prevent frizz. Without a nozzle, the dryer’s grill gets very hot and can cause damage and/or breakage if your hair gets too close to it. To create luscious curls, use a diffuser attachment to surround your hair with heat.
  11. Go Easy on Textured or Relaxed Hair – African-American hair tends to be more coarse, especially if chemically straightened. Try to space your processing treatments at least two weeks apart, with weekly conditioning treatments to maintain shine. In addition, if you color your hair, choose more gentle processes such as semipermanent or vegetable color.
  12. Accessorize with Care – When you put your hair up, try a twist or soft braids and claw instead of barrettes which can tear at hair.