How to Get Healthy and Beautiful Hair
As women, we are constantly trying to crack the code to beautiful hair. But unfortunately, this pursuit involves money, time, patience, and lots of experimenting. To answer your most pressing hair questions, we’ve gathered top advice from our ChickRx experts so you can cut out the frustration and be proud to whip your hair back and forth.
One of the biggest culprits of bad hair days is frizz. Hair gets frizzy when it is damaged or has a naturally rougher texture leading the hair to absorb more moisture from the air. That’s why your hair may look like a hot mess on humid days. To avoid looking like you stuck your finger in a socket, there are a few key rules to follow:
T-Shirt Dry – resist the urge to towel dry your wet hair when you get out of the shower. Towels’ thick, rough texture can damage the hair cuticle, so instead reach for an old (clean) t-shirt to soak up moisture.
Don’t Brush – instead of brushing your wet hair, comb through with a wide toothcomb or just your wet fingers. This will help prevent damaging the hair shaft. You can use a brush to blow dry your hair straight, but avoid brushing dry hair as it can stretch out the hair cuticle.
Skip Shampoos – In order to prevent frizz, it’s key not to wash your hair every day. This can deplete the natural healthy oils your scalp produces making your hair even frizzier. Try rinsing with water and applying just conditioner or skip the water all together and go for a dry shampoo (more on that below).
Treat it – For an extra benefit, reach for the jojoba or coconut oil once a week. These apply the right amount of moisture and frizz control without weighing hair down.
(References: thebeautydepartment.com/2011/05/bounce-with-me; allure.com/hair-ideas/2008/top_five_hair_tips)
Quick Oily Hair Solution
When you don’t have the time or will to wash your oily hair, reach for the dry shampoo. Some ChickRx community favorites are Pssssst or Suave Professionals, about $6 at drug stores for beauties on a budget, while dermatologist Dr. Debra Jaliman recommends Klorane Extra Gentle Dry Shampoo, for $18.
Dry shampoos work by absorbing the oil on your scalp that can weigh hair down if it becomes built up–especially on thin hair. If you’re using a dry shampoo with texturizing spray it can also work to give your hair more boost and volume. Best part? It’s fast, you don’t have to restyle your hair again, and unlike shampooing daily, it won’t strip your scalp of the natural oils it needs to keep your strands healthy.
Promote Hair Growth If you’re looking to be Rapunzel-esq come summer, the waiting game can have you feeling a little like you’re locked in a tower of short hair purgatory. While there’s no quick fix to grow your hair overnight, our experts stress the importance of diet, protection, and avoiding damage to your hair.
Make sure you’re loading up on protein, healthy fats and vitamins. Protect your growing hair from UV damage by shielding it with a hat if you’re spending a lot of time outside. And, of course, skip blowouts when you can and go for air drying instead.
A common myth is that trimming hair frequently will promote growth. While this simply isn’t true because the hair growth happens at the scalp (and is not determined by what happens at the ends of hair), frequent trims can help the hair appear longer by removing dead split ends that cause the hair to stick out rather than lay flat. And, hey, if all else fails, there are always extensions.
Revive Dull Hair One too many straightening and dye jobs can leave your hair looking dull and lackluster. Heat and chemicals can both leave the hair shaft damaged, which makes your hair lose shine and appear dry.
To revive your locks, Dermatologist Dr. Debra Price recommends having your split ends trimmed frequently (aim for no more than 8 to 12 weeks between trims) and using conditioners to smooth the damaged hair shaft.
If you’re worried about weighing your hair down or making your scalp oily with conditioner, you can avoid applying it to your scalp and simply apply it to the bottom half of your hair, working toward the ends. For a natural product alternative, you can use a weekly DIY hair mask to brighten up your strands: check out these great recipes on ChickRx: http://chickrx.com/articles/diy-hair-masks .
If you’re tired of dusting snow off your shoulders, the first thing you might want to do is try Head and Shoulders or Nizoral shampoos that you find at the drugstore for about $10. These shampoos work by reducing seborrheic dermatitis, a condition where oily areas of the skin become inflamed and produce those pesky flakes, explains dermatologist Dr. Debra Jaliman.
If the zinc pyrithione shampoos like Head and Shoulders do not work well for you, there are also Tar shampoos like Tera-Gel, Neutrogena T/Gel and Polytar AF. Dr. Jaliman says these products work by shedding the top layer of skin on the scalp while decreasing the itchiness. Tar shampoos should not be used if you have blonde hair because it can darken lighter tresses. If these over-the-counter products don’t kill off your flakes, visit your dermatologist who may prescribe special steroidal treatments.
Eat for Your Hair
Just as it affects the other parts of your body, your diet has a big impact on the quality of your hair. “Hair can really show our diet quality,” explains Registered Dietitian and Nutrition Expert Carlene Thomas. “If the body isn’t getting enough calories, healthy fats, and especially protein, it can become dull and lifeless.”
For extra benefit, make sure you’re including foods with key nutrients for your hair. Your diet should be rich in protein (like in lean chicken, salmon, Greek yogurt and lentils) and fatty acids (like in salmon, avocado and walnuts).
An added bonus of eating walnuts for hair health is that they are rich in biotin and vitamin E, which work to protect your hair from damage. Zinc is necessary to maintain the quality of your hair and a deficiency can often lead to hair loss and dandruff. For more zinc, load up on oysters, eggs and nuts. Don’t forget to fill up on vitamin C for a hair and immunity boost. Vitamin C can help promote circulation to the scalp and prevent hair breakage.