Want to know the secrets to having healthy, beautiful hair? Look no further!
Straighten. Curl. Pin. Spray. Dye. Bleach. Tease. Brush. Repeat. Have you noticed that your hair takes a beating from even just a few rounds of styling? It looks great at the time, but falls flat and looks dead the next day. And none of the “miracle products” seem to bring it back to life. What’s a girl to do??
I have a secret. Back when I was seventeen years old, I attended cosmetology school. While I ended up transferring to pursue special education, my time as a wannabe hairdresser taught me the science and practice of keeping hair healthy and happy. No matter how dry, damaged, or unruly your hair is, you can jump-start your journey toward healthy, beautiful tresses today!
Professionals have six tricks you need to know so that YOU can have amazing hair, every day.
1. Low Heat
Heat is the number one hair-killer out there! Burning temperatures damage the keratin protein fibers that make up the hair strand. Once those fibers are destroyed, there’s no going back. The best way to keep your hair healthy is to ditch the hot tools as much as possible, including your blow-dryer, curling rod, and straightening iron.
Wait, you might scream, but my hair will look horrible without those! Au contraire. There are lots of options to take your hair from wet to dry without damage, and even styles you can try on wet hair. You can also try heatless curling, heatless straightening, or other styles that don’t need heat. If you still want to use heat, always use a heat protectant, and do your best to save the hot tools for special occasions. You’ll notice a huge difference in just a couple weeks!
2. Low friction
Friction is second-in-command to heat for hurting your tresses. Friction happens when the hair fibers are rubbed or brushed harshly against each other or something else, such as when you rub your hair with a towel, yank a brush or comb through it, tangle in those little rubber ties, or tease your hair to high heaven.
Friction happens when the hair fibers are rubbed or brushed harshly against each other or something else.
Luckily, this one is easier to fix than ditching the curling iron. Simply blot your hair dry with a towel, comb and brush your mane gently, and try to use hair ties and clips that are easy to put in and take out. If the hair-thing is easy to put in and doesn’t hurt to take out, you’re probably good! For those of you who want to go the extra mile with friction protection, try wearing a silk nightcap or sleep on a satin pillowcase at night to keep your pillow from creating breakage.
3. Know your hair type
We all have access to the Internet these days. Pull up a quick Google search to determine your hair type: Naturally Curly has a great hair texture quiz, and this quiz uses photos you can compare your hair to. Why is knowing your hair type important? Different textures need to be cared for and treated differently.
Different textures need to be cared for and treated differently.
Curls need more moisture than straight hair, and waves can’t take the same heavy products as coils. If you determine your type and act accordingly, your hair will flourish overnight. Do a little research and save yourself bad hair days!
4. Get a good haircut
Sorry ladies: split ends have no real fix. Investing in a high-quality haircut will refresh and revive those tired tresses. Find a stylist who specializes in your hair type, and she can help you pick a haircut that works with your overall style and preferences. Then snip away! The best part? Once you eliminate the causes of damage, you probably won’t have to cut your hair more than two or three times a year.
Investing in a high-quality haircut will refresh and revive those tired tresses.
Save that bank, girl! If you’re really nervous about a haircut or don’t have the money to pay for one, you can also try cutting your own hair. I wouldn’t recommend doing this unless you have experience at cosmetology school like I have, or you don’t mind running around with a wonky hairstyle for a few months. It’s almost always a better option to go to the professionals, but hey, you only live once, and experimenting can be fun. Hair grows back!
5. Know the right products
This goes right along with knowing your hair type! In general, try to stay away from aerosols, harsh bleaches, and dyes, or heavy waxes. Usually, these can weigh down your strands, coating them so heavily that they stick together and can’t breathe. Experiment instead with gentle serums, leave-in conditioners, paraben/sulfate-free options, and/or natural masks like coconut milk, avocado, or olive oil.
Try to stay away from aerosols, harsh bleaches, and dyes, or heavy waxes.
Again, this is dependent on your hair type--straight hair might be good to go with just a serum or a dry shampoo, whereas ringlets might need conditioner, serum, and a gel. It just depends on what’s growing out of your head! No matter your hair type, try going without products once a week to let your hair rest. Sure, it might look crazy that day, but that’s what messy buns are for, right? Your hair will thank you for the breather.
6. Take care of your body!
The first thing hairdressers learn in school is that hair is an outward sign of your health. Someone who has a proper diet with enough protein and healthy fats will usually have healthy hair. Someone who smokes, drinks too much, or doesn’t take the time to care for their body will have stringy, breakable strands. So do your best to take those vitamins, eat your veggies, drink water, and find a fun way to exercise! Your overall health, including your hair (and skin!), will benefit.
So there you have it, six quick tricks that can take your hair from drab to fab! Don’t worry about starting all of them at once--pick one or two to work on, and once you’ve got those down, pick another to add in, and so on. Slow and steady wins the race for beautiful hair!