First published , last updated . Reading time: 8 minutes.
Everyone wants shiny and healthy hair. Hair that looks and is healthy is a combination of many factors, from what you apply on your hair regularly to what you eat on a daily basis. In this post we’ll go through what how to take care of your hair at home, and what you can start to do right now to achieve the hair of your dreams!
Do I need a hair care routine?
Even those of us that are blessed with the hair they got, can’t escape the external factors that contribute to lifeless hair or even hair loss, such as environment, pollution, stress, and even internal factors like lack of nutrients or hormonal issues.
Taking good care of your hair will allow you more breaks in between trims, and will actually make your hair grow faster. Who wouldn’t want that?
Besides, if you are into hair dyeing and bleaching, your hair is prone to damage, it simply is. If you don’t pay attention to that, chances are your hair is not absorbing any of the colors you are using, meaning you’re probably wasting money in vain, and most likely it looks quite brittle as well.
Know your hair type
More than anything, taking care of your hair starts by knowing which kind of hair you have. Most the advice in this guide applies to all hair types, but each has special needs we will cater to in each section.
In general terms, there are 4 types of hair: straight, wavy, curly, and kinky. Each kind of hair is more or less prone to damage. The more prone your hair type is, the more careful you should be with your hair care routine.
Straight hair: the least prone to damage. It is the most resilient of them all, but tends to be rather oily. If you have this kind of hair, avoid applying oil to your hair. Focus on shampoos targeting ”normal” hair.
Wavy hair: tends to become fizzy, which makes it hard to stylize. If you have wavy hair, embrace the natural curls your hair makes.
Curly hair: it is very prone to damage and to that annoying split ends, and is generally voluminous.
Kinky hair: it is extremely frizzy, voluminous, and the most prone to damage of all hair types.
The basics to retain from this section is that all hair types that are not straight demand more care.
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Which hair care products do I need?
Hair care boils down to one simple word: hydration. You don’t need any fancy product to make sure you’re taking proper care of your hair. You can find all of the basic ones at any drugstore, and the most important is that each of the products caters to your hair type. Unfortunately, many products you see advertised out there could not be the most appropriate for you and as consequence could be doing more harm than good.
Below we tell you what to look out for in each:
You are obviously already using this one ;) Now, what you might not be doing, is that you need to read the labels before making a choice! In each shampoo bottle, they mention your hair type. Each shampoo has specific ingredients that will bring to your hair structure what you need the most: either moist, less moist, more or less nurturing ingredients, etc. Don’t forget, the less straight and the less oily your hair is, you need to hydrate it a lot. Choose a shampoo that you like and stick to it! On the other hand, are you more of an all-natural DIY kind of person? We’ve shared a shampoo recipe that we love that you can make at home, check it out here!
People with fine straight hair can avoid this one. It is used after shampooing to bring some extra moisture to hair. Use it every time you use shampoo, after rinsing it, and let it sit for 2-3 minutes at least. Then rinse it all off. Since not everyone needs conditioner, get a soft one the first time you try it out and see how your hair reacts.
A hair mask is stronger than a conditioner. You should also apply it after shampooing. People with frizzy, curly and kinky hair should always keep it at hand. If your hair is very dry and damaged, you are better off using hair mask instead of conditioner. If it is too strong for you, keep using your conditioner regularly and treat yourself to a nice hair mask every one in a while to help regenerate your hair. Check out our favorite masks here!
Pro tip: your hair is very damaged after an intense hair style? wash your hair and let the mask sit through the nice. Rinse it in the morning again, and you’ll see how shiny it is.
Oils are a great supplement you can add to your routine, after showering or maybe even before going to bed (it will make your hair smell wonderfully). While fine hair should avoid oils at all costs, frizzy and dry hair can benefit a lot from it. We’ve reviewed some of our favorite ones, from jamaican black castor oil to coconut oil, which is great for promoting hair growth as well.
How often should I wash my hair?
People tend to wash their hair way more often than needed. Definitely, do not wash your hair every day, regardless of your hair type. Your hair needs time in between washes to produce its natural oils that she shampoo reduces by cleaning it. Fine hair can do every other day, whilst wavy, curly and kinky hair need some days to rest. The dryer your hair, the more days you need.
It’s important to comb your hair regularly, but there’s no need to overdo it. Combing your hair too much can cause breakage. A good rule of thumb is to comb it only to eliminate the knots, nothing more. In case you’re looking for good brushes, we’ve chosen these ones for you.
How to comb:
Always comb your hair when it’s dry, never when it’s wet. That is because wet hair is more vulnerable and prone to break;
Work your way up. Starting at the bottom till the scalp is the best way to comb. Start slowly and focus on the knots;
In extreme situations, you cannot eliminate all the knots, apply a bit of conditioner to the knot and patiently brush it through.
The best way to dry hair is air drying (at home) or towel drying. Make sure you get a hair dryer that suits your needs. We’ve made our selection of hair dryers, just in case ;)
Try to towel dry your hair as much as possible, though. The healthiest way to dry your hair not to damage it, is by turning your hair to one side, gently wrap a towel around it, and squeeze it several times. Don’t even think of twisting it, just stroke it gently and secure the towel around your hair till it is dry. If you need to leave the house, don’t forget to wear a hat!
What about bleached and dyed hair?
All the advice above also applies to bleaches and dyed hair, but if that is your case, you need to be extra diligent in your hair care routine.
Bleached and dyed hair dries much faster than virgin hair, so your focus should be on products that hydrate your locks and keep them shiny. Coconut oil does wonders if you apply it every night before going to sleep.
Besides that, if you want the color to last longer, use some sulfate-free shampoo and conditioner, like this one. This ingredient is what brings that foam to shampoo, but it can also stripe your hair off its natural moist and contributes to a rapid fading, which we want to avoid.
How do I know my hair is in good shape?
Healthy hair is shiny and strong regardless of which styling products you use. If the only way your hair looks ”good” is in a ponytail or in a bun, something is wrong. Make sure you are eating healthy (check our extra food tips below), and use the appropriate products for your hair. Over time, you will see improvements, even though it make take up to a few weeks.
As with nails, hair is generally a product of overall health. If you nourish yourself and are committed to a healthy lifestyle, that will show on your hair. You can use any product you want, but if you are not eating well, that won’t do much for you. Focus on foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins, and protein. Examples of foods to include in your diet: spinach, greek yogurt, eggs, beetroot, nuts, ..!
Mind the water temperature: hot water can damage your scalp, while water that is too cold might not clean so well. Start with rinsing your hair with lukewarm-hot water to open the scalp and help clean the dirt. After shampooing (and conditioning) finish with a cold water rinse, it will help promote shine;
Learn how to properly assess hair: create a routine of analyzing your hair, especially looking at the split ends. No need to overdo it, but you should be able to tell when it’s time for a trim, or when you just need a bit of oil ;)