Soft, luxurious, nourished and healthy – that’s what we’re going for ladies. Curly or straight, red, black or brown, we all stand united in wanting to protect our tresses from excessive dryness. Help for dry hair may be summed up in two words – prevention and hydration.
As the old adage goes, an ounce of prevention is truly worth a pound of cure. Following are some things to avoid to keep excessive dryness at bay.
- Friction. Minimize the dryness caused by friction from pillows, collars, sweaters and coats. Use satin covers, silk scarves or something similar to protect your locks.
- Blow drying. Give your hair a break whenever possible, but if you must blow dry your hair, opt for an ion blow dryer for less drying time and less potential for damage.
- Heat styling tools. Ladies, please do not use curling and flat irons on your hair every day. At temperatures over 400 degrees Fahrenheit, overuse of heat styling tools is more than a recipe for dry hair, it is a recipe for fried, dry, lifeless hair. When you use heat styling tools, always make sure your hair is freshly cleansed (hydrated) and conditioned. Never use them on hair that is dry, dirty or has product buildup. Please avoid using these tools more than once per week. Always consult a hair care professional for recommendations for your specific hair type and condition.
- Gels and smoothing products. Overuse of protein rich gels and smoothing products buildup overtime, leading to hair that is dry, brittle and prone to breakage. Space these products out and always remember to read product use instructions.
- Some products with alcohol. Some products containing Cetearyl alcohol, Cetyl alcohol, Stearyl alcohol (“fatty” or “oily” alcohols) actually help condition the hair. However you should avoid or limit use of sprays and other products that contain Isopropyl alcohol, Propanol, Propyl alcohol or SD alcohol 40 which can cause dryness.
- Shampoos and Soaps. Be very careful with sulfate shampoos. If shampoos cause excessive dryness for your hair, consider sulfate free and conditioner washes. Never use bar soap to wash your hair. They often contain harsher detergents which can strip the hair. Additionally, they may contain waxes or other products that can build up causing hair to be dull and limp.
- Heat from the sun and hot showers, cold air from the wind. The weather can wreak havoc on our hair. Remember to wear protective hairstyles, cover your hair when needed and keep up with regular conditioning.
- Drink water. Don’t underestimate the importance of drinking enough water. The roots of your hair receive water from your body to keep the rest of your hair hydrated.
- Moisture retention. There is no substitute for getting your hair wet when it comes to hydration and moisture retention. When your hair is dry it needs water, other products may slow/prevent further drying, but that is all they do. Once your hair is hydrated, leave-ins, thermal heat protectants, certain oils, and even protective hairstyles can help minimize loss of moisture until you rinse/wash your hair again.
- Regular conditioning. Always condition your hair after washing it to help restore moisture levels. You might also benefit from conditioning your hair before your wash it also, or even washing with conditioner instead of shampoo depending on the condition of your hair. Try using a hair mask weekly or biweekly for extra conditioning.
Not all hair responds the same way to every product or regimen. If dry hair is a concern for you, give a few of the above tips a try and note how your hair responds. Remember to handle your hair gently and be patient as you learn the best ways to keep it hydrated and healthy.