steps to maintaining healthy hair

You’ve just had your hair cut, you’ve had a little more taken off the ends than you would have preferred, but you can admit that on the whole, the outcome is worth it. But then two weeks later, your split ends are back in full force, your hair’s lost its shine, and you feel like you’re back at square one- only with shorter hair. It’s no wonder so many of us end up going for the chop so frequently that we never allow our hair to actually grow.

If, like many of us, you dream of bum-length, split end-free locks, you have to be prepared to sacrifice in a few minutes of daily hair care and general love. There are so many natural factors that can cause damage to hair over time, from sunlight, to pollution, to icy winds and low temperatures, not to mention the more obvious- styling with heat products being a good example. We’re here to tell you exactly how you should be looking after your hair in the long run if you want to grow it out without channelling shaggy dog.

1.       Avoid washing your hair daily

Not many people know this, but there is such thing as washing your hair too frequently. When you wash your hair too often, your shampoo and conditioner use can strip away the natural oils produced by your scalp, which help to keep your hair healthy. When these oils are stripped away, your hair becomes brittle, which results in the scalp overproducing oil to make up for the oils that have been lost. This means you end up in a cycle of wash-wash-wash as the more often you use your shampoo and conditioner, the more oil your scalp will produce- which will make it look greasy and therefore warrant another wash.

Tip: Try to only wash your hair two-to-three times a week. If you are struggling to cut down, be assured in your fact that your hair will adjust to the new shampooing schedule, but remember- there’s always dry shampoo for the greasier days.

2.       Let your hair air dry

Drying your hair with a hairdryer, or scrubbing it dry with a towel, both wreak havoc on your hair over time. Regular hairdryer use will cause heat damage (unless you have a cold air hairdryer, in which case, carry on as you were) and rubbing your hair with a towel can cause frizz, and damage the tips of your hair while it is in its more fragile, damp state.

Tip: Try to wash your hair when you don’t have anywhere to be afterwards, like in the evening, to allow it to dry naturally over time. If you do blow-dry your hair, do so on the coolest setting possible.

3.       Apply hair masks

We are very much of the belief that a good hair mask is practically a gift from the gods, and the good news is, they are now available in abundance in every decent hair and beauty store. There’s a hair mask for every bad hair situation: for taming frizz, facilitating hair growth, adding shine, repairing split ends and adding shine, to name a few. Hair masks are a great conditioner to revitalise tired hair, and we would suggest applying one two-to-three times a week to help maintain your hair’s overall health.

Tip: If you don’t want to part with your cash, you can make your own hair mask out of products you might just have in your kitchen cupboards already, like coconut oil, honey and egg whites (there are recipes galore on the big wide web).

4.       Switch your pillows

We’ve talked about this before, but it’s worth reiterating: cotton pillowcases can cause breakage and tangles, which is pretty much impossible to avoid if you’re a nightly tosser-and-turner (like we all are). Get yourself a silk bedspread- silk is far kinder to the hair than cotton- and you’ll be reaping the benefits even as you sleep.

Tip: If you or your partner aren’t fans of silk bedspreads, wrapping your hair in a silk scarf should do the trick.

Laura Shallcross