I don’t know about you, but I feel like I’ve done everything under the sun to try to treat my hair right, and I have felt like I just don’t know what it wants from me. There are probably five different shampoo and treatment bottles that are halfway empty sitting in the corner of my shower because they just weren’t the right product for my hair. We all have unique hair that requires different products and treatments that we have to painfully trial-and-error our way through! So I'm sharing with you these four tips I’ve picked up through the years of fighting with my hair that have left it healthier than it’s ever been, and they’ll work for whatever hair type you have.
1. Healthy Washing Habits
You shouldn’t be washing your hair every day. Once or twice a week, with the help of a dry shampoo in between, is the perfect balance to get clean hair without stripping our follicles of their natural oils. If you’re switching to a less frequent wash schedule now, you may find that your hair gets greasy quickly, but that’s only because it's so used to producing extra oil to make up for all the drying you’ve done from over-washing. Pretty soon your hair will adjust to your new normal and produce the perfect amount of oils to give you a healthy glow and not the greasy, slicked-down look.
If you’re someone who works out and sweats a lot, try to resist the urge to wash more often and embrace the powers of a good dry shampoo.
2. Cold Rinse
I really recommend rinsing your conditioner off and finishing your hair washing routine with cold water. It will basically seal everything in and lock in the moisture. It's kind of the same as the skin. When there’s hot weather or you’re in a steam room, your pores open. It’s the same with the hair. So, I love finishing my hair washing ritual with cold water. It also really boosts your energy and wakes you up in the morning!
Side Note: I did some more research into this cold water treatment after I heard about it from a lot of people. Turns out, cold water actually closes the hair cuticle and the pores in your scalp which actually helps seal in moisture (Healthline). Just like a steam treatment to clean the pores on our faces, showering with hot water opens up the hair cuticles creating an open door for moisture to escape. Try shifting the temperature in your shower down slightly and your hair (and skin) will thank you. It’s beneficial for your whole body. If you can’t tolerate a full-body cold shower, then do a flash cold rinse of your head and hair right before getting out to lock in that moisture leaving you with luscious, well-conditioned hair.
A cold shower also jolts the body by sending electrical impulses to your brain. This results in increased alertness and energy levels so you’re starting the day off on the right foot as well.
3. Fewer Heat Treatments
I know this is hard, especially if you have straight hair and you want wavy - or the other way around. We always want what we don’t have. I get it. You want to experiment and do different things. You feel sexier with some weight or with sleek hair.
For all of you who get out of the shower and blow-dry your hair right away, stop. I know there are days when you don’t have time to let your hair air-dry, but this is really the ideal way you should dry your hair. I have a timesaving hack for you. When I get out of the shower, I will dry my hair with the towel and then I’ll make my coffee and have my breakfast while my hair dries 50%. Then I will use the blow dryer to dry my hair the rest of the way. This way, I can still control how it's going to look by still styling my hair from a damp state, but I make sure my hair is not as susceptible to damage by exposing it to prolonged heat.
A good blow dryer usually has three or more settings: hot, warm, and cool (my go-to tool for a few years now is this one). If you can take it down to either the warm or cool setting, you’re already taking a huge step for the sake of your hair.
I learned a hack for creating little waves without using heat. You want to use either a curling serum, a cream that promotes curl, or (my personal favorite) a sea salt spray. Let your hair air dry with the product applied, then take a piece of your hair and curl it around your finger. Bobby pin the curl to your head while the product takes hold. You can also do loose braids with the product in place. When you take your hair out of the curls or braid, your waves should be perfectly flowy and soft.
4. Change Your Brushing Technique
First things first, I do not recommend brushing your hair when it’s wet because that is when it’s most susceptible to breakage. I know it’s really hard to get out of the shower and fight the urge to let your hair dry without brushing it, especially when you know how knotted it’s going to be. The 50% hack I shared earlier is great for this situation. I like to let my hair dry halfway before I brush.
Something else that I’ve mentioned a few times before because it is so important is to always brush from the bottom to the top. That way you’re not pulling downward on the hair which can cause it to break.
The quality and type of brush you use is also really important. You want a wider brush with boar bristles, or something similar that is going to work with your hair and not against it.
Last but not least, keep your brushes nice and clean. You want to clean them every two weeks, and I mean more than just removing the hair from the bristles. Sanitizing your brushes and letting them air dry to give your tools a fresh start is important because we put them through a lot!