shutterstock_254628238We all know that one person with perfectly groomed, non-frizzy, salon-worthy hair that might as well have bounced straight out of a L’ Oreal commercial. She is the one who always gets up early to blow dry her hair and regularly applies leave-in treatment. As much as we admire this person, we think we could never be like them because our lives are too busy and we simply treasure our lazy mornings in bed too much. However, there are a few simple things we can incorporate into our lifestyles to improve the looks and well-being of our locks and even push back hair loss for as long as possible.

Hair is often the last thing on our minds when we think about staying healthy. But if you have been suffering from hair loss and thinning in the near future, or you simply can’t get it to look good and healthy, there are steps you can take to acquire and maintain a healthy head of hair. Let’s take a look at some of the handy tips.

QUICK GUIDE: Hair Care Infographic

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The Ten Essentials Of Hair Health

1. Eat a well-balanced diet

A nutritionally balanced diet is not just the key to good health, but will also keep your hair healthy and strong. Ensure that your diet supplies you with the correct balance of the following nutrients to supply your hair with all it needs to remain shiny, strong and lustrous:

  • Protein

Hair is made up of protein, so ensuring that you have enough protein in your diet is crucial for making your hair healthy. If your diet is not supplying you with enough protein, your hair is likely to become brittle, weak and dry. Extremely low protein diets may even result in hair loss. Choose turkey, chicken, fish, eggs and dairy products as they are excellent sources of protein along with vegetarian sources such as nuts and legumes.

  • Omega-3

Omega-3 fatty acids are important fats that our body cannot synthesize by itself, and must therefore be obtained in our diet. Omega-3s are found in cells that line the scalp and also provide the important oils that keep both the scalp and hair hydrated. The best sources of omega-3 fatty acids are fishy sources such as herring, salmon, sardines, herring, trout and mackerel as well as plant sources that include pumpkin seeds, avocado and walnuts.

  • Vitamin A

The body needs vitamin A to make sebum. This is an oily substance created by our hair’s sebaceous glands and acts as a natural conditioner for a healthy scalp. The best sources of vitamin A are animal products as well as yellow and orange colored vegetables which are high in beta-carotene (which is converted to vitamin A when it is absorbed in the small intestines) such as pumpkins, carrots, and sweet potatoes.

  • Vitamin C

This is an important vitamin that helps in the absorption of iron so foods high in vitamin C should preferably be eaten along with iron-rich foods. The best sources of Vitamin C are blueberries, strawberries, blackcurrants, guavas, kiwi fruits, papaya, oranges, sweet potatoes and broccoli. Vitamin C plays an important role in the production of collagen that strengthens the capillaries that supply the hair shafts.

  • Vitamin E

Just like our skin, the sun can also damage our hair, so ensure that you consume foods high in Vitamin E to protect your hair. In this regard, nuts are nutritional powerhouses, providing zinc and selenium as well as vitamin E. Always trying to include them as part of your healthy, hair centered diet is vital if you spend a substantial time outside.

  • Iron

This is an especially important mineral for hair. Any diet where there is an absence of iron is clearly evident in our outward appearance. Too little iron in the diet causes anemia and can be major cause of hair loss. This is because the hair roots and follicles have to be fed by a nutrient-rich blood supply. When iron levels dip below a certain level, the resulting anemia disrupts the nutrient supply to the follicle, affecting the hair growth cycle and may result in shedding. Consume animal products like red meat, fish and chicken as their iron is highly bio-available, meaning that the iron is ready for use in the body as soon as the food is digested. For vegetarians, iron options include eating lentils, spinach, and other leafy green vegetables such as kale, broccoli and salad greens. You can also try iron supplements.

  • Zinc and selenium

Scalp protection is important for healthy hair. This involves the use of important minerals, notably selenium and zinc. A lack of these minerals can lead to hair loss and a dry, flaky scalp. The best sources of zinc and selenium are fortified cereals and whole grains, in addition to beef, eggs and oysters.

  • Biotin

This is a water soluble B vitamin. Too little biotin can make the hair brittle and even lead to hair loss. Include biotin rich foods such as liver, egg yolk, yeast, soy flour and whole grains. Taking biotin supplements has been shown to have a positive effect on hair growth.

Natural Hair Treatments

You can make your own homemade hair mask for a deep, nourishing treatment every two week. To do this, whisk an egg yolk and mix it with half a mashed avocado and a spoonful of honey. Massage this onto your damp, clean hair and leave it on for 30 minutes before rinsing it off thoroughly.

2. Wash your hair regularly on schedule

How often is it healthy to wash your hair? This is a perennial question in the hair care industry, but most experts agree that cutting back on washing can be good for your hair if it is done in the right way. If you have long hair, washing it every day can be bad for it. Avoid washing it on an impulse even if you are hit with a sudden craving for clean-feeling locks. This is because your scalp produces natural oils whose function is to condition and protect your strands, so shampooing daily strips these important natural oils away.

You should also avoid hot showers since blasting the scalp with hot water will dry your hair out and may create tangles that could result in easy breakage.In the end, this creates an unhealthy cycle of overproduction of oils resulting in a need to shampoo very often. Ideally, you should wash your hair two or three times per week max to keep it healthy.

3. Brush hair every day

Hair requires regular brushing to stay healthy, but be careful not to tear your brush mindless through your hair. Do not rough it up; treat it nice and gentle and it will end up looking healthy and shiny. To keep it perfectly healthy, shiny, and untangled, brush it once a day from the base up. This is because brushing entangled hair from the roots damages it if you start from the very top.

4. Get your eight hours or sleep

When you are relaxed, levels of the stress hormone (cortisol) decreases, leading to feelings of well-being. It is well known that subjecting ourselves to stressful events and negative emotions can lead to Telogen Effuvium, a common hair loss condition. However, too much stress can also lead to other hair problems such as a flaky, itchy scalp. Ensure that you lower stress levels by finding a suitable relaxing distraction and sleeping approximately 8 hours per night.

5. Massage your scalp

Taking a few minutes to gently massage your scalp is a natural and healthy way of increasing circulation to generate and even healthier head of hair. Doing this may also keep the annoyance that is dandruff at bay. However, make sure that you do not rub too hard since you could end up damaging your scalp and hair. Tonics that stimulate blood circulation may be helpful, but use them as an aid to massage. Don’t depend on the tonic alone to do the job.

6. steer clear of extensions and weaves

You only have to look at pictures of celebrities such as Khloe Kardashian and Naomi Campbell to see that wearing extension can result in patchy hair loss. This is because the process of securing extensions on the head places tension on the hair and can lead to a hair loss condition called Traction Alopecia. Left untreated, the resulting hair loss can even become permanent. Luckily, your hair should grow back if you kick your extension habit and start consulting a hair loss expert for treatment.

7. choose your hairstyle wisely

If you are an individual who enjoys having longer hairstyles such as buns, ponytails, and heat styling routines, using straighteners can cause immense hair loss.

8. Use protective treatments

Always make sure that you use heat protective hair products before blow drying your hair. Apply a small amount of your product of choice from the mid levels to the ends of your hair to seal in moisture and smooth down cuticles before you head out into the cold.

9. Meditate

Meditation cools the mind and contributes to elevated levels of serotonin, a neurotransmitter responsible for communication between different parts of the brain. It has a profound effect on our moods and plays a massive role in preventing anxiety and depression. It can help reduce stress and compulsive behaviors such as hair pulling.

10. Have an active sex life

The reason having sex is good for healthy hair is that it triggers the release of endorphins: the happy hormones that relax you. According to research, a lack of endorphins results in stress that is thought to contribute to hair loss. So having more sex and releasing these endorphins will reduce your stress levels thereby curbing the production of the stress hormone

The best Shampoos and Conditioners for your hair

Great, smooth, and shiny looking hair starts with your first squeeze or pump from the bottle. The shampoo or conditioner you pick will set you up for sleek and shiny strands or bodacious waves, and they both take a lot of pressure off your styling products. But everything does not just end with the normal application of conditioner after shampooing your hair. Reversing the order in which you wash hair is a new trend that is meant to give all the de-tangling and glossing benefits of your conditioner in addition to increasing your hair’s volume without any residual side effects. The secret? Use conditioner before shampooing your hair. It sounds strange for anyone who has been slathering on conditioner after shampooing the hair, but if you have been giving your hair’s health the attention it deserves, it should be no problem as you can rely on your scalps natural oils and moisture to condition your hair afterwards, instead of drying as anyone would understandably fear.

The best thing about reverse hair washing is that you can continue to use your usual conditioner and shampoo and still achieve better results. Taking your type of hair into consideration, whatwe have here are the best shampoos and conditioners to use with the revolutionary hair care regime:

1. Acure Moroccan Argan stem cell for Dry/ Damaged / Curly hair: Best natural shampoo and conditioner overall

Acure organics tops this list with this conditioner & shampoo set created as a savior for girls fighting dry locks & all types of frizz. The Acure hair care set was ranked #1 and #2 respectively on EWG’s Cosmetic Database, meaning that all the ingredients used are clean and green. They are free of sulfate, gluten parabens and phthalates, in addition to being vegan friendly.

After using this set in normal wash order, your hair will immediately feel lighter and silkier. The argan oil and sea buckthorn oil are brilliant for a good shine and softness. The shampoo’s lather is excellent with an added bonus of various scents to choose from. It is lightweight and washes out easily and the conditioner stays on enough to turn the hair silky and shiny so that you can go several days between washes.

2. Rahua Classic Shampoo and conditioner: Best natural shampoo & conditioner for normal hair

Rahua are experts at creating organic hair products. The combination of scent, ingredients, and luxe packaging will make you swoon. This brand is specifically designed to be used in reverse order: conditioning before shampooing.

The shea butter and coconut in the conditioner keep things soft and silky while helping to remove grime. On the other hand, the organic shampoo will leave you with clean hair and light scents. It comes with a “Palo Santo” (Hollywood scent) so it doubles as a form of aromatherapy. The conditioner works wonders while the shampoo lathers like salon products and smells delicate.

3. John Masters Organics Shampoo and Conditioner: Best natural shampoo & conditioner for thin and fine hair

Thin hair requires special attention, otherwise it can turn into a big problem. products were rated 3 on EW Cosmetics Database, mainly because of the essential oils in them. The products are rich and free from all artificial junk

You will love the ylang ylang scent of the Evening Primrose Shampoo that makes regular use a pleasure, while the Citrus & Nerli Detangler is perfect for firming thin hair without weighing it down. The set leaves the hair feeling smooth and manageable after drying.

4. Calia Organic Hydrating Shampoo and conditioner: Best thickening shampoo and conditioner

People started noticing this set after it was popularized by the natural wellness Bloggers, Holistichabits. Calia’s products are probably the purest in their category, and your hair will certainly feel more voluminous after trialing out the set. If your hair is on the flat or limb side but is still a little dry, then you have got the perfect match. This shampoo will lift the roots and leave the strands feeling thicker thanks to the increased silica levels which makes it ideal for individuals with hair on the side

Calia products do not contain DEA, sodium chloride, sulfates and propyl glycol. They’re also vegan friendly. The shampoo lathers well and its base scent consists of bergamot and lavender- light pure and herby. The conditioner contains most of the same essential oils, but they are a little more concentrated. The conditioner is great for thin hair, but you can also use it a little longer as a leave in conditioner.

5. Skinny Skinny powder shampoo: Best natural dry shampoo:

No list of hair care products will be complete without a dry shampoo winner being picked. Skinny Skinny ensures that its product is pure with ingredients that leaves nothing to chance. It consists of organic cornstarch white clay, brown rice powder, horsetail powder, orris root powder, baking soda and essential oils.

Both the Grapefruit Cardamom shampoo and the Rose & Black Pepper conditioner are great for use in between washes, soaking up excess oil, leaving an earthy scent that is non-invasive. The set is perfect for quick fixes on those days when you are running late. It adds a little volume to the hair and makes everything look clean. The grapefruit and cardamom scent is also great for the summer.

To use, simply dust specks of powder onto sections of your parted hair and brush into your roots using your fingers. While white, the powder disappears after some finger tousling so it is suitable for any hair color.

Post shower products

What you put on your hair actually matters. If you want smooth and frizzy hair, you’ll need to use a moisturizing shampoo and hair conditioner, followed by products specifically designed for this purpose – the post shower products.

1. The scalp treatment

Treating the scalp is important in order to improve hair growth, and this is the premise behind the Kerastase Initialiste Advanced Scalp and Hair Concentrate. It is a formula that protects at the stem cell level to optimize hair growth and health at the point from which it actually grows. To apply, simply add four squirts to your palms and then distribute them onto your scalp after you have washed down and towel dried your hair before continuing the styling as normal.

2. The smoother styler

Treating the scalp has its benefits, but to get the hair all prepped and happy, you have to go for some super styling. The Pantene Smooth Straight Styling treatment foam is one such product to use. It sets the hair up for blow drying so you can achieve the everyday straight style while still conditioning your hair.

3. The thermal protector

If you blow dry or use a styling iron on your hair, then you should really use a thermal protector. This is because heat styling is not good for normal hair growth, it only works on the looks. The Schwarzkopf Taft Guardian Straightening Iron Spray will definitely cover you for this, as it offers hat protection up to 220 degrees while providing a gorgeous shine finish.

4. The shine spray

You can never have too much shine for your hair. The Fudge Head Shine is a dry shimmer/sheen that you spray onto your styled hair to prevent it from frizzling out while offering a healthy dose of UV protection on the side. It works very much like a finishing style touch. When you have to, apply it after you have performed all other hair care procedures.

5. Volume dust

This should not be mistaken for dry shampoo. Rather, it is a kind of super hair helper. A few shakes of this sticky dust and a 30 second massage into the scalp will have your hair looking vibrant. It is a great post shower product for thin hair. There are numerous volumizers on the market, but you can try the Scharzkopf Extra Care Instant Volume Powder.

6. Dry shampoo

L’Oréal Professional Tecni.art Fresh Dust dry shampoo employs absorbent microfibers in its formula to soak up grease and oil from your hair and scalp. The translucent formula makes it great for all hair colors. The biggest difference between dry shampoo and volume dust is that it doesn’t provide the same kind of stick and lift, rather it brushes out.

5 Common mistakes women make with hair products

Many women often rely on what they hear from their close family and friends. More often than not, this form of recomendation is rarely seen as a good thing. Most of the time the process that worked so great for a friend will not work the same way for you, especially if they have a completely different type of hair than you do. Using a shampoo that doesn’t suit your hair and exposing it to too much heat are just a few in a long list of often catastrophic mistakes women make with hair care products. Here are the top 5 such mistakes and how they can be corrected.

Mistake 1: Tying the hair back too tightly

If that hair band has become a constant fixture around your wrist, you could be increasing your risk of traction alopecia. This is a condition commonly associated with ballerinas and models. This slow and steady form of hair loss, caused by constant pulling has become very common. In many cases, it starts with a halo of fuzz around the hairline, then those broken hairs will eventually grow back thinner or fall out altogether.

The fix: Buns and ponytails are good hairstyles, but go for a loose, low style. Try soft braids instead, as these spread the tension on your scalp more evenly, and you are less likely to keep fiddling with it. You should use soft, fabric covered band as they are easiest on hair. Avoid hooked elastic bands completely.

Mistake 2: Choosing shampoos that over-promise

Who doesn’t want a shampoo that promises to thicken, soften, and do pretty much everything else all in one? The truth is that shampoos that promise too much leave the hair flat. Most people who pick these shampoos end up foregoing other hair care products to their hair’s detriment. It is more important to find one that does a good job of cleansing while respecting your scalp.

The fix: Leave the smoothing to your conditioner. There are also styling products you can use for volumizing. In many cases we instantly know when a product is good for our hair. But when in doubt, simply look for a shampoo that is known for being good for scalps. Your choice of shampoo is crucial for your hair care. To avoid harmful consequences, make sure that your shampoo suits your hair type. It is pretty much the only product that comes in contact with this important area that has to be kept healthy.

Mistake 3: Using hair oil (or too much of the wrong kind)

Hair oil is the fastest growing hair product, but not all those who embrace it use it properly. Applying too much of it can leave the hair looking lank, and the wrong kind can even be used on highlighted or stain bleached hair. Many women are used to slapping on conditioner, and have started doing the same with hair oil.

The fix: Select the right hair oil for the present condition and type of your hair. One or two pumps rubbed between palms and blotted on a towel is all you need when using hair oil to de-frizz your hair. In the case of pre-wash treatments, add a little at a time and distribute it evenly. Choose colorless formulas that won’t stain and go for lightweight textures that are likely to leave less residue. In case your hair gets discolored, a brightening shampoo can help, and if you do like using oil more generously, try a vinegar rinse completely remove the residue. This will leave the hair looking shinier.

Mistake 4: Going for the half highlights

They definitely look good: the balayage, ombre, and freestyle highlights where only strips of air are colored were the most requested styling techniques in 2015. However, they are a false economy. It is true that less of your hair will be exposed to the coloring chemicals. However, unlike highlights that are placed at the roots where the hair is thickest and strongest, bleaching the ends damages hair where it is most vulnerable. And if you are applying the highlights over hair that is already colored, which is common with these techniques, you are doubling the damage.

The fix: Women who apply highlights end up with brittle ends and the only solution is to cut them off. This will make the hair look fresher and thicker from the roots to the tips. If you insist on the dip dyed style, be sure to protect your ends with a bi-weekly mask and always use a protective hair product when blow drying.

Mistake 5: Too much blow drying

For a long time the best way anyone could get a proper blow drying session at home was to turn their heads to the side and apply the blow dryer. But today, high wattage hair dryers, round brushes and fancy styling techniques are no longer the preserve of beauty parlors. More women want to try out styling on their own hair, and this means exposing it to more heat, more brushing and more pressure. If you have to, only blow dry hair gently.

The fix: Do not skip heat protection since heat is among the most damaging elements to hair. It is understandable that you do not want to live without curling, flattening or blow drying but a heat protective aid will shield individual strands and smooth cuticles. Use your fingers to spread your hair out and ensure the dryer is set at a low setting heat, until the hair is about 90% dry, then you can up the ante without running the risk of ruining your hair. Additionally, invest in a simple paddle brush. These tend to be less harsh on your hair than round brushes, but still leave it smooth and volumized. Finally, occasionally give your hair an off day by running a light weight serum through the towel dried ends before leaving it to dry naturally. In case you want to give it a good shape, comb the hair through before tucking it behind your ears.

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