Hair Care: A Thorough Guide
Since the dawn of human existence, hair has played an important role in society. It has routinely been used as an indicator of social and professional status, it has long been tied to notions of beauty and virility and has even been worn in different styles to denote religion.
Over time, hair has been used to display everything from personal style to interests, with different subcultures styling their hair in different ways to indicate particular interests and tastes, or, purely, to feel part of a group. When it comes down to it, even nowadays, hair and the way that we style it says a lot about a person and, for many of us, how our hair looks and feels can also have a major impact on our self-confidence. Here’s some information that will help you to take good care of your hair!
The first thing you should do when caring for your hair is to make sure that you’re familiar with your hair type. Everyone’s hair is different and knowing your hair type can help to make sure you’re using the right products, techniques and other steps to maximise your hair’s health and to ensure that your hair thrives. Your hair type is determined by your follicle, with larger follicles producing straight hair and tighter follicles producing, in turn, wavy, curly and coily hair. Generally speaking, your hair type is likely to fall into one of the four categories:
- Straight – this hair type has no natural curl. While the individual strands may be fine or coarse, as well as either thick or thin, they will fall in a straight line from the root of the hair to the tip of the hair. A common issue with straight hair is oiliness, as the oils from your scalp can fall easily and conveniently down your hair shaft without interruption.
- Wavy – wavy hair isn’t quite straight and, instead, has a gentle and tousled texture. Your hair can be straight at the roots and touseled at the bottom, or tousled all the way down the hair shaft. If you want to embrace your wavy hair, reduce use of heavy or oil based products, as these can be heavy and flatten the wave out.
- Curly – curly hair features, as you can imagine, curls; these loose loops add texture and volume to the hair. The curls usually have a wide circumference. This hair type can benefit from hair products specifically formulated for curly hair, as well as drying with a diffuser. Avoid brushing your hair while it’s dry, as this can remove the curls and result in a frizzy texture instead.
- Coily – coily hair features tight curls in an s-shape, coiled or zig zag formation. This hair also benefits from specialist hair products that can give the hair the moisture it requires.
Popular Hair Products
There are countless hair products you can invest in, but some to consider include:
- Shampoo and Conditioner – shampoo and conditioner are hair care basics. Shampoo ensures that your hair is clean, while conditioner can help to make it softer and more manageable.
- Co-wash – co-washes are becoming more popular, particularly amongst people with curly and coily hair. It’s a conditioner wash, which cleanses and conditions your hair at the same time.
- Deep conditioner – deep conditioner is a special form of conditioner that adds extra moisture to your hair. Usually, it comes in the form of a mask that you leave on for an extended period of time.
- Heat protector spray – if you’re using heat on your hair, you need to make sure that you’re using a heat protector spray. This can prevent excess damage from being caused to your hair where possible.
- Serums and oils – these products are good for hair that can become dry. They add a touch of gloss and can provide your hair with the moisture it needs.
Hair Related Conditions
First, you need to make sure that you are seeking help and support if you feel you are experiencing medical conditions relating to your hair. Some processes are natural, such as your hair growing thicker or more lustrous during periods of time such as pregnancy, or thinning or even balding as you grow older. The latter can knock your confidence, but there are medical and aesthetic solutions that we will delve into later. Some changes to your hair may, instead, be indicative of a medical condition. A common example is alopecia, which sees thinning of the hair or hair loss. Alternatively, you may experience hair loss due to picking or pulling your hair out, which is often the result of a mental health condition called Trichotillomania. Consult your doctor as soon as you see any changes to your hair that concern you and they’ll be able to determine the cause of your problems. A full diagnosis can then see you receive the help, guidance, medication or treatment that will help you to deal with the condition as best possible.
Hair Thinning or Hair Loss
If you’re experiencing hair thinning or hair loss, and it isn’t the result of a medical condition – or if it is the result of a medical condition and your doctor recommends hair replacement therapy – you may want to look into your options when it comes to revitalizing your hair or growing completely new hair. Modern technology, medical care, science and aesthetics have come a long way and, for many of us, there are options that can reinstate our hair nowadays. You should look into hair restoration, which is a process that encourages your body to regrow hair in particular places that it has been lost. A medical professional will be able to discuss this further with you, explaining the process, the cost, the recovery and other elements of the process.
Other Common Hair Problems
- Greasiness – if you have greasy hair, your scalp is producing excess oil that is then not washed out properly. If your scalp routinely produces too much grease, you may find that you have to wash your hair daily to keep on top of this. Alternatively, if you find that this doesn’t help either, you can consult your doctor who will be able to prescribe specialist washes or medication that can reduce oil production.
- Dryness – at the opposite end of the scale, we have excessively dry hair. If you have dry hair, it may have a straw-like texture and feel coarse to the touch. Most often, dry hair is a result of damage to the hair. If you bleach your hair or regular use heated tools or heat on it, you may need to change your hair care routine, returning to your natural colour or a darker tone and reducing heat on your hair. Also make sure to use a heat protector when you do use heat on your hair.
- Dandruff – dandruff is technical a scalp condition, but it can impact your hair, as flakes of scalp can fall into the hair, making it look dirty or as though there’s debris in it. The good news is that dandruff is manageable. There are plenty of over-the-counter dandruff shampoos and conditioners that prevent the problem. If the issue is major, or these over-the-counter options don’t work, consult your doctor who will be able to prescribe something for the condition.
As you can see, there really is a lot to take into account when it comes to ensuring that you take good care of your hair. At the end of the day, this is going to be a personal journey and only you will be able to come up with a hair care routine that works for you, leaving you with luscious locks that meet your style and preferences. Hopefully, some of the information outlined above will help to get this entire journey started out in the right direction!