Published on August 21st, 2013 | by beauty international3
Haircare 101: How to establish a basic, effective routine
Everyone would love to have shiny, healthy hair all the time, but a lot of us suffer from greasy roots, dry ends and damaged hair. Once broken hair cannot be completely repaired, so it’s important to establish an effective haircare routine to prevent it breaking in the first place. With a little effort, dull and lifeless hair should be a thing of the past!
What hair type are you?
Every product you use should be working to improve the health and appearance of your hair, so it’s important to determine what type of hair you have. Coloured hair should choose hydrating products that will prevent fading, and flaky scalps should choose products targeted for preventing dandruff.
If your hair often feels brittle, dry and frizzy, if it looks dull and tangles easily, if you often find breakage or split ends or if your hair has been treated chemically, then you should choose products aimed at dry hair, and you probably won’t need to wash it any more than once every three days.
Normal hair is neither greasy nor dry, it holds different styles well and looks pretty healthy – and it hasn’t been coloured or chemically treated. You don’t need to choose any particular product, and can probably wash your hair every other day.
If your hair looks limp, flat and lacks volume, if it doesn’t hold its style and is difficult to manage, or if it gets greasy soon after washing, then you probably have oily or fine hair. Choose light products and go easy on the conditioner at the roots – you might find you need to wash your hair daily, too.
What products should you use, and when?
You might find that you need to update your hair routine, or switch out some products, as the weather and the seasons change. The sun can be just as damaging to our hair as to our skin, so you’ll probably want to tie it up or cover it completely during the summer months.
Most people don’t realise how much damage they can do to their hair just by washing and drying it. Hair should always be combed in gentle downwards strokes, working upwards from the ends to prevent breakage. Try to limit how often you use a hairdryer and other heated tools on your hair, and air dry your hair whenever possible.
Shampoo removes any dirt and daily grime that can make hair look dull; it also washes the scalp and can treat any specific hair needs. Only wash your hair as often as it needs it – excessive washing can strip the hair of its natural oils, making it dry and prone to breakage.
- Brush through your hair, and rinse thoroughly with warm water
- Lather a small amount of shampoo in your hand and apply to your hair
- Don’t pile your hair on top of your head: work the shampoo in by gently massaging with your finger tips as your hair hangs down naturally
- Rinse until all traces of shampoo are gone by letting the water run down your hair, don’t rub too hard!
Once every week or two you might want to use a clarifying shampoo to remove any product buildup. If you find that your usual products aren’t working as well as they used to, you probably have product buildup. Some hair products contain silicones, which coat the hair and over time they can stick there, rending any other product useless – a clarifying shampoo should remove all the silicones.
You should follow up with a conditioner every time you wash your hair – if you have greasy hair or oily roots, use a light hydrating conditioner through the mid-lengths and ends of your hair only. Conditioner keeps hair moisturised, and makes it easy to style and manage.
- Make sure all traces of shampoo are removed from your hair
- Work a small amount in gently with your fingers, making sure its spread evenly all over your hair
- Leave it to work for a few minutes
- Rinse off in the same way as shampoo; use the coldest temperature water you can bear for extra shine – cold water closes the cuticles and makes your hair smoother
Leave-in conditioner/hair masks/treatments
There are many hair masks, oils and treatments available on the market these days, combatting everything from split ends to increased shine. A weekly hair treatment that targets your specific hair needs will keep your hair looking happy and healthy.
Notes on drying
Try not to blow dry your hair every time you wash it, since the heat of styling tools can cause irreparable damage. Be sparing in your use of hair products such as serums, mousses or gels as well, since excessive amounts can weigh your hair down and make it look greasy.
- Use a clean, dry towel to pat your freshly-washed hair dry
- If possible, let it dry naturally after combing through gently
- If you must use a hairdryer, use it on its lowest speed and lowest heat setting
- Blow dry towel-dried hair only, not when its dripping wet
- Keep the hairdryer moving constantly, don’t concentrate on one spot at a time and stop using it before your hair is completely bone dry