All of us envy the diamond tiara being placed on the luxuriant locks of the gorgeous beauties at various beauty pageants. And believe it or not, it is not the tiara which attracts attention, but the amazing curls and bountiful locks of these women. Great looks and gorgeous hair make for a stunning and of course a winning combination. No doubt, these beauties also suffer from bad hair days. Many of us suffer from dull, lifeless, frizzy or wayward hair - damage wrought on by internal as well as external factors. Learn how to care for damaged hair.
Why does hair get damaged?
Technically speaking, damaged hair means those hair cuticles that have been cracked, chipped, roughened or worn off. Typically damaged hair is rough to the touch, dry and brittle. It is easily susceptible to breakage. Some of the most common external reasons for hair damage include:
- Frequently bleaching, dyeing, perming, straightening the hair
- Washing the hair too frequently
- Vigorously rubbing the hair
- Using dryers and other styling equipment too frequently
- Use of wrong/unsuitable products/methods to style the hair
- Harsh rays of the sun
- Chemicals and pollutants in water
Internal factors that can damage hair include poor diet, stress, insomnia and anemia, vitamin deficiency especially during pregnancy and lactating period.
Damaged Hair care
Undoing the damage caused to the hair will take both time and effort. But it is definitely not a daunting task. While certain specific products do have the ability to repair the hair, in some rare cases very little can be done to the damaged hair. The only solution in such cases would be to wait for new hair to grow. Some of the solutions for damaged hair care include:
- Avoid daily washing of hair unless it is extremely necessary. Washing hair daily is recommended for those who lead an active outdoor or athletic life. As long as the hair stays reasonably clean and easy to manage, hair can be washed once in about 3 days. Daily washing strips the scalp of its essential oils. Use shampoos that are protein enriched and don't wash away the natural oils.
- Do not rub the hair vigorously as excess friction can cause hair to break off.
- Always use a wide toothed comb and comb the hair gently. Do not comb hair when it is wet, as the hair is very weak. And do remember that back-combing is one of the causes of hair breakage.
- Keep hair hydrated with mild shampoo and rich conditioner. Use extra gentle shampoo for color treated hair. Use a conditioner that contains protein. Hair conditioner improves the colorant in dyed hair and imparts smoothness to the hair. Moisture and protein content in the conditioner protects the hair from harmful sun rays and harsh winds by forming a film on the hair shaft. Conditioner is very essential for dry, brittle and damaged hair. Rinse conditioner thoroughly as the residue can make hair dull and unmanageable.
- Allow hair to dry naturally. If at all hair dryer must be used, then turn it on at its lowest setting. Heat from dryers, curling tongs and other styling equipment are damaging to hair.
- Try wearing a hat or scarf when going out in the sun.
- The sun's UV rays are harmful not only to the skin but also to the hair. Excessive exposure to the sun makes the hair dry. So use a leave-in conditioner or a protecting spray.
- A weekly head massage strengthens the roots and improves blood circulation. Doing it even for two to three minutes will stimulate the scalp and prove effective.
- Do not bleach the hair very often as it strips the hair of its natural oils.
- Experts recommend the use of a drop of silicone serum to smooth down hair cuticle and add a bit of shine.
- Remember that everything sharp and hard will harm the hair.
- Deep conditioning treatment is the best solution for damaged hair. It can be done weekly under expert guidance.
- For tying up hair, larger bands are always better than smaller ones.
- Always wash hair with low temperature water as hot water dissolves the natural scalp oil. It is the scalp oil which provides protection and natural shine to the hair shaft.
- Do brush your hair before showering. This helps in preventing tangles. Also, while shampooing do not pile up all your hair on top of your head, as this will also result in unnecessary tangling of hair, which in turn will result in breakage.
- Do not use too much shampoo as the harsh chemicals in it are liable to harm the hair in the long run. An ideal shampoo should be neither highly acidic nor alkaline.
- Find out whether the product you are using is suitable for your hair. Only time and constant experimentation will tell which product works best for you. Hair product manufacturers offer different products for varying seasons. As climatic conditions also play a part in damaging the hair, it would be a good idea to use different products for summer and winter.
- Frequently trim the hair to avoid split ends. And do remember that usage of good quality scissors is a vital part of good hair care regimen.
- While holidaying near the sea, hair must be thoroughly cleaned of all sand and salt. It is advisable to apply oil or conditioner and a tight fitting cap if you are swimming in a pool.
- While women in the Asian countries have oiled their hair for centuries, usage of oil as a conditioner is gaining popularity all over. Hair experts recommend using jojoba oil.
- Steaming of hair allows opening of the pores and allows deeper penetration of the vital ingredients in the conditioners.
- Partake a good, healthy diet rich in proteins. Additional supplements can also be taken under medical supervision in cases of pregnancy and illness.
Damaged hair care at homeTop of the Page: Damaged Hair Care
Using protein enriched shampoos with pH balance smoothens the frayed cuticle layer of damaged hair. Deep protein conditioning helps in adding strength to the hair shaft. Whip 2 eggs; add a tbsp of lime juice and olive oil. Mix well and leave on hair for 20-30 minutes.
Shampoo and rinse thoroughly. This acts as a good homemade conditioner. Another good homemade build up remover is to squeeze a lemon into a glass of water and use it to rinse hair. Leave on for 15 minutes and rinse with plain water.
It is prudent to avoid frequent use of damaging treatments and harsh chemicals on the hair. With the right care and treatment, you can keep your mane healthy, shiny and bouncy.