If you want healthy-looking hair, there’s more to it than just washing. Of course, you do have the basics of washing, drying and styling, but there are lots of other things you can do in addition to make your hair healthier, thicker and shinier. There’s more to hair care than shampoo and conditioner!
The following are a few easy steps you can use to build your ideal routine.
1) Determine Your Hair Type
There is no such thing as a catch-all routine for hair care. Different people have different needs, depending on the five factors that help define their hair type.
- Diameter: How thick your individual strands are. Take a single strand of hair in between your fingertips. Do you feel it?
- Fine: You cannot feel an individual strand of hair.
- Medium: You can feel an individual strand, but it has no discernible texture.
- Coarse: Your individual strand feels thick or textured.
- Density: The amount of hair you have. Take a handful of hair from the front of your head and pull it off to the side. The amount of scalp you can see determines the density, ranging from seeing lots of scalp, to almost none.
- Elasticity: How easily your hair tends to snap when pulled taut. If it snaps immediately, you have low elasticity, but if you are able to stretch your hair, its elasticity is very high. This is usually directly linked with your hair’s diameter, as finer hair tends to snap easier than thicker hair.
- Porosity: How easily your hair absorbs moisture. Fill a bowl with water and place a single strand into it. If it sinks, it has high porosity. Floating on the surface means low porosity. If your hair is well-balanced, it should float just under the surface. Low porosity may require more product than average hair, whereas high porosity usually means damaged, frizzy or dry hair.
- Texture: How does your hair sit naturally? Is it straight, wavy or curly?
2) Hair Products
Depending on your hair type, you will likely need different or particular products and tools. For example, curly-haired people generally do well with a diffuser and a straightener or flat iron, whereas straight-haired people may wish to use a curling wand on occasion. For the most part, though, there are a few items that you should have for any hair care routine:
- Choose a shampoo and conditioner for your hair type
- Microfibre towel
- A good quality, heat-adjustable hair dryer
- Heat protectant spray or cream
- Styling product (spray, gel, mousse, etc.)
A paddle brush is also a recommended tool for your hair, but the style differs depending on your type. For example, thick and textured hair would do well with nylon or synthetic bristles that are more sturdy than other materials and run through more smoothly.
A few optional products include dry shampoo, hair extensions and masks or a scalp massager.
3) Washing Frequency
For typical healthy hair, you shouldn’t wash your hair more than three times a week. You should be protecting the natural oils in your hair to avoid having it dry out. The temperature should be warm, as hot showers tend to damage hair. Dry, thick, or curly hair requires less washing, at about twice a week, to allow those oils to return to the hair follicles. Add conditioner after every wash and leave it in for a few minutes before rinsing. Scalp massagers are also a good option to work in the product.
This, of course, is dependent on your routine, as people who enjoy activities like hot yoga or find they use lots of product in their hair may find their hair gets oily quicker because of sweat and build-up. As such, you should adjust your washing schedule accordingly.
4) Drying & Styling
Soak up all your excess water with a microfibre towel and avoid rubbing on non-microfibre towels. Hair dryers, diffusers, flat irons and curling wands can damage your hair from heat, so hair protectant should be applied first. Whenever possible, try letting your hair air dry, as avoiding heat will keep your hair looking and feeling healthier for longer.
5) Additional Options
Dry shampoo is a great option for when you are in between washes or short on time. Simply add at the roots and massage it in to absorb excess oil. Hair masks and conditioning treatments are especially solid options for those with chemically treated or dry hair. These can be done at a salon once a month, or can be done at home once a week if you make your own hair mask.
Length and thickness can be achieved with hair extensions. Ensure you wash them at least once a month, or more frequently if you use more product on them, and store them in the appropriate packaging or carrier.
We at A&O Salons are your local experts for all things hair in the Newport Beach area. Our certified hairdressers and stylists can help you develop all aspects of your hair care routine. Need a new look? A regular touch-up? Give us a call and book your next appointment today!