For too long, hair maintenance has been secondary to hairstyling and body maintenance. The focus was placed on making hair look good for a day out, but feeding our hair with a good routine and appropriate products fell to the wayside. We want to share some secrets with you— and to get started, we will discuss what elements you need to consider in a hair care routine.
Your scalp is not secondary
The foundation to having healthy hair starts with the scalp. When the scalp ages, its ability to regenerate cells diminishes. Thinning hair is a result of the scalp losing its ability to maintain moisture, distribute nutrients, and detoxify hair follicles. When hair turns grey and eventually white, it results from less melanin production in the scalp, a natural consequence of ageing.
Due to its position on the body, the scalp also undergoes serious environmental stressors, like UV exposure and pollution. Excessive sun damages the scalp the same way it damages the skin, drying it out and even changing its pH, which can lead to dandruff. External pollutants can irritate the scalp, leading to dry and fragile strands that are more prone to breakage.
Get to know your hair type and hair porosity
We talked about how to identify different hair types in our article, How to find out what your hair type really is. Whether you have straight, wavy, curly or coily hair, your hair characteristics matter when choosing products. If you are consistently using formulas that do not match your hair needs, it can lead to dysfunction in your hair and scalp health and leave you frustrated. For example, some scalps naturally produce more oil, and some hair types (like ‘straight’ hair types) can reflect that oil more prominently. When choosing products to minimise greasiness, they should be just right. Not too stripping, and not too gentle. When it strips too much oil, your scalp can overcompensate and produce even more undesired greasiness. Mild shampoos— containing gentler and weaker cleansing agents— may cause a buildup of oil in the hair follicles, damaging the strands. Choosing a product that is suited for your hair and scalp balances its oil production. It leads to healthy hair that is healthier in appearance and more resilient.
Consider your genetics and hormonal changes
Your genetics, age, and hormonal activity affect your hair. Family members can readily share their life experiences with you. Learning about how things change with age, such as hair loss or hair texture changes, can equip you with the foresight to make changes instead of following a routine that no longer works.
Pregnancy alters the hormones in the body, namely the increase in oestrogen and progesterone. This results in changes like thinning and thickening of hair, an increase in hair's growth rate, a decrease in hair shedding, and increased oil production. The sebaceous glands often begin to overproduce sebum. It can lead to an increase in frizzing, matting, and uncontrolled greasiness. Starting a new routine is frustrating, especially if you already have something in place that works for you. Yuty can help, by taking your key life stage into account and matching you with products that work for you.
Secrets to a healthy hair routine
Mind the impact of products on the scalp. Approach scalp care in the same way that you approach skincare. Keep it clean, be gentle, and nourish the scalp. If a product seems to work great on the hair itself but clog up the scalp, switch to something gentle that nourishes the hair roots and add additional products to the ends of hair strands instead.
Avoid over or under washing the hair. Too much washing can lead to dryness and dull-looking locks. Over-washing strips the hair out of its essential oils. Underwashing leads to a build-up of dirt, dust and oils which can lead to long term negative impacts on hair growth.
Stay away from using water that is too hot. Just as it is with the skin, using water that is too hot damages the scalp, dries it out, strips your natural oils and can create inflammation and irritation, leaving your hair vulnerable to damage. Warm showers are best, as they open up the hair follicles and allow for a deep and effective clean.
Be gentle when drying the hair. When the hair is in a wet state, the proteins that make up the hair— known as keratins— form weaker bonds (hydrogen bonds), than when the hair is dry (protein-protein bonds). Hair is, therefore, more susceptible to damage. Using rough towels to dry the hair or using excessive heat causes damage to the hair strands. Instead, opt for a soft t-shirt like material to squeeze out water, and gently dry on low to medium heat for an optimal shine. Using heat to dry and style too much can alter the porosity of the hair, reducing its ability to retain moisture! If heat styling is necessary, always protect the hair with products formulated to minimise heat damage.
Use the right type of hairbrush
Every hair type requires a different hairbrush. Curly hair types can use imitation boar bristle paddle brushes. These brushes make the strands smooth and shiny without causing them to lose shape or become unmanageable. Straight hair types benefit from using hair brushes that glide easily through the hair and do not pull on the hair follicles. While nylon is easiest and cheapest to get, better sustainable options are available. These kinds of brushes can be made sustainably from natural materials, like the wheat cane brush from Log Cosmetics.
Be aware of sun exposure. Hidden beneath layers of hair, the scalp doesn't signal its exposure to the sun the same way our body responds by either . However, excessive sun exposure, while it brings out natural highlights, can damage the hair over the long term. Not only does the scalp suffer from dryness, but the strands themselves can also become weak. Consider putting on a hat in times when bright, direct sun is beating down on the head for hours at a time.
Remember— healthy hair is beautiful hair. With a better routine, your natural hair can truly shine. Let Yuty help you discover the best hair care routine for you.
Where you and beauty meet. Yuty takes into consideration your genetics, lifestyle, environment and preferences when providing you with personalised recommendations. Take the YUTY Advisor™ today to find your perfect match.
Shmerling, R. H. (2020, June 22). Why does hair turn gray? from https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/hair-turn-gray-2017091812226
Healthline. (2020, March 24). How Mild Shampoo Can Help the Health of Your Hair. from https://www.healthline.com/health/mild-shampoo
Head and Shoulders. (2021). Wet Hair Damage Explained. from https://headandshoulders.com/en-us/healthy-hair-and-scalp/hair-care/wet-hair-damage-explained