While different hair types require different methods of care, one principle is universally true — it’s important to show your hair some TLC. Here, discover the do’s and don’ts when it comes to keeping your hair healthy.
Don’t Overprocess Your Hair
Do Choose a Shampoo and Conditioner That’s Specific to Your Hair Type
Don’t Overdry Your Hair
Another method of overprocessing? Using your hair dryer and hot styling tools too regularly. “Blow-dryers, curling irons, and flat irons can burn your hair and your scalp — and can cause your hair to break and fall out,” says Wattenberg.
Do Shield Your Hair and Scalp From the Sun
Don’t Skip the Conditioner
Also, follow a shampoo and conditioner routine that’s based on your specific hair. “Styling practices vary completely based on hair type and desired style,” says Lamb. “For example, if you have dreadlocks, they can often be washed monthly, regularly conditioned, and protected at night — but if your hair is straighter, this styling practice would not lead to healthy hair,” Lamb adds. “In general, though, you should wash and condition your hair at the frequency that is necessary for your style and hair type. This can be daily or weekly or monthly.”
Do Protect Your Hair While Swimming
Although swimming is great exercise, ample time in the pool isn’t ideal for your hair. “Chemicals in the pool can dry your hair and irritate it,” says Wattenberg.
Don’t Intensely Brush Your Hair
Although you may be tempted to get out every last tangle, too much brushing isn’t good for your tresses, especially if you use all your strength to remove those knots.
Try as best as you can to brush gently to prevent breakage. Ideally, you’ll want to use a wide-tooth brush with smooth prongs (though ask your stylist if there’s a special brush that’s best for your hair type).
Do Conduct Your Own Research on Products Before Buying Them
A surprisingly long list of ingredients typically goes into making hair-care products, and not all of them are healthy, to say the least.
One study discovered a potential connection between breast cancer and personal use of hair dye (that is, products bought over the counter), though more research is needed to understand whether hair dye itself causes an increased risk of breast cancer.
In the research, when white women used permanent hair dye one or more times in a 12-month period, their risk of developing breast cancer was 9 percent higher, compared with women who didn’t use any. Black women who used permanent hair dye one or more times in a month had an even greater risk — 45 percent higher than those who didn’t use it. The study involved 46,709 participants.
Don’t Go Too Long Without a Haircut
When your hair stylist suggests that you come back for a haircut every few months, it’s not just to keep you as a regular client. “Regular haircuts help avoid damage from the ends up — split ends run up the shaft and weaken the hair, exposing it to moisture loss and tangles,” says Pacheco. Walker recommends a cut every six to eight weeks to prevent damage.
The same goes for people who are trying to grow out their hair. “If you’re looking to grow your hair, you might be considering skipping a trim — but reshaping and trimming your hair regularly keeps it looking strong and healthy, as opposed to brittle and thin, while you move through the growing process,” Walker adds.
Do Consider a Silk Pillowcase
Sleeping with a silk pillowcase is trendy right now — and for good reason. “I suggest all hair types should consider a silk pillowcase, so you aren’t roughing up the cuticle while you sleep,” says Pacheco. “This is particularly beneficial for fizz-prone, curly, kinky, and fragile hair types,” he adds.
Don’t Let Braids, Cornrows, or Weaves Get Too Tight
Do Go to a Professional for Relaxers
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