Your hair takes a beating all year round, but the fall and winter can be especially damaging. The dry, cold air and all that heat you're blasting through your house can cause the hair to become brittle and break off or split.
These 12 tips can help you protect your hair no matter the season, so you can look your best all year long:
1. Sleep in your conditioner.
One great way to add moisture and nourishment to your hair is to do it while you sleep. This allows the treatment anywhere from six to eight hours (or more) to penetrate each strand, repairing damage, locking in moisture and preventing future breakage. You can use any hair conditioner you already have or go with coconut oil, which is the perfect all natural option. This oil is rich is healthy fats and nutrients. Just apply your treatment of choice to DRY hair, staying a few inches from the scalp, wrap in plastic or cover with a shower cap and hit the sheets.You may have to wash more than once in the morning but the shining locks will be well worth it.
2. Take some borage oil.
Produced from the seeds of the borage plant (Borago officinalis), this oil is packed with gamma-linolenic acid, also known as GLA. This essential fatty acid nourishes the skin and hair to lock in moisture and protect their structure. This supplement can help you regain the luster and strength your hair used to have and prevent it from breaking off. You can find borage oil supplements in liquid or softgel form. You can take between 1,000 and 3,000 mg per day, but make sure the progression is gradual to prevent digestive upset.
3. Try some horsetail.
Another great supplement to strengthen the structure of hair and help it grow long and healthy is horsetail grass (Equisetum arvense). This herb contains a high amount of silica, a mineral know to support the very fabric of your hair, making it strong from within. Horsetail also has the same effect on the nails. You can find horsetail capsules featuring just this herbal extract or a blend, as well as horsetail tea. The average recommended dose is about 6 g, for maximum benefit.
4. Comb/brush the right way.
While combing or brushing your hair helps break up tangles and allows the hair to lay more smoothly, it can also cause severe damage to the hair. Brushing or combing the hair when wet can be especially harmful. Try to avoid ripping through your hair with a comb or brush after showering -- work through it with your fingers instead since you'll more quickly notice a snarl. Less is also more when it comes to this type of grooming to prevent breakage.
5. Control the heat.
The power of heat styling means you can go from curly hair to silky, flowing hair in a matter of minutes. But all that heat can seriously damage the hair, taking away that shine and causing it to break. Certain styling products are designed to protect the hair from heat, but a simple solution is to avoid using it as much as possible. Try taking a shower and washing your hair once you get home from work and letting it air dry until you do to bed. You may need to apply heat to touch it up in the morning before heading out the door, but at least you'll have spared it the blow dryer.
6. Try "dry cleaning."
Dry shampoo allows you to remove dirt and oil from your hair without getting it wet. Perfect for people who have naturally dry hair, these products are simply sprayed at the roots and brushed through. Working similarly to baby powder, they absorb all the yucky stuff so you're hair looks and smells fresh again. If you're someone who likes to squeeze in a quick workout on your lunch hour, they can be a major time saver -- just make sure the hair is completely dry before using.
7. Get your B vitamins.
The B vitamins have many functions within the body, from producing energy to promoting healthy circulation. They also help maintain the health of tissues like the hair. Biotin, in particular, can help strengthen the hair from root to tip. You can find biotin on its own in supplement form, in specific blends for the hair, skin and nails and as an ingredient in shampoo. You can also eat your biotin by consuming foods like eggs or Swiss chard.
8. Change up your regimen.
Variety is the spice of life and with so many hair care options out there, there's no reason to stick with just one formula. In the colder months, turn to more nourishing formulas that won't strip the hair of all it's essential oils. You can find shampoos and conditioners with biotin, as previously mentioned, as well as oils and herbal extracts that help keep hair hydrated while still removing dirt. Choose a heavier conditioner and consider sleeping with it on once a week as a deep treatment.
9. Avoid harsh chemicals.
This time of year you need to go easy on the bleaching, straightening and other chemical treatments you turn to in the name of beauty. With your hair already dry and more brittle, dousing it with products and treatments that burn will only make your hair look worse. If you do choose to treat your hair, make sure you're using a deep conditioner treatment at least once a week. When it comes to your styling products, read the labels and avoid anything with preservatives or alcohol.
10. Style with oil.
This may sound strange when you normally wash your hair to remove dirt and oil, but products like argan oil are changing the way many people style their hair. Produced from the argan tree (Argania spinosa), which is native to Morocco, this oil contains lots of essential fatty acids to nourish the hair, but it's amazingly light as well. Put a few drops in your hands and work it through damp hair to help seal the ends and protect them during styling. You can even lightly rub a little more onto dry hair to combat frizz and make hair shiny and manageable.
11. Schedule your appointments.
Getting a regular trim will remove dead or split ends so your hair continues to grow healthy and long. Most stylists recommend waiting between six and eight weeks between cuts depending on the length and health of your hair. At your next appointment, plan out as many as you can so you have no excuses.
12. Keep your hands off.
Now that your hair is dry and styled, STOP TOUCHING IT. Not only are you transferring all the dirt your hands pick up to your clean locks, but any pulling or twisting of the hair can make it brittle and break it. Leave it alone. End of story.
Follow these tips and your hair will look summer fresh even when the first snow falls (please let that be a long time from now). Get everything you need for radiant, healthy hair at eVitamins and let us know what your favorite products are!