Having a good head of hair is important to a lot of people, especially women, but maintaining one can be tough if you aren’t blessed with healthy genes. Hair is affected by many things, from stress and age to the things you surround it with. Many a time, it is difficult to change these factors, but there are things you can consume and do to keep your hair strong and healthy.
What to eat/drink
Fish is a great source of protein, vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids. Sardines, mackerel and salmon are great for boosting hair growth and strengthening the hair shaft. Walnuts are rich in biotin, omega-3 fatty acids, copper and vitamin E, all of which help keep your hair’s natural colours richly intact. They also protect the hair from external damage.
Zinc and protein are great nutrients – they stop your hair from falling. If you’re the adventurous, carnivorous kind, eat oysters to reduce hair fall, as they also keep your scalp moisturised. Another good source of protein is egg, which also contains zinc, selenium, sulphur and iron – all great for healthy hair. Iron is especially helpful as it transports oxygen in the blood, preventing hair loss.
Spinach and other greens (like broccoli and celery), though not many people’s favourites, are excellent for a lot of things. The iron, beta carotene, folic acid and vitamin C in them keep hair follicles healthy, and promote the natural oil circulation of the scalp. Vitamin C and antioxidants are also important in maintaining a thick mane. Available in blueberries, they improve circulation to the scalp and strengthen hair, reducing breakage.
Wash your hair based on its type. Most people end up doing this too often, which causes their hair to dry over a period of time. The longer your hair, the longer it can go without a wash. If you have a very oily scalp, daily washing is understandable. But remember to use an everyday shampoo with fewer chemicals; it’s milder on both hair and scalp.
Always use conditioner when you wash your hair, as it protects and untangles, which causes less breakage. Conditioning also smoothens, reduces split ends, and makes your hair shine. Apply it on the strands, not on the scalp. The closer to the scalp you apply it, the quicker your hair will turn greasy.
Most people are in the habit of brushing their hair while it’s still wet, usually in order for it to set a certain way. This isn’t the best idea as your hair is more delicate when wet, and more likely to break. If you must, use a wide-toothed comb to minimise the damage.
Remember: don’t be rough on your hair while drying it. When you use a towel, don’t rub; this ruins the cuticle, making hair rough and frizzy. Instead, pat your hair dry, or wrap it with the towel.
We tend to comb our hair from top to bottom, which pushes tangles on top to the tangles below, ultimately making it even more tangled! Untangle from the bottom up.
What to avoid
- One of the worst things for hair is heat. Hair dryers and straighteners will compromise the health of your hair if you use them regularly. Subject your hair to heat sparingly to avoid split ends, dryness and brittleness.
- Heat can also compromise the colour of your hair. If you can’t go without drying it, invest in an ionic dryer. Though not completely safe, they’re half as harsh as the other variety.
- Most unnecessary hair products contain chemicals that can affect you. Avoid hair care products that contain sulphates, parabens and sodium chlorine.
Picking the product
- The first step of hair care is to understand what type of hair you have – oily, dry or normal. Shampoos and conditioners made for specific hair types are easily available. If you have coloured hair, then pick a product for that. If you suffer from hair fall or breakage, then buy products that will help alleviate the problem.
- A dermatologist can help you if you’re unsure, or if you have more severe problems like dandruff.
- Hair’s to better days!