There’s not a lot we can control right now, but having great hair is something we can – and most definitely should. Not only will it help you to look great for your various Zoom calls – whether work-related or for some virtual birthday shots (hey, we’re not judging) – but it will also help you feel good about yourself, too. And, let’s face it, right now we could all probably do with something of a pick-me-up!
But the salon is closed and my hairdresser can’t come over, either – help!
1. Don’t over-wash
This may come as some welcome news – especially as lockdown is making it hard to muster up the energy to do just about do anything – but when it comes to washing your hair, less is most definitely more. This is especially true of hair that’s been bleached, coloured, chemically treated or is naturally dry. The reason behind it is that washing hair strips it of its natural oils and proteins that keep it healthy. The recommended average is no more than three times a week, but this will, of course, depend on your hair. The curlier it is, the longer you can leave it, whereas fine, straight hair may need to be washed every other day.
2. Condition deeply
A good conditioner is crucial – especially when it comes to thick, curly hair. You should look for a product that adds moisture and protein-based strength. Towel dry hair or squeeze out excess water after shampooing before applying, so that it can fully penetrate the hair shaft, before covering with a shower cap for as long as possible to really lock in all the goodness. Conditioner only needs to go on the mid-lengths and ends of your hair – too close to the roots and it will cause your scalp to get greasy (this is in contrast to shampoo which should be mainly applied to the scalp.).
3. Stick to the same brand
While not necessary for every single hair product in your repertoire, when it comes to shampoo and conditioner it’s best to use the same line as they’ll have been formulated in the same way – made for a specific hair type and purpose.
4. Favour cooler water
Before you panic, cold doesn’t have to mean freezing cold – as long as you’re not washing your hair in boiling hot water you’re on the right track as this can strip your hair of essential oils, which can leave it drier and duller. Instead, opt for shampooing in lukewarm water as this will open the hair cuticles and follicles on the scalp and condition with cold, which will help increase blood flow and, thereby, boost the nutrients being delivered.
5. Always use protection
Always, ahem, good advice, but when it comes to styling your hair with heated tools, such as tongs, straighteners and even a hairdryer, it’s imperative to shield it from damage. Some products we love are Living Proof Restore Perfecting Spray, Ouai Haircare Memory Mist and Revlon Professional Uniq One All In One Hair Treatment.
6. Brush sensibly
Resist the urge to brush mindlessly through your hair as being too aggressive can not only pull hair out but cause split ends, too. Always brush from the bottom and work your way up – especially if you have long hair.
7. Be gentle on wet hair
Wet hair is more fragile and susceptible to breakage, so always exercise extra caution. Don’t be too aggressive in your shampooing and if you can avoid brushing it in the shower that’s ideal but if not, a wide-tooth comb is always the best option. Squeeze excess water out before patting hair dry with a towel – too much rubbing will just cause breakage. Never use direct heat on wet hair, either, such as straighteners or tongs.
8. Invest in the best
What you use on your hair can make or break it – quite literally – so spend some time researching what the best tools and products are for you to help you achieve the style you want. Good brushes, for example, are worth investing in and if looked after properly will last forever. Keep them clean and clear of dead hair, oil and product build-up by washing them in a mixture of baking soda and warm water once a month. You may even want to treat yourself to a silk or satin pillowcase as these have been proven to prevent breakage, too.
9. Maximise your blow-dry
A good blow dry can last a couple of days, depending on your hair type, and several products can help prolong its staying power, too, such as Osis Dust It Powder. You can also never go wrong with a little bit of some good old-fashioned hairspray. We love Schwarzkopf Silhouette Super Hold Hairspray.
The great thing about a blow-dry is that if done well, it can be really versatile, too, meaning even after it loses its bounce it can work as a fab high pony.
If you don’t have rollers or the patience for a DIY semi-professional job, that’s fine, too!
Simply flip your head upside down while you blow dry, flipping back up when it’s around 80% dry before finishing off in sections. Focus on the bottom three inches of your hair to lock in smoothness.
10. Air dry as much as possible
While a blow-dry now and again is an absolute must, now is the best time to free your hair and let it be as au natural as possible. It will never enjoy a break like this again so take advantage!
11. Treat your hair according to its type
Not all hair is created equal and, as such, should be treated individually:
For fine hair: Avoid heavy oils, such as argan, coconut or oil, as these can weigh your tresses down and make them unnecessarily greasy. Instead, opt for products containing aloe oil.
For thick hair: Invest in products with more hydration to meet the needs of a wider strand and if it’s prone to frizzing, choose lightweight smoothing products that will help tame it down.
For curly hair: Jojoba oil and Shea butter are perfect ingredients to look for as they are similar to natural hair oils, which curly hair is prone to lose as its shape makes it difficult for them to fully coat when travelling down from the shaft.
For afro hair: Exercise extra caution as this hair is the most vulnerable to damage. When it comes to brushing, start at the ends and work up to your roots using a wide-tooth comb.
12. Don’t tie it up too tight
We’re probably all falling victim to a messy bun more times than we’d care to admit these days, so make sure you’re using hair-friendly scrunchies – preferably with cloth around them – to prevent unnecessary breakage.
13. Treat yourself to a homemade mask
The following ingredients are fab for a DIY ultra-luxurious hair boost (pending your ability to get the holy grail of an Ocado delivery slot!):
· Bananas: Rich in potassium, they can help improve the elasticity and natural health of your hair. Simply mash one banana in a bowl and apply to your hair from the roots to the tips. Leave on for 15 minutes before washing off with shampoo. Great for dry or damaged hair.
· Strawberries. Natural hair conditioners when mashed with some mayonnaise and applied as a mask.
· Eggs. The yolk, in particular, can help improve hair growth, so either massage your head directly with some or add to a mixture of olive oil and vitamin E oil for a deep conditioning mask which should be washed off after 10-12 minutes.
· Honey. Is there anything honey can’t do? Packed with softening and moisturising properties, it can act as an excellent home remedy to repair damaged hair simply by adding 2-3 drops to your shampoo or conditioner.
· Fenugreek seeds. Thanks to its anti-fungal properties and skin-soothing effects, this can help reduce dandruff. Soak two tablespoons of seeds overnight and grind into a paste the following day, apply all over your scalp and wash out after an hour.
· Beer. Wash your hair with a little bit of beer for some instant shine.
Hope this helps until we’re back to doing the hard work for you!
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