In our quest for luscious hair, we tend to do things that end up damaging it. Damaged hair appears to be frizzy, unhealthy and often brittle. If we continue damaging the hair, it may lead to thinning or even baldness.
As petrifying as the aftermath may sound, simple changes can help prevent hair damage. My top hair care practices have been life changing for me and are recommended by most dermatologists.
We often experiment with different brands of shampoos and are swayed by fancy advertisements. For some reason, most hair care articles fail to emphasize on the basics of hair cleansing.
The right shampoo
When choosing the accurate shampoo, three things must be considered which are among many more that determine the destiny and quality of hair.
Electric Charge: Our goal is to reduce the negative electric charge of hair fibres. The lesser the negative charge of hair strands; the less fragile they are considered.
pH level: pH determines acidity, alkalinity and neutrality in a given medium. A pH less than 7 is considered acidic, a pH of 7 is considered neutral and more than 7 and up to 14 is considered alkaline.
The pH of the scalp is 5.5 while the shaft of hair has a pH of 3.67 and is considered acidic. The right way of choosing a shampoo is to strike the balance between hair scalp, shaft and the correct pH of the shampoo.
Alkaline shampoos increase the negative electric charge and increase friction between hair fibres and lead to cuticle damage and hair breakage. Shampoos with a lower pH reduce hair frizz as they generate less negative charge.
The manufacturing companies are not obligated to disclose the pH level of their product for which you can buy a strip test which will provide a general idea or purchase shampoos which disclose their pH levels.
Surfactants: Surfactants are the cleansing agents in the shampoo. The most common type of surfactant are in the form of sulphates which are negatively charged and using shampoos which contain sulphate increase the negative charge of hair fibres and hence make them fragile. This is why, although not known by many, there are abundant options of using a sulphate free shampoo to have a better quality of hair.
Have you been 'shampooing' right?
Lather and massage into the scalp and let the water run through the length of the hair. No matter how tempting it may be, do not rub along the hair length while rinsing.
One must use a conditioner after every shampoo. Try concentrating on the roots when applying conditioner and the scalp and hair shaft when applying shampoo.
Special attention to swimmers! The pool contains chemicals that are harsh for the hair. After a good swim, one must pay special attention to the hair. Wash hair right away after swimming with a specially formulated swimming shampoo and deep conditioner.
Please follow these tips for better hair care:
- Avoid rubbing wet hair with a towel. Wrap it around and let the water get absorbed. Avoid brushing hair when it is wet and allow hair to air dry.
- When exposed to a high temperature, especially during summer, make sure to protect the hair with a leave-in conditioner which contains zinc oxide. Try limiting styling methods that involve applying heat.
- Change the cotton pillow covers to silk as cotton increases friction and makes hair fragile. Silk covers let the hair be as it is and prevent friction.
- Stroking the hair many times with a comb does not improve the quality of hair. The best way to treat your hair is to use a wide-toothed comb so that they are easy on the tangles. The key is to be gentle.
To conclude, these were my simple, yet top life altering hair care regimens. Try them to improve the quality of your hair and thank me later.
The writer is a medical practitioner currently doing fellowship in American Academy of Aesthetic Medicine.