This post was originally published in October 2020. Updated in September 2022.
We all dream of having long healthy hair but do we really make the appropriate effort that can keep our hair healthy and strong? Well. You should know that your hair care routine is the main key to maintaining healthy glowing hair.
Most women believe that having a good hair day can boost their confidence. But when their hair does not look as they desire, this makes them feel less confident and more anxious.
To solve the problem, I’ll walk you through a step-by-step guide that can aid in hair growth, keep hair shiny and moisturized, make it frizz-free, and prevent dryness:
How To Keep Your Hair Healthy:
1- Maintain A Healthy Diet
What you eat has a huge impact on your overall health including your hair health.
Eating healthy balanced meals full of protein, vegetables, whole grains, healthy fats, and fruits can help keep hair healthy.
So you should Eat:
- Enough protein to maintain strong shiny hair. Protein is the basic component of your hair and nails as they’re made up of keratin which is a type of protein. Protein-rich foods include fish, lean meat, poultry, eggs, beans, and dairy products.
- Zinc-rich foods to help prevent shedding. So add walnuts, almonds, pecans, and cashews to your diet as they are high in zinc.
- Also, foods that are packed with iron can make your hair strong and prevent brittleness. Iron is found in leafy vegetables, pumpkin seeds, soybeans, chickpeas, fish, and beans.
- Food that contains enough omega-3 fatty acids. They may help maintain hair and scalp health. Omega-3 fatty acids-rich sources include salmon, sardines, herring, cottage cheese, yogurt, flaxseed, and cereal.
- Fruits are a great source of vitamin C. It can promote circulation which helps to improve hair follicles and scalp health. Antioxidants in fruits can also boost collagen production and this leads to strong lustrous hair. So you can have berries, citrus fruits, kiwi, guava, and papaya.
Also, you should:
- Keep your body hydrated and drink enough water during the day. Drink water instead of alcohol, coffee, or soda as they can dehydrate your body. When your body doesn’t get enough fluids, this can affect your hair and scalp directly.
2- Keep Your Scalp Healthy
The scalp plays an important role in keeping hair healthy. In other words, a healthy scalp leads to strong hair.
Any scalp issue can affect your hair health badly. It can make your hair weak and brittle and cause hair to fall.
Scalp conditions like dandruff, scalp folliculitis, lice, or scalp acne can cause irritation, itching, and small red bumps to form on the scalp:
- Dandruff is a skin condition that can affect anyone, it causes flakes to appear on the scalp. Many factors can be responsible for causing dandruff such as unhealthy food, hair care products, or stress.
- Scalp folliculitis is a skin disorder that results in damaging hair follicles due to fungal or bacterial infection. It causes red bumps that look like acne to appear along the hairline. These bumps go deeper and spread all over the scalp in severe cases.
- Scalp acne is a skin disorder that causes inflamed small bumps on the scalp. The reason for forming acne could be hormonal imbalances, bacteria, or clogged pores.
- Lice feed on blood from the scalp and lay eggs on hair shafts. They transfer from one scalp to another and crawl on clothes so you can get them from anyone by close contact.
These conditions can be treated by using medicated shampoos that cleanse the scalp and reduce the symptoms.
You may also try some home remedies like aloe vera gel or tea tree oil to help reduce dandruff and reduce scalp inflammation and irritation along with the shampoo.
3- Make Your Own Hair Mask
Hair masks can help moisturize and soften your hair. Experts recommend applying hair masks to hair at least once a week to maintain a healthy look especially if you use hot tools a lot.
You can find many good hair masks on the market or you can make it at home from natural ingredients to help your hair grow long and strong.
Homemade hair masks can save you a lot of money. Plus, they don’t contain any harsh ingredients as you can control what are you going to apply to your hair.
All you need to do is to choose the best ingredients that suit your hair needs the most.
Some Hair masks can help tame frizz or add shine and moisture to your hair while others reduce breakage and stimulate hair growth.
They also keep your scalp healthy and reduce some skin conditions like dandruff and relieve irritation and itching.
4-When To Wash Your Hair?
You should first figure out your hair type to answer this question. For example, if your hair is dry, you should not shampoo your hair more than two times a week. But if you have oily hair, you’ll have to wash it every day.
Also, Your activity level will affect how many times you should shampoo your hair. You’ll need to wash your hair more often if you’re a super active person to avoid greasiness.
Washing your hair a lot can make your hair frizzy and dry. It also makes hair more prone to breakage and damage. So in brief, don’t wash your hair more than you have to.
Some hair care products contain ingredients that leave residue on the scalp and hair which is super harmful to hair health.
So always remember to choose the product that works best for you and contains good ingredients, not just the most popular or expensive one.
5- Choose The Right Shampoo
Washing hair with a shampoo that is not suitable for your hair type can damage your hair. Using the right shampoo can help cleanse your scalp and hair well without drying them out.
Regardless of what your hair type is, you can find the right shampoo at any drugstore near you.
Also, pay attention to your scalp so if you have any scalp issues like dandruff, make sure to buy a good shampoo that treats the problem.
Additionally, check the ingredients of any hair care product before buying it. Your shampoo should contain moisturizing ingredients and be free of harsh ingredients to keep your hair strong and hydrated.
6- Don’t Overuse Dry Shampoo
Using dry shampoo when you are busy can save the day as it can absorb excess oil in a few minutes. It can remove grease and sweat from your hair and give it a voluminous and grease-free look.
But overusing dry shampoo can leave a residue of buildup on your scalp which can cause inflammation and itching. So, hairstylists recommend using it only one time between hair washes. Plus, they highly recommend not to skip shampooing your hair.
7- Condition Your Hair
One of the major steps on how to keep your hair healthy and manageable is to deep condition it every week.
Using a high-quality conditioner that contains natural ingredients helps moisturize and add shine to your hair.
You can make your conditioner at home by using ingredients that you already have in your kitchen.
It’s best to try different homemade conditioner recipes until you find what works best for your hair.
Also, If You Are A New Mom:
You’ll need to use high-quality hair care products to maintain your hair health.
New moms experience a hair loss phase after pregnancy around three months postpartum which is normal and common.
It’s a temporary phase that lasts for about 6-12 months. After this period, hair loss slows and your hair growth cycle returns to normal again.
8- Keep Your Old T-shirts
Instead of using a towel for drying your hair, try your old cotton t-shirt. Cotton t-shirts can soak up excess water without disrupting your hair texture. They won’t dry or weaken your hair as they are gentle on your hair.
Rubbing hair with a towel affects the hair cuticle which makes it rough, weak, and frizzy. This could eventually lead to breakage and your hair will look unhealthy.
9- Massage Your Scalp
When you massage your scalp frequently, it boosts blood circulation in the scalp which helps stimulate healthy hair growth.
Massage your scalp when you wake up, in the shower, or after applying a hair mask to your hair.
Use your fingertips to massage the scalp in small circular motions and be extra gentle.
Just dip your fingers in the oil before starting to massage your scalp.
10- Use A Comb
Treat your hair super gently when it’s wet as it is more prone to damage and breakage.
Use a wide-tooth comb to detangle your hair instead of using a brush. Brushes are harsh on wet hair as they rip and break hair by pulling out tangles roughly.
Start to comb through the ends of your hair, then work upward until your hair is tangle-free from ends to roots.
You can also use your fingers to comb through your wet hair to detangle knots by pulling apart the tangled strands. This reduces hair loss and breakage.
11- Don’t Tie Your Hair Up Tight
Avoid tying your hair up tight whether it’s dry or wet as it can make your hair break easily. Don’t go to bed with your hair tied up, let it down, or go with a loose classic braid or fishtail braid.
When you sleep with your hair tied up, this puts stress on your scalp and hair strands which leads to brittleness and damage.
Also, going to bed with wet hair can make your hair dry and frizzy. This is because when you toss and turn, this creates friction and results in hair breakage and more tangles.
And this leads to using extra hair-care products or straightening your hair in the morning to soften your strands which causes damage in the long run.
Plus, sleeping with wet hair can make bacteria grow on your pillow which will affect your hair and skin health badly.
Additionally, use fabric hair scrunchies instead of metal or rubber hair ties. Fabric hair scrunchies are more gentle on your hair and won’t pull out individual hairs or stress your hair strands.
12- Use Heat Protection
Apply heat protection spray to damp hair before using a hairdryer or hair straightener. Comb your hair after applying it to be sure that it spreads evenly across the hair.
High temperatures from styling tools strip your hair of its natural oils. And This causes hair damage and makes it break easily.
Styling your hair without using heat protectant spray causes keratin protein to break down and hair cuticles to open up.
This makes your hair lose its strength and elasticity which will cause breakage and frizz.
So, Heat protectant spray adds a barrier between the heating tool and hair. This helps keep your hair safe from the heat and reduces damage and frizz.
Plus, heat protectant sprays can smooth the cuticle and make hair look soft and shiny.
13- Get New Styling Tools
Having old styling tools that dated back to when you were a student can damage your hair. Hairdressing brands keep developing new technology with every new model they release.
So every year, there are new models you can use to style your hair faster and safer.
When you take less time using a hot tool, it helps reduce damage and keep your hair healthy. Also, avoid cheap tools, and invest money in a quality product to maintain a healthy and vibrant look.
14- Avoid Overusing Hot Tools
But if you are going to use heat styling tools, follow the steps below to maintain a healthy look:
- Apply a heat protectant spray to your hair before drying.
- Try to hold the hairdryer about 4-6 inches away from your hair to reduce damage.
- If you have fine hair, keep your hairdryer temperature at a medium to low temperature. But if your hair is thicker or curly, you will need to use a higher temperature.
- Separate your hair into sections and keep the hairdryer moving to avoid overheating or burning.
- You can also use the diffuser to spread heat over a large section of your hair which helps reduce breakage.
- When your hair is dry, use the cool shot button on your hairdryer to seal your cuticles and keep your look last longer.
- Also, don’t blow dry your hair every day, let it air dry whenever possible.
- Additionally, invest money in an ionic hairdryer as it takes less time to dry your hair. And it helps make the hair cuticle lie flat.
Flat Irons And Curling Irons
Ironing hair whether it’s dry or wet leads to breakage and split ends. But it’s more recommended to iron your hair when it’s dry.
Ironing wet hair boils the moisture out of it which causes more damage. To maintain your hair health and reduce damage:
- Apply heat protectant spray to your hair before using the iron.
- Buy an iron that is made of high-quality material like ceramic, tourmaline, or titanium. They help keep your hair smooth and shiny and decrease damage. Titanium irons are often more suitable for thick or coarse hair.
- Keep your hot tool around the 250-340-degree range if you have fine hair.
- Thick hair types can withstand high temperatures between 300-380 degrees.
- For coarse thick hair, keep the temperature anywhere between 400-450 degrees.
- If you have normal to medium hair, stick to 300-350 degrees.
- Experiment to find out the best temperature that suits your hair as everyone’s hair is unique and different.
- Use a good deep conditioner that suits your hair type to strengthen your hair which helps reduce breakage. A good hair conditioner can smooth your hair and restore its shine. Apply also a hair mask to your hair at least once a week to keep your strands soft and moisturized.
- Avoid using a flat iron or curling iron daily to reduce breakage.
15- Use UV Shielding Products
Always use hair care products that can protect your hair from UV harmful rays as they dry and damage your hair.
UV shielding products help protect hair color and keep blonde hair from looking fried. They also prevent dark hair from looking red or brassy.
Apply the product to damp or wet hair to make sure it’s absorbed fully. If you apply it to dry hair, the product will sit on top of the hair and won’t provide protection.
You can also wear a hat or a scarf before going out to protect your hair from UV rays. They can help reduce the harmful effects of the sun and keep your hair healthy.
16- Trim Your Hair Regularly
Hairstylists recommend getting a trim every 6-8 weeks to get rid of damaged ends. Usually, your stylist cuts off 1/2 to 2 inches to remove split ends. This helps to keep your hair healthy and freshen your look.
Even when you cut 1/4-1/2 inches, it makes your hair look thicker and shinier.
If you want to maintain your hair length, ask your stylist for a dusting which means you’ll cut only the damaged tips.
Also, if you have a defined cut, you’ll need to get a regular trim to maintain the look.
17- Go Easy On Salon Treatments
Bleaching and dyeing can cause serious damage to your hair strands.
Chemical straightening can also lead to mid-shaft splits. This means hair breakage or weakness will appear along the hair shaft as a result of chemical damage.
These ways are unhealthy and will weaken your hair so it’s best to avoid them. You can use henna dye instead to lighten or deepen the color of your hair.
18- Don’t Wear Hair Extensions For Too Long
Wearing hair extensions can damage your hair, and cause bald spots and breakage. Hair extensions could be also uncomfortable to sleep with if applied incorrectly.
They cause also pain and give you headaches when they are super heavy.
To avoid damage:
- Wear light extensions so they won’t pull down on your natural hair and roots. Choosing the appropriate weight that can help you avoid pain and headaches.
- Pick the right texture, color, and length.
- Make sure to get hair extensions at a specialized salon so experts can attach the extensions properly.
- You can wear professional hair extensions for 2-3 months before needing adjustment.
- Brush your hair so hair strands and extensions won’t tangle up.
- Shampoo your hair carefully. Don’t pull on or scrub the extension as this can damage your hair.
- Keep your scalp clean.
- Don’t wear them all year long.
19- Sleep On Silk
Sleeping on cotton pillowcases absorbs moisture from hair and leaves it dry and tangled.
Cotton pillowcases also create friction and this leads to split ends and frizz. On the other hand, silk pillowcases keep your hair hydrated and smooth.
They help your hair retain its moisture so you won’t wake up with frizzy dry hair. The smooth texture of silk can prevent frizz and leave your hair manageable and sleek.
You can also wrap your hair in a silk headscarf before going to bed to avoid breakage if you don’t have a silk pillowcase.
20- Don’t Smoke Or Drink Soda
It can harm your hair follicles as it can affect circulation, shrink blood vessels, and impede blood flow. This leads to a disruption of the normal hair growth cycle.
Smoking also can weaken your immune system which increases the risk of infections on your scalp that can make your hair weak and lead to hair fall.
Plus, high-acidic foods like soda, white bread, and pasta increase your chances of metabolic diseases like diabetes and cancer. Diabetes can cause hormonal changes that can cause your hair to fall out.
21- Take Supplements
Following a balanced diet that contains enough nutrients is the ideal way to keep your body and hair strong. But taking supplements can also be effective in treating vitamin or mineral deficiencies fast.
If you’re not eating enough food rich in iron, zinc, vitamin A, vitamin E, biotin, and Vitamin B 12, consider taking supplements.
These vitamins and minerals play a major role in maintaining hair health and strength.
Biotin is vitamin B7 that is known to prevent hair loss and help your hair grow strong.
Keep in mind to check with your doctor before taking any supplements to avoid possible side effects.
22- Wear A Swim Cap Before Swimming
Swimming pools can cause serious damage to your skin and hair.
Chlorine and bromine in pools react with sebum and oils that keep your hair protected and leave hair exposed to other chemicals.
This leads to hair discoloration, makes your hair dry and frizzy, and more prone to breakage.
So, wear a tight-fitting swim cap before swimming to reduce the damaging effects of chlorine. Use also shampoo and conditioner that are made especially for swimmers to replenish your hair moisture.
Tip: You can wet your hair with clean water and conditioner before swimming so it won’t absorb more water as it’s already wet. This helps to reduce damage and keep your hair nourished.
23- Avoid Stress
How to keep your hair healthy? Easy. Avoid stress! Stress has a negative impact on your overall health. It can affect your hair health and make your hair thinner and weaker.
- Exercise 3-5 days a week.
- A daily walk can help you feel better.
- Meditation and breathing exercises.
- Massages and aromatherapy.
- Occupying yourself with something you love doing like meeting your friends or doing volunteer work.
The Bottom Line
The journey of how to Keep your hair healthy and strong is not easy, it requires following some steps for at least 3 months until you can notice the difference. Adding the simple steps I mentioned in the post to your haircare routine will definitely help you get the hair of your dreams.