AFTER more than 10 years of continuously dyeing my hair, I began to notice more breakage and dryness than ever before. Parts of my hair were also thinning because I have a bad habit of idly tugging on my strands. I’ve been making a conscious effort the past few months to restore the health of my hair and I’m finally getting results, with new hair growing in thick and shiny. Here are some tips that may help bring life back to your hair:
• Take a break from hair coloring. No matter how mild, hair dyes will in some way damage your hair. I have not colored my hair in six months. Now I can see the hair near my scalp is healthy, but the bottom colored part still has a lot of damaged strands. This leads me to my next advice.
• Get a haircut. It’s elementary, but the bottom part of your hair is older than hair nearest the scalp. Regular trims will keep split ends at bay. If much of your hair is dry or damaged, it’s the perfect excuse to finally try a new, shorter style. This weather is kind of begging for it, anyway.
• If you don’t color your hair but are always perming, straightening or using curling or straightening irons, give all those things a break. Chemicals and heat wreak havoc on hair if used too frequently or incorrectly.
• Try taking a hair supplement. Whenever I feel my hair needs a boost, I take biotin capsules for several weeks and it helps my hair grow noticeably more quickly. Biotin, also known as vitamin H or vitamin B7, should not have bad side effects, but if you have health issues, it’s best to ask your doctor first to be sure.
• Keep the scalp healthy. This is where your hair grows from, so you need to nourish this area too, not just the strands. We are fortunate to have aloe vera growing in our backyard, so in our household, we rub it all over the scalp and massage it in at night before going to sleep. If aloe vera is not available, there are scalp conditioners available on the market.
• The common advice is not to wash hair daily, but I can’t bring myself not to because I go to the gym frequently, and many of us commute daily with our hair exposed to dust and pollution. There are natural or plant-based shampoos that actually do the job just as well than a shampoo laden with sulfates, which can be very drying.
• Aside from using a daily conditioner, use a hair mask once a week. Apply on the middle to ends of the hair after shampooing, and leave on for at least 20 minutes. Do this at home so you don’t have to spend so much on hot oil and hair spa treatments at the salon.
• Use hair oils to keep hair smooth and frizz-free—a major challenge for us since frizz loves humidity. Coconut oil, argan oil and moringa oil are all great for nourishing hair.