Ever wished that your hair could magically transform into the kind of flawless hair you see on TV? Let's face it, when your hair becomes dry and lifeless there is nothing in this world that you wouldn't do to make your hair look good, from getting expensive hair spas to home remedies. There are indeed many techniques and treatments for damaged hair. From gentle shampoos and conditioners to homemade hair masks that can help bring the embarrassing bunch of straw that you call hair back to life.
Let us start by getting to know the main factors that cause damage to your hair and then figure out the ways to fix it. Taking care of a few things and keeping in mind a few healthy habits can make your hair look better in the long run.
The kind of environmental condition that we live in today contributes greatly to the damaged condition of your hair. People who live in regions that have a supply of hard water tend to lose the shine in their hair due to the roughness of the water. This happens because hard water leaves mineral deposits on your hair when you wash them which builds up with time and ultimately affects moisture intake of your hair. Therefore, your hair ends up feeling unmanageable, dry, frizzy and full of tangles.
Environmental factors, such as dusty winds, cold air, temperature variations, blazing sun, and changes in air humidity also contribute in damaging your hair. The static and dry winter air can cause moisture loss, leaving your hair dry and lifeless. Also, the constant change from the cold outdoor air to the warm air indoors causes the cuticle layers of your hair to lose moisture quickly to the atmosphere.
The hot sun in the summertime affects the cuticle layers of the hair. Oh and don't get me started on the winds! Strong winds sometimes full of dust cause your hair (especially the curly ones!) to form more tangles, which becomes quite difficult to detangle later on. Environmental effects on the hair cannot be avoided, but they can be better managed by the way you adjust your hair regimen to fit the circumstances in your environment.
Hair damage due to environmental factors such as the UV rays, winds, dust and cold winds etc cannot be protected entirely, but you can take some steps to resist this damage. You must shampoo your hair regularly in order to keep your scalp and hair clean. It is necessary to keep your scalp and hair clean because if you're unable to do so then you will face the risk of hair fall and dandruff.
Another important way to prevent further damage is to use herbal or organic or mild shampoos. Shampoos contain various harsh elements that rather than fixing end up causing more damage to your hair. Try to cover your head with a cap or scarf whenever you step outside in the scorching heat or dusty winds.
This is the most common factor for hair damage and has the most drastic effect on the hair. Physical hair damages include your hairstyles and manipulations that compromise on the strength and health of your hair. We love to tie our hair in ponytails, puffs, braids, and buns because they are quick and easy to do. But when done often and too tight, they can cause strain on the edges of your hair which can cause a receding hairline. Braiding or tying your hair tightly in a ponytail when they're wet can cause damage to your hair quickly because wet hair is more fragile than dry hair.
Another way that your hair gets damaged physically is during detangling and styling. Excessive detangling (or over brushing) can result in split ends and eventually, breakage. Over brushing causes too much consistent friction for your hair to handle. Whether you detangle with your fingers or a brush or a comb, it is important to keep in mind that curly (or wavy) hair likes to wrap around each other, so it's not entirely necessary to have completely detangled hair. In fact, the less you detangle your hair, the more likely they are to remain healthy and you will experience less split ends and less other kinds of hair damage.
Avoid tying your hair tightly in a bun or a pony tail for a long time. I know it can get difficult to keep the hair untied while doing important work, so I would suggest that you should either carry a hair clutch and use it to keep your hair from falling on your face or tie your hair lightly with a soft band.
Women and Men undergo chemical treatments on their hair every once in a while. Their main objective is to improve the 'appearance' of their curls or to change their hairstyle and there's no arguing the fact that changing hairstyles can really change your appearance. Chemical treatments such as highlighting, re-bonding, perm, bleaching, and coloring can have serious consequences on your hair and it can clearly be seen once the chemical treatment starts fading off or if they are not done properly. This happens because chemical treatments change the physical and chemical structure of your hair. Re-bonding and perms are basically chemical straightenings and chemical curling, what happens is that the inner bonds of your hair are broken and re-formed altogether in a different way. Highlights or colors when they start to weather off leave your hair dry, brittle and susceptible to damage.
Products which have ingredients that dry your hair can cause excessive frizziness and tangles. This also can leave your hair looking dry, dull and feeling brittle. Another factor of chemical hair damage is the damage caused by heat. Appliances such as flat irons, rolling irons and blow dryers remove moisture from the surface of your hair cuticles, resulting in brittle and dry hair which becomes excessively vulnerable to breakage.
Say goodbye to a few things for some time, until your hair has regained its strength to sustain these tools and treatments.
Now you know that blow dryers, straightening irons or curling irons damage hair. Whenever possible, let your hair dry naturally and don't use irons or blow dryer on it. After using a herbal or a mild shampoo and conditioner you can apply a restorative treatment such as leave in creams and let your damaged hair dry naturally. If you really need to blow dry your hair, keep it on the lowest possible heat setting.
If your hair is extremely damaged you must think twice before exposing it to any form of chemical processing for some time. Certain types of hair color, like harsh bleaches, can damage your hair and further the harm that is already caused. If you are too bored with your hair and are in dire need of change then I would recommend that you should ask your hair stylist about less harmful hair colours which are ammonia-free or gentler hair colours with semi-permanent formulas.
Other chemical products that could be aiding to your damaged hair are harsh shampoos and conditioners. Also, it is important for you to know the type of your scalp and hair. If you're unaware of your scalp and hair type then you might be using a shampoo which is not meant for your scalp and hence not improving the quality of your hair. For instance, if you have an oily scalp and dry hair then you should use a shampoo specially made for oily scalp which doesn't have moisturizing properties and pair it with a moisturizing conditioner for your dry hair. Similarly, if you have a very itchy, dry, or flaky scalp then consider a shampoo that is specifically formulated for dry scalp. Ingredients such as tea tree and menthol can help keep your scalp fresh and moisturized.
Hair damages that occur as a side effect or result of health problems can be resolved only after the body has returned to its healthy state through treatments that use strong medication or alternative medical treatments.
The apprience and growth of your hair are also affected if you are under extreme stress or have been under stress for a long period of time. Hair damage is sometimes caused due to medication or a serious health condition.
Sleep plays a very important role in allowing your body to regenerate and repair your hair. Variations in sleep patterns have shown to affect your body's immune system's function, physical & mental stamina, and hormone secretion. Your hair is very sensitive to changes that take place within your body.
Lack of sleep and stress go hand in hand. Whatever may be the cause of stress be it heavy workload or personal problems your sleep gets obstructed during such conditions. All I can say about this is try to worry less and sleep more.
Although hair damage occurs in many ways, the most effective way to keep your hair healthy is by minimizing physical and chemical damages which are in your control.
Healthy body equals to healthy hair, it's as simple as that. Though your hair is practically dead matter (hurts a little to say that because I consider them to be very much alive!) the follicles which your hair grows out of is a living organism and it is essential for it to be well nourished. So, proper nutrition is required for the blood veins that carry nutrients to the individual hair follicles.
When your body doesn't receive adequate nutrients, it sort of re-prioritizes the distribution of the nutrients that it receives. This means that the vital organs that control life and death are primarily attended to, whereas the least important organs such as your hair follicles will be tended to last. As a result, the condition of your hair's health would have to be compromised. This is why if you have any nutritional deficiency it typically shows first in the hair.
Consume foods with these nutrients, vitamins and minerals.
Carbohydrates are an important source of energy and help in the growth of body tissues, hair. It is important to consume multiple complex carbohydrates such as vegetables, fruits, brown rice, and whole grains. Foods that are rich in carbohydrates are a good source of B-complex vitamins that are essential for healthy hair.
Proteins are the building blocks of your hair. A diet for healthy hair should count at least 20% of your daily calories. Protein offers strength to the shaft of your hair and reduces the chances of hair fall due to snapping or splitting. Inadequate protein intake over a large period of time can affect your hair's texture and quality.
Foods such as soy, nuts, oilseeds, beans and pulses dairy products like milk, cottage cheese (paneer), curd, and cheese are rich in protein
Along with a proper diet, healthy hair needs fatty acids, which helps your dry and brittle hair in improving the texture. You receive essential fatty acids from vegetable oils, whole grains, fresh nuts and oil seeds, legumes, flaxseed oil and pumpkin seeds.
Vitamin A is essential for hair your growth and a healthy scalp. Beta-carotene is present in green and yellow vegetables & fruits, broccoli, sweet potatoes, and apricots.
Vitamin E increases oxygen intake and enhances circulation, improving your hair's health and growth. Add Vitamin E to your diet by consuming foods such as avocados, nuts, dark green vegetables, rice bran, legumes and whole grains.
Food sources of Vitamin K include dairy foods, figs, lettuce, brussel sprouts, asparagus, broccoli, cabbage, oatmeal, soybeans, wheat, and yogurt.
To make sure that your hair is healthy and does not split include foods rich in B vitamins. These include whole grains, lentils, beans, fresh fruits, and vegetables, especially citrus fruits and tomatoes. Foods high in biotin are oats, brown rice, cracked wheat, sunflower seeds, green peas, lentils, soybeans, and walnuts. Deficiency of B complex vitamins can lead to dandruff, greasy hair, poor hair growth, and gray hair.
Vitamin C is vital for good circulation, hair growth and hair colour. If you have enough of vitamin C's you will have strong and supple strands of hair that do not split. Good sources of this vitamin are all citrus fruits, berries, vegetables like cucumbers, tomato, brussel sprouts, cauliflower, green leafy vegetables and red peppers.
It helps to carry oxygen to your hair. You can increase your everyday iron intake by eating dark green vegetables, garden cress seeds, and whole grains. Banana is the best source of potassium.
Magnesium is another important mineral for your hair growth. You can include foods like whole grains, leafy vegetables, dairy products, nuts, pulses, and fruits.
Zinc builds hair protein and therefore plays a vital role in maintaining good hair condition. Zinc aids in hair growth by improving its immunity. Natural Sources of zinc are legumes, mushrooms, whole grains, pumpkin seeds, non-fat dry milk, spinach, and sunflower seeds.
Hi! I’m Gunjan, a self-proclaimed tea fanatic and intrigued with alternative ways to lead a healthy life. I firmly believe that we should take care of our bodies because it’s the only place we live in.