7 Ways to Make Your Hair Healthier

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Whether it’s washing your hair too often or singeing it with a flat iron every morning, many of the habits in your regular beauty routine likely do more harm for your hair than good. After a while, this damage becomes more than your hair can stand. That’s when the frustration of split ends, breakage, and build-up comes into play.

While freeing all the hair-damaging habits from your daily routine might be unrealistic–very few women are ready to say goodbye to their blow dryer–you can still improve the health of your hair. A few slight, simple changes to your haircare habits can set you on the path toward repairing and preventing damage for softer, shinier, healthier hair.

1. Skip Washes

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Shampooing daily or even every other day strips your hair of its natural oils and weakens it over time, leading to breakage and split ends. Even just getting your hair wet every day makes it swell up, which contributes to frizz and breakage as well.

Resisting the urge to wash your hair on a daily basis can be a challenge, especially if you have naturally oily hair. Get used to less frequent shampoos by using dry shampoo on second or third-day hair. Be proactive and comb it through your roots immediately after you wash your hair. This allows the powder soak up oil as it develops, not after it has already accumulated.

Over time, you’ll need to use less dry shampoo less often as your hair adapts to your new shampoo schedule and stops overcompensating for stripping by producing too much oil. Keep in mind that dry shampoo builds up with continued use. Chemicals in the residue it leaves behind can cause damage to your hair cuticle, so only rely on the powder to keep your hair looking fresh for two or three days before you shampoo.

2. Go Natural

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The harsh chemicals in many mainstream shampoos, conditioners, and styling products can do major damage to your hair. Products that only include natural ingredients are more gentle and don’t lead to breakage or strip your hair of its natural oils.

Don’t take labels at their word when they claim a product is natural or organic, however. The fact is that there are no real rules that regulate whether or not a hair product can call itself natural or organic. Determine if a product is actually natural by checking its complete ingredients list. Natural and organic products should include primarily a blend of essential oils, botanical extracts, and vitamins with names you can actually pronounce.

3. Clear Your Shower Shelves

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When it comes to hair care, simpler is usually better. Overwhelming your hair with tons of different products just smothers your hair in chemicals and leads to residue build-up and damage.

Cut out any products from your haircare routine that don’t make a significant, noticeable difference. If you use more than five hair products on a regular basis, chances are at least one or two of them aren’t actually making much of a difference in the appearance or quality of your hair. Strip your hair product collection down to the bare essentials to minimize build-up in your hair and reduce the frequency of your shampoos.

4. Be Gentle

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Your hair is fragile. Treating it gently goes a long way for minimizing breakage and split ends and maintaining strong, healthy hair.

Stop brushing your hair when it’s wet. Your hair is much more fragile and prone to breakage when wet, so use a wide-toothed comb instead of a bristle-dense brush after you get out of the shower. Prevent your hair from breaking in your sleep by tying it back at night. Secure your hair into two loose braids before you go to bed to keep it safe all night long.

5. Nix the Clarifying Shampoo

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The purpose of any shampoo is to clean your hair. If you use clarifying shampoo on a regular basis in hopes of getting a more effective cleanse, you’re likely just damaging your hair instead.

Clarifying shampoos are extremely harsh and using them regularly strips and weakens your hair, leading to excessive oil production and breakage. If you feel like regular shampoo doesn’t completely eliminate oil or product build-up, try a cleansing conditioner. Cleansing conditions gently clarify to lift build-up and residue without stripping your hair.

6. Always Condition

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Conditioning is an essential step in your haircare routine. Most women think the only function of conditioner is add shine to their hair, make it more manageable, and give it a soft, sleek finish.

While conditioner’s most noticeable effects are indeed softness and shine, this haircare essential works as a protectant as well. Conditioner provides a layer between your hair and your environment, offering all-day protection from heated styling tools and severe weather. Plus, by softening and detangling your hair to make it more manageable, conditioner minimizes breakage and damage during your daily styling routine.

7. Minimize Heat Damage

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It’s common knowledge that heat from your blow dryer, straightener, or curling iron is severely damaging to your hair, especially if you use heated styling tools on a daily basis. For women with tight schedules or high-maintenance hairstyles, though, using heat on their hair can be unavoidable.

Always use heat protection spray before applying heat to your hair. Spray the heat protectant generously, separating your hair into sections make sure every strand receives an even coat. After styling your hair with a hot curling iron, flat iron, or blow dryer, turn your blow dryer to its cool setting and aim it at your head for at least fifteen seconds. This finishing touch instantly cools your hair down to its normal temperature and prevents it from continuing to sustain heat damage after you’re done styling it.

You don’t have to resign yourself to unhealthy hair, nor do you need to smother your locks in gimmicky styling products that claim to magically repair damage. Instead, use the tips in this post to guide you toward achieving lasting, healthier hair the natural way.

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