Most of us pay a great amount of attention to the way we treat our bodies, and try to maintain a healthy, balanced lifestyle. Regular exercise, a good diet, protecting our skin and taking care of our teeth are a regular part of everyday life.
But few of us place the same emphasis on the way we treat our hair, often opting instead for a quick, easy fix. Whilst these solutions give us the temporary results we might be after, they do nothing for the natural and prolonged health of our hair.
So, what should we be doing in order to keep our hair naturally strong, healthy and in prime condition?
1. Wash your hair the right way
How (and how often) you wash your hair has a major impact on its natural health. Concentrate on cleansing the scalp with shampoo, conditioning from mid length to tip, and avoid washing too often.
Excessive, daily washing strips the hair and scalp of the natural oils that help to keep them well nourished. By using the right technique when washing, you eliminate the need to do so every day and, subsequently, promote a healthy balance. Here's how to do it:
What you’ll need:
Quality shampoo and conditioner – matched to your hair type
Step 1 - Shampoo
It may sound like the basics but start by wetting your hair with warm water. We’re not just talking a damp surface here – make sure your hair is fully saturated from scalp to tip. This opens up the cuticles making sure the shampoo can get to work on each and every strand.
Next, take a small amount of shampoo and gently massage it into the scalp with a circular motion, creating a good lather as you go. Be sure to cover the whole head, massaging right to the hairline and around the neck. Avoid vigorous scrubbing – this leads to friction and damages the hair.
What we’re focussing on in this step is the cleansing of the scalp, removing any environmental pollutants and product build up. Massaging the scalp has the added benefit of increasing blood flow, which in turn stimulates hair growth.
Rinse hair thoroughly. As you do so, the lather you’ve created will wash away, gently cleansing the lower parts of the hair from mid-length to tip.
Step 2 - Repeat
Now the scalp is fully cleansed, the second shampoo focusses on washing the hair itself. Remember, we’re only using a small amount each time. This is a far more effective method than drowning the hair in shampoo just once. Washing twice also takes away the need to wash your hair on a daily basis – a bad habit that many fall into and one that actually damages hair by stripping it of its natural oils.
Step 3 - Condition
Before you apply conditioner, use your hands or a towel to squeeze as much water from the hair as possible. Removing excess water allows the hair to fully absorb the conditioner, making sure it takes on the necessary moisture to keep it naturally healthy.
Apply your conditioner from mid-length to tip (only condition roots if your hair is freshly bleached), gently comb through and pop on your shower cap. The shower cap intensifies the heat from your scalp which opens the cuticle, allowing the conditioner to soak deep into the cortex of the hair.
Now shower as normal, leaving the conditioner to work its magic for around three to five minutes. Finally, rinse with warm water until all signs of conditioner have gone and the hair is free of any slippery surface.
Washing your hair using this method will not only give you the same fresh feeling you get from the salon, it will help promote a natural balance to its condition, keeping it strong and well nourished. And what’s more, it takes next to no time at all. A 10 minute shower a couple of times a week is something we can all fit into our routines for the sake of naturally healthy, naturally beautiful hair.
2. Avoid excessive heat
Whilst it’s the best option for a natural, healthy finish, most of us don’t have the time to let our hair air dry. But excessive heat can cause serious damage and should be avoided at all costs.
Use hairdryers on their lowest setting and keep them a safe distance from your hair. A good test is to use your hand as a measure – if the heat from the hairdryer is too much for your skin to withstand, then it’s far too much for your hair. Use a diffuser or nozzle to help distribute the heat evenly and avoid hot spots.
3. Use natural, organic shampoos and conditioners
Products that contain synthetic ingredients can cause lasting damage. Silicones, sodium laureth sulphate and synthetic fragrances can all have detrimental effects including irritation, an itchy, flaky scalp and dry, brittle hair.
Opt for natural, organic hair care products that contain ingredients specifically chosen to promote healthy hair, such as aloe vera and derivatives of coconut. Browse the organic shampoo and conditioner we create here at No Ordinary and give your hair the nourishing treatment it deserves.
4. Treat your hair with respect
Your hair is a delicate thing and, to remain healthy, it needs to be treated as such. As hair is more susceptible to damage when wet, avoid vigorous towel drying and allow it to dry a little before brushing through.
Use the right tools to brush your hair – a wide toothed comb for detangling and brushes with bristles made from natural materials – these are far gentler on the hair then synthetic bristles. Don’t over-brush or handle your hair excessively as this will cause increased breakages. Make sure you trim often to remove split ends and give your hair a break from styling products regularly.
As your hair is, quite literally, an extension of your body, you should go beyond simply adopting a natural hair care regime and also apply the same principles as you would to taking care of your general health.
5. Maintain a balanced diet
A well-balanced diet is crucial to a healthy body, and our hair is no exception. Our scalp and hair follicles need a constant supply of nutrients to keep hair naturally strong and lustrous, so be sure to include the following in your diet:
Protein – hair is made of protein, so too little of it will result in weak, brittle strands and, in extreme cases, restricted growth and shedding.
Iron – an iron rich diet will feed the hair follicle and roots with the nutrients needed to maintain a healthy growth cycle.
Omega 3 – this helps to keep the cells that line our scalp healthy and encourages the production of the natural oils that hydrate and nourish our hair and scalp.
Combine the above with rich sources of vitamins A, C and E to keep your hair in its optimum natural condition.
6. Keep stress at bay
Stress and anxiety cause our bodies to produce extra hormones in response to what our minds and emotions perceive as a potential threat. These changes in hormone levels can have dramatic effects on our wellbeing and can affect the growth patterns of the hair follicles.
Stress related hair loss conditions include telogen effluvium, trichotillomania and alopecia areata.
Relaxation really is good for the mind, body and soul, so be sure to take time out every day to do whatever helps you keep stress at bay.
7. Get the right amount of sleep
In order to stay strong and healthy, our bodies need to recharge. As we sleep, our bones, muscles, hair and skin are all regenerated, so maintaining a regular and sufficient sleep pattern is crucial to naturally healthy hair.
Sleep deprivation can also lead to increased stress and its associated health conditions, so be sure to listen to your body and allow it the sleep it needs.
Taking good care of your hair is not a time-consuming process. It’s a simple extension of a well-balanced lifestyle and can dramatically boost self-confidence. Here at No Ordinary, we strongly believe in the positive power of natural beauty and are dedicated to helping you achieve it.