Why is proper hair care important?

Your hair is a very important part of your body. It's typically one of the most noticeable physical feature you have and if you don't take proper care of your hair you could end up with sick looking hair. Also, with enough improper care, you can even end up with hair loss (learn why here). Also, sometimes people will waste their money on hair care products and solutions that give them mediocre or even damaging results. So with this article, you can learn how to take proper care of your hair.

Choosing the shampoo and conditioner that's right for you

Your hair gets dirty because sebum (an oily liquid secreted by your skin) coats the shaft. When the oil coats your hair, any dead skin, dust, dirt, and grime flying around you can end up getting stuck on your hair. Proper care cleans your hair of the dirt and sebum. Most shampoos work by trapping the oil into "micelle"s which are then washed away when you rinse your hair.

Conditioners that you buy work by a compound that they use that create a positive charge in your hair which reduce static and makes your hair much more manageable. Different conditioners produce different results due to the ingredients that make up their composition. Conditioners that give your hair more volume usually contain waxes that make your hair look fuller, other conditioners use oil/fats to smooth out your hair.

The chemical make-up of conditioners consist of a tadpole-like molecule that is attracted to the damaged cuticles in your hair. When enough of the molecules attach themselves to these damaged cuticles they make the hair slippery and much easier to comb.

When choosing your shampoo and conditioner, look for features that compliment your hair/personality style. Some products have protein ingredients that help thicken your hair temporarily where others have ingredients that help you brush or comb your hair without damaging it. Also, you need to consider your hair type when buying hair care products. The shampoo and conditioner required for healthy, dry frizzy hair is different from those designed for straight oily hair. Permanently wavy, straightened, or dyed hair will require a shampoo with a low pH level. If you have dandruff, you may need a shampoo/conditioner designed for that condition to care for it correctly.

Sometimes however, choosing the hair products that are right for you can end up being a series of trial and error tests. Some products will give you results that you like and others will give you results you will not like. When you find several the hair care products that you like and that give you a great result, alternate use between them. When you alternate between two different brands/products you'll get a much better result with keeping your hair healthy and you happy.

How often should I clean my hair?

Once you've found the shampoo and conditioners that you like, you need to practice a proper hair care regimen. For frequency of cleaning, you should do what's required to maintain a good, clean look. Most people shampoo and conditioner their hair once per day to maintain their hair's look and health. However, at minimum, you should wash your hair at least once per week to prevent dandruff and oils from clogging your scalp. Frequent shampooing will also also stop your hair from lying flat if you have oily hair due to the fats in sebum.

The proper way to wash your hair

To start, wet your hair entirely with warm water. Do not use hot water which can damage your skin or even damage your hair which will cause hair loss. The initial part of rinsing will get rid of any dust, dirt, and hair-care product build-up.

After the initial rinsing, apply the shampoo with your hands to the oiliest part of the scalp and massage your entire scalp gently and thoroughly. Use your fingers (not your nails) to work a lather outward from your scalp. Don't tangle or scrub the end of your hair (this is especially important to those with long hair). Once you've built up a lather, rinse thoroughly again with warm water. If you are shampooing your hair daily, lather only once, even if you have oily hair. If you shampoo too much, you can end up causing your body to produce oil on your scalp and dry out your hair.

Once you've finished washing, towel dry your hair by patting it gently. Avoid using a curling iron or a blow-dryer if you want to maintain healthy hair. Best hair care is to let your hair dry naturally. If you have to use a dryer, use it on the lowest setting and stop using it before your hair is completely dry. Don't brush or comb your hair while its wet because you will pull out a lot more hair than you would by gently untangling it with your fingers. When your hair is damp or dry, you should then proceed to use a brush or comb gently.

Care for your hair through brushing

Your hair requires gentle handling at all times. Wet hair is especially susceptible to become damaged because of stretching. When using a brush, choose one with natural bristles instead of a synthetic bristles because the material in synthetic brushes and create static and cut your hair. So, with your natural bristle brush, brush your hair from scalp to hair tip to help disperse the oil throughout your hair.

To begin brushing, start at the ends of your hair and remove any tangles with your fingers. Work your way down your hair using this process with your brush and fingers until you reach the scalp. Then brush thoroughly from the scalp back to the ends of your hair using broad strokes. Bend over and brush your hair towards the floor to help stimulate the scalp and increase blood flow.

Brushing is really important for care in long hair because without brushing, the oil from your scalp won't reach the ends of your hair. But just because you don't have long hair does not mean you should skip brushing. Brushing helps stimulate circulation in your scalp which promotes hair growth. If you choose to use a comb instead of a brush, use a wide-toothed comb which will help avoid damage to your hair.