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How can I control my life when I can’t control my hair? (Anonymous)
Table of Contents
Are you sure it’s good for your hair?
The attention we give our hair in order to keep it healthy, beautiful, bright, and shiny usually includes:
- Too frequent washing, because clean hair is beautiful to look at;
- Application of all sorts of shampoo, conditioner, volumizing or regenerating mask of the countless brands that the market offers;
- We use hair dryers, hair straightener, and thermal brushes to give them a style, or at least we try to;
- We color them with a lot of different colors and shades.
All of these things are done without considering that these actions have consequences that are harmful 90% of the time.
The purpose of this article is, therefore, to give you five basic but useful natural hair care tips to improve the health and natural appearance of your hair.
In many blogs and online articles about wellness and hair beauty, people give lots of pieces of advice, but what seems to be missing in almost all of them is a detailed explanation of the main purpose that the hair serves in order to understand the reason why our action damages them instead of making them appear more healthy and beautiful.
What is the main purpose of hair?
If the hair is in that precise location above our head, there must be a very specific reason beyond its seductive function; it is well known that this is one of the many factors of attraction for the opposite sex. It also plays a protective function for the scalp, sheltering it from the ultraviolet rays of the sun.
Are you wondering what your hair is made of? Let’s find it out.
About 65% to 95% of the hair is made of solid proteins, such as keratin, while the remaining is comprised of water, lipids, pigments, and trace elements. Another solid protein is melanin, which gives color to the hair.
While amino acids lysine and cysteine compose keratin. This protein is present in white and red meat, fish, liver and some types of vegetables.
Hair is made as well of other important substances such as iron, which primarily synthesizes the hemoglobin of the blood for the oxygenation of the tissues; and zinc, magnesium and finally copper which facilitates the melanin formation process.
What about the Scalp Structure?
Hair is implanted in the scalp, or in the epidermis (skin) that covers the skull and protects the brain by filtering the sun’s rays and preventing excessive heat dispersion in cold environments. The scalp, being nothing but a layer of skin, is subject to problems such as alterations, anomalies, disorders or illnesses.
The sebaceous glands and the sweat glands, located in the scalp, help in lubricating and protecting hair through the secretion of sebum and sweat.
Each bulb corresponds with the outlet of a sebaceous gland. From the greater or lesser activity of sebaceous gland comes a particular characteristic of the hair as well as some of its problems. In fact, if the sebaceous glands are very active and secrete a lot of sebum, the hair will be oily, because they easily will be covered by the greasy secretion. If those glands produce little sebum, we will have very dry hair.
5 natural hair care tips
Let’s now go on to see a well detailed 5 natural hair care tips that can help to improve the health of your hair.
1. Follow a healthy, natural and balanced diet
The first of the 5 useful natural hair care tips we are going to discuss today, is: follow a healthy, natural and balanced diet.
As we have seen, proteins compose hair from 65% up to 95%, so in order to keep it strong and healthy; you should follow a varied diet consisting of high-protein foods. Examples include:
- Peanuts, nuts, and almonds
N.B. Cooking food significantly decreases the biological value of proteins.
The ideal daily intake of protein is related to body weight.
Let’s take some practical examples to understand how to calculate the protein value that we should take daily. Nutritionists calculate the minimum daily protein requirement by multiplying body weight by 0.8. For example, if your weight is 50 kg, you will need to consume a minimum of 40 grams of protein per day to be healthy. Those who practice sports should consume from 1.6g to 2g / kg of body weight (for example 80-100g of protein per day for a weight of 50kg).
Be careful not to overdo it because overeating proteins can cause the liver to be stressed.
A healthy diet rich in protein and regular physical exercise, will not benefit only your hair but your overall health in general.
2. Wash hair with warm water (not too cold or too hot)
Hydration is essential for the scalp. Furthermore, hair can only be strong when it grows from a healthy and hydrated scalp.
A dry scalp can be a sign of skin imbalance. It can cause itching, irritation, dandruff, and hair can get damaged. In some cases, an extremely dry scalp can also cause hair loss.
This is why it is necessary to take care of the hair with a valid shampoo and to nourish our skin and hair with special moisturizing and regenerating masks or wraps.
What happens if I use hot water while taking a bath?
When we take a shower, the use of extremely hot water can lead to dryness of the scalp and also weakens the hair, making it opaque and brittle for a long time.
Even though you don’t have to wash your hair with cold water in winter as you would risk catching a cold, it is advisable to use warm water (between 20 and 22°C) and to use cold water (anything below 20°C) only for the last rinse.
Which are the benefits of cold water on my hair?
The benefits of cold water are different: it makes hair shinier avoiding that annoying and unsightly “dry brush” effect. It tightens the pores of the skin; blocking the entry of dirt and helping to keep the hair clean for a longer period of time.
If your hair is very dirty, or you have to wash it after a mask or an oil-based pack, cold water is not the best solution because it does not completely eliminate dirt or grease. Therefore, it is better to use warm water and then use cold water for the last rinse to keep your hair shiny.
Perhaps this is one of the most important of today’s 5 natural hair care tips, but which we often tend to underestimate.
3. Try to avoid using a hairdryer, let your hair dry naturally (whenever you can)
The most superficial layer of the hair and the one that is most in contact with external atmospheric agents is the keratin layer.
This protein is made up of long chains of amino acids. Kreatin layer contains various vitamins and trace elements.
Drying your hair with a dryer or the continuous use of straightener, tongs, electric brushes, etc. will deform the keratin layer due to excessive heat, and this will damage the hair and make it weak.
Watch out for the turban!
It is also true that the traditional “turban” that many, if not all women, use, is not an ideal method of drying hair. Most of us have the habit of wrapping towels around our heads giving the towel the typical look of a turban when we exit the shower. This drying method allows the towel to absorb the water present in the hair, leading it to a gradual drying.
The main problem with this method is that the towel has a reduced absorption capacity. Therefore, when it reaches its maximum capacity, it will stop absorbing excess water, leaving our hair still wet. Above all, if we wrap our hair in a wet cloth it will prevent complete drying. The hair will, therefore, be perpetually immersed in a jug of water. As we said, everything in excess hurts and an excess of water weakens and damages hair, especially the tips, which is the most delicate part.
So…how can I dry my hair without ruining them?
The best method to dry the hair is using a microfiber towel; gently rubbing the hair to remove excess water, and wrapping it with a dry towel only at the end when most of the excess water has been removed.
I would suggest a microfibre towel, which is more delicate on the skin and hair and absorbs more water compared to normal terry towels.
Naturally, this type of drying requires time and patience. Since we lack time for ourselves most of the time, it is not always possible to use this natural method of drying hair.
Furthermore, this is a solution that does not create too many problems in the summer; but in the winter when the temperature drops, it can cause some problems.
Don’t forget that having your head wet for too long is not healthy: initially, you may not feel any consequences, but within some years, the prolonged exposure to low temperatures with a wet head could lead to various problems, such as neck pain, headaches, etc.
Be careful and make sure you are in a warm place, around at least 20-22°C when leaving the hair to dry naturally.
An alternative to the traditional hairdryer
The cap is an alternative solution that you can try instead of letting your hair dry naturally, which may not be advisable in the winter months. The hairdryer cap is the portable version of “the domestic” version of the classic professional dryers used by hairdressers.
This “helmet” allows you to dry hair gently and at low temperatures. In addition, before you wear it, you can apply curlers to replace the normal styling made by a hairdryer and brush. By using the dryer cap, it is possible to reduce the risk of burning the hair because it will not be too close to the flow of hot air or damage it with the brush. The hair will dry in a uniform way, avoiding stress with a jet of direct hot air. Moreover, with this method, you will not neglect some parts of your hair because some parts will not be excessively stressed than others due to a lack of airflow.
Where to find the dryer cap
The cap is not too expensive or too hard to find; you can buy it online or in specialized shops for hairdressers. The prices range from € 7.00 to € 57.00, and the cap is available for everyone.
If you know some good hair cap you can recommend, let us know in the comments section.
4. Be gentle with your hair
This is advice to follow in the shower and at the beach. It is better not to brush wet hair and not to expose it to direct sunlight. After having a shower or at the beach, many of us have the habit of combing our hair as soon as we get out of the water while many do not wear a hat at the beach.
When hair is wet, it is vulnerable.
If you brush wet hair, it could get split or get damaged. Before your hair gets dry, it is good to apply a bit of linseed oil, coconut or castor oil to help untangle them better and to nourish the tips. Brush them gently once they are dry, hard brushing could damage it as well.
Can the sun damage my hair?
The sun too can damage your hair with ultraviolet rays, that is why it is advisable to wear a hat at the beach or put some cream or mask on, such as a carrots mask to protect it.
Do you wish to know more about how to take naturally care of your hair during the summer? Read the article 7 hair care tips for summer 2019. ☀🌊
5. Feed your hair with natural homemade masks
The last but no less important of our 5 natural hair care tips is: remember to always keep skin and hair well dehydrated.
As we have already said in point number 2, it is important to keep the scalp well-hydrated in order to have a healthy, strong, and shiny hair.
How to do it?
One of the best methods for maintaining a healthy and properly hydrated scalp is to use coconut oil, linseed, castor, or jojoba oil after showering. There is no need to apply an exaggerated amount, we do not want hair to look oily, greasy, and not seductive at all, but we want to give it a healthy and shiny look instead.
How much product should I use?
The best way to not overdo it is to pour the oils in a spray dispenser to avoid oil wastage. Dosage for oils should be around 1 drop for normal to dry hair. For the oily hair, a ½ drop of oil will be enough because greasy hair produces an overdose of natural oil which is why it may appear greasy, oily, and dirty faster compared to other kinds of hair.
You can apply the residue of the product left on your hands to the tips, this will help you better untangle your hair.
To see great results, you need to be consistent.
Natural products Vs. Expensive branded products
Hair masks are good for the skin and hair; they feed, strengthen, and protect the most delicate parts such as the tips.
Women often rely on expensive brands, believing that they are the best for the care of the hair, but realistically it is not so. These commercial masks contain chemical elements, which come in to contact and are absorbed by our skin, and this is not healthy.
The products that we should avoid are:
- Alcohol Ammonium lauryl sulfate
- Diethanolamine (Dea)
- Parabens (methylparaben or propylparaben
- Polyethylene glycol (or PEG/polyethylene or polyoxyethylene)
- Propylene glycol
- Sodium chloride
- Sodium laureth sulfate
- Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS)
- Synthetic colors
- Synthetic fragrance o parfum
- Triethanolamine (Tea)
Sodium Lauryl Sulfate
This ingredient is present in almost every shampoo. It helps to make lots of foam and to clean the hair properly, but it is also very aggressive on the skin and hair. It is not dangerous, but in the long run, it may ruin the hair and make it weak and less healthy.
Diethanolamine (Dea) and Parabens
These are preservatives used to extend the expiring date of shampoos and masks. These preservatives are toxic and aggressive on the scalp and hair, and long exposure to these products may cause hair loss by influencing hormonal balance.
Sodium chloride or cooking salt, Diethanolamine (Goddess) and Triethanolamine (Tea)
These products are used as a thickener in the shampoos and conditioners and to make them creamier. The bad news is that they make our skin dry, and as we already know, healthy hair comes from a healthy and well-hydrated scalp.
Almost every shampoo or hair mask contains alcohol. The effect of the alcohol on the head is that it makes the scalp dry; this is not good for the health of your hair, as it will appear worn and faded.
Propylene glycol is a common ingredient in shampoos and other personal care products.It is an antifreeze.
This is in order to avoid products freezing during transport and storage.
It can irritate the skin, cause allergic reactions, and alter the structure of the skin.
This ingredient is put in every shampoo and contains almost three thousand chemical agents because this is needed in order to create a fragrance or a synthetic smell.
The abuse of chemical agents may irritate the skin of the scalp.
In subsequent articles, you will find some homemade masks that may help to keep your hair healthy. The masks you will find in the next article are completely natural masks made exclusively with natural ingredients.
You can find the podcast of this article on YouTube as well. 😉🎧😉
See you next week with other natural hair care tips. 🥑🥝🥥