When was the last time you gave your hair the attention it deserves? We’re not talking about putting some conditioner in it or going to the stylist. We’re talking about actually nourishing and strengthening your hair so that it looks and feels its best.
4 Tips for Healthier Hair
Your hair might seem like nothing more than a spaghetti-like collection of protein, but each individual strand is a complex organism that must be treated with care. Here are a few tips to help you achieve stronger, healthier hair that looks good and feels good.
- Improve Your Diet and Nutrition
A healthy diet can keep your hair looking strong and radiant. (And in many cases, it has the ability to fight off hair loss and other age-related issues.)
For starters, you need to ensure your diet is high in essential fatty acids (like omega-3s). This means including items like salmon, tuna, flaxseed oil, walnuts, soy beans, broccoli, and cauliflower in your diet.
“Protein is also critical for keeping your hair healthy, but many people don’t get enough,” WebMD notes. “Lean meats like fish and chicken, eggs, and soy products are good sources. Eat one serving every day.”
Additionally, you should increase your intake of vitamins B6, B12, and folic acid. Trace minerals like magnesium, iron, biotin, and zinc are also integral to the strength and development of hair. (A daily multivitamin can help ensure you get enough of these elements.)
- Get to the Root of Hair Loss
Hair loss, also known as alopecia, is something that affects approximately 40 to 50 percent of men and women by the age of 50. (And it often begins as soon as a person’s 20s.) While it affects most areas of the body, it’s most noticeable on the scalp.
Hair loss can result from any number of issues, including genetic issues, improper nutrition, and harsh environmental factors. However, most noticable hair shedding is due (at least partially) to a breakdown in the hair growth cycle.
Male and female pattern baldness – the most common cause of hair loss – occurs when hair follicles shrink in size. And if you address the underlying issues early on, it’s often possible to restore hair growth and prevent the rapid onset of balding.
Low level laser therapy (LLLT) is one of the safest and most effective options. It works by improving cellular respiration in the scalp and stimulating hair follicles. This jumpstarts the growth cycle and leads to thicker and healthier hair over time.
- Choose Better Hair Care Products
The days of reaching for whatever hair care products smell the best are gone. We’ve learned a lot over the past few years about which ingredients are beneficial and harmful to hair. And if you want your hair to be strong and beautiful, you have to avoid the latter.
While ingredients like ammonium lauryl sulfate and sodium laureth sulfate are fairly common on shampoo labels, the truth is that these foaming agents can be very irritating to your hair – potentially stripping it of its natural oils. If possible, purchase and use sulfate-free shampoos to protect your hair and keep it strong. (It’s also wise to buy shampoo based on your hair type. If you browse the aisles of your local beauty supply store, you’ll notice options for fine hair, frizzy hair, coarse hair, etc.)
- Be Gentle With Styling
There’s an old wives’ tale that says brushing your hair 100 strokes per day will produce shiny, healthy hair. However, we now know that the exact opposite is true. Over-brushing can actually weaken your hair and lead to excessive split ends.
Your hair is strong, but it’s also sensitive. Over-styling – which includes excessive shampooing, drying, or brushing – can lead to premature deterioration and unwanted thinning/balding. Whenever possible, keep your hair naturally styled and free from product. This gives it the best chance of being healthy and vibrant.
Give Your Hair a License to Shine
Hair is unique. From color and strength to texture and length, no two people have the same hair. Yet at the same time, the principles of healthy hair are transferable from one person to the next. Whether you’re 18 or 88, the tips and techniques outlined in this article will provide you with the building blocks needed to enjoy healthy hair that looks and feels good. Best of luck!