By Dr. Minu Menon, Dermatology
We all strive for that perfect hairstyle with shiny, silky, bouncy, long and frizz-free hair. To achieve this plethora of products like shampoos, conditioners, serums, hair sprays, waxes, gels, mousses, etc. are available to beautify, enhance, strengthen, and nourish our tresses. Essential Haircare involves shampooing, conditioning and combing discussed in part one(Do’s) and part two(Dont’s) covers few commonly done practices that damage hair.
Routine hair care involves 3 steps – shampooing, conditioning, and lastly, combing or brushing with some extra care during monsoon (the season of extra fun needs little extra hair care!)
- Step one - Shampooing should be done twice weekly (to clean dirt, oil, sweat, hair products, bacteria, etc.) Dust, dirt, sebum (natural hair oil), and hair products build up on the hair making it sticky, dull, and often unmanageable. This is termed as a ‘bad hair day’. This can be managed with proper shampooing which involves wetting hair completely, taking a good amount of shampoo and applying it to cover the whole length of hair. Keep it for a few minutes and rinse thoroughly. Nowadays many shampoos available in market claim magical effects like anti-hair fall, ultraviolet protection, volumizing shampoos and so on without any scientific proof. (So beware of such advertisements!)
- Step two - Conditioning can be done daily to achieve smooth, shiny and bouncy hair Shampoo with good cleansing effect removes sebum (natural hair oil) and leave your hair dull and dry. A good conditioner covers the outer layer of hair and makes it smooth. A simple conditioner like coconut oil (not mineral or vegetable oil) can be used (it has been used effectively since ancient times when we had no plethora of fancy hair products to confuse us!) Commercially, conditioners are available as rinses, instant, leave-on, serums, etc. Rinses or instant conditioners- are used after shampooing on a towel-dried hair and kept for 2-3 minutes and rinsed. They are longer lasting than ‘leave on’ conditioners or serums. Deep conditioners-include various oils and creams applied for 20-30 minutes and rinsed off. This provides better shine and gloss but can damage hair if not done correctly.
- Step three - Combing should be done twice daily to remove dirt and untangle hair to prevent breakage. Always use clean, wide-mouthed, soft bristle comb. Start combing from the bottom and never from the scalp as knots usually develops in middle parts and hair breaks as it gets pulled. Remove knots with fingers or wide-mouthed comb or brush.
- Blow Drying- Using a blow dryer on hot mode can damage hair which breaks easily while combing. Use air drying or cool mode. Excessive Perming (Wave or Curls) -Hair is made of proteins and has its natural shape (straight or wavy or curls), using chemicals or heat to change this natural shape can damage your hair.
- Combing Wet Hair - Do Not Comb wet hair as it can easily break (let it air dry before combing).
- Straightening - Excessive heat and chemicals used during straightening can damage hair by changing its natural shape. Along with shape, Hair loses its natural thickness and shine, becomes frizzy and breaks easily.
Hope you can use these tips to bring back your Happy Hair Days!