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When I was in my teens and 20s, I really abused my hair. From doing at-home highlights (remember those kits that came with hats you pulled your hair through with that hook device?), going fully blonde, wearing extensions, dyeing the underside of my hair black, etc, I was definitely not kind to my hair in the decade where you tend to experiment more.
As I got older and started to work in the professional world, I gradually had my hair colored closer to my natural brunette color and nowadays, I actually have it colored slightly darker than my natural color all over with some lighter defining balayage pieces. I find this suits me best and makes it easier to maintain my hair since I typically only have to have my roots colored to cover grays and deepen my base versus having it colored all over.
I treat my hair a lot more gently now and I’ve seen the benefits firsthand. I have less split ends, my hair looks shinier, stays cleaner longer and I’m able to maintain my long length because I’m not having a ton of breakage from lightening it so much.
Here are 11 ways to get healthier hair!Start from the inside
This year, I started taking a hair growth supplement (Nutrafol) and adding collagen peptides to my coffee. I also take a multivitamin to ensure my body has all of the nutrients it needs. Speaking of nutrients, it’s also important to get healthy fats into your diet – nourishing your body well always makes skin and hair look its best.
I use a treatment mask almost every time I wash my hair. I apply it and then leave it on for a few minutes while I wash my body. Because I only wash my hair twice a week and use heat and products on it, it’s essential that I use a heavier mask deep conditioning product to put that moisture back into my hair. You can ask your colorist to add an Olaplex treatment after you color and you can also use Olaplex at home now in between coloring sessions. All hair colors can benefit from Olaplex, but blondes in particular need it most.
Use a microfiber towel
One of the worst things you can do is rub your hair with a cotton towel after washing it. Hair is very fragile when wet and rubbing it vigorously with a regular towel can cause breakage. I like to use the Aquis hair towel which is made of microfiber and absorbs more water. I gently use it to remove moisture from my hair after washing but before adding styling products.
Use a wet brush
Always use a Wet Brush (yes, that’s the brand name) to brush your hair after washing. It doesn’t snag and pull at your hair, thus reducing breakage and allowing you to more easily brush out tangles. They’re inexpensive and a total game-changer. I use mine on dry hair too.
Air dry your hair first
One way to help your hair stay in better condition is to air dry it fully or partially. Personally, I opt for partial air-drying which means I wash it before bed, sleep on it overnight and use a hair dryer to get the rest of the moisture out in the morning (it’s typically about 75% dry by then). This way you’re using less heat on it overall. Since I use a flat iron and curling wand on my hair multiple times a week (for initial styling and touch- ups), reducing the heat from drying hair doesn’t affect the end result of my hair styling, but it saves on damage from extra heat exposure.
Don’t skimp on your hair dryer
I know it seems like any ol’ hair dryer will do the trick, but trust me when I tell you the tools make a difference. Hair dryer technology has advanced quite a bit in the last decade and the newer features are worth the splurge. I tried out the Panasonic® Nanoe™ Hair Dryer recently – it’s designed to infuse moisture into the hair so it’s smoother and shinier, all for just under $100, which is a great price point for a premium hair dryer. It’s available at Target locations nationwide – buy it and read more about its benefits, here.
My favorite thing about this hair dryer is that it includes both a quick-dry and concentrator nozzle. Since I’m usually drying hair that’s almost dry, the quick-dry and concentrator attachments are perfect for smoothing out the hair quickly (less than five minutes). Investing in a hair dryer that helps prevent damage during heat styling is worth it in the long run.
Before you dry your hair or use any hot styling tool, use a heat protectant spray. I love Living Proof’s heat protectant blowout spray and heat protectant hair spray. These products are designed to protect the hair cuticle when using high heat tools.
Another thing you can do to protect your hair during styling is to lower the heat setting on your hot tools. Most modern hair tools have low, medium and high heat settings. Women with fine hair, for example, should use the lower heat setting whereas women with medium to thick hair may notice they need a higher level of heat in order for their hair to hold a curl. Experiment with the right heat setting for you and use the lowest setting possible that still allows you to achieve a style that holds.
Unless you’re literally sweating to the point where your entire head is soaked, you don’t need to wash your hair daily. It strips your hair of natural oils and can cause your scalp to over-produce oil in order to compensate for being stripped so often. I realize there are some hair types (like extremely fine hair) that do need a daily wash, but many women can go 2, 3 or 4 days without washing, no problem. I do use dry shampoo on day 3 or 4 to help keep my roots looking volumized, but overall I find washing less often helps my hair look its best.
Color less often
Consider switching up your color or coloring technique. You can go darker all over (or close to your natural color) so you can color less often, or opt for balayage highlights, which are more natural-looking and allow you to continue growing your roots out and only getting those touched up versus getting your entire head colored.
When you have your hair cut or trimmed, ask your stylist to give you blunt cut ends. This can make hair appear thicker and less “string-y” like it tends to get between trims. Even though this technically doesn’t change the condition of your hair other than getting the dead ends off, cutting your ends bluntly makes the hair appear fuller and thicker, which can make it visually look better.
I hope these tips were helpful! What do you do to keep your hair healthy?!