If only it were all so simple. . .
Unfortunately, good products alone do not make for good haircare. Getting your haircare right involves an interplay between a number of different factors. Luckily, the main deciders are easy to pinpoint: certainly products, but also a solid routine, consistency, good health (particularly nutrition), and a gentle approach to styling and handling.
Having a good routine (one that suits your hair; you can tell by how happy it is or isn't acting) and a good line of products on the shelf is a good thing. Being consistent with how you put them into practice is another altogether.
Since even the best of products don't last very long on your hair (most are largely removed by evaporation, rubbing on clothes and pillowcases or simply break down after several days or so), it's important to apply them continuously.
The key is to overlap moisturizing, cleansing and conditioning sessions so your hair never has time to dehydrate, one of the main causes of breaking hair.
The gaps we sometimes leave between conditioning and moisturizing can often be entry points for minute damage, which eventually culminates in breakage. And putting off key elements of our routine for too long, (e.g., strengthening treatments, detangling) can also undo a lot of good work. If you're slacking because your routine is too complex, streamline it to suit your lifestyle. But whatever you do, stay on top of it!
If you are 100% consistent with your regimen, your breakage could lie in how you are handling your hair. There are a lot of people who use good products, condition, and moisturise frequently. . . and then go and ruin it all by overly aggressive handling of their hair. For the sake of every single delicate one of the 100,000+ strands that currently reside on your head, please be gentle. Don't yank on your hair to get it into position, or stretch it to within an inch of its life into styles. Make sure you avoid traditional towels (go with microfibre towels or plain old T-shirts) and don't let any other cloth that's not satin touch your tresses.
Most of all watch your tools: combs are the worst culprits, with brushes not far behind. Even if you choose a good quality tool – which is a must – do not overdo it.
Contrary to popular belief, you don't need to run a comb through your hair everyday. Exposure to manipulation is instant, if tiny, damage to your hair. And cumulative damage eventually spells traumatised, ever-breaking hair that “won't grow”. Be gentle to your hair every time you touch it and it will pay you back abundantly.
Sometimes the very style you keep your hair in could be leaving it prone to damage. In particular, loose hairstyles with all the strands separated out, like puffs, 'fros and straightened hair worn “down and out” can leave strands prone to moisture loss, and should be used in moderation.
When you do rock these styles, make sure your ends are well sealed to restrict the moisture loss that eventually leads to damage. The rest of the time, try to keep your ends tucked in as much as possible, and your strands together in an ordered pattern – leaving your hair bunned, braided, twisted, coiled, or well-defined are some options.
Lastly, let's not forget styling fatigue; if you tend to pull your hair back, or wear headbands a lot, ease up! You could be overexposing and drying out your edges.
So remember to mix it up. Wearing any style that relies on tension, accessories or even parting in the same place over and over again will cause wear and tear on your hair, a definite no-no if you want your hair to grow.
If you are stressed out, or suffering from underlying medical complaints, signs of low-growth or easily damaged hair could be your body's way of raising the red flag. If you've tried all the other options listed here to no avail, it really is time to consult with your medical practitioner and share your concerns and symptoms, and if relevant, adjust your lifestyle so that it takes less strain on your body.
Are you eating well? You hair depends on a range of nourishing micronutrients – like vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids, and macronutrients, like proteins and carbohydrates to thrive. Water may not “officially” be a nutrient, but we all know nothing is happening without it, so make sure you get enough of it, too.
Remember. . .
Taking care of your hair is a part of taking care of you! If you are taking care of your body on a whole, the benefits will trickle down (or up) to your hair. And, like a gift that just keeps on giving, it will also help you stay on track with that part of your haircare which is strictly mane-focused.
|DioBurto Photography |Abigail Toribio|Austin & Zak|iamtheo|Evan Long|
DHA Hair Care Experts