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If you find yourself constantly coveting a shinier, thicker, frizz-free mane, you’d be surprised to hear that the answer to obtaining one doesn’t lie in pricey salon treatments or caviar-infused scalp masks. Instead, it’s simply down to good old-fashioned daily habits that literally make or break your strands.
Here, after many deep conversations about heat styling and conditioners with the women in our lives who seem to effortlessly grow magazine-cover ready hair, we’re happy to reveal to you the ultimate practices to getting and maintaining those enviably luscious locks.
1. Trimming Your Hair Regularly
Yes, even when trying to grow it out. As tempting as it might be to skip seasonal trims in the hopes of achieving a longer hairdo faster, to add healthy length you need to do just the opposite. While cutting the ends of your hair doesn't affect the follicles in your scalp which determine how fast and how much your hair grows, frequent trims might make your hair look a little longer. This is because getting rid of split ends reduces hair breakage, and breakage is what makes hair look thinner and lifeless. Also, once your hair splits, there’s no way to reverse it or repair the damage. So aim to get a haircut every six to eight weeks to prevent harmful breakage before it starts.
2. Sleeping on Silk
While cotton may feel soft to the skin, its weave actually grips and tugs at individual strands, causing damage and breakage to the hair when you toss and turn at night. The effects of continuous contact with cotton pillowcases can also tangle hairstyles, ultimately resulting in more frizz and less shine. Meanwhile, silk’s smooth texture allows hair to slide around more smoothly, preventing knotted hair and split ends. Unlike cotton that absorbs moisture, silk stimulates hydration, leaving your hair shinier and soft to the touch. Fewer frizzy strands in the morning? Now that sounds truly dreamy.
3. Minimizing Heat Styling
Blowdrying, straightening, and curling tools have become an invaluable resource when it comes to taming otherwise unruly strands, but sadly frequent heat styling takes a toll on your hair, wearing and degrading it over time. The regular exposure to high temperatures leaves the hair dry, dull and prone to breakage. If you can avoid it and air-dry instead, it will greatly help you maintain the quality of your hair. Have fun and try wearing a ponytail, bun, or braid the second day, or use a serum to control frizz and tame fly-always. But if you absolutely must use hot tools to style your hair, always use a spray-in heat protectant. To remember, think of it this way: a heat protectant is the hair equivalent of sunscreen for the skin. Don’t skip it.
*Bonus tip: Heat-protection serums work best with blow dryers, while sprays are more compatible with flat irons. Different products are designed for dry versus wet hair so be sure to check the label beforehand.
4. Eating the Right Foods
Much like the skin on our face, beautiful hair starts with nourishment from within. So despite all the attention we pay to the hair follicle once it leaves the scalp, the condition of your hair is an outward sign of inside health. What you put inside your body every day plays an immense role in the rate of your hair’s growth, texture, gloss, and volume. The cells that make up each strand of hair require a regular supply of key nutrients. Since hair is made of a protein called Keratin, ensuring you have enough protein in your diet is crucial for keeping your locks strong and healthy. Moreover, a diet rich in iron, Vitamin C, zinc, and omega-3 fatty acids will help stimulate your hair follicles for growth.
The skin that makes up your scalp needs moisture just like the skin on your face does, especially if it's going to provide a healthy foundation for hair to grow. A general rule of thumb is to follow with conditioner every time you shampoo your hair. But the moisturizing doesn't end once you leave the shower. Even if you're not heat-styling your hair, you should comb through a protective product or a nourishing hair cream or oil. It helps to reduce dryness, split ends, boost your hair's shine and beat out frizz.
*Bonus tip: Argan oil works wonderfully as a hair conditioning treatment. Rich in Vitamins A and E, antioxidants and fatty acids, the oil boosts cell production, regeneration, and the hair’s texture. It is particularly effective in treating thinning, damaged or color treated hair.
– Written by Sofia Sosunov