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By establishing a regular hair care routine, you’re able to properly maintain your tresses and counter some of the effects of mechanical and chemical damage. Between the regular use of hot tools, chemicals, and daily styling, your hair goes through a lot. These processes also increase the risk of experiencing heat damaged hair.
In addition to treating damage, a hair regimen also helps you achieve hair-related goals, such as growing your hair, reducing frizz or flyaways, improving scalp health, and maintaining proper moisture and protection.
Starting a new hair regimen is like beginning any new habit. It takes practice and time until it feels like a natural part of your everyday life. Determining the best hair care habits for yourself can be challenging and may take some trial and error until you find a routine and products that work.
The basics of a hair care routine include three steps:
This is a good starting point, but there are additional considerations to keep in mind to ensure that your hair regimen is customized to your needs and is sustainable for the long term.
Not only should your hair care habits be tailored to your needs, but they should also work to keep your hair healthy and vibrant. There are four factors to consider when creating a healthy hair routine.
To establish your hair regimen, first determine your hair type - fine, thin, or thick - and texture. Hair textures include:
If you bleach or dye your hair or have it chemically straightened, it may be dryer or more damaged than natural, untreated hair. Additionally, if you use heat tools on a regular basis, your hair may have some heat damage.
How you wear and/or style your hair on a daily basis may also determine the frequency with which you complete your hair care routine and what products you use. This can include:
Decide what hair goals or issues you’d like to address. These may include:
Understanding your hair type and texture and factoring in any chemical or mechanical damage, styling, and concerns will help you to choose what products to use and how frequently you should complete your hair care routine to achieve your hair goals.
The frequency with which you complete your hair care routine depends on the texture and type of hair you have:
If you work out regularly and sweat frequently, you may need to wash your hair more often. You may also need to wash your hair more frequently if your scalp is visibly oily, flaky, or itchy.
Look at your weekly schedule to figure out when the best days and times are for completing your hair care routine. You’ll also want to decide if you’ll complete your regimen in the morning or in the evening. Try some different days and times to find the best combination for your needs and your schedule.
These are the five main steps to follow:
The first step in your hair care routine is cleansing your hair. Choose a shampoo that’s designed for your hair type and texture. There are also shampoos available that help you achieve hair goals, such as moisturizing or adding body and volume.
Hot water can dry out your hair and cause color to fade, so it’s best to wash, and condition, using warm water. Shampoo should be applied to the scalp and top parts of your hair to remove excess oil and product buildup.
Like shampoos, choose a conditioner that’s made for your hair type and that treats your desired hair concerns.
Those with fine or thin hair should consider a lighter weight conditioner that won’t weigh hair down, while those with thicker hair may want something heavier and more nourishing. Conditioner should be applied mid-shaft to the ends of your hair where its dryer and needs more moisture.
After applying conditioner, use a wide tooth comb to comb it through and ensure the conditioner is evenly distributed amongst all your strands.
After getting out of the shower, use a microfiber cloth to dry your hair. Microfiber is softer on your hair than terry cloth, and it’s very absorbent, which helps remove more moisture from your hair.
Hair is most vulnerable when it’s wet, so after towel drying, gently untangle with a wet brush or wide tooth comb. Then apply any products.
As with shampoos and conditioners, post-shower products are designed for different hair types and needs. Some products to consider include hair oils and serums, leave-in conditioners, heat protectants, and air-dry creams. Which products you use will depend on your hair type and texture and what you’re trying to achieve.
Follow the directions for each product to ensure they work correctly in this step of your hair care routine.
After you’ve applied your hair products, the next step in your hair regimen is drying. You have two options: air dry or heat dry. It’s beneficial to allow your hair to air dry sometimes to give it a break from the heat and reduce the risk of heat damage. If you are heat drying your hair, choose a hair dryer that’s engineered with a quicker drying time and uses less extreme heat.
For naturally curly hair, it’s recommended that you use a diffuser attachment. For straight hair, you can use a paddle brush to straighten as you dry or a round brush to add volume.
You might also want to consider using a hair styler that allows you to dry and style your hair at the same time without extreme heat.
The final step in your hair care routine is style. If you air dried your hair, you may skip this step if you’re happy with that look. For work or going out, you may want to straighten or curl your hair. Remember to use a lower heat setting to prevent damage when using hot tools. You can complete your look and manage any frizz or flyaways with a finishing oil. This also adds extra shine.
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