- Unlike skin, hair does not have the capacity to repair itself. Therefore to maintain healthy hair, you must look after it. This is best achieved by following an ongoing hair care regime. If applicable see: Afro Caribbean Hair
- This page details:-
- Basic Care
- You should wash your hair regularly in order to maintain a clean scalp. This is best achieved using a mild pH shampoo ( most shampoos are pH 5 -7 i.e. mildly acidic - neutral) that is formulated for your hair type. You should avoid the temptation to wash your hair in detergents e.g. washing up liquid or soap, as this will move the hair's natural protective oil. As well as cleansing agents, shampoo also contain conditioning agents (which coat the shafts and smooth the hair), colour and perfume.
- Medicated shampoo's have an almost neutral PH, while 'pH balanced' shampoo's have a similar pH to your hair (4.5 - 5.5). PH balanced shampoo is best used with damaged or treated hair as this level of acidity does not allow bacteria to survive. Healthy hair, that is washed and conditioned, does not require this level of protection.
Washing your hair once or twice a week, in warm water, during which shampoo is massaged all over your scalp and through your hair before all the lather is completely washed away, is normally all that is required. Always wash hair in clean water (not in your bath) and pay attention to your hair line where dirt, grease and makeup can collect. It is also good practise to wash your comb/brush at the same time.
Head massages not only feel good, but it has several beneficial effects e.g. it brings extra blood, nutrients and oxygen to the hair follicle, loosens dead skin, reduces tension in the scalp (which often results in hair loss). It helps balance the production of sebum, the over production of which causes greasy hair. To effectively massage your head, start at the forehead, work your way to both sides before going over your head to the nape of your neck. In each section place your spread fingers on your scalp, then repeatedly bring your fingers together before pushing them apart.
Most individuals require more than shampoo to protect their hair from the effects of modern living, modern hair treatments e.g. perms and colours and also to correct any problems that do occur e.g. dry/ brittle. Conditioners should be thoroughly rinsed out once the treatment is complete. Conditioners can be categorised:-
i) General conditioners-
Conditioners should be applied to freshly washed towel dried hair. Normal hair requires a balanced conditioner, dry hair requires deep conditioning while greasy hair only requires light conditioning. To maintain healthy hair, conditioner should be applied with each wash or as required.
Conditioners should be massaged into the scalp (see shampoo above) and throughout your hair including the ends. They are specially formulated to smooth hair by coating it in a fine layer of oil, making it glossy and easier to handle. They are also good at reducing static electricity.
- ii) - Intensive conditioners / wax & oils
Intensive conditioners will both nourish and give life to very dry, split or damaged hair. This is achieved by sealing in natural moisture and helping to prevent further damage.
- These products give your hair an intensive and deep nourishing treatment. They should be liberally applied and left on the hair as directed; usually this means leaving it for several minutes. The treatment can be intensified by placing a plastic cap and towel on your hair. Once this process is completed, the conditioner/oil should be washed out.
- Specialist conditioners include:
- - Restructurants: These are able to penetrate and provide inner strength to
- - Split ends treatments: Spilt ends are best trimmed. Spit end treatments
- provide a short term 'fix' to spit ends, in circumstances where hair has split
- at different levels.
- - Colour conditioners: These offer after colour protection and help maintain
iii) Conditioning sprays/leave-in conditioners
Conditioning sprays can be used to retain moisture, shine and protect hair, by the formation of a protective barrier, prior to the application of hot appliances.
There are various way to dry your hair. Which ever approach you choose, the very first step should be to shampoo and condition you hair, then comb it through. When combing your hair start at the end and move down to the scalp, as starting from the scalp will increase tangles lower down as you progress upwards.
To protect your hair from stretching, breaking and getting tangled, use a wide tooth comb when combing wet hair and only brush your hair when it is dry.
- Once your hair has been combed through:-
- - Natural fingertip drying: The best way to dry your hair, is to leave it and
- allow it to dry naturally. This is emphasised if your hair is damaged, very
- short or naturally curly. If you do not have time, blot and squeeze dry it
- with a towel. To add body and increase manageability apply mouse or gel
- and comb your hair into the desired style. To add lift, use your fingers to lift
- your hair at the crown or tousle it.
- - Blow-drying: This task will require a dryer and styling brush. Section your
- hair, if required clip the top and sides out of the way, then place the brush
- under the first section at roots. Ensure that the hair is fairly taunt but, not
- too tight. Aim a directional nozzle at the roots and move the brush
- downwards, following it with the airflow. Use a high setting to remove
- excess water then lower the setting to complete drying.
- Turn the brush at the end to achieve a slight bend. Dry each section by
- repeatedly returning the brush to the roots and moving downwards until your
- hair is dry. Let each section cool for several seconds before moving to the
- next section.
- - Gel Drying: Cover your fingers in gel and run them through your hair,
- distributing it evenly. For width and height lift your hair and aim the hot air
- at the roots. Leave the hair slightly damp at the roots.
- - Scrunching: This works best applied to damp moussed hair. Scrunching,
- which create fullness, can be achieved in two ways. Firstly by screwing
- small bunches of hair into the palm of your hand, and drying it with the
- nozzle and allowing it to cool, before moving to the next section. The
- second method is to use a diffuser, which spreads the airflow and lifts the
- hair at the roots.