Shiny, bouncy hair is something many of us aspire to have, whether we want to look like slo-mo Pantene models or the dapper dudes in the Just for Men commercials. Unfortunately, a number of things can conspire against us, from heredity, to environmental pollutants, to simple mistakes like using the wrong products for our hair type.
The end result could be dull, dry, lifeless locks that make you look frazzled and unkempt. If you’re tired of waging a losing battle against hair that often looks like you stuck your finger in a socket, it’s time to learn how to properly hydrate and revitalize your tired tresses. Here are just a few tips and tricks to reinfuse your dull, dry hair with ample moisture.
Use a Laser Cap
Laser caps are an FDA-cleared medical device that use low level light therapy (LLLT) treatment to boost growth in the hair follicles. The low level light therapy increases blood flow and transports appropriate nutrients and oxygen to the scalp. This helps energize the hair follicles and encourage new growth.
These devices are non-invasive, pain-free, and chemical-free, allowing you to take part in an all natural hair growth process.
Take a Cold Shower
Okay, you don’t actually have to immerse your entire body in cold water to hydrate your hair, but you should know that hot water is a major culprit in stripping away natural oils that help to protect the cuticle and keep moisture in the hair shaft. So, when you shower or bathe, keep your hair out of the water or wear a shower cap. Then wash and rinse hair under cold water to preserve your natural defenses against loss of hydration.
Avoid Harsh Chemicals
The modern adult may unknowingly put all kinds of chemicals on their hair. Just take a look at the ingredients on your shampoo bottle, paying particular attention to the dozens you can’t pronounce. By comparison, Dr. Bronner’s Pure-Castile Soap has only a handful of ingredients, all easily pronounceable, and in most cases, common enough to be recognized by the average person.
Then, of course, there are chemical processes like perms, dyes, straighteners, and other transformative treatments. What do they do to your hair? They can cause damage by being absorbed into the scalp, causing weakness and breakage, or changing the structure of the hair shaft and making each hair more porous, which can lead to dry, brittle hair that splits and breaks more easily.
Avoid Heat Treatment
While overprocessing can cause varying degrees of damage to hair, often resulting in drying, daily heat treatments can be just as bad, or even worse. The only saving grace here is that the right tools and techniques can minimize the damage caused by blow drying, curling, and/or flat ironing hair.
You always want to start with products designed to protect your hair from heat damage, and when you blow dry, choose the lowest heat setting to avoid scorching and drying hair. As for irons, look for heating surfaces in ceramic or tourmaline to minimize potential damage.
Add Hydrating Masks to Your Routine
Even if you already use a hydrating shampoo and conditioner, it can’t hurt to include weekly or even biweekly deep conditioning treatments such as hair masks or oils that boost hydration significantly. Start by looking for quality shampoos and conditioners that lack drying agents like sulfates or alcohol.
From there, add in products like leave-in conditioners, regular deep conditioning treatments, and products featuring natural oils like argan and jojoba. If you like to go natural, consider a weekly mask with nothing but coconut oil, which leaves hair soft and smells fantastic. Masks and oils coat the shaft and seal in hydration, leaving you with soft, shiny tresses.
Hydrate from the Inside Out
Hydrating any part of your body, from organs, to skin, to hair, starts with getting enough H2O every day, and that’s typically 64 ounces or more for the average adult. That said, hydration is about more than just gulping down water. You also need adequate nutrients, including vitamins and minerals, that keep all of your bodily systems functioning properly and ensure needed moisture gets where it needs to go.
How can you make sure that your hair has needed nutrients to remain hydrated and lustrous? You’ll want to include certain foods in your diet, starting with eggs that deliver protein and biotin, two nutrients essential to healthy hair growth. Salmon and other fatty fish also provide a great form of protein, as well as omega-3 fatty acids that our bodies need but can’t produce on their own. You’ll be happy to hear that omega-3 is linked to increased hair density and reduced hair loss.
Superfoods like spinach, berries, sweet potatoes, and a range of other healthy, natural foods that form a balanced diet can also help to keep your entire body healthy, hydrated, and looking and feeling fantastic.
Even if you know what to add to your diet to keep your hair healthy, strong, and hydrated, you simply might not be able to get all the nutrients you need from food alone. This is where supplements like a daily multivitamin or omega-3 fatty acids can help. Talk to your doctor or dermatologist to find out which supplements are best suited to your particular needs.