Do you want your hair to be long, strong, and shiny?
Long and healthy hair is within your grasp, but if it’s not in your genetics, you’re going to have to work on it.
If you want your hair to be long and healthy you need to put the time and effort into taking care of it. You should develop good habits with your daily hair care and overall health. Habits will vary by hair type, but there are a few general things that you can do to give yourself the best chance at the luscious locks you’re looking for.
But how do you know where to start? There’s so much information online and it can be difficult to make a checklist for yourself.
We want to offer you some advice. Keep reading for 11 good habits that can give you the long, strong, and healthy hair that you’re looking for.
1. Wash Your Hair Less Often (Yes, Really)
Some of us religiously wash our hair every day when we’re in the shower. Did you know that that habit could be doing more damage to your hair than you thought?
Some people are under the misguided idea that hair that gets “dirty” is going to be unhealthy, but that couldn’t be further from the truth.
While you should make sure that you and your hair stay clean, your hair can take more oil than you think. The natural oils from our scalp help to condition our hair, keeping it soft, smooth, shiny, and healthy.
When you strip your hair of those oils, you risk it getting dry, frizzy, and brittle.
Instead, either co-wash (wash with conditioner only) or wash only a few days per week. It will take some adjusting, but when you get used to it you’ll notice a major difference.
2. Avoid Shampoos with Sulfates
Do you read the ingredients on your shampoo bottles? If you’re like most people, probably not, right?
Shampoos are soaps for our hair, but soap can be harmful and drying to both our hair itself and the scalp that surrounds it. Any shampoo with sulfates is stripping your hair.
Sulfates are also bad for anyone with colored hair, sensitive skin, or any skin conditions. They’re too harsh for thin and normal hair and they cause frizz and breakage.
An exception to the sulfate problem is if you’ve been co-washing. You may benefit from one or two full washes with a sulfate shampoo per month just to rid your hair of that buildup, oil, and dirt.
That said, there are plenty of sulfate-free shampoos on the market. Try one out!
3. Trim Your Hair Regularly
So trimming your hair doesn’t really make it grow faster, though this is a common and pervasive myth. That being said, it does make it healthier.
While your hair will grow at the same pace regardless of whether or not you trim it, healthy and shiny hair requires regular trims to get rid of split ends. You’ll notice more volume and life to your hair if you maintain it.
Split ends can go up the hair strands until they break off, making your hair look shorter and thinner. Prevent this with regular trims.
4. Get Your Health and Nutrition In-Check
Hair is part of your body, so if your nutrition isn’t in check your hair won’t be either.
You should be exercising regularly and making sure you get all of the vitamins and nutrients that you need. You should attempt to get all of your vitamins and nutrients from the foods you eat, but sometimes it can help to take special vitamins that work to facilitate hair growth.
Remember, healthy hair starts from the inside. If your insides aren’t healthy, why would your hair be? Take care of yourself.
5. Deep Condition Your Hair
Doesn’t it feel good to sit in the bath with a nourishing hair mask? Hair masks are great deep conditioners and you can make one yourself or use a store-bought one. Some only require a few minutes while others can work their magic for hours.
Try using a good oil for your hair and let it sink in. It might feel unnatural to add extra oil, but we promise that you’ll love the shine and strength that you get from it.
Look into the best oils for your hair type and get that mask on!
6. Let It Rest
We aren’t always kind enough to our hair. We put it through a lot!
You need to let your hair rest sometimes. It can be tempting to work it into something that you find aesthetically appealing, but if your long-term goal is length and strength, you have to leave it alone.
This means that you should avoid excess heat, like straighteners or curlers. You should also avoid unnecessary chemicals like those found in box hair dyes, as well as bleach. You can color your hair, but use high-quality dye and give your hair a break between bleaching.
Do your best to avoid harsh hair sprays or other styling products and anything else that can add unnecessary external stress to your hair.
7. Avoid Tight Styles
This ties in with letting your hair rest.
Do you ever take down your ponytail and immediately feel relief in your scalp? What do you think that ponytail was doing to your hair?
There are ways to have tight hairstyles that aren’t too hard on the hair. Many people keep their hair braided for extended periods of time. That said, most tight styles pull on the scalp. You could end up with traction alopecia, a form of hair loss that’s caused by repetitive long-term pulling on the scalp.
Use loose styles or let your hair flow as it wants to if you want to let it grow long and healthy. Make sure that the styles you choose aren’t causing any pain before you commit to them.
8. Give Yourself Scalp Massages
This is a great addition to any DIY spa day. We recommend combining this with the hair mask and oils!
Giving yourself hair massages helps to stimulate blood flow in the scalp. This increased blood flow may influence quicker growth and stronger hair at the root. Bonus: it feels great.
Sit yourself down in the tub and give yourself a few minutes with a good hair oil to give your scalp the attention that it deserves. You’ll also get some major moisturization in!
9. Avoid Stress
Did you know that stress can cause your hair to break and fall out?
While this is temporary, any new stress on the body can cause something called telogen effluvium. This is a response to any kind of stress on the mind or body, including psychological stress, physical stress, extreme weight changes, illness, hormone changes, or even new medications.
While some of these things are going to be out of your control, make sure that you pay attention to the ones that you can manage.
If you find yourself getting too stressed out, address the cause and see if it can be changed. If not, make sure to give yourself time for self-care to keep yourself calm and relaxed as often as possible.
Your whole body (including your hair) will thank you.
10. Air-Dry or Plop
Did you know that wrapping your hair up in a rough towel turban isn’t good for it? Neither is the excessive heat from hair dryers. So what can you do?
First, you can give yourself enough time between your shower and whatever you have to do next to let your hair air dry. Flipping it from side to side every few minutes and getting some movement in can speed the process up.
You can also do something called plopping. This is popular in curly hair communities. Lay a t-shirt down arms-down and put your head in the middle. Pull the bottom of the t-shirt across the back of your head and wrap the arms around your forehead, making a t-shirt turban style. Leave it for a few minutes to get rid of that initial moisture.
This is easier on your hair than a rough towel.
If all else fails, switch out your normal towel for a soft microfiber towel. It’s less abrasive so your hair shouldn’t have the same problems. Find what works for you and stick with it.
11. Change Your Brush and Brushing Habits
There’s an old wives tale that says you should brush your hair 100 strokes per night for long and shiny locks.
This isn’t true. Some people choose not to brush their hair at all, but we can’t all have hair that refuses to knot.
Use a wide-toothed comb or a smooth brush to carefully work out any annoying knots. You don’t want to rip your hair from your scalp. There will be hair on the brush when you’re done, but a small amount of hair loss every brushing is no cause for alarm; it’s the hair that was going to fall out anyway (which is normal).
Which of These Good Habits Do You Need to Start?
Maintaining good habits for healthy hair is key to getting those long and strong locks you’re looking for. Making small changes to your daily hair care routine and lifestyle is all that it takes to start getting those results! You can even get started today!
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