To condition or not to condition, to oil or not to oil - when it comes to your hair you'll find all kinds of advice. Mothers' will tell you to "oil your hair" while your hair dresser will recommend the new IT thing "hair spa, Moroccan oil, strengthening not rebonding and all." Before you pick your choice of treatment, here are a few things you must know.
The first step in hair-care is your diet and the two most important things in your diet are iron and protein. The hair cells are the fastest growing cells in the body but they are also the first ones to be affected you don't eat right or suffer with deficiencies because they are not required for survival.
Try and include iron-rich foods like leafy vegetables, fish, pumpkin seeds, beans, chickpea, soybeans and cereals in your diet. Doctors suggest that you consume around 12 mg of iron daily. You also need protein because that's what strengthens your hair. Include complete proteins which are also rich in amino acids: like cheese, milk, soy, lentils, peas, quinoa and yogurt.
How to Maintain Healthy Hair: A Few Basic Tips
1. It's normal to lose 100 to 150 strands of hair a day so don't panic when you see a small bunch crawling across your tiled floor.
2. Comb wet hair with extreme care because they're fragile and prone to breakage. Take a broad toothed comb and run it from the roots to the ends of your hair as gently as possible.
3. Trim your hair every few weeks to get rid of those brown and rough split ends. Cut about 1/4th an inch of your hair every 6 to 8 weeks to avoid the split ends to grow out again.
4. Don't wash your hair everyday and whenever you do, apply some conditioner on the ends. Try and use the same brand of shampoo and conditioner.
5. Rinse the conditioner off with cold water as it is good for both strength and shine.
6. Unlike the labels on the back of our food items, the labels on the back of our shampoos are mostly left unread. In the last few years, there has been a lot of focus on sulfate in shampoos. What are sulfates? They're the reason your shampoo lathers the way it does. They clean your scalp and hair, departing the dirt from it. But some researchers also suggest that they strip your hair of essential oils. They're also why your eye stings when shampoo runs down the side of your face. If you feel any kind of irritation on the scalp or find your hair drying up over time then try and buy a shampoo that's sulfate-free.
7. If you've got dry hair then it's best to avoid colouring. However, if you can't resist that gorgeous shade of brown, especially under the winter sun then follow this clever advise shared on the blog Free People. Use lemon, chamomile tea or honey as they work as great hair lighteners. You can add lemon juice to water and spray it over your hair when you're heading out. You can rinse your hair with brewed chamomile tea after you wash them with shampoo or add honey to the water you use to wash your hair.
Besides these basic tips, here are few home-remedies that'll take you a long way. From home-made masks to heat protecting serums, we've got it all.
Even though you condition your hair after every wash, nothing quite works as good as deep conditioning. Every once in a while wash your hair with shampoo, squeeze out the extra water and towel dry it. Then take generous amounts of conditioner and apply it right to the root of your hair. Use a broad toothed comb and run it through your hair to make sure the conditioner reaches everywhere. Now, pull them up and clip them together. Leave the conditioner in for anywhere between 10 minutes to an hour. Pull them down, rinse thoroughly and enjoy silky smooth hair.
(Also see: Home Remedies for Quick Hair Growth)
Keep Away the Heat
If you're stepping out and want gorgeous curls or perfect waves, then there are a few ways you can get those without taking the help of a dryer, straightener or curler. If you must use your iron or curler then buy a serum of your choice or if you've got some time on your hands, make one at home.
1. Take some almond oil, coconut oil, hair conditioner, 250 ml water and a small empty spray bottle. Pour 200 ml of water in the spray bottle and add 2-3 drops of coconut and 4 to 5 almond oil to it. Add two really tiny drops of conditioner. Don't use too much of it because it will lather. You can add lavender or some nice smelling oil if you'd like. Add the remaining water and shake well. Let the lather settle and it's ready for use. (as suggested by beautytips4her)
2. It's all about butter with this one. Take 4 ounces of shea butter, 4 ounces of cocoa butter and 20 drops of any essential oil of your choice. Heat the butter till it's all liquid and let it cool. Add the essential oil to an empty, sterilized jar and pour the butter. Let the jar cool down till the butter takes a solid form again.
Home-Made Hair Masks
Some might be delicious enough to eat but the rest are just downright smelly! But the great thing is that you'll easily find all of the ingredients in your pantry.
1. Egg, curd and mustard oil - If you've got hay-like dry hair then here's the answer to all of your problems. Eggs are rich in vitamin A, B12, D and E, fatty acids and protein. The protein helps strengthen the roots, the fatty acids make it a natural hair conditioner and B12 helps add volume.
2. Avocado and peppermint oil (as suggested by hellonatural.co) - Also referred to as the butter pear, avocados are creamy, rich and the only fruit combines the protein of meat, fat of butter, vitamins and minerals of green vegetables and a nutty flavour. Mash some avocado, add a drop or two of peppermint oil and apply this mask on your hair. Leave it in for 15-20 minutes and wash off.
3. Olive oil, coconut oil and egg - Suggested by Bella Fitness blog, this one's the ultimate mask for speedy hair growth. Warm 2 tablespoons of coconut oil, let it cool, add one or two eggs and two tablespoons of olive oil and apply.
Oil is the Answer
A conditioner might work wonders for your hair but oil gives it certain minerals, vitamins and essential fatty acids that don't just strengthen your roots but also boost overall health of your hair. Coconut oil comes most recommended by hair experts and mothers! It can protect your hair from sun damage, dandruff and removes sebum build-up from hair follicles accelerating hair growth. You could also boil some curry leaves in coconut oil, strain the oil and apply. You could also use Chinese hibiscus flowers instead of curry leaves.
If you're suffering from hair fall then olive oil would be a better bet. You can combine it with a host of other ingredients. Here are our top few:
1. Olive oil with honey and cinnamon powder (as suggested by the American Athletic Institute) - Massage this paste into your scalp, leave for 15 minutes and wash.
2. The LOC method - Suggested by Nicole Charnel on Charnels world.com, this one's a real winner. It's a three part method: leave in, oil and cream. First you use some water and then use a light weight oil like coconut, olive or almond. Follow this with shea butter or any creamy conditioner of your choice. Leave it in for a while and then wash thoroughly.
If there are any home remedies or hair care tips you'd like to share with us please do so under comments!