To many of us, our hair is a big part of our identity. So much so that cultural stereotypes have emerged and hyperbolised – like blondes being less than smart. There are so many different types of hair – from the naturally curly to those that have long and thick hair, and no one haircare tip or trick applies to them all. Learning to care for your specific hair type can be a challenge, but luckily there are some basics that you can use and expand on as you get to know your own hair type.
Oily or Greasy Hair
Having oil on the hair is natural to help protect your hair. Some people, however, might have an excess amount of oil or grease on their hair and that can make your hair look lifeless and even dirty. The secret is identifying what parts of your hair are actually greasy – whether it’s the scalp and hair, or just the hair. This can inform you on what products you need to buy for your specific profile.
If only your scalp is oily or greasy, using a high-intensity shampoo or conditioner designed for greasy hair might not be the best solution, since you’re stripping your hair of oils that it might not have an excess of. Try using one product for greasy hair and another for dry hair and alternate them if you only suffer from an oily scalp.
Try not to wash too often either! The biggest mistake those with oily or greasy hair make is to shower and thoroughly wash every day, but this is actually causing your oil glands on your scalp to become stimulated. You’ll end up creating a vicious cycle if you wash your hair too often. Try and also avoid using the tips of your fingers to wash your hair by using the flat parts of your fingers instead.
At the opposite end of the oil spectrum, we find dry hair. Dry hair is usually a product of damage to the hair, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t manageable. It’s actually the most common hair type, particularly in those that use a lot of products on their hair, most notably hair dyes and hair sprays. Exposing the hair to a lot of heat over time, like from curling irons or hair straighteners, can also cause this hair damage. Add in some exposure to sun or pool chemicals and you’ll end up with dry hair in no time.
Here you’ll want to use those moisturising and high-moisture shampoos and conditioners. There are many on the market designed especially for dry and damaged hair, and these are what you want. Consider using a deep conditioner at least once a week. Once you’ve finished washing your hair, you might also consider a leave-in product, particularly if you are going into the sun or swimming.
Now comes the more difficult part. Stop or greatly reduce the amount of time you spend using styling tools, hairdryers and other sources of heat on the hair. You should also make sure you check and replace any appliances that have stopped regulating heat, as this often happens in cheaper styling tools.
Owners of thick hair will know their unique set of challenges. They’ll likely be faced with an itchy and flaky scalp. This is most commonly caused by not rinsing your hair properly or thoroughly enough after washing because your shampoo is leaving behind residue on your scalp. This residue is the source of your scalp’s irritation and ultimately why you suffer from that dryness and irritation.
With this in mind, you’ll want to make sure you rinse your hair really well and thoroughly after washing it. There are no particular hair treatment shampoos you should aim for with thick hair, but a scalp care one might be beneficial provided it’s thoroughly rinsed after washing.
When choosing a hairstyle, try and go for either a short or long cut. Avoid the mid-length cuts as they tend to cause the hair tips to stand out. Think about cutting with layers to avoid too much hair bulk in one place, but conversely, try and avoid short layers. If you’re interested in hairstyling or want to learn more about hairdressing and the different ways of cutting hair and styling it, have a look at options on findcourses.co.uk where you can find a number of hairdressing courses and even qualifications in hairdressing and barbering.
Lastly, if you colour your hair, you’ll want to stick to semi-permanent or temporary colour treatments as they don’t have a thickening effect, which many permanent hair colouring products do.
Curly and Wavy Hair
Curly and wavy hair comes with a rather unexpected issue – a lack of shine. Because of the uneven surfaces of the hair, light isn’t reflected as well and that means that curly and wavy hair appears more lifeless and duller than other hair types.
You should absolutely not wash your hair every day. As much as you might want to do so, you’ll end up quickly robbing it of the sebum needed to stop it looking frizzy and keep it looking curly. When you do wash, you’ll want to use a moisturising shampoo and conditioner, and consider using a wide-tooth comb when conditioning for better coverage.
Most of the treatment of your hair, however, actually happens once you’re out of the shower. You’ll want to throw your hairdryer out, and let your hair dry naturally as often as possible. That said, you should try and dry your hair as much as you can with your towel, but try to avoid vigorous drying.
A final, and very important tip, is to avoid lock hair products, particularly oils, mousses and solutions.
People with straight hair might seem like they would be devoid of most hair problems, but like the rest of us, they suffer too. Straight hair lies quite flat on the scalp, which is a quick way to accumulate grease. It ends up quickly looking dull. It needs the least amount of active treatment, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t follow some steps for better maintenance of straight hair. For straight hair that doesn’t lose its shine and lustre, use a deep cleaning shampoo often, and a gel treatment once a week. Once washed and wet, you’ll want to avoid sweeping your hair, and instead, use your fingers to detangle it. Once detangled, you’ll want to use a wide-tooth comb for brushing.
For styling, try and keep away from metal styling appliances, but if you do need to use them, keep the heat on low and avoid contact with hair for too long.
There we have it – some quick and easy tips for owners of 5 common hair types and hair afflicted with damage. Hair doesn’t have to be a constant source of frustration and work if you apply the right maintenance strategy to it, and these tips are all about maintenance. Of course, while home care is always the first step, don’t be shy about visiting a professional hair salon where specialist products can assist you in the care and maintenance of your hair. Now that you’ve got a maintenance plan for your hair care, you can let your hair finally be an expression of you.