Hair likes and dislikes

What helps your hairstyle to stay in shape?

Combing hairHair, like anything else, can also suffer from too much care. A haircut that fits your type of hair; reshaping on a regular basis; proper care; and, avoiding exposure to mechanical and chemical stress will help you to shape your hair. When your hair is cut properly, your hairstyle will stay in place without needing much help from a brush, hair dryer, or curlers.

This saves time. Also, it is healthy for your hair. Besides, it does not lead to loss of moisture and/or bad consequences of mechanical manipulation.

Remember, it is particularly important for your hair to be shampooed daily.

However, what type of haircut is right for you can only be determined by your hairstylist. S/he will assess carefully how your hair looks, naturally - whether it has cowlicks, thin or thick, whether the surface of each hair is rough or smooth, or the ends are intact and not split.

It is advisable for you to carefully follow the recommendations of your hairstylist, even when you are not told what you'd love to hear! Because, if your hair isn't the right kind for your "dream hairstyle," it can turn into a nightmare.

Regular reshaping is important too. Because, each hair grows at a different rate - no wonder, why even the best haircut would be less than perfect after a couple of weeks.

Soft hair

Use acid rinse after shampooing, immediately, or use a spray lotion that remains on the hair. Likewise, you may use a moisturising lotion when your hair feels rough to the touch. A volumising lotion will also do to give you that much-loved sheen. These lotions can be used for preventative care each time you shampoo your hair. But, make sure you do not overdo things.

Lotions also add a fine film to the surface, making your hair soft; they protect hair from the heat of the hair dryer and other styling methods. They not only soften the hair surface, but they also penetrate and strengthen the hair. How often should you use these products? It depends on your hair, but you may use them every 2-3 weeks.

Dry hair gently

Don't hold the hair dryer too close to the hair. Always let the air move from the roots out towards the ends. The best thing to do is top let your hair dry naturally and as frequently as possible.

Avoid rough combing

Hair is vulnerable when it is wet, because water expands keratin inside each hair shaft, and rough handling only weakens its structure. Pulling a comb through your hair after shampooing can easily overstretch it. This in combination with other "sins" will turn hair into straw and make it coarse. A comb with extra wide-set teeth is particularly ideal for long hair. Hold wet hair halfway down and start combing at the roots. Untangle carefully from below, moving up slowly.

Drastic colour changes

This refers particularly to changing from dark to light. While extreme colouring of hair is not a problem with modem products, the fact is your hair will still lose a lot of pigment, which means much of its substance, until a new, lighter colour develops. Only very healthy, thick hair will survive such a "coloured" practice with minimum of damage. And, since dark hair needs frequent touch-ups, even under favourable circumstances, problems are bound to arise. In any case, drastic colour changes should never be done at home.

Hair also suffers from too much care. It reaches a state where styling becomes difficult and its natural bounce is lost. This happens because rinses and treatments used far too often create a build-up, depositing certain substances on the surface of the hair. Just how much hair care is sufficient without creating build-up differs from one person to the other. Experiment, and you will find the right balance for you.

A weekly treatment plan, and rinsing or using a conditioner after each session, or every other shampooing session, depending on the state of your hair, may be beneficial. In case of build-up, use a neutral shampoo that has no additional substance/s.

Say no to perming and colouring together

The idea of doing perming and colouring on the same day would take a long time. Most haircare professionals would discourage colouring and perming together. Your hair needs a couple of weeks to recover from the effects of a perm. Also, colouring or tinting will not turn out as well if you do them together, because your hair structure is loosened. And, the opposite is also true: if you have freshly-coloured hair, it will negatively influence the results if you perm immediately. For this reason, allow at least two weeks between treatments. You will risk injuring your hair, otherwise.

Avoid excess sunlight

When hair is wet, the sun's rays act like peroxide, bleaching your hair. In case of light hair that is strong and healthy, overexposure to the sun can create a charming effect, but when your hair is sensitive, fine, or stressed - e.g., hair that has already been coloured or permed - the effect is usually disastrous. Your hair loses its smooth touch, and its original tone, because a perm can turn your hair into straw.

It is best to cover your hair with a hat or scarf when you are out in the sun. If this is not possible, a sun lotion sprayed on the hair before exposure provides protection from loss of elasticity as well as UV rays. It is also advisable to shampoo hair with an after-sun shampoo in the evening.

Diet and your hair

Water makes up 1/4th of the weight of a strand of hair. Moisture makes the hair supple, so make sure you get plenty of fluids. Don't wait until you're thirsty. Water keeps hair healthy and shiny.

Protein is the building block of hair and strengthens the hair shaft. It also reduces the likelihood of damage through splitting. Fish, meat, milk, cheese and cereals are good protein sources.

Zinc builds hair protein; it also prevents hair loss. Meat and sea foods are zinc-rich foods. Copper is involved in hair pigmentation. Include liver, fresh vegetables, nuts and seeds in your diet to ensure you get enough copper.

Vitamin A from carrots will give you a healthy scalp; vitamins B and C are good for circulation, hair growth and hair colour.

You know it, don't you? That one of the most common causes of hair loss in pre-menopausal women is not hormones; it's nutritional deficiency. This occurs most often due to depleted iron reserves in the blood stream. Iron-deficiency is defined as a level of under 40 ng/ml, or iron per cent saturation under 20 per cent. As you know, iron is found mainly in blood. Experts say that during one period a woman loses around 10-15 mg of iron; during pregnancy the loss is about 600-1,000 mg.

Iron is fundamental for the normal growth and maintenance of hair. For example, if the amount of energy that is used by the body is not replenished by food intake, other non-essential stores of iron would also be expended.

- UMA Girish

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