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The Healthy Hair Plus Guide to Hair Care

Brought to you by Healthy Hair Plus, The Ultimate Hair Guide To Hair Care is a review of tips, techniques and products for the healthiest hair hairstyles possible. Starting with a review of hair biology and a discussion of hair growth cycles, you will find information on proper washing techniques, use of various shampoos and conditioners, and proper styling - including a discussion on styling products and equipment - flat irons, blow dryers, and curling irons.

Though comprehensive, this Guide is just the beginning. There are many factors to consider when dealing with hair...hair types and styles are just the start.


Table of Contents

  1. Overview
    1. Hair Biology
    2. Growth Cycles
    3. Hair Types
      1. Straight
      2. Curly
      3. Thick
      4. Thin
      5. Special Requirements
  2. General Daily Care
    1. Washing
      1. Technique
      2. How Often
      3. Choosing the best shampoo for you
    2. Conditioning
      1. Wash Out vs. Leave in
    3. Drying
      1. Towel Dry
      2. Air Dry
      3. Blow Drying
      4. Detangling
    4. Styling
      1. Blow Dyers
      2. Flat Irons
      3. Curling Irons
      4. Curlers, Crimpers & Waves
      5. Brushes, Combs & Picks
    5. Styling Aids
      1. Hair Spray
      2. Gels & Mousse
  3. Oils & Treatments
    1. Color treatments
    2. Perms & Straightening
    3. Relaxing
    4. Hot oil treatments
  4. Special Care
    1. Baby
    2. Black, African American & Ethnic
    3. Breaking, Frizz & Static
    4. Dandruff
    5. Damaged
    6. Dry Hair & Scalp
    7. Oily Hair & Scalp
  5. Hair Loss & Hair Growth
    1. Causes of Loss, Thinning or Slow Growth
    2. Solutions
  6. Nutrition
    1. Supplements & Hair Products
    2. Food & Diet
    3. Healthy hair product ingredients


Hair Biology

Although at first glance hair seems to be very simple, it is actually much more complex than it looks. Hair helps our bodies transmit sensory information as well as helping us create gender identity by greatly impacting our appearance whether we are male or female. Amazingly, hair is found on all of our bodyís major visible surfaces and it is the only structure within our bodies that can be completely renewed without creating scars. It is the only part that has a cyclical growth cycle; growing in stages with a rest period in the middle.

The Origin

By the time a developing fetus reaches week 22 all of the hair follicles will be formed, for a total of 5 million hair follicles throughout the body. Of these 5 million follicles, just one fifth can be found on the head with 100,000 on the scalp.

It is important to note that as we age, we never develop new hair follicles so this is the largest amount we will have at any point during our lives. This means that the follicles that we have at birth determine our hairís future. Instead, our body size grows while the number of follicles remains the same, creating a smaller density of follicles found on the skin.

Quick Tip #1
Did you know most people's hair grows about 5-7 inches per year? We each have about 100,000 strands on our scalp and its not uncommon to lose 25-100 strands per day. Outside of hair loss, the most common cause of hair fall is improper combing, detangling and brushing.


The Follicle

Unlike other body parts that can be divided up into many different structures, there are only two found within hair: the follicle and the shaft. The hair follicle can be compared to a stocking in terms of shape and it is divided into several layers that each have different functions. If you examine an image of a follicle, you will find a projection at its base. This projection appears as if someone has stuck a finger in a stockingís bottom part and then pushed it in slightly. In reality, this projection is a papilla which contains capillaries (tiny blood vessels) which provide nutrients to the cells, nourishing the hair shaft.
Follicle Primary Structure...
  • Shaft
    • Medula
    • Cortex
    • Cuticle
  • Outer & Inner Root Sheath
  • Bulb
  • Dermal Papilla
  • Matrix
  • Associated
    • Sebaceous gland
    • Arrector Pili muscle
Around the papilla you will find the bulb which is the hairís living portion that the capillaries feed. The cells in this bulb divide the fastest of all the cells found in the body, taking between 23 and 72 hours to divide. There are two sheaths around the follicle and these are called the outer and inner sheath. Both serve to mold and protect the hair shaft as it grows. The inner sheath is smaller, following the hair shaft where it stops underneath a sebaceous glandís opening and occasionally that of the apocrine (scent) gland as well.

The sebaceous gland is an important piece of hair biology because of its production of sebum. This is a substance that acts as a natural conditioner. Although sebum is produced all throughout life, there is an increase in production after puberty and a decrease later in life, with a larger decrease for women than for men. The outer sheath, on the other hand, goes all the way to the gland where the erector pili muscle connects the area below the gland with a layer that is fibrous and surrounds the outer sheath. This muscle makes the hair stand up when it contracts.

The Shaft

When you take a closer look at the hair shaft you will see that it is made of keratin which is a dead, hard protein that exists in three layers in this location: the medulla, the cortex and the cuticle. The outer layer, the medulla, is not present in all hair strands. This is followed by the cortex and then the cuticle. The middle layer; the cortex, makes up most of a given hair shaft. In both the medulla and cortex you will find pigment cells distributed throughout, giving the hair its color. The outer layer, the cuticle, is made of scales that are tightly packed in a way that resembles roof shingles. Because it is the outer layer, most conditioning products will affect this area.

Read more information on Hair Biology.

Growth Cycles

Although every person has a slightly different growth cycle in terms of height, that is not true for their hair. No matter where you live or what your heritage, your hair will follow the same growth cycle which consists of three stages: catagen, telogen and anagen. For most people this means that the hair on your scalp will grow between .3 and .4 millimeters each day which adds up to around 6 inches each year. While other mammals tend to experience hair loss and growth in cycles that may vary with the seasons, this is not true for us; both the growth and loss of hair is non-seasonal.

The Catagen Stage

This stage is the transitional stage of the growth cycle. It only lasts between two and three weeks which means that at any given point, 3% of your hairs are most likely in this stage. During the catagen stage, the hair growth will stop completely and the hairís outer root will shrink and attach itself to the hairís root, which is actually how club hair is formed. The term Ďclub hairí is given to a strand in the last stage of the growth cycle for hair. It hasnít yet been shed but has already detached from the follicle. In addition to the follicle stopping to produce hair during this stage, there is no pigment produced either.

The Telogen Stage

Just like the catagen stage of hair growth is the transitional stage, the telogen stage is the resting stage.

This stage will generally last about ten times as long as the catagen stage (for scalp hairs) or nearly 100 days but will last a much longer time for hairs on legs, arms, eyelashes and eyebrows. At any given point, between ten and fifteen percent of your hairs will be in this stage.

Because the hair follicles are at complete rest during the telogen stage, this is when the club hair becomes completely formed. If you were to remove a hair during this hair growth phase you would find white, solid, hard, dry material at its root. It is normal to lose between 25 and 100 hairs in this stage each day and shedding is completely normal during this point in the cycle. That is because the new hair will begin to grow during this stage and during this process, the old hair is usually shed naturally. Alternatively, if you brush or wash your hair, you will also lose several hairs from this stage and in many cases all the hairs you lose will be from the telogen stage.

Quick Tip #2
A single hair follicle can continue to grow for 4-6 years if not damaged. Afterwards it will go into "hibernation" for as long as 4 months while it rejuvenates and reforms. This process is not unlike perennial plants that "come back" in the Spring!


The Anagen Stage

The anagen stage of the hair growth cycle is when your hair is active. During this stage, the new hair forms and pushes up the club hair, eventually causing it to fall out. This is also the longest stage in the hair growth cycle as it can last between two and six years for scalp hair. Hair on other parts of the body such as the eyebrows, eyelashes, legs and arms, however, have a much shorter active phase which only lasts between 30 and 45 days. This is why these hairs are generally much shorter than the hair on the scalp.

While in the anagen stage of the hair growth cycle, the hair will usually grow around one centimeter every 28 days. The exact length of the anagen stage of hair growth can vary from person to person and this explains why some people find it easier to grow out their hair than others. Those who have problems growing long hair tend to have short anagen phases while those who are able to grow their hair very long tend to have much longer active phases. Interestingly enough, as we age, the length of time of this stage tends to shorten, making it much more difficult for the elderly to grow long hair.

Variations

All stages as well can vary from person to person and are influenced by a variety of things such as the amount of hormones in a personís system. It is also important to note that each individual hair on a personís head goes through the stages at a different time. This means that even when some of your hair is in the telogen stage, you will not be shedding all of your hair, or even an entire section; it will just be several hairs spread throughout your head.


Find more information on hair biology and growth cycles.

Hair Types

The best way to determine hair type and the extent of the natural curl is to look at the cross-sectional shape of the shaft. If hair looks a great deal like a circle, the hair is straight. If the cross section is flattened and elliptical, however, it will be curly or kinky. This means that more circular shafts mean straighter hair while more elliptical shafts mean curlier hair. Straight hair is generally shinier as well because the circular cross-section allows the sebum (produced by the sebaceous gland) to travel down much easier than with the elliptical cross sections of curly hair.

Quick Tip #3
Hair types can be summarized by shape (straight or curly) and by size (thick and thin). Types are dictated by genetics - the way protein bonds are connected and aligned. Variations and sub-types are also genetically based, such as various ethnic and African-American types that typically have common features - thickness, tight curls, and color!


Straight

Straight hair is one of the most envied types of hair because it is usually fairly simple to control. People who have this type of hair are gifted with genetics that cause them to have hair with circular and symmetrical cross sections. This means that the hair will generally have a great deal of shine without the need of additional products because the sebum created by the sebaceous glands is able to more easily travel down the shaft. This sebum works as a natural conditioner giving straight hair a beautiful shine.

Curly

Curly hair is the way it is because of its elliptical cross sections within the shaft. This is also what causes curly hair to be drier as the sebum finds it more difficult to travel down hair with an elliptical cross section than the circular shape of straight hair.

Curly hair can vary as well and hair curvature is the term generally used to refer to the extent of the curl. Therefore, hair with more curvature will have a more elliptical structural form. Curly hair is less likely to get greasy for the same reason it tends to be drier; the oils that cause grease find it harder to travel down the hair shaft.

Thick

Thick hair is much sturdier, allowing it to stand up to styling better than other types. Thick hair can be straight or curly depending on the shape of the cross-section, but the common theme is that thick hair has a larger strand diameter. Despite the benefits in some ways, many people with thick hair suffer from severe frizz as more protein in the hair means that it will absorb higher amounts of moisture.

Thin

Thin hair is almost the exact opposite of thick hair as it has a much smaller diameter. While its cross-sections can still vary, creating either straight or curly hair (or something in the middle), thin hair is less likely to hold a style and has a tendency to lie flat with little body.

Sometimes confused with "thinning" where loss or shedding has occurred, "thin" in this context refers to the size, width and diameter of the follicle shaft and the up and down layout connection of cells and protein bonds. This is because this type of hair is very flexible, which is why most people with thin hair will have straight, flat shafts. It is much easier to control and it is easier for sebum to travel down it, giving a beautiful shine.

Special Requirements

Every type of hair will have its own special needs. In general, hair that is curlier will require moisturizing products due to the inability of sebum to travel down the hair. Because of this, people with curly hair should always try to add product before brushing dry hair. Thick hair also requires moisturizing shampoos like Healthy Hair Plus' Emu Oil Shampoo in order to help keep it in control. Straight hair, on the other hand, requires more frequent washing because of the ability of both sebum, and other oils, to travel down the hair easily, creating a greasy look over time.



General Daily Care



Hair care is the term used to describe the elements of cosmetology as well as hygiene that are related to the hair found on the scalp. Although technically hair care could also include the hygiene and cosmetology aspects of caring for your hair on other parts of the body, such as the legs or arms, in this case (and generally speaking) it refers only to whatís on the personís head. Furthermore, the general daily care for hair is very closely linked to that of the scalp. This is because it grows from the area beneath the scalp, making it impossible to care for the scalp without doing the same for the hair and vice versa.

If the scalp is not properly maintained, you can increase your risk of bacteria or infection which could lead to a scalp disorder. Some bacteria that affect the scalp will also affect the hair, such as lice so caring for both is very important.

It is important to note that hair care can vary from person to person as different shaft types will require different techniques as well as varying frequency of hygienic practices such as washing and shampooing. In aspects of daily care where the variations are greater, the differences that apply to the various types will be pointed out.

Washing

Our hair has a natural protection in the form of sebum which is produced by the sebaceous glands.

This sebum not only protects both the hair and skin, but it can also help prevent the growth of certain harmful microorganisms on the scalp. This substance also gives our shine and acts as a natural conditioner, but at the same time its presence in excessive amounts can lead to oily hair. You can help reduce this greasy appearance by spreading the sebum throughout your hair using a brush with natural bristles. Despite this, it may require washing eventually, both to remove excess sebum and to remove any built-up dirt and skin cells.

Quick Tip #4
Many hair and scalp "problems" occur due to shampoos that contain sulfates or parabens. Sulfates can lead to damage, excess breaking, color loss and scalp irritation. Sulfates are in the family of "surfactants" that create the foaming and bubbling. Parabens are a preservative. Whew!...no wonder sulfate-free shampoos have become so popular!


When applying shampoo to the hair, water is essential as this provides the reaction necessary to clean the strands. When the shampoo breaks the waterís surface tension, it allows the water to be attracted to the hair shaft. At the same time, the shampoo molecule will be attracted to the oil, dirt and grease found on this hair shaft.

Therefore, when shampooing dirt and grease turn into an emulsion which we then rinse away using the water, leaving our hair clean and beautiful. Although some elements of washing can vary depending on type, such as how frequently it should be washed, there are some common rules that are true for everyone.

Technique

While shampooing your hair using other methods is not horrible, it will not clean your scalp as well and can cause more problems such as flyaway hairs. You should always start the shampooing process by combing and then brushing out your hair thoroughly, being sure to start at the bottom in small sections and work your way up. If you use styling products in your hair, you should always be careful as the products tend to harden throughout the day, making it much harder to brush through. Therefore it is best to use a wide-toothed detangling come to help get your hair ready before your shower.

Many people will have different recommendations for which water temperature is best for your hair while shampooing it but the general consensus is to avoid hot water as this will dry out your hair and scalp. You can then wet your hair thoroughly, paying special attention to the scalp. Keep in mind that the goal of washing your hair is to keep the scalp clean and this is where most people realize they have been washing their hair the wrong way. Most people will concentrate on getting shampoo on every part of their hair, but in reality the focus should be the scalp.

Quick Tip #5
For most efficient shampooing, use the pads of your fingertips rather than your palms. Place shampoo in your palms and rub together and apply onto the hair beginning at your forehead and working backwards to the ends. Use the pads of your fingertips to lather and work-in to the scalp - front to back, then side to side. Rinse from your brow and forehead area backwards. Let the shower water help detangle - and, if possible, squeeze water out of your hair - this will help prevent tangling!

You should use the tips of your fingers to apply the shampoo to your scalp, including around your nape then gently massage it in. Although you may be tempted to specifically target your hair, especially if it is longer, this is not necessary; the suds running down your head will be enough to wash your hair sufficiently. It is also important to keep in mind that you do not need to lather up too much as this can actually cause damage. Rinse your hair by trapping it around your head and giving yourself a gentle scalp massage. Only people with very oily scalps, or who havenít washed in a long time, will need to shampoo twice.

Frequency

How often you should wash your hair is one of the questions that truly varies from person to person depending on their hair type. In simple terms, how often you should shampoo your hair depends on how oily and dirty it gets on a regular basis.

Very few people need to wash it daily, and those who do are the ones higher sebum (oil) production. Some dermatologists and hair professionals suggest using dry shampoos or powders on days they do not wash as this will eliminate some of the oil without the stress caused by washing.

As a general rule, people with straight hair have to shampoo more often as the cross-section of the hair is circular (which causes the it to be straight), allowing the oils to travel through more easily, creating a greasier feel overall. Curly strands, on the other hand, do not need to be washed as frequently as its elliptical cross sections (which are what cause the curl) mean that oil cannot travel down as easily, meaning it is less likely to develop grease.

Those with African American hair types should generally wash their hair even less frequently as constant washing will further dry it out by preventing the oil from getting down the tightly curled shafts.

Choosing The Best Shampoo

For You Choosing the best shampoo is another area that can vary from person to person. In general it is best to avoid shampoos that contain harsh chemicals and instead opt for natural ones. Some experts recommend that when selecting the right shampoo, you pay attention to the needs of your scalp and focus on your hair when selecting a conditioner. To follow this advice, you need to decide if your scalp is oily or dry. If your scalp is oily, you should avoid shampoos that smooth, moisturize, hydrate or are designed for curly hair as these will add even more moisture. Instead, opt for ones that are balancing, strengthening or volumizing as they are better at getting rid of extra oil.

Choosing the best shampoo for you...several things to consider....
  • Dry, oily or normal?
  • Thick or thin?
  • Color-treated or not?
  • Damaged?
  • Sub-factors...
    • Short or long?
    • Straight or curly
    • Chemically treated - Perm, Straightened, Relaxed

People with a drier scalp should do the opposite, avoiding shampoos that strengthen, fortify or volumize. If your scalp is dry but does not flake or itch, opt for a shampoo that smoothens, moisturizes, hydrates or is designed for curly hair. If your scalp does itch or flake, opt for a shampoo and conditioner that is specifically designed for a dry scalp. We recommend using HHP's (Healthy Hair Plus brand - see right) Emu Oil Shampoo and Conditioner.

Of course, when selecting from the above options that meet your scalpís needs, you should also keep in mind your hair type. For example, if you have an oily scalp and limp, thin hair try opting for a volumizing shampoo. If however, your scalp is dry and your hair is flat, it is more important to find a good shampoo for your scalp than a volumizing one.

Conditioning

Conditioning your hair is another area where many people frequently make mistakes and do things the way they always have instead of how they should. Most people will apply the conditioner to every area of their head including the scalp, but in reality, the scalp doesnít need the conditioner unless it is dry. Instead, you should start applying the conditioner in the middle of your hair shaft and follow it down to the very ends. You should then leave it on for a few minutes to let it do its work before rinsing it out.

The goal of conditioner is to help smooth the outer layer of your hair, the cuticle layer. This is necessary because it can get rough during the shampoo process. You will find three main varieties of conditioners: anti-oxidant conditioners, internal conditioners and external conditioners. The antioxidant ones prevent creeping oxidation and are most commonly used in salons after you receive a chemical treatment. Internal conditioners are also known as treatments and enter the hairís cortex where they help its internal condition. External conditioners are the most common type and these are designed to smooth the hairís cuticle layer which in turn will make your hair smooth, shiny and easy to comb.

Wash Out Vs. Leave In

Most people will opt for external conditioners but that does not mean the decision making process is done. You still need to decide between a wash out conditioner and a leave in one with the obvious difference being that if you opt for a leave in conditioner, you will not rinse it out of your hair. In addition to this, conditioners that need to be washed out will usually have more silicones, emollients and thickening agents to help it stay on your hair shaft. These conditioners are ideal for everyday use and for people who have dry, damaged or thick hair.

Leave-in conditioners on the other hand, are usually much thinner simply because they will not have thickeners or emollients. They are great for limp, fine hair as it is a great way to add soft control, body and shine. They are also great at providing extra moisture to help you get rid of tangles and snags. Many people who opt for leave in conditioners love the convenience of them as they can greatly reduce the time it takes you to shower.

Drying

Many people, focus on getting the job done quickly instead of doing so in a way that is good for their hair. Knowing how to properly dry your hair is just as important as washing and conditioning properly because doing it incorrectly can cause damage. In actuality, drying hair incorrectly is how most people cause a great deal of damage to their strands. The three most common ways to damage your hair are letting it air dry, blow drying it and using a towel. When done correctly, each of these ways can be beneficial but when done poorly, they can cause serious damage.

Different experts will suggest various methods as the ďbest oneĒ or the ďleast damagingĒ but the general consensus is that the method you choose comes down to preference. Most experts, however, will agree that one of the better options is to towel dry your hair, but in a specific way (mentioned below). They also agree that you should avoid brushing or combing too much while it is wet because this is the time when it is the most susceptible to breakage. Here is more information about the most popular ways to dry your hair to help you learn how to do so without causing unnecessary damage.

Towel Dry

Probably one of the most common ways that people dry their hair is using a towel and while this can be one of the best methods in terms of hair health, it can also be one of the worst. Many people will simply rub their hair vigorously, which will dry it quickly and effectively but can make it impossible to brush out afterwards. Even worse, this can cause a great deal of breakage, especially since hair is at its most vulnerable when wet. Instead, you should simply pat your hair with the towel to absorb a bit of extra moisture. This way you will not create a mess or any breakage, but will still be able to stop your hair from dripping excessively.


Quick Tip #6
While towel drying is the most common and easiest way to dry your hair, it is the worst technique - it creates tangles and pulls strands out of the scalp! Use a wide-toothed comb with warm running water (and your favorite conditioner) to detangle before finishing washing. Detangle and squeeze dry - then pat dry with the towel!

Many experts will suggest that the healthiest way to dry your hair is to wrap it up in a towel turban after patting it dry. It is easy to wrap it up and will keep it out of your way (and stop it from dripping on you) while you wait for it to dry. Drying your hair by wrapping it up in a towel turban is the best option because the hair will retain some moisture but at the same time, the towel will soak up any excess water. This means that you will be able to get your hair dry (or mostly dry) in just 10 to 15 minutes and best of all, it takes absolutely no effort on your part and is perfectly healthy for your hair.

Air Dry

Many people think that air drying your hair is one of the best options in terms of hair health and while it is great compared to improper use of a blow dryer or vigorously rubbing it with a towel, there are still precautions to take. Oddly enough, even if you air dry, you want to dry it as quickly as possible. This is because hair swells when it contacts water and this can put pressure on the proteins that keep your hair intact, meaning that if your hair is wet for a long time, you can have more damage. Luckily there are ways to speed up the air drying process just a little bit.

Before you let your hair air dry you want to be sure to get as much moisture out of it as possible, but without causing damage in the process.

This means you should gently blot it with a towel (as mentioned above); this will also prevent it from dripping all over you. You can also try gently squeezing out some excess moisture with your hands. Remember to be gentle as you donít want to cause damage. It is also important to note that hair dries faster when the strands are separated so you should consider either gently running your fingers through it or combing it out. If you opt to comb it, be sure to use a wide tooth comb as this will prevent damage.

If you want your hair out of your way while letting it air dry, try pulling it back into a loose braid. In addition to keeping your face hair free, this can also help control your hair if it is a bit unruly or add some loose waves as well as volume. If you really want to speed up the process, try going outside (if itís temperate to warm out; remember cold can be very damaging to hair) as the breeze will help it dry even faster.

Blow Drying

Many women like to blow dry their hair as this is the fastest way to get your locks completely dry. If you are going to blow dry your hair, however, you have to be careful as this is one of the easiest ways to cause damage.

Oddly enough, when done right blow drying your hair can actually cause less damage than letting it air dry, but you have to do it carefully. To keep your hair healthy, be sure to use the coolest setting your blow dryer has and keep the blow dryer constantly moving and about 6 inches from your hair. It is also a good idea to use a product that protects your hair from heat damage.

The best way to blow dry your hair is to start off by blotting it with a towel (once again, avoid rubbing it dry and instead only pat it). Then separate it into several sections, keeping in mind that larger sections will take longer to dry. Remember to keep the blow dryer about 6 inches from your hair and start at the roots as this will stop the moisture from getting the rest of the hair wet. Slowly work down your hair, being sure to keep the dryer constantly moving to avoid damage. Although itís tempting, never blow dry your hair completely as it needs some moisture in order to avoid damage and frizz. Simply leave it damp enough so it can still dry natural in only 5 to 10 minutes.

Detangling

When your hair is wet, it is the most prone to damage. When detangling your hair while drying it you need to be especially careful. If at all possible, avoid brushing it or using a comb with narrow teeth. Normal hairbrushes have prongs which are not spaced evenly and this will pull your hair in multiple directions at once, causing damage. The ideal option is to find a wide tooth comb or even use your fingers. No matter which option you use, be sure to go gently as tugging on your hair is a sure way to damage it.

To properly detangle your hair, start at the bottom. This is because you want to work out any of the knots or kinks here before moving on to the rest of the hair. Once the bottom section has been detangled, slowly work your way up being sure to let the comb travel all the way down to the area you previously combed. Following this method will help you avoid accidentally creating new knots while you work. Check out this article for more information on detangling tips and advice.



Oils And Treatments



There are such a wide range of oils and treatments on the market specifically designed for the hair shaft.

Some of these are at home treatments while others require you to go to a salon and have a professional care. Many treatments are designed to target problems in the hair, such as being dry, flat, oily, frizzy or simply damaged. Some treatments are to repair damage such as split ends that occur when the protective outer layer of the hair, the cuticle, is stripped from the hair fibers. Often women only opt for treatments when they notice a problem. Treatments for split ends, for example, become necessary when the hair experiences a physical trauma (like heat) or the hair simply grows long enough so that the ends are several years old and have been exposed to years of damage.

The treatments designed for hair health maintenance can range from something as simple as a deep conditioning treatment to something more complicated such as a hot oil treatment done in a salon. These include color treatments to get the shade of your dreams, perms or straightening for those who are unhappy with the current texture of their hair. What a person decides to do depends on their personal preferences including their budget and how comfortable they feel doing it themselves.

No matter what type of oils or treatment you are using for your hair, there are several concerns that need to be taken into consideration to ensure you do not damage it in the process.

Color Treatments

Color treatments for hair are done by either removing pigment from or adding it to the hair shaft. In cases where pigment is removed it is considered bleaching while in cases where it involves adding pigment it is considered coloring.

There are both permanent and temporary hair color treatments available. The temporary options will not actually change the color of the hair; instead they will coat the shaft with pigments that can be easily removed when washed. Permanent color treatments, however, require more effort as in most cases the color change must occur within the hairís cuticle which means that it must first be opened.

To accomplish this goal, chemicals are used which alter the hairís structure but these can cause unwanted side effects as well. They can damage either the cuticle itself or the internal structure leading to hair that is prone to breakage or simply dry and weak. In addition, the cuticle may not always close completely after the treatment and this can lead to faster loss of the new pigment and/or coarser hair. In general, colors that are lighter compared to the initial color will cause more damage to the hair.

Because of the potentially damaging aspects of using chemicals to change your hair color, many people opt for natural color treatments as opposed to the chemical ones.

These rely on dyes that are plant based instead of chemicals that will break up the cuticle of the hair shaft, making them potentially less damaging. Henna, for example, is a popular option of a natural dye for those who are looking for an orange or red color. When indigo is added to the hair after dyeing it with henna, it can create brown or black colors. No matter what type of color treatments you use, there are several things to keep in mind to ensure your results last.

One very important thing to remember is that when washing your hair you should try to avoid using excessively hot water as heat causes the dye to leach faster meaning that if you take warmer showers, your color will not last as long. You should also try to avoid washing your hair as frequently if you want to maintain results and always be sure to use shampoo and conditioner that are designed to protect the color as these are specially designed to be protective and gentle.

Perms And Straightening

Another one of the most common hair treatments available is both the perm and chemical straightening. Both of these techniques rely on a process that chemically alters your hairís internal structure, making it either more or less curly. Many people opt for these treatments as a way to control their hair and save time when getting ready in the morning. To achieve a perm, the salon will first wash the hair and then wrap it around a perm rod, adding waving lotion that contains a base. This waving lotion is specifically designed to create a chemical reaction which will break several of the cross links between the hairís protein chains. This in turn will soften the hairís inner structure, causing the hair to swell, stretch and soften, finally molding around the perm rodís shape.

In some cases, chemical straightening can involve a similar process but instead of wrapping the hair around perm rods, it is instead combed straight. It is important that you do not wash your hair immediately after getting a perm as the chemicals used create disulfide bonds which can be weakened by contact with water. Instead, you should wait one or two days before washing your hair, or even getting it wet.

When you treat hair with the chemicals required for either perming or chemically straightening it will become weaker and therefore requires special care. Although there are kits that allow you to do a perm on your own at home, you must be extremely careful as the chemical solution can cause irritation if it comes in contact with skin. In addition, if the perm is not done correctly, the disulfide bonds associated with the chemical reaction will break, causing weak hair that falls out with brushing.

Like color treatments, perms and straightening require special care afterwards, both to ensure the health of the hair as well as to maintain the results for a longer period of time. You should always opt for shampoos and conditioners (as well as other products) that are specifically designed to be used with perms. That is because the perm process strips your hair of many natural oils as well as moisture and these products are designed to reintroduce these elements into your hair, helping it recover from the process. To get the best results from your perm, you should scrunch your hair in the morning to enhance the curls.

Relaxing

Relaxing is in some ways the opposite of a perm as it is a way to take hair that is curly and make it easier to straighten with the use of a chemical that will relax the natural curls. Relaxers usually come in the form of creams or lotions and can be done at home using one of the many kits or by a professional salon. The process of relaxing the hair is also called lanthionization and will require periodic treatment in order to maintain the same look because as hair grows the look will change.

Just as perms work by creating new disulfide bonds, relaxers work by breaking these bonds apart. The round hair strands associated with straight hair contain fewer disulfide bonds whereas the elliptical shaped hair strands associated with curly hair contain more. Because of this, relaxers aim to break apart these bonds and will also usually cap them in a process that prevents them from chemically forming. Because water does not affect these disulfide bonds, the hair will not return to its previously curly state after applying the relaxer. The only reason that the effects of relaxers disappear over time is because of the growth of new hair.

There are two main types of hair relaxers: those that contain lye and those that do not. Which one you choose depends on the type and texture of your hair.

Lye relaxers, also called ďalkaliĒ relaxers, use sodium hydroxide to achieve results and while they will work quickly, they can also rinse out easily. Relaxers without lye mostly rely on calcium hydroxide but this chemical has been known to dry out hair. Despite this, options without lye are generally better for those who have sensitive scalps. Although the relaxing process is permanent, there are still several things that you should be careful to do to ensure that your hair stays healthy and lets you enjoy the results. Because the chemicals used in relaxing treatments can make the hair more fragile and prone to breakage, the hair will be even more sensitive to heat. This means that you should always minimize the use of blow dryers or flat irons whenever possible. Moisturizing is also important, especially if your hair was dry before you got it relaxed.

Hot Oil Treatments

Another very popular option for hair treatments is a hot oil treatment.

Like the other treatments, these can be done either at home or in a salon and while you can buy kits to do them at home, it is also possible to mix the oils together yourself, which allows you to select the specific one you want. These treatments are designed to help make your hair look healthier by providing moisture and giving it the appearance of having been conditioned even when you only shampooed. They are especially useful for people who have damaged hair due to styling or coloring as it can help smooth out any damage.

Most hot oil treatments should be done about once each week and the procedure is fairly straightforward, making it easy to do at home. You simply place a tube of oil in hot water then massage it throughout your hair, ensuring that all of the hair is exposed to the oil. After massaging in the oil, you cover it (with a towel or cap) and leave it in for between 30 minutes and two hours then rinse out your hair and scalp with running water and shampoo your hair as normal.

Although there are many types of oils available, it is best to opt for essential oils. The other options which are usually larger oils will cause buildup instead of penetrating the hair and this will simply dry out the hair even more, causing additional damage. Essential oils on the other hand are small enough to penetrate the hair and repair the damage done to weak or dry hair.

Jojoba oil is a great option for people who have excess oils as it will create hair that is soft and light.

Coconut oil is ideal for adding shine to all types of hair and it can even help get rid of dandruff. Castor oil is another popular option for hot oil treatments and this is great at cleaning oily hair and it can also add a great deal of strength to thin hair.

Like coconut oil, sesame oil can add shine to all types of hair, but it has the additional benefit of treating thinning hair and reducing the rate of hair loss. People with dry or frizzy hair should consider avocado oil for their hot oil treatments. The oil you choose depends entirely on what type of hair you have as well as the aroma you would like.



Special Care For Hair



Although washing and general care for most hair types is fairly straightforward, there are some hair types that require special care.

These are especially prone to problems such as dryness, breakage or other damage and because of this, simply following the same steps anyone else would when taking care of their hair is not enough. While some of the special considerations for these types of hair may be to ensure the hair stays healthy such as avoiding excessive use of hot styling products to prevent further breakage, others are simply for aesthetic reasons, such as ensuring simply adding shine to dull strands. Babiesí hair, for example, can be extremely sensitive because it is new and African American hair needs special considerations due its tendency to dry out quickly. There are different ways you can help solve the typical issues that accompany these types of hair as well as what to avoid doing.

Baby

Because babies have extremely delicate skin, it is important to keep that in mind when caring for your newbornís hair. Their sensitive skin is why there are specialty shampoos designed specifically for babies as these are designed to be gentle, ensuring their skin will not react negatively to any harsh chemicals such as those found in some adult shampoos. If your baby does not have enough hair to wash, you can even use lotion or Vaseline to help moisturize their hair and scalp. In addition to the sensitive skin, the sebaceous glands in babies are not as active as they are in adult and this means that these glands will produce less sebum. The sebum is an oil that is essential for keeping the scalp supple and moist. The amount of sebum that is produced also influences how frequently hair needs to be washed so because of their decreased sebum production, babies do not usually need to have their hair washed as frequently as adults.

Babies are also prone to developing cradle cap which is a condition where flaky and oily patches of skin develop on the scalp because of dryness. If you notice your baby has cradle cap, be sure to comb and wash all of the dry skin out from the scalp and then use a lotion to prevent further dryness. Like their skin, babiesí hair is delicate as well so it requires special care when detangling. While minimal combing of wet hair is recommended for adults, this is actually the ideal time to comb out your babyís hair. Just be sure to do so very gently and use a wide toothed comb. Using a larger brush can actually cause more tangles in the fine hair of babies. One more thing to keep in mind about your newbornís hair is that it will most likely change. Even if your baby has hair at birth, it will probably start to fall out because of hormonal changes. When it grows back in, it may be completely different and this process may take time, so do not be surprised if your baby is near-bald for a length of time. Simply remember to keep their scalp and whatever hair they do have moisturized.

Black, African American And Ethnic

Straight hair is characterized by a circular shape in the strands and the curly or wavy hair that is typically associated with Caucasians has an elliptical shape; the structure of African American hair is completely different.

The genetics involved causes African American hair to form a shape similar to a figure eight that slightly resembles two mini straight hair cross sections trapped within one strand of hair. This is the structure that causes the hair to kink as the shape of the follicle is crooked. In addition to the shape, the cortex found within the hair strand is the smallest of all hair types as well as the tiniest cuticle area, making it least able to retain the natural oils produced by the hair, drying it out.

Quick Tip # 7
Ever wonder why Black, Ethnic and African-American hair is so dry? Couple of reasons....One, follicle strands are generally smaller making it difficult to absorb and retain hydration and oils; Two, this are type is typically naturally curl and tightly wound making it difficult for natural oils to adequately coat the entire strands!

The dryness of ethnic hair means that most people who have this type will not wash their hair as frequently because it simply dries it out. Most experts recommend that people with African American hair shampoo every 7 to 10 days depending on their specific hair type and length. The main problem associated with African American hair is dryness and because of this, experts recommend that people with this type of hair avoid exposing it to heat whenever possible, as this can dry it out more and cause breakage due to the already weak hair shaft. Many experts also recommend that people with this hair type wrap their hair in a satin bonnet or scarf before going to bed as an excellent way to help it retain moisture as the cotton found in most pillowcases will simply absorb any hydration the hair has.

Braids are a common way that people with ethnic hair choose to control their kinky curls, but in some cases this can actually cause damage in the long run. That is because the aggressive handling required to make the braids can cause a type of hair loss called traction alopecia and the braids themselves may cause unnecessary stress on the hair follicles.

Instead, the better option is to opt for occasional deep conditioning treatments and stick to products designed to add moisture to your hair.

Breaking, Frizz And Static

Breaking, frizz and static are all related problems that have to do with the hairís cuticle which is the outer layer. The cuticle is frequently compared to a shingled roof in terms of appearance and when hair looks smooth that is because the ďshinglesĒ are lying flat. Frizz and static, however, occur when the ďshinglesĒ lift up. This is especially common when someone with dry, curly hair simply brushes it. Although for most hair types it is recommended that you never brush it when it is wet, the opposite is true for curly hair.

Quick Tip # 8
Frizz, as we know it, results from humidity (water molecules) being absorbed into the follicle strands. This makes the strands puff-up and weighed-down - flattening your style or making it unruly. HINT: The drier your hair, the more humidity affects! Having adequate hydration reduces effects of humidity. Many shampoos or their ingredients are rated by a "Humidity Resistance" scale - their ability to lessen absorption and frizz.

Because frizz and static occur more frequently for those with curly hair, experts suggest that people trying to avoid frizz never brush their hair when dry. Instead, they recommend that you brush, comb, or use your fingers to comb it after toweling it dry. They also recommend adding a bit of an anti-frizz product and avoid using a comb or brush after that. If your hair is down and it gets too frizzy for you to handle, you should simply wet your fingers and run them through your hair. That is because the main problem that causes frizz is dryness so by adding water, you will be able to reduce the static.

Frizz and breakage are also frequently associated with hair that is over processed because using harsh chemicals such as relaxers or hot styling tools such as straighteners can cause your hair to become brittle, making it more likely to become damaged and in the process, causing those ďshinglesĒ to lift up.

If your frizz is caused by extreme breakage, it is a great idea to get a trim even if you want to grow out your hair. That is because the breakage and other damage can actually spread up your hairís shaft, creating more damage. Simply be sure to tell the stylist you want to grow out your hair and ask them to cut the minimum amount. No matter whether the problem is; breakage, frizz or static, adding moisture back into your hair is key as a great deal of these problems stem from dry hair.

Dandruff

Dandruff is another issue that requires special care for your hair. It is important to note, however, that dandruff occurs because of the health of your scalp, not your hair itself, meaning that the special hair care products you use to treat your dandruff will actually be helping your scalp more than your hair. Dandruff is simply small white flakes from your skin that usually occur because the skin cells on your scalp are growing and dying too fast. Some medical professionals believe that the fungus malassezia, which is found on most peopleís scalps, is what contributes to dandruff and the only difference between those that suffer from dandruff and those that do not is that some immune systems will overact to the fungus, triggering the dandruff.

The presence of a great deal of oil on your scalp is another common cause of dandruff so if you suffer from dandruff, you should be sure to brush your hair starting at the top of the scalp and going all the way down using steady, firm strokes. This is essential as it will distribute the oil throughout your hair where it will keep the strands healthy instead of allowing it to accumulate on the scalp where it causes dandruff.

Another common way to care for hair with dandruff is to opt for a special anti-dandruff shampoo. The only thing to keep in mind is that different shampoos will rely on different active ingredients so you may have to experiment to see which one works best for you. Another important thing to keep in mind if you have dandruff is that because it thrives on oily hair, you should be sure to wash your hair regularly.

Damaged

Damaged hair possibly requires the most attention out of all hair types and this is partly because in most cases the damage was caused by improper hair care and continuing this pattern can only worsen the problem. Some of the most common reasons that hair becomes excessively damaged include exposure to chemicals (such as perms or relaxers) and hot styling tools (such as blow dryers, straighteners and curling irons) although some hair is simply more prone to damage than others. The first step to taking care of your damaged hair is to change your habits.

For example, if you blow dry and straighten your hair every day, try to do so less often and when you do follow your old routine, be careful and consider thermal protectants. No matter what type of hair you have you should always use a heat protectant before exposing it to heat and limit the amount of time you use the styling tools for. Ensuring that your damaged hair is hydrated is also a very important step in repairing it. While there are plenty of moisturizing products available, try to opt for those that contain natural oils as opposed to harsh chemicals that can do more damage. Petrolatum and mineral oil, for example, will actually prevent outside moisture from entering your hair shaft.

Dry Hair And Scalp

For those who suffer from dry hair and scalp, it can be difficult to know how to properly care for your hair to ensure that it receives sufficient moisture to stay healthy and hydrated. Most of the time dry hair and scalp are caused by the same thing, the scalp not producing enough oil, although another problem can be if your hair is allowing the moisture to escape.

The most common reason for losing moisture is when the ďshinglesĒ on the hairís cuticle separate, providing an exit for the moisture. Keep in mind that hair itself does not have any natural lubrication; instead it depends on the oils that are produced by the scalp and hair root. When there isnít enough oil, it is not able to travel down throughout the hair, causing dryness. When you wash your hair often, it can actually dry it out a great deal. This is why African American hair, which is very dry, should not be washed as frequently which is true for dry hair in general. When you do shampoo dry hair, you should be sure to opt for one that is mild as these will contain less drying detergents; likewise you should avoid hair products that contain certain alcohols as this can further dry out the hair. Use oils such as hot oil treatments to add some moisture back into your hair.

Coconut and jojoba oil are great for replenishing moisture.

Oily Hair And Scalp

Oily hair is the opposite of dry hair so it makes sense that their causes are related, simply at the other end of the spectrum. While dry hair is caused by insufficient production of oils such as sebum to spread throughout the hair, oily hair is caused by an overproduction of these oils.

Like dry hair, oily hair begins in the scalp where production of oils takes place. It can also be affected by genetics as well as the structure of your hair. People with straight hair, for example, are much more likely to suffer from oily hair and scalp simply because the circular cross-sections of each strand of hair allow the oil to travel throughout the hair more easily. Fine hair is also more prone to be oilier as each strand has less surface area that can be coated in oil, meaning that the oil must be better distributed.

Salon owners and stylists recommend that if you have oily hair you opt for a specially formulated gentle shampoo which is designed to control your scalp and hairís production of sebum which will in turn reduce the amount of oil found on your head.

These shampoos typically will contain Zinc or Zinc PCA.
Follicleanse
(see right) is formulated with Zinc and several botanical extracts that work together to clean dirt, oil and bacteria. For oily hair, it is excellent and works well for many common scalp problems including dandruff. People with oily hair should also be sure to wash their hair frequently; despite the fact that washing dehydrates hair, there will still be enough oil to provide sufficient moisture and this is a great way to get rid of any excess. If you donít have time to wash your hair and it is simply too greasy, you can also try adding a bit of talc powder (baby powder) to it to absorb the moisture. It is also important for people with oily hair and scalp to avoid brushing or combing their hair too frequently as this will transfer more oil to the hair.



Hair Loss And Hair Growth



Although hair loss is fairly common throughout the world, affecting both genders and people of all ages, it can still be disheartening to experience and difficult to counter. Keep in mind that losing hair every day (up to 100 strands) is completely normal. Hair loss refers to losing more than this or experiencing a general thinning of the hair.

Hair loss in general is referred to alopecia and there are many different types of it ranging from androgenetic alopecia (male pattern hair loss; keep in mind this also affects women) to alopecia areata (when the hair loss occurs in a certain localized area). The causes can vary from person to person but doctors and researchers are making many advances both in diagnosing the cause of the hair loss as well as providing effective treatment options. To better determine treatment options, it is important to consider when the loss began, whether it was gradual and other factors.

Causes Of Loss, Thinning Or Slow Growth

One of the most common causes of hair loss and related issues is simple genetics. People whose parents experienced hair loss or thinning of their hair at a younger age are more likely to experience it themselves. Stress can also cause hair thinning or loss as can age. That is because as we age, hair gets thinner, making much more susceptible to breakage and in turn loss. Some health problems, such as thyroid related illnesses or even autoimmune diseases can also cause hair to thin as can some treatment options for certain diseases, such as chemotherapy.

Some things that people do may also attribute to hair loss. One example is if you have exposed your hair to excessive damage throughout your life, you will be more prone to hair loss. This damage can range from something simple and seemingly harmless such as wearing your hair in ponytails or braids that are too tight or more obvious causes such as extensive exposure to hot styling tools or chemical treatments. One good thing to note if the hair loss is due to poor hair care is that in most cases when you change your hair care routine the hair will start to regrow. A poor diet can also lead to hair loss, especially if your diet is low in protein or iron.

Solutions

Before determining the best solution for your individual case of hair loss you need to consider several things such as: the side effects of the treatment, how much it costs, what your doctor thinks will work and most importantly, what the cause of the hair loss was in the first place. In cases where the hair loss or thinning is due to actions on your part, the solution is simple: change your habits. For people who expose their hair to hot blow dryers and straighteners or curling irons each day, reducing the frequency of these actions will help show great results. For the best results, you should completely eliminate your hairís exposure to these heat producing products. In addition be sure to invest in a high quality product to protect and moisturize your hair.

If your hair loss is due to genetics, you should not have hopes that are too high as it will be more difficult for your hair to regrow naturally. There are, however, treatments that will prevent the loss of more hair as well as encourage hair growth in thin areas. There are various treatments such as topical creams and pills that must be prescribed by your doctor. Many people will notice that simply changing their diet will slow down or even reverse their loss. When attempting this solution it is important to include plenty of protein in your diet as this will strengthen hair as well as promote growth. Iron is also important as anemia can lead to hair loss.

If you are unable to find a solution that helps your hair regrow, you still have some ways to help hide the problem. You can use products that color your scalp to match your hair color. It is also a good idea to stick to a shorter hair cut if you have thinning hair as hair tends to look even thinner when it hangs down. You can also try moving your part to the side of your head as this will remove peopleís attention from your crown which is where most hair thinning and loss occurs.


Nutrition


One of the worst offenders of hair health is crash diets. These diets deplete the body of vitamins and minerals very quickly. When the body senses that necessary vitamins are lacking because of inadequate food intake, it uses its stored vitamins. Some of these vitamins will be drawn from sources such as bones and the brain. Bones that do not have enough calcium will become weak. Brain tissue that does not have enough vitamins leads to tiredness. Any new vitamins entering the body will be assigned to the task of building amino acids, the building blocks of protein. Vital organs, such as the brain will be supplied first. This leaves hair as one of the very last parts of the body to receive the vitamins it needs to stay and look healthy.

Foods

  • Rich In Protein - Red meat is a very good source of protein needed for improving the health of hair. It has not only protein; red meat is also full of iron. Iron can be quite important in deterring hair from falling out. It keeps hair in its follicles tighter and longer. Eggs are also high-protein foods. Vegetarians do not need to miss protein benefits because eating legumes provides just as much protein to body and hair as does red meat.
  • Vitamins A and C - Many vegetables and potentially any fruit are full of vitamins A and C. Carrots have large amounts of Vitamin A, which is beneficial in keeping a healthy scalp as well as holding natural oils in balance. By retaining the natural oils in the scalp, the skin that holds the hair follicles is healthy and permits easy exchange between oxygenated and de-oxygenated blood. Dark green leafy vegetables, like spinach and kale, are well known for their high Vitamin C and iron content, which helps in hair loss prevention. With their particular properties, sebum is maintained on the scalp to condition hair in a most natural way.
  • Rich In B-Complex Vitamins - Bananas have a large amount of Vitamin B 6. Vitamin B 6 rich foods help in preventing hair loss and thinning. Biotin (Vitamin H) and B 12 in eggs increase the circulation in the scalp and keep hair well nourished. Fish, especially fatty fish like mackerel or salmon, are treasure troves of Vitamin B 12 in addition to iron and important fatty acids.
  • Other Vitamins And Minerals In The Diet - Selenium present in walnuts, zinc that is plentiful in legumes, whole grains, red meat and oysters, omega-3 fatty acids found in mackerel and salmon, as well as complex carbohydrates represented in brown rice, In summary, when a weight loss diet is unavoidable, it is important to keep the foods that are consumed in balance. Every meal should have all the vitamins that are needed on a daily basis. When weight is lost slowly and steadily, and supplemented with all the vitamins and minerals to sustain a healthy body, hair will still be strong and look radiant.

Healthy Hair Product Ingredients

When looking for hair products, preferences run the gamut of brand names. However, what most products should have in common is that they are beneficial for hair. The result from using a hair product should be hair that is healthy, shiny, strong and beautiful. Most hair products on the market have ingredients that will be beneficial to hair in many ways. Many of these products specialize in treating dry hair, oily hair, hair that is curly, hair that is thin and hair that is long, or hair that has been color treated.
  • To Give Strength - Carnitine is one of the desired ingredients in hair products when hair is weak and breaks off easily. To add a protective coat to each strand of hair is to make it stronger. Collagen coats each individual hair and provides thereby more break resistance. Caffeine is a lesser-known ingredient to strengthen hair. The way caffeine works is by stimulation. Caffeine elicits increased activity from the hair follicles. When follicles are more active, they produce stronger hair. Hair remains longer within its roots and slows thinning of hair.
  • Dry And Brittle - Oil from apricot kernels works well to strengthen hair and tame unruly, flyaway hair. It contains fatty acids that are unsaturated. Apricot Oil gives stressed and dry hair the emollient it needs to become manageable. Another great ingredient is glycerol. Dry hair becomes smooth and strong in the presence of glycerol, maintaining steady moisture that also prevents breakage. Panthenol performs in this same capacity as glycerol. Both are ingredients found in healthy hair products.
  • Ingredients Active In Repair - Sometimes the damage has already occurred. Repairing the damage is frequently the realm of ingredients like Macadamia Oil, Olive Oil or Aloe Vera. These three ingredients counteract the effects of brittle hair. Their natural lipid content soothes the scalp by reducing irritation and repairs split ends from breakage as well. The protein keratin, which is one of hairís building blocks, is uniquely useful in its role of hair repair. To ensure that keratin is produced, Coenzyme Q 10, also known as Ubiquinone, acts as a catalyst for the bodyís own keratin production.
  • Shiny & Glossy - Hair that shines should not be weighed down with heavy oil. It should have a natural bounce that only very light oil, like Almond Oil or Jojoba Oil, can provide. Silk Proteins and Silicone lend hair a gloss that is hard to ignore. Hair moves gracefully and reflects light with every step. Especially for curly hair, Wild Rose Oil has the additional bonus of conditioning to make hair better manageable. Wheat Protein is known to add shine and a silky feeling to hair.
  • Detanglers - Hair is often damaged by ill treatment with a comb or a brush. After washing, a rinse with a good detangler will save much hair from being pulled from the head before they would fall out naturally. This can be prevented by simply applying a hair product to make each hair silkier to allow easier brushing. Silicone is a good ingredient to detangle hair. Hair detanglers typically act by acidifying hair. This tightens hair shafts on a microscopic level so that they become smoother. Adding a polymer to the solution coats the hair strands. These two actions make a great detangling conditioner.

Supplements And Hair Products

Even though it is by many considered the ďcrowning gloryĒ of every person, many people do not care for their hair properly. This leads to hair that lacks sheen and bounce. It looks dull and neglected, which indeed it is. Hair that is well cared for is healthy and strong. It shines and feels smooth and silky. This type of healthy hair is not reserved for just a few select women and men. It is available to anyone who wants it. Hair expresses partly the state of a personís general health. It also gives testimony to overall emotional make-up.

Vitamins

One of the simplest measures for healthy hair is to provide the body with all the vitamins it needs. There are certain vitamins that are more geared toward hair than others but a deficiency in any vitamin may lead to hair that is not healthy.

Supplemental vitamins are the necessary staple in your medicine cabinet if you do not always have the time to eat a well-balanced diet. For great hair, the B-complex vitamins, Vitamin C, Vitamins E and H are the foundation for growth and strength of hair. In addition, several minerals like Zinc and Iron will round out the daily needs for healthy hair. Supplementing your diet with Inositol is a good idea as well.

Why They Are Needed

Most vitamins work on hair at the cellular level. The scalp must have sufficient circulation to bring nutrients to the hair follicles and carry away the debris that is not needed. Cells must be functioning to their full capacity in order to perform all the tasks genetically assigned to them. Vitamin B-complex is especially suited to keep up excellent cellular health. Biotin (Vitamin H) and Vitamin C are also very active in cellular metabolism, contributing thereby to the growth cycle of hair. Zinc has multiple roles in keeping the immune system strong. Iron ensures good oxygenation of the red cells that surround each hair follicle.

Hair Products

Todayís shampoos and conditioners are constantly evolving, focusing on every possible hair problem. There are a great number of products commercially available to address nearly every issue involving hair. For dry hair, moisturizing shampoos and conditioners are ready to hydrate hair and give it a glossy look. Brands like sFree manufacture sulfate-free shampoos and conditioners and they turn-up the "moisturizing heat" with cleansers and conditioners that contain Emu Oil (see right). If hair is oily, there are very effective medicated products that reduce the oil on scalps.
Some products will address thinning hair while others focus on graying or brittle hair. Not only are shampoos and conditioners ready to improve hair, there are styling tools that are specific for preventing split ends and keep hair from breaking. The wrong hairbrush can do much damage to hair, as can curling irons or hair dryers set at a temperature too high.

How To Obtain These Supplements And Products

Supplemental vitamins are available in every grocery store, supermarket, drug store or pharmacy. Moreover, you donít even have to leave your house to shop for these items online. Although there are many different brands of vitamins on the market, trusted name brands will bring the desired results when it comes to supplementing a dietary shortcoming of vitamins. Hair products are also available at these stores. Some excellent products can be purchased from beauty salons directly or they are for sale at the higher-end department stores. It is well worth the investment of a good product because it will last for much longer than a product that may be lower priced but will last only for a year. Healthy hair deserves being treated well with good products and supplements.