See these tips to learn how to take care of your hair.

©iStockphoto.com/dolgachov

Designer clothing, perfectly applied makeup, and fine jewelry are all wasted if your hair looks greasy, dull, or messy. Fortunately, no one needs a hair salon or expensive hair products to have hair that looks professionally cared for and styled. With the right techniques for shampooing, drying, and styling your hair, it can be among your most attractive features.

We'll provide some useful hair-care tips in this article, starting with the basics.

Basic Hair Care

  • To minimize breakage, make sure that your hair is thoroughly wet before applying shampoo. Use no more than a quarter-size dollop, and rub the shampoo between your palms first. Lather for no more than 30 seconds.
  • After shampooing, rinse your hair with cool water to seal moisture in the hair shafts.
  • To distribute the natural oils in your hair, bend over and brush your scalp and hair from back to front until the scalp tingles; then massage the scalp with your fingertips.
  • Towel-dry your hair thoroughly before using a blow dryer. You'll save time and avoid damaging your hair with too much heat.
  • To cut down on static electricity, dampen your hairbrush before brushing.
  • Avoid using a brush on wet hair because it is subject to breakage. Comb out snarls.
  • If you suffer from a flaky scalp, try the following treatment every 2 weeks: Section your hair and rub the scalp with a cotton pad saturated with plain rubbing alcohol. Let the alcohol dry, then brush your hair and rinse thoroughly with warm water but don't shampoo.
  • To perk up permed hair between shampoos, lightly mist your hair with fresh water and push the curls into place with your fingers.
  • Dull, lifeless hair can be a sign of a poor diet. Try cutting down on cholesterol and fats.
  • Wait at least 48 hours after coloring hair to shampoo it. Every time you wet hair you open the cuticle -- so give hair time to seal in the color.
  • Beer can remove residue from your hair. Add 6 tablespoons beer to 1 cup warm water and pour it over your hair as a final rinse.
  • If your hair is prone to buildup from conditioners, styling gel, or hair spray, mix 1 tablespoon baking soda with your regular shampoo once a week. Rinse and dry as usual.
  • Use pomade sparingly to remove static, control flyaway ends, and add a glossy sheen to either straight or curly hair. Apply a very small amount to one hand, and liquefy it between your palms. Then run your hands through the hair. If braiding, apply before braiding and use it for small touch-ups.
  • Use gel after a braid is finished to smooth down loose or uncontrolled hairs. Apply it to your fingertip or to the end of a hairpin, directing it on top of the stray hairs to encourage them back into the braided pattern.
  • Use hair spray to hold the finished design in place. If you want a soft finish but need to control the hair, spray into the palm of your hand and then smooth over the surface of the hair to control flyaway strands.
  • Use a coated rubber band or a soft hair tie to secure ponytails and the ends of a braid to reduce the stress on the hair.
  • Use gel to control hair when you want a "wet" affect. Apply gel sparingly to your hair once styled. To use for braiding, apply it to all of the hair before you braid, or when you want a clean, off-the-face effect, you can apply it to the perimeter hairline where lengths tend to be shorter.

In the next section, we'll take a look at some homemade hair-care aids.