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.
Homemade Hair Aids
Everyone gets excited by new hair-care products, but you can save money and get good results from these homemade products. Give them a try.
- Repair damaged hair by treating it with oil and egg yolk. Massage olive oil into hair. Then beat the yolk of 1 egg and massage it into hair, working from the ends up. Leave on for 10 minutes, then shampoo as usual. Do this once a week for a month, and hair should begin to feel healthier.
- Condition your hair by applying mayonnaise before shampooing. Apply to dry hair and let sit for 1/2 hour, then rinse and shampoo as usual.
- For a lemon rinse, blend 1/2 cup of strained lemon juice and 1 cup of distilled water in a bottle. Comb the liquid through your hair after each shampoo.
- For a quick, dry shampoo, rub baby powder into your hair and then brush it out thoroughly
- Whether you have artificial hair color that needs refreshing or you just want to enhance your own shade naturally, customized herbal rinses add highlights or depth and are gentle on your budget. If you want to experiment with customizing herbal rinses, there's no real risk because their effect is subtle. However, avoid acidic fruits and vegetable colors. Do not use lemons or beet juice, for example. These are very unpredictable over time and are greatly affected by sun exposure. Lemon juice and the sun might make you blonder the first time you try it, but after several treatments, your hair color will look like the rings of a tree trunk -- in several shades.
Those should be enough hair-care tips to keep you busy -- and looking good -- for some time. Good luck.
Why shell out the dollars, and the resources, for a product that you can make from home? Learn more about making your own hair gel is so easy.