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Is your hair frizzy, limp, oily, and just a flat-out mess—and as far as you can tell, you’re doing everything right? Sure, you might not be using all of those harmful chemicals on your hair or breaking off those split ends yourself, but did you know that there are other more discreet sources that could be damaging your hair?
It’s okay. Don’t be embarrassed. Neither did I, but it sure has been a life saver since I learned these things to watch out for… and I even provided you with a few tips I’ve found along the way.
Oil Can Be Better Than You Think
Remember all of those old commercials for shampoos, and even facial cleansers, where they made our natural oils seem like the most disgusting thing in the world? Well, I’m telling you to forget about them. The number one culprit to damaged hair that people rarely ever consider: over-washing your hair. Yes, it’s a thing, and I’m sure we’ve all been guilty of it at some point in our lives.
See, it’s so easy to feel that itchiness of your scalp, or even imagine it sometimes just because it’s been so many hours since you last washed your hair. It gets itchy, you start to see the sheen of oil and grease building up in your hair, and you freak out. Or, at least I do. And I used to do it, Every. Single. Day. It was bad. Even the slightest sign of oil would make me want to wash my hair—because that’s what we were taught growing up, right? Oil is bad and makes a mess of everything. But… like I said earlier, that isn’t completely true.
Let me tell you about it. The scalp makes a natural oil that is typically called sebum. This oil is actually good for your hair and can give it the right amount of hydration and nutrients it needs to stay stylish, so long as it’s kept at a good balance. Washing your hair too often can strip your hair of this natural moisturizer, leaving it rather coarse and difficult to style. This is typically caused by all of the harsh chemicals found in many shampoos. Believe me, it is as bad as it sounds. Over-washed hair is impossible and just seems to feel oilier quicker, so it ends up being a pretty ugly downward spiral.
Not so comfortable with putting off washing your hair? I know the feeling. Allow me to introduce you to the “No Poo” movement. Believe me. It’s not as bad as your thinking. Sure, there are some people out there who have gone so far as to swear off shampoo completely and have moved onto a more natural wash of plain water. If that’s something you want to try, go ahead, but I think I’ll stick to my nice smelling shampoos and hair masks.
The gentler side of the “No Poo” method is simply moving from name-brand shampoos with harsh chemicals to a gentler alternative shampoo. Whether that’s going to the store and finding one that is right for you or making your own out of baking soda and/or apple cider vinegar, that is completely up to you. Either way you try with the “No Poo” method, it is said to have promising results of softer, cleaner hair within two weeks of starting the method.
Anyway, it’s not like you have to do something drastic like chopping off all of your hair, so why not give it a try, and let me know how it goes?
Maybe Not the Washing, But the Water
Still feeling skeptical as to whether over-washing your hair could be the real culprit of your damaged hair? That’s fine. Maybe you already knew that your hair follicles needed that sebum, or else your scalp would overreact and start producing a surplus of sebum to make your hair even greasier before. Maybe you already leave a few days between washing your hair. Kudos to you for being much smarter than I was. But, you’re still stuck with damaged hair? Perhaps it might not be the wash, but the water you’re using.
I sound crazy, right? Believe it or not, hard water could be damaging your hair. You heard me correctly, hard water. It’s basically water that has a high amount of minerals, like magnesium and calcium. Don’t worry; it’s nothing dangerous. It can just leave a bit of residue on different bathroom fixtures like the sink or the tub and really dry out your hair. If you’ve been taking care of your hair in all of the right ways—including not over-washing it—and your hair is still kind of thin, limp, and frizzy, there’s a pretty good chance you could be dealing with the sneaky culprit named hard water.
This sounds like an impossible thing to deal with, right? I mean, how can you control what minerals get into your water? It’s okay. It’s not as impossible as it seems. You still have the chance to save your hair. Easiest solution: just go get a filter for your shower-head, and it will help to filter out those minerals that are damaging your hair so badly. Not up to fixing up the shower and want more of a spa-day sort of fix? Make a homemade rinse or mask for your hair using normal household ingredients like vinegar, lemon juice, and baking soda. Doing this every once in a while is not only relaxing, as the rinse/mask cleanses your scalp, but it will help replenish your hair.
Believe me, go try those hair masks for a month—not every day, of course—and you’ll learn to love your hair again. You’re welcome.
It’s All About Nutrition
One last little tip I have to give you on how to keep those locks luxurious: nutrition, nutrition, nutrition. Remember what I said earlier about needing to keep a good balance of sebum because it has important nutrients to keep your hair healthy and looking beautiful? The same goes for you. In order to have strong, healthy hair, you need to keep a balanced diet to ensure you’re getting your important nutrients to keep you healthy.
Well… actually, your health is only part of it; it’s mostly that your diet has everything to do with your hair. Studies show that one of the reasons behind hair loss is a poor diet. Key nutrients like omega-3, Biotin, vitamins A and C, and iron are necessary for hair growth and health, and if you don’t have a good balance of them in your diet, you will see poor results.
It seems simple, but having a balanced diet of proteins, fruits, vegetables, grains, dairy, and fatty acids can really improve your hair. It’s pretty amazing but keeping yourself healthy also means keeping your hair healthy—sounds like a win-win situation to me. It also sounds like a pretty easy solution for getting back to your beautiful hair. Why not give it a try?
Now you have gotten to know all of those sneaky culprits that could be damaging your hair silently and slowly without you even realizing. Did you find one that you need to treat right away? Then go out and do it. From one luscious lock-lover to another, I wish you luck and all the best with taming and reviving your hair.