Hair Care

Tips and tools to take the best care of your hair!

Teen Healthy Body – Body/Skin Care – Hair Care

Hair Care

Written by Kristina Collins, M.D., FAAD

Did you know that we are actually covered head to toe with hair? With the exception of our lips, palms of our hands, and soles of our feet, every part of our skin grows hair. The hair that grows on our body stays shorter than the hair on our heads and helps regulate our body temperature. Our eyelashes and eyebrows may make our faces look more attractive but they also serve an important role in protecting our eyes.

There are many diverse types of hair but all can be healthy, beautiful, and help us express our personal style. Many hair classification systems (like numerical systems) can be flawed in that they focus only on the shape of the hair emerging from the hair follicle. They fail to take into account other qualities that affect the hair, such as density of the follicles, the thickness of the hair shafts, porousness of the hair, or oiliness/dryness of the scalp. Hair often changes in thickness, curl, or color throughout our lives. Overall, our hair type is decided by genes we get from our biological mother/father, therefore, it can be temporarily altered by styling but not permanently changed.

Preteens and teens often like to experiment with self-expression by changing their hairstyles and color. As you get older, you may become increasingly interested in trying a variety of products that may lighten or dye your hair. You also may experiment with changing your hair type by perming, straightening, or curling your hair using hot irons. Keep in mind that these alterations to your hair color and type can cause damage and unhealthy lasting effects on your hair and scalp and also pose potential health risks.

Healthy Hair Habits

Understanding our own hair type can help us to take great care of it. Various hair types respond to hair care in different ways and hair hygiene recommendations are not “one-size-fits-all.” Maintaining healthy hair is not the same standard set of rules for all people, and the best hair products, washing frequency, and styling choices vary depending on the hair type.

However, there are certain hair habits that work for all people. When we wash our hair, we need to make sure that all areas of the hair from roots to ends are wet and we need to massage the shampoo into the scalp.The scalp is the place where oils are produced so that’s where the shampoo can have the most benefit. Do not spend time working the shampoo into the ends of the hair as this can dry the hair out. Make sure to be thorough in rinsing the shampoo out and watch out for using water that is too hot — water at high temps can dry out your hair and your skin. If you use conditioner, smooth the product into the hair shafts themselves and avoid the scalp/roots (so the opposite of your shampoo technique!). You want to work the conditioner into the middle to end of the hair to maximize shine but avoid adding excess oil to the hair roots. For curly, kinky, or dry hair types, conditioner is applied to the scalp/root area, and oil/moisturizer/leave-in conditioner is applied after washing. Towel dry your hair gently and air dry when possible to avoid excessive heat styling damage. When the hair is still damp you can work in any products that you choose to use for styling and comb it out with a wide-tooth comb or WET detangling brush.

If you have straight hair or slightly wavy hair, your hair likely becomes oily after a few days. For those of you with this type of hair, washing your hair everyday or every other day will be ideal for the health of your scalp and the appearance of your hair. On the other spectrum, if your hair is very curly/kinky, then washing it frequently would be incredibly drying. If you have this type of hair, washing it once a week (or sometimes even less) is best for the appearance of your hair.

Hair grows from the root, in the scalp, and once it exits the scalp it is already dead. It is normal to lose about 50 to 100 hairs per day! No hair treatments then truly affect the “health” of the hair shaft but things like conditioners can make the hair look better. The following 12 tips and considerations below can help keep your hair looking healthy:

1. Some individuals should avoid washing their hair daily as it can dry out their hair and scalp. If this is something that you experience, you can try to wash it every other day or every 2-3 days if preferred, unless your hair becomes oily and unmanageable.

2. Use a conditioner or detangler on the ends of the hair (especially if your hair is dry or curly) to avoid pulling at the hair when combing. For curly, kinky, or dry hair types, conditioner can be applied to the scalp/root area, and oil/ moisturizer/leave-in conditioner can be applied after washing.

3. Gentle styling of the hair can help prevent split ends or breakage. You can smooth the appearance of split ends but you can not actually mend them with any product, no matter what the Tik Tok video or Insta ad may say! Using a wide tooth comb can be a way to prevent breakage while styling.

4. Keep heat styling with blow dryers, flat irons, or curling irons to a minimum frequency and the lowest level of heat when possible to reduce dryness and breakage.

5. Make sure to wash your hair after swimming in chlorinated water (like a pool) or wear a swim cap because the chemicals in the water are damaging to the hair.

6. Chemical processes such as perms, relaxers, and dyes are some of the most damaging things for the hair. You should avoid doing most of these things on your own at home and instead utilize professional salon services when possible. Whether at home or in the salon, be aware that all of these chemical processes will damage your hair and cause a certain amount of breakage. Definitely avoid using these techniques more frequently than recommended by the instructions of the product or guidance of a salon professional.

7. Hair extensions are also notorious for causing breakage, even those that tell you they will not damage your hair! If you choose to use hair extensions you should give yourself breaks at regular intervals and begin their use knowing that you may need to cut your hair shorter or otherwise go through a regrowth period after you discontinue use.

8. Ultra-tight hairstyles such as braids can cause hair breakage as well as a type of hair loss called traction alopecia, that occurs at the root level.

9. Repeated use of the same type of hairstyle (like a ponytail) can cause breakage of the hairs under high tension, such as those framing the face. Using softer, loser ponytails and updos can help alleviate this problem.

10. Silk pillowcases can also help keep your hair and skin looking their best.

11. Protect your hair from harmful UV rays, just like you do with the rest of your skin, by wearing a hat in the sun.

12. Cutting the hair regularly, at least four times per year, can help keep the appearance of split ends minimized and the hair looking its best.

BLOOM’s Top Hair Care Picks

Pick #1: Ethique
Cruelty-free products. Free from plastics, parabens, phthalates, preservatives, dyes, synthetic fragrances, waxes & silicones. Ethique’s full line of hair care, skin care, & self care products are made from fair-trade, ethically sourced cocoa butter & coconut oil. They carry products for oily, dry, curly, normal, and frizzy hair and a cool shower storage container to go with them! See EWG Score.

Pick #2: Many Ethnicities
Natural-ingredient brand designed for curls and multi-textured hair. Check out their options for Shampoo, Conditioner, Detangling spray, and Power curl gel. Find Many Ethnicities in BLOOM’s Healthy Body Box! See EWG Score.

Pick #3: ACURE
Accessible, eco-friendly skin wellness through clean, clinical ingredients in better-for-you bases. See EWG Score. To meet your individual needs we recommend:
Normal hair: shampoo // conditioner
Oily hair: shampoo // conditioner
Dry hair: shampoo // conditioner
Curly hair: shampoo // conditioner

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