Taking good care of your hair is a serious and complicated business. It starts with your overall health and encompasses everything from your styling tools to your barber schedule. It can be a lot to take in but don’t get discouraged. We’ve organized the information so you can revitalize your lovely locks in five easy steps. If you can learn to address each of these five pillars of haircare in your daily life, your hair will be the epitome of health and beauty.
Your Overall Health
Sleep and Water
Your hair is part of your body, so it stands to reason that your hair isn’t going to look its best when you’re not taking care of yourself. Start by making sure you’re getting plenty of sleep and water. Some people need less sleep than others, but try to avoid the all-nighters. As for water, a good rule of thumb is to take your weight in pounds, cut that in half and drink that number of ounces every day.
Your hair gets everything it needs for strong growth from your diet and your body. If your diet is lacking in nutrients, it could be a good idea to take a daily multi-vitamin. Fish oil and biotin are also important for hair growth. Talk to your doctor if you think you might have a vitamin deficiency and never take more than the amount recommended by the manufacturer.
Stress has a big impact on the growth cycle of your hair. High levels of the stress hormone cortisol force follicles into the resting phase, which means your hair thins and won’t thicken up again until the stress level is back down to a normal level. Getting enough sleep and exercise will play a large role in your stress levels.
Whether you have oily, dry, or normal hair comes down to what’s going on with your scalp, and you’ll need to approach different scalp types in different ways.
If you have oily hair, that means you have an oily scalp. Lucky for you, there are ways to tone it down. Stay away from moisturizing shampoos. Instead, use strengthening or clarifying. Don’t wash your hair every day. This can be a tough one for oily-headed guys, but it will benefit you in the long run. Your scalp will stop producing so much oil when it’s not being stripped every day. When you do shampoo, work the shampoo into your scalp to break up the oil at the base.
If you have dry hair and a dry scalp, go for that moisturizing shampoo and conditioner, and work it into your scalp. Look for oils and other ingredients that help keep skin, not just hair, moisturized. Use a dandruff shampoo if your scalp is dry enough to create dandruff. Exfoliate your scalp regularly to clear away dead skin and stimulate oil production. It’s also a good idea to massage your scalp for a full minute every few days to improve circulation, which will help your skin to stay hydrated and your hair to grow.
If you’re lucky enough to have “normal” hair, that means you probably have a pretty balanced scalp. You can choose a shampoo based on how frequently you wash your hair. Use a clarifying shampoo if you don’t wash too often. This will help clear the oils out. Use a moisturizing shampoo if you wash frequently so you can avoid drying your hair out and stimulating more oil production. Exfoliate your scalp every week or so to clear away any oil and dead skin buildup.
Shampoo and Conditioner
A lot of hair damage is done in the shower. Make sure you’re using a gentle shampoo and a separate conditioner. There’s no shame in ditching your 6-in-1 body wash, shampoo, conditioner, dish soap, detergent, washer fluid. Your hair deserves some dedicated care and it only takes a few extra minutes to get some nourishing hydration in the mix.
Try to avoid rubbing your hair with a towel when you dry. This can cause breakage, follicle irritation, and pull hairs out at the root. Instead, use an absorbent cotton towel to pat dry. If you use a blow dryer, keep the heat low and only use it until your hair is slightly damp. Letting that last little bit air dry will help your hair hang on to that moisture you gave it with the conditioner.
PS: Don’t be scared of conditioner just because you have naturally oily hair. The additional moisture will help train your scalp to chill out with the oil production. It might take a couple of weeks of training, but your head will get the hang of it, especially if you’re not washing every day.
Choosing a Style
To start, choose a hairstyle that works with your face. This is easier than it sounds. You just choose the features you want to enhance and use your hair to do it. Volume with defined angles is a hit with virtually every shape. If you want to round out your face more, go longer on the sides. If your face is round and you want to add height, go shorter on the sides and longer on top. If you need help figuring out your face shape and choosing a hairstyle to match, ask your barber for his or her opinion.
This is one of the most important aspects of hair care for men. There are way too many products out there that suck moisture from your hair, make it brittle, and cause breakage. Heat-styling products, including blow dryers, should be used with caution and always on low settings.
Check out the ingredients in your other hair care products and choose the ones that are nourishing. Beware of products that dry to a crunchy finish. When your product is crunchy, your hair is crunchy too. Go easy when applying; only use as much as you need for the day and/or night.
Be gentle when removing styling products, unless you want to remove your hair too. Get wax out by running your hands through your hair repeatedly while the water flows over it. If you’re using a really stubborn wax, try applying shampoo to your dry hair and rubbing gently with your fingers before getting in the shower. Then rinse until the wax is gone. Never leave old product in your hair.
Go to Your Happy Place
You’ll be glad to hear that the first key to maintenance is to visit your barber regularly. A haircare professional will be able to identify any problem areas and let you know if you need to switch shampoos or change your styling routine. Regular trims will also help retain volume and avoid split ends and other signs of damage. If you have to get scalp treatments, do so sparingly. And schedule your barber visits for the slowest part of the day and week, so your barber can give you his or her full attention. Get to know your barber. Haircuts are a lot easier when the person doing the cutting already knows what you want.
Miscellaneous Maintenance Tips
If possible, avoid too much sun on your hair. Just like the sun can damage your skin, it can bleach and dry your hair out too. Same goes for pool and ocean water. High salt and chlorine content can bleach and dry your hair just like the sun. If you do go to the beach or the pool, just be sure to moisturize your hair before and after.
This one isn’t an option for everybody, but if possible, wear hats and other headgear sparingly. That includes man-bun and man-tail holders. Anything that rubs against your hair has the potential to cause breakage. If you have to wear headgear, apply a nourishing styling product first to provide some protection throughout the day and night.
The last step in your new haircare regimen is to enjoy your gorgeous, lengthy locks, your healthy high-and-tight, or whatever hairstyle you’ve chosen to suit your handsome face. With just a little bit of effort, you’ll have soft, good-looking hair that stands up to the demanding conditions you face every day.