After having been in the beauty industry for twenty years now, first a stylist and now salon owner, I’ve learned a some great basics to having healthy, shiny beautiful hair. It is true that a great piece of having great hair is genetic. That’s not to say that you can’t improve upon what you have. By following the quick tips below, I can confidently guarantee you improved luster, health and body if practiced consistently.
About four years ago, I opened my salon and wanted to really hone in on getting hair as healthy as possible with all of our service offerings. So that’s our point of difference at Byu-ti (pronounced beauty), we specialize in services, products and even have a custom-blended healthy hair system of treatments for our guests that we perform in-house much like a facial for the hair. All that said, you can absolutely take the health of your hair into your own hands and take a few simple actions to improve the quality of your God-given goods.
1. Eat a healthy diet – Yes, we hear this over and over again but there is real truth to it when it comes to your hair and here’s why. Those little glands attached to your follicle (the root in your scalp that your hair grows out of) produce a slippery, oil-like substance called sebum. They’re purpose it to lubricate our hair and skin to keep it supple. Sebum is comprised of fatty acids, cholesterol and triglycerides, which, come from you and the nutrients in your body. And just where do the nutrients in your body come from? You got it, the foods we eat. I have a real simple rule for keeping in great health. You’ve all heard of Super Foods, right? Super foods are basically foods that contain unusually high levels of two or more nutrients. Here are few examples: salmon, soy, quinoa, walnuts, blueberries, acai, broccoli, oats, and green tea. By adding two a day to your diet, you can ensure protection against disease, premature aging and diminished health. And of course, it will keep your skin and hair glowing with vital health from all the deposits of nutrients into your sebum.
2. Shampoo Less – Yes, I know this is a tough one for many. And for those of you that fought it for a long time and finally gave in, tell the rest of the folks reading this how it has really helped your hair. I’ve had many a client resist this one, only to thank me later and kick themselves for taking so long to make the shift. After reading the previous tip, you can see the benefits to allowing those yummy sebaceous deposits to sit on your hair just a little longer. They will hydrate, nourish and keep your hair supple and healthy. I’m sure you’ve heard of a hot oil treatment. Well, allowing the natural sebum from your scalp to penetrate the hair shaft, you are giving yourself a hot oil treatment on a daily basis!
Another great reason to shampoo less, especially for all of you that have fine hair or an oily scalp, is that as we wash away the sebum, sending the sebaceous glands into a state of panic to produce more. You got it, so they overwork themselves to make up for the shampoo that you just used. Thus, perpetuating the very problem! When first making the shift to shampooing less, I always suggest allowing a two-week window for the glands to slow down and get balanced out again. Also, cut back on caffeine if the oils seem to keep on overdrive. After you two-weeks, you should be in good shape to shampoo every other day to every third day depending on the thickness of your hair. Finer hair more often, thicker hair less often.
3. Keep regular hair appointments – Yes, I’m a stylist and salon owner and could benefit from you coming in to my place of business more frequently but that is not at all where I’m coming from on this one. It’s very simple; your hair grows about a ½ inch a month. If your hair is in good health and you want to maintain the look you have, come in every 4 – 6 weeks for a trim. Take off the ½ inch that is new growth. If you are growing it, come in every 6 – 8 weeks and we’ll take off a ¼ – 1/8 of your ends to keep them blunt and strong. Just imagine wearing the same blouse every day for two years (the average life span of a piece of hair). Now, wash it a few times a week and sleep in it and put metal clips on it and rubber bands. What would happen to your blouse? It’d get pretty beat up, right? It always amazes me when I have a client that I see every 4 – 6 months and she wants to grow her hair and asks me to take off just a ½ inch. I internally role my eyes and have this conversation with them:
You really need about two inches cut off because of the ends that are splitting and breaking. I know you want to grow your hair but the ends will not grow down because they are splitting up so your hair will actually stay where it is or get shorter with time.
Now if she would have just come in on a six-week cycle, her hair would be looking great and have actually grown a whole bunch. Make sense. See? We’re telling the truth when we ask you to book before you go or come back in six-weeks.
4. Masque once a week – We’ve already been through the shampooing aspect and one thing I neglected to mention was to condition with every wash. So, every time you wash your hair, use conditioner. If you have an oily scalp, just apply it to the mid-shaft to ends. I’d like to add one more product to your routine. It’s called a hair masque or reparative masque or whatever your specific brand chooses to call it. The difference between a masque and your conditioner is like regular food compared to super foods. It’s packed with extra nutrients and often has a thicker, heavier consistency. It is definitely a trend in hair care lines these days but don’t worry, it’s here to stay because it works. I really like the balancing effect that using a daily conditioner (which embodies a certain group of nutrients) and a once a week masque (which has a whole different grouping of nutrients) has on the hair. It’s like your feeding your hair a variety of vitamins so it’s never getting used to any one set of ingredients. We’ve all had that happen right? We’re using our favorite conditioner for a while and then, it just seems to stop working. The reason is that your hair is full on those nutrients and needs new ones. But once you switch to the new product, the same thing happens over time. So, ask your stylist to recommend the right product for your hair’s needs.
That get’s all the basics taken care of and really, all self-care does boil down to basics practiced over long periods of time. Make a religion about the above four steps and your hair will be shiny, healthy and beautiful just as you knew it always could be.