No matter how we decide to style, wash, color or cut our hair, it endures a variety of damaging irritants on a daily basis.
Some of these impurities are packaged in the form of beauty products; some are incorporated into the manufactured foods we eat, and others are simply the result of the environment and sun exposure.
Although hair fibers are mostly composed of hard keratins known to strengthen follicle cells, these durable proteins can be broken down over long periods of time.
With so many preventative hair restoration serums and regimens advertised on TV and in magazines, trying to come up with the perfect routine can be pretty frustrating -- not to mention, expensive.
So, instead of pulling your hair out while determining the best strategy for protecting it, here are some simple, cost-efficient ideas for naturally and safely improving the quality of your hair:
1. Study labels.
Most of us think soapy bubbles are a good indication of a deep cleaning in process, but looks can be misleading.
In fact, most of the suds shampoos and conditioners create contain sulfates, which severely dehydrate and irritate the scalp.
Aside from avoiding sulfates, here are some positive ingredients and production styles you should look for while reviewing labels: non-GMO, sulfate-, surfactant- and paraben-free, vegan, eco-friendly, sustainable packaging and cruelty-free.
2. Always use low heat.
When drying your hair, always try to use a low heat. Although it’s timelier, high heat can burn strands, dry out hair follicles and cause unwanted frizz.
Try testing the heat intensity of you dryer beforehand by gently blowing the air on your hands or forearms.
If it burns, chances are the temperature is way too hot! After all, you’re trying to dry your hair, not fry it!
3. Stay hydrated.
Drinking plenty of water is one of the easiest ways to replenish the fluids our bodies use throughout the day.
In addition to maintaining internal hydration, massaging your roots with a variety of consumable and essential oils is a quick treatment that can boost the scalp’s ability to retain moisture and prevent dandruff.
Most of these ingredients can be purchased at your local market or health food store, and they have fantastic shelf lives with no preservatives or expiration dates.
4. Consider a detox.
Structured nutrient cleanses not only aid in body purification, but also have positive effects on natural hair restoration.
Homemade detoxification applications are ideal for replenishing our hair and eliminating residues or harsh chemicals.
Try out lemon water (with equal parts lemon juice and water) or tomato juice (with equal parts tomato liquid and water).
The naturally occurring acids in both of these liquids safely break down accumulated buildup from alternative hair products.
A quick rinse once a week (or every other week) should do the trick.
5. Be aware of nutrition.
Most of us are familiar with the saying, “You are what you eat," so it should come as no surprise we can fortify the strength of our hair follicles with food. Here are some of the best options:
1. Walnuts are rich in biotin and vitamin E, which help protect our cells from sun damage. Walnuts also contain copper, a mineral utilized for hair color maintenance.
2. Salmon contains a significant amount of omega-3 fatty acids, which the body requires to grow hair and sustain hydration.
3. Sweet potatoes are high in beta-carotene, which the body turns into vitamin A. Vitamin A helps the body produce natural oils to sustain moisture in the scalp and to prevent itching and dandruff.
4. Berries are loaded with antioxidants, which promote a variety of restorative properties.
5. Specifically, blueberries contain the most vitamin C, which supports the circulation within blood vessels that directly feed hair follicles.
6. Aronia berries are completely packed with polyphenols, which increase circulation and help reduce irritation.
Additionally, almonds are well known for containing large amounts of magnesium, a mineral vital for hair strength and sustained growth.