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How to Have a Good Hair Day: Taking Care of Your Hair

How to Have a Good Hair Day:
Taking Care of Your Hair

Summertime Hair Care
Tips for Happy, Healthy Hair
Hair Types and How to Care for Them How to Wash Your Hair

You hair has probably been on your mind as long as you can remember. How your hair looks sometimes feels like it can make or break your day. Taking care of your hair so you get the most good hair days is easy. It mostly takes common sense. The basics of good hair care are treat it gently, wash it regularly, and follow up with conditioner, if your hair needs one. Treating your hair gently will keep it healthy and looking great. Washing your hair regularly gets dirt, oils, and product gunk out of your hair. Conditioners smooth your hair and make it look shiny. Some conditioners add thickness to hair, but only until you wash it again. They also make your hair easier to comb and protect it a bit from hair dryers and curling irons. back to top

Summertime Hair Care
Your skin isn't the only thing you have to protect from the sun. Your hair needs protecting, too. Too much sun can dry out hair, making it brittle and easy to break. If you perm or color your hair, the sun can be double trouble since hair that's been chemically treated is dry to start out with. The sun can also fade colored hair or cause it to turn a color that you didn't expect. To keep your hair safe from the sun, keep it covered with a hat, or use hair products (shampoos, conditioners, gels, and mousse) that have filter out the sun's ultraviolet rays.

Salt water and chlorine from swimming pools can also damage and dry out hair. Before you take a dip, put conditioner in your hair (don't rinse it out, though) and then put on a swimcap. If that's not your style, rinse your hair well after swimming in a pool or in salt water. To get rid of chlorine, use a chlorine-removing shampoo. back to top

Tips for Happy, Healthy Hair
Follow these tips for healthy hair:
  • Forget the 100 strokes rules. Too much brushing can cause breaking and split ends.
  • Never brush your hair when it's wet. Untangle it with your fingers or gently comb through it with a wide-tooth comb.
  • Don't wear a ponytail every day. Pulling your hair back tightly in hairstyles like buns, corn rows, braids, and ponytails can damage hair. So give your hair a break. If you do pull it back, use covered elastics. They're less likely than rubberbands to break your hair.
  • Don't tease your hair. Teasing causes your hair to break and split ends to form.
  • Go natural and skip blow-drying whenever you can because it's harsh on hair. When you do blow-dry, hold the dryer a few inches away from your hair, use a low setting, and leave your hair a little damp.
  • If you use styling products like mousse and gel, use a clarifying shampoo once a week to remove build-up from the products.
  • Use a natural-bristle brush when you brush your hair. Synthetic bristles can hurt hair. Remember to brush it only when it's dry.
  • Wash your brushes and combs regularly to get rid of excess oil and old skin cells. Here's how: Remove hair from brushes and combs. Fill the sink with hot water and a squirt of shampoo and let soak. Rinse well and let air dry. back to top
Hair Types and How to Care for Them
Just like your skin, different types of hair need different treatment. Here are guidelines for caring for your hair. back to top

Dry Hair
Dry hair needs extra gentle care. When it comes to this hair type, the less washing the better. Washing every other day or every few days is great if you can manage it. When you do wash your hair, use a moisturizing shampoo and conditioner. Blow-drying and using curling irons can make hair even drier, so avoid them when you can.

Some African American hair is very curly and doesn't always look shiny. If your hair has tight curls and has been straightened a lot, it may be very dry and breakable. In that case, it may only need to be washed once or twice a week. For healthy hair, use a moisturizing conditioner after you shampoo.

Dry hair tip: Avoid shampoo-and-conditioner-in-one-formulas because they won't condition enough for your hair type. back to top

Fine Hair
Fine hair can be a drag—for real! It lies flat against your head like a limp strand of spaghetti. Styling products or heavy conditioners can easily weigh down fine hair, so it's a good idea to take it easy on these products—a little goes a long way! Fine hair looks best when it's washed frequently (usually every day) with a mild shampoo or one that adds body to hair. Use a light conditioner and apply it to your ends only, so that it won't weigh down your hair. There are also tons of volumizing hair products out there that can give fine hair a body boost. Experiment until you find one that works for you.

Fine Hair Tip: Spray a little volumizer at your roots and blow dry your hair upside down to give it a little extra lift. back to top

Normal Hair
Normal hair is easy to take care of. Wash it once a day or once every other day, as long as it doesn't look greasy or flat. Use a mild shampoo and finish with a conditioner created for normal hair. back to top

Oily Hair
Over-eager, oil-producing glands cause oily hair. The best way to deal with oily hair is to wash it daily with a mild shampoo. Avoid conditioning or moisturizing shampoos because they can weigh down your hair and make it more oily. Most people with oily hair don't need a conditioner, but if you do, use a super light one.

Oily hair tip: If you tend to break out, be careful about using styling products like gels, mousses, or hairsprays near your forehead. Many of them contain ingredients that can clog pores and lead to pimples. back to top

Permed, Straightened, or Colored Hair
Perming, straightening, and coloring your hair won't harm it, unless you do it too often. A good hairstylist will tell you how often is safe for your hair. If you do it yourself, don't perm or straighten your hair more than once every three months. Coloring can safely be done every 6 to 8 weeks or so. But these processes can make your hair more likely to break. Permanent waves and color can leave hair looking dull and rough. For best results, use shampoos and conditioners made for permed, colored, or chemically straightened hair.

Permed, Straightened, and Colored Hair Tip: Using the right products can lengthen the life of your perm or color. back to top

How to Wash Your Hair
  1. Wet hair with warm, not hot water.
  2. Squeeze a quarter-size amount of shampoo into your hand and massage into your scalp. Massage with your fingertips, not your nails.
  3. Start at your scalp and move out toward the ends of your hair.
  4. Rinse out all the suds well. One application of shampoo is usually enough.
  5. If you need conditioner, squeeze a dime-size amount (more if your hair is very long) into your hand. Apply to the ends of your hair. Leave in a minute or two, or as long as it says on the bottle.
  6. Rinse well. back to top
All hair types can get dandruff. Learn all about dandruff and how to treat it. back to top

Last Modified Date: 11/28/2000
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