We think your locks deserve the same pamper factor as your face, so here’s how to create the equivalent to a skincare regime for your tresses…
Rotate your products.Apply the same rotation principle to your hair as you do to skin and rotate active ingredients for best effect. A good balance is generally to rely on a shampoo and conditioner with a moisturising formula to replenish elasticity, and then apply a protein-based deep conditioning mask weekly (or twice weekly for more damaged hair) to restore strength to the cuticle. Overuse of protein-based products can make hair brittle, so it's important to find the right balance for your hair's needs.
Choose your cleanser wisely.Your scalp is skin and therefore benefits from thorough - but gentle - cleansing in the same way as your face does. If you have sensitive skin you may want to choose a clean rinsing formulation since residue on the scalp can cause irritation. Those with dry skin can benefit from moisturising ingredients that help to alleviate dryness and prevent a tight, itchy feeling after shampooing. If you have oily skin, your scalp can also be oilier and a shampoo that has a robust lather can be the best fit to remove the natural oils more thoroughly with each wash.
Guard against heat. Heat protection is absolutely essential before the use of hairdryers, curling irons, or flat irons. Heat styling damages hair irreparably over time, and heat protectant is your best defence. Be sure that the heat protectant gives a temperature rating since some will not give sufficient thermal protection for contact with hot tools.
Switch out for silicone.Heavy silicones can not only weigh down the hair, but can also cause skin problems such as "pomade acne" by clogging pores around the hairline. Lightweight silicones, such as those used in skincare, are a better choice to seal out humidity for frizz fighting. To infuse with moisture, look for the same oils you’d find in skincare as silicones form a barrier but don't truly add moisture.
UV protection is a must.Sun damage affects skin as much as it does hair, causing hair to become brittle and dry, while also fading colour and dulling shine. Look for products that mention UV protection on the label, especially before lying in the intense sun for extended periods of time (although daily exposure adds up too!).
Mask intense.When hair is in need of major moisture, sleeping in a generous application of moisturising oil, much as you might sleep in a moisturising mask for your skin, makes a big difference. Also, anticipate when your hair will become dried out (from salt water exposure, hair colouring, long flights in dry air, etc.), and both pre-treat and post-treat with oil; preventing damage is easier than reversing it.
Learn the lingo. Hydrating refers to water and moisturising refers to oil. Lotion products are a mix of water and oil and so will give you both hydration and moisture, whereas an oil-based product imparts only moisture.
Perfect the blowdry.It's best for your hair if you use the lowest heat possible on the most damaged parts of your hair. If you're in a hurry, you can give a quick blast to the roots with hot air, but you should try to spare lengths and ends if they are damaged. As for concentrator nozzles, if they are very narrow, they can almost turn the hairdryer into a flat iron by focusing the heat into a small area.
Invest in the right brush. When hair is wet, try to use a brush that has very flexible bristles (like a Tangle Teezer) and make sure you use it only where needed since the cuticle is vulnerable when wet and can be prone to breakage. Rough drying the hair 90% and then reserving a natural (or mainly natural) bristle brush for the final smoothing is best to prevent damage to the cuticle from over brushing.
Best advice for split ends. Once split ends have appeared, deep-conditioning masks and moisturising oils are helpful for repair, but the best fix is a good trim. This will prevent the split ends from continuing to advance. When patients come in with damaged hair, I often advise a haircut as a part of the treatment plan since it will help hair to grow by minimising breakage of the areas that are irreversibly damaged. Since hair is not comprised of living cells as skin is, its condition can be improved, but if it is severely damaged the condition can't be fully regenerated.
Avoid alcohol.Curly hair benefits from staying well moisturised, so avoid products that are high in alcohol content as it will dry out the hair and promote frizz and brittleness.
Give your hair a treat.A haircare regimen that services your hair’s need is of paramount importance and should include cleansing, moisturising, treating, and protecting.
Dr Noelle S. Sherber, M.D., F.A.A.D