9 Essentials for Optimal Hair Health

9 Essentials for Optimal Hair Health 1

We understand now, more than ever, how important it is to have a good hair health routine at home. We can’t always get to the salon, so the aim of this post is to empower and equip you with the know how to take care of your hair between appointments. I've compiled a list of 9 essential things you need for optimal hair health.
We will discuss in detail what to do to ensure our hair will grow as strong and healthy as possible. We also cover what products are best and what equipment will do the least damage when heat styling. Let us examine what hair health really is, and how it can be achieved in a sustainable way, from the inside out.

1. Eat a healthy, balanced diet

A balanced diet is essential as our hair needs nutrients to grow and thrive. For optimal health we should eat a lot of vegetables and fruit, proteins, healthy grains and carbohydrates. Some of the best foods for our hair health are:

  • Fish containing healthy omega-3 fatty acids such as salmon or mackerel
  • Greek yoghurt which contains vitamin B5
  • Dark leafy greens which are packed with iron
  • Cinnamon which helps with blood flow
  • Eggs contain biotin which is very good for hair and nail strength

2. Take any necessary supplements 

If we are lacking any vitamins, this can greatly affect our hair. For instance, iron deficiency (or anaemia) can cause brittle hair or hair loss. This can be resolved fairly easily by adjusting your diet and taking supplements if necessary. Pregnancy can greatly affect our vitamin levels, I discuss hair and pregnancy in more detail here.

Biotin, or vitamin B7, is a great supplement to consider taking for hair health. This vitamin is very good for hair and nail strength. There are some great shampoos containing biotin on the market, these help with stimulating hair growth.
If you are unsure about your vitamin levels or suspect you may be lacking in certain vitamins, a simple blood test through your GP will give you all the information you need.

3. Invest in a filter for your shower

9 Essentials for Optimal Hair Health 2Hard water causes mineral build up on our hair and skin. This can make our hair brittle and even cause hair loss. A hard water shower filter will prevent mineral build up. You might be surprised at the difference this can make in your hair health, it can ensure more lively hair, a healthier scalp and your hair will stay cleaner for longer.
If you have a dry flaky scalp, hard water could be the cause but it could also be dandruff or dry scalp.

4. Use a Silk Pillowcase

A silk pillow case is great for our hair health for a few reasons. Firstly, the fabric is less absorbent than cotton and will not soak up the natural oils our hair (and skin) produce, leaving us dry and brittle.

It is also much softer so the hair slides easily across the pillow, ensuring less frizz and knottiness. The less knotty your hair is, the easier it is to avoid vigorous brushing, excess damage and split ends.

5. Avoid vigorous brushing, especially on wet hair

Vigorous brushing, especially when our hair is wet, is extremely damaging to our hair and can cause irreparable split ends and breakage. When our hair is wet, it is best to gently comb from the bottom up, using either a wide tooth comb or a wet brush.

If your hair is usually very knotty, I would advise brushing your hair gently before the shower when your hair is dry which will prevent excess knottiness after shampooing. A good leave in conditioner / detangler will make brushing easier. For extremely knotty hair, it is possible to gently comb your hair in the shower with conditioner in your hair. Gently rinse your hair after so as to avoid further knottiness. A microfibre towel is the most gentle towel for your hair and the extra absorbency cuts down your blowdrying time.

6. Make sure you are using the correct shampoo and conditioner for your hair type

This one might seem obvious but there are so many of us who are experiencing issues such as excess dryness or oiliness, itchy scalp or limp hair and the issue is simply that the shampoo and conditioner are not the right ones for your hair.

When selecting the correct product, it is important to assess our hair thoroughly and ask the following questions:

  • How frequently do you shampoo? I do not recommend daily shampooing as it can strip our hair of it’s natural oils, but if you do shampoo more frequently you will need a lighter product.
  • Is your hair chemically treated? If your hair has been lifted with bleach you might need a more intensive conditioner. Is your scalp oily? Dry?

It is important to note that our scalp doesn’t always need the same product as our ends, so if you have dry ends and an oily scalp you can just condition your mid lengths and ends.

I advise using SLS free and paraben free shampoo and conditioner. They will always be more gentle on your hair. It is important to me that the products I use are sustainable and organic with natural ingredients,  so I recommend product lines such as O-WAY.

7. Avoid heat styling when possible, be sure to use a heat protector

Heat styling is one of the worst culprits when it comes to compromising our hair health. It is essential that if we do regularly heat style, that we use the necessary protective products such as heat protector. One should aim to use direct heat as little as possible. For this reason the microfibre towel recommended is very useful because it is much more absorbent. When possible, it is advisable to let your hair air dry naturally up to 80% before applying direct heat to minimise contact.

8. Invest in high quality equipment for heat styling

The equipment you use is vital to maintaining hair health. A good hair dryer is an investment that will always pay off. It is important to look for a dryer with a high speed and good heat control. Many low standard hairdryers are low speed and high heat, which means they will burn your hair before drying it properly. The Parlux 3200 is a favourite amongst professionals because it is powerful and light (less than 500g). When it comes to flat irons, the GHD is a favourite. One should look for a ceramic plate and good heat control. Ceramic is preferred because it heats up fast, doesn't get too hot and has even heat distribution. 

9. Before you leave the house, remember your UV protection

We have by now understood the negative effects the sun can have on our skin and we (hopefully!) always use UV protection on our face. It is vital to protect our hair from UV rays too, as over exposure can cause protein loss and colour changes, broken or split ends and frizziness. The bright blonde sun lightening mist is formulated to illuminate highlights while imparting weightless moisture and UV protection for your hair.
In conclusion, hair health is a daily investment of time and care. It becomes second nature once good habits are put in place, so when better to start than now?

Article by Amanda Liebenthal (Instagram: @amandajamidoeshair )