There are blogs all over the internet giving advice on how to care for your hair. They make promises of long luxurious locks just like theirs. They name products and have you believing that you too can have hair like them. Unfortunately, itâ€™s easier than that and also not as easy as that.
What we need to start off with are the 3 basics of all Hair & Scalp Care: internal health & genetics, external care of the hair and environmental factors. You may not believe they are are related but they definitely are. Hair grows from beneath the skin in the hair bulb. The actual hair shaft then emerges out from the scalp and while its no longer living, it does need maintenance.
With regards to genetics, you have the hair you are born with. If you were born with fine hair with a low density amount, you cannot have thick hair with high density. Genetics also plays a major part in hair issues you may encounter in the future. When the hair is forming in the bulb, it depends entirely on the blood supply given to it. This is where drinking plenty of water, vitamins and nutrients play a role. Exercising is also important because it becomes oxygen enriched and allows the blood to travel at a more excessive rate than being sedentary.
Environmental factors can also affect how your hair looks. Do you roast your hair in the sun? Smoke? Drink excessive alcohol? Well water, filled with harsh minerals can make your hair feel rough and unmanageable. Having surgery and being under anesthesia can also have an impact on hair growth and appearance. Lets not forget medication and recreational drugs.
Now letâ€™s talk External Care of the Hair and Scalp. Everything we do and put on our hair and scalp can affect its integrity and appearance. Two things need to be considered: What am I using/doing to my hair? and What am I physically doing to maintain it? The hair is made up of 3 layers. The 1st layer is the Cuticle. It acts as the â€œsecurity guardâ€ of the hair. If a product is given permission to enter, it will be allowed. Otherwise, the â€œguardâ€ will make it Â â€œwait outsideâ€. The Cortex layer is â€œthe Bossâ€ of the hair. Here, chemical processes occur and break the bonds in the hair that will either change its texture or its color.
The idea is trying to maintain the integrity of the Cuticle at all times and if the Cortex bonds are permanently changed, what do you need to do now? This is where the pH scale is introduced. Everything that contains water has a pH rating. It ranges from 0 to 14. Â An item is considered acidic if it falls below 7 on the scale and alkali if over 7. Seven is water and considered neutral. Â Hair and Skin generally fall around 4.5 to 5.5, making it slightly acidic. Any item applied to the hair that is alkali swells the cuticle, allowing the chemical to penetrate into the cortex layer. Adversely, any item applied to the hair that is acidic closes the cuticle. Hair products that are extremely high or low on the pH scale can have adverse affects on both skin and hair and be left seriously damaged. Once damage is done to the cuticle layer of the hair, it cannot be repaired. Intense salon treatments are needed to manage the hair and keep the remaining health of the Cuticle intact.
No one thinks of how important daily care of hair and scalp really is. It is essential to ensure that the hair is healthy and growing at its optimal rate. Just as it important to brush your teeth regularly or wash our bodies, so it is with our scalp and hair. Â If the hair and scalp are not cleaned on a regular basis, it is very possible to catch an infection or other nuance like fungus or bacterial growth. The scalp needs to be exfoliated of dirt, hair care products, built up natural oils and dead skin cells. Â If you have a skin/scalp condition like dandruff, psoriasis or eczema , itâ€™s even more important to have a consistent plan to deal with the condition.
It is simply a matter of trial and error to find the right products for your hair type and/or issues. A product that works for your girlfriend may not necessarily work for you. Consider your hair type, what chemicals are present in your hair and what issues you may be having. Someone with very fine hair who also has color in her hair may need a light moisturizing shampoo and conditioner for color-treated hair. Someone with very coarse curly hair may need a rich concentrated shampoo and conditioner with heavy emollients, followed by styling products to help detangle and define the curls. If you have a scalp condition, medicated shampoos are needed. It may need to go beyond that by seeking medical advice of a dermatologist.