I'm in love with this photo! Go Solange! [source]
Battling issues with dry hair can really be a pain. It can be hard to achieve your favorite hair styles, lead to breakage, and just plain frustration. Before completely scrapping your hair products and shelling out big bucks for new additions to replace old favorites, check out this dry hair checklist and see if there are any changes you can make to your hair regimen.
(1) Take A Look At Your Shampoo Regimen: How often do you clarify your hair? A lot of times our favorite shampoo's are formulated to gently cleanse, and moisturize the hair. Most shampoo's labeled "mositurizing" are not formulated to remove heavy product and mineral buildup [mineral buildup can come from the use of tap water]. If you use styling products that contain silicone's and they aren't water soluble [and most aren't], it is recommended that you clarify at least twice monthly. Silicone's are notorious for sealing the hair shaft thus preventing moisture and other nutrients from permeating the follicles.
What this means:
If you use products that are heavy on cone's, you may notice your moisturizing products don't work as well as they used to. Your hair may "feel" moisturized upon distributing the product, but as it dries it begins to feel hard, brittle, and dry.
Check the ingredients on the back of your products [shampoo's, conditioners, and styler's], and look for these ingredients: Cyclomethicone, Dimethicone, Amodimehticone, Dimethiconol, Phenyl Trimethicone, as these are all silicone's that are NOT water soluble [water soluble cones are: Dimethicone Copolyl, PEG Modified Dimethicone]. If you use these non-water soluble silicone's it is best to clarify your hair every two weeks with your favorite clarifying shampoo [Lanza Daily Clarifyer, and Neutrogena Anti Residue Shampoo are two of my favorite clarifier's] and follow up with your normal moisturizing shampoo to replenish the moisture, as well as restore the PH level of your hair.
Tip: Try to avoid hair polishers and serums, as a lot of the polishers and serums on the market today are comprised mostly of silicone's. Instead, opt for natural alternatives to increase sheen. Click here to read my post on natural alternatives to shine serums, and hair polishers.
(2) Take A Look At Your Moisturizing Regimen: What are you using to moisturize your hair? In what order are you using these products? Did you know that the molecules in most oils are too big to permeate the hair shaft? What this means is that most of the oils you use on your hair, are not capable of moisturizing it. Instead they seal the hair shaft acting as a barrier to trap moisture in, and protect the hair.
What This Means:
If you apply any type of oil prior to your conditioner, or moisturizer, it is possible that these products are unable to permeate the hair shaft because of the oil barrier. Your hair may feel moisturized initially, but the feeling quickly turns into a dull, dry, hard, greasy mass of hair after just a few hours.
Make sure you always apply your water-based moisturizer/conditioner prior to applying your oil-based products. For instance, apply conditioner to freshly shampooed hair, then your oil-based product to seal in the moisture, and add additional sheen. Some of my favorite water-based moisturizers are:
Here are a few of my favorite water based hair creams [these can act as stylers that double as moisturizers]:
(3) Shampoo In The Mirror: Often product buildup can occur from improper shampooing techniques. The crown, and areas a few inches behind the temples are often overlooked when shampooing, and those areas usually have the most buildup.
Make sure you focus on cleansing your scalp, using your fingertips to gently exfoliate dead skin cells, and cleanse your scalp of water-soluble product buildup. Opt for shampooing in sections of four, as this makes getting the hair cleaner much easier than tackling your entire mane at once. I find that shampooing in the mirror helps, as I usually finger-part and inspect the roots of my hair looking for any areas that are sticky, or covered in film.
Other issues that can cause dry hair:
Porosity - Usually caused by chemical treatments, as well as improper thermal practices. When the hair is overly porous, it is filled with holes along the hair shaft, in which the moisture escapes. - Click here to read my post on porosity.
Mineral Buildup - This is a problem I experienced early on in my hair journey. I have very hard water which left mineral deposits on my hair. The mineral deposits also can act the same way as silicone's in that they create a barrier along the hair shaft which keeps moisture out! In order to combat issues with mineral buildup, clarify twice weekly, or implement a weekly Apple Cider Vinegar rinse in your hair care regimen. The Apple Cider Vinegar acts as a gentle clarifier to remove product buildup, as well as mineral buildup.
Here's the mixture for the rinse:
2 Tablespoons of Apple Cider Vinegar [found in the vinegar section of your local supermarket] mixed with 2 cups of Spring Water. Rinse out your conditioner as usual, then pour this mixture over your head, and gently towel dry. It may have a slight odor [due to the vinegar], but it will dissipate over time.
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