A hair care routine is just as crucial as a skin care routine to ensure that your hair stays nourished, frizz-free, and strong. Paying attention to your hair and having a routine in place will help address your problem areas.
A perfect hair care routine includes several steps to follow throughout the week such as oiling, washing, and protecting.
Ideal Hair Care Routine for a Week
- Applying hair masks
- Following a hair-friendly diet
The first step in a hair care routine is oiling your hair. In the Indian culture, the tradition of oiling the hair has been passed down from generation to generation.
This practice provides many benefits such as softening and moisturizing the hair, strengthening of the roots, controlling fungi, and photoprotection, among others, depending on the type of oil you choose. (1)
Massaging the scalp with oil has been scientifically proven to promote blood circulation to the hair follicles, resulting in healthy and thick hair growth. (2)
Popular oils to use for the hair
Massaging the scalp with oil helps to nourish and hydrate the hair. Oiling dry and brittle hair can make it softer and easier to manage.
How to oil your hair:
The process of hair oiling involves first combing the hair out to remove knots, then oiling from the roots to the tips of the hair, and lastly tying a loose braid before shampooing. (1)
To oil your hair effectively, you can warm up the oil of your choice, apply it to the scalp and hair, and massage it for 10–15 minutes in circular motions. Leave it on for at least an hour, so the oil penetrates well into the scalp.
To have healthy and luscious strands, you must wash and clean your scalp regularly to keep it clean and disease-free. When you don’t wash your hair regularly, the oil produced by the sebaceous glands accumulates on the scalp and builds up, attracting bacteria and fungus.
Shampoo your hair regularly to remove dead cells and debris that may hinder the hair from growing and cause hair loss and balding. (8)
It is essential to use an effective natural-ingredients-based shampoo that will clean your scalp well without harming the hair. For example, you can use a coconut-onion shampoo to wash and nourish your hair as coconut keeps the skin free of bacteria and fungus (9) and onion stimulates hair to grow. (5)
Tips for washing your hair with shampoo:
- Don’t rub the shampoo roughly into your scalp as your nails may cause injury. Instead, use your fingertips to gently massage the shampoo.
- Avoid using shampoos that contain sulfates, parabens, phthalates, toluene, fragrances, etc., as they may contain endocrine-disrupting chemicals and thus are harmful to the body. (10)
Many people skip the all-important step of using hair conditioner, thinking it is unimportant as they have shampooed their hair. The purpose of shampooing is to cleanse and remove the buildup on the scalp, but in the process, the hair might be stripped of its moisture.
Thus, it is necessary to use a conditioner to replenish the lost moisture, protect the hair, and make it easy to comb out. (11)
When applying conditioner, take care that you don’t use it on the scalp but only on the hair, as that can clog the pores. Keep the conditioner on the hair for about 3–5 minutes before washing it off so that the product is well absorbed by the hair.
Benefits of using a conditioner:
- Reduces frizz
- Detangles the hair
- Restores lost moisture and prevents damage (11)
After washing your hair with shampoo and conditioner and letting it dry, you will need to keep it hydrated and nourished with another product. Hair serums and leave-in conditioners help lock in the hair’s moisture and don’t need to be washed off.
When your hair is dry and free from any other product, adding a hair serum or leave-in conditioner will strengthen it, remove frizz, and help detangle the hair better.
A research study was conducted on the efficiency of a herbal hair serum containing amla, coconut, sandalwood, selenium, etc., and found that it helped in hair growth and reduction in hair loss. (12)
This step in the hair care routine will benefit those with curly hair that tends to be dry and brittle. Be careful never to apply moisturizing products to your scalp, as they can cause a buildup and create an environment for bacteria and fungus to thrive.
Difference between hair serums and leave-in conditioners
Hair serums are formulated with active ingredients to protect and control frizz, and they can reach the hair shaft and protect it from the harmful UV rays and pollution.
A leave-in conditioner is an excellent product for those with curly hair as it adds extra moisture to the strands and helps in the detangling process. (13)
Brushing your hair is a crucial step to detangle the hair from any knots that may have been created during the washing process. Never brush your hair when wet, but wait till it is dry to start the process of detangling.
Brushing your hair after applying a leave-in conditioner or hair serum helps spread the product throughout the length of the hair. Choose to brush your hair with a wide-toothed comb to avoid breakage and harm to your scalp. (13)
How to brush your hair the correct way:
- Use your fingers to detangle the hair from clumps or knots.
- Comb your hair starting from the lower parts to detangle it.
- Then, brush from the roots downward.
If you use hair straighteners, curling irons, hair dryers, and more to style your hair, you must use a heat protection spray to protect your hair from the excessive heat of these tools. (14)
The heat can damage your hair structure and cause breakage, hair loss, and split ends.
Once your hair has been protected with a heat protection spray, you can go all out and style your hair according to the occasion. But make sure to avoid tight hairstyles, hair extensions, cornrows, dreadlocks, and the like to avoid hair fall and breakage. (15)
8. Applying hair masks
There are a lot of DIY homemade hair masks that you can make using common kitchen ingredients to promote strong and healthy hair. You can also purchase them from the shops and apply them to your hair.
Hair masks are made from various ingredients such as onion juice, (5) curry leaves, (6) coconut oil, and fenugreek, to name a few. (1) These hair masks can improve hair growth, eliminate dandruff, combat hair loss, and add luster to your hair strands.
9. Exfoliating the scalp
Just like exfoliation on the face helps to get rid of clogging in the pores, blackheads, dirt, debris, etc., and reveals fresh and new skin, regular scalp exfoliation can lead to better hair growth and health as it involves massaging the skin, which stimulates the hair follicles and promotes blood circulation to the scalp. (2)
You can exfoliate with homemade exfoliating ingredients from your kitchen or buy a scalp exfoliation pack.
10. Following a hair-friendly diet
One reason your hair doesn’t look healthy and robust is a diet deficient in hair-friendly nutrients.
- Vitamin A
- B vitamins
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin D
- Vitamin E
- Omega-3 fatty acids
You can consult your doctor whether to take supplements for an extra boost of nutrients.
To keep your hair and scalp in the best condition, you must follow an ideal hair care routine, from adequately washing and moisturizing your hair to detangling, combing, and looking after it by oiling, applying hair masks, and exfoliating.
Without these steps, your hair will lack luster and will look thin and dull.
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