Healthy, luscious locks are something we all aspire to, but achieving them can often feel like an uphill battle. With so many products and treatments available, it can be difficult to determine what will truly benefit your hair. Not to mention, with the constant exposure to heat styling tools, chemical treatments, and environmental factors, it’s no wonder our hair can sometimes feel lackluster.
So, how do you know if your hair is truly healthy? In this guide, we’ll share with you the signs of healthy hair, common mistakes to avoid, and tips for achieving your best hair yet.
Signs of Healthy Hair
Healthy hair has a shine and sheen. Wavy or straight hair reflects light well because the cuticle is flat. If the hair is porous or dry, it will lack shine. Coarse or curly hair may not have the same shine, but it should look healthy when freshly shampooed. Also, healthy hair has a soft and smooth texture. They feel smooth to the touch and are easy to comb or brush.
Another indication of your hair health is how firmly it is anchored to the scalp. Healthy hair will have a firm grip to the scalp and won’t be easily pulled or damaged. Strong roots will be able support hair with no signs of thinning or receding hairline. We will talk more about the relationship between scalp health and hair health later in the article.
Hair is elastic and should stretch without breaking. One way to determine the health of your hair is by performing an elasticity test. To do this, take a single strand of hair and gently pull it, like a rubber band. If the hair stretches and then returns to its original form, it’s considered healthy. But if it snaps, it means the hair is dehydrated and brittle, indicating a lack of moisture.
Causes of Unhealthy Hair
There are several causes of unhealthy or dehydrated hair, including a lack of nutrition, chemical exposure, and improper use of hair tools. If you are not taking in enough of essential nutrients like protein, iron, and vitamins, it can lead to brittle hair that is prone to breakage. Also, exposure to chemicals like hair dyes and relaxers can also negatively impact your hair health.
Regular use of heat styling tools like flat iron and blow dryers can also damage your hair. Finer hair is like a delicate fabric and requires less heat, while coarse hair needs a bit more heat to style. If your hair requires higher heat, make sure to prep it with moisturizers and leave-in protectants to protect it from damage.
Another factor that we would like to point out that causes unhealthy hair is stress. Chronic stress can affect your body’s ability to absorb nutrients, which then leads to unhealthy hair.
Your Scalp Health Reflects Your Hair Health
Another factor that affects hair health is the condition of your scalp. Health of your scalp is closely related to the health of your hair. If not maintained properly, an unhealthy scalp can lead to issues such as hair thinning, breakage, and even hair loss. One of the main reasons for that is blood flow. The scalp is rich in blood vessels that supply oxygen and nutrients to your hair follicles. A healthy scalp makes sure that blood flow is optimal to the hair follicles. One good way of making sure that your scalp stays healthy is shampooing, as it stimulates blood flow to the hair follicles, promoting hair health by providing essential nutrients.
Also, shampooing prevents product build up that can have a negative impact on hair health. To ensure your scalp is healthy and free of dandruff, make sure you’re cleansing your hair enough for your hair type. Some hair types can go a long time between shampooing, while others may need to be washed more frequently.
Be sure not to shampoo too much as it can wash away natural oils from your scalp that are essential for healthy hair. Consult an expert to determine how much shampooing is right for your hair type.
Common Mistakes in Hair Care
Many people want volume and weightless hair products, but using volumizing shampoo is not always the answer. If you have coarse hair, using volumizing shampoos may make your hair coarser and create a cycle of ‘frizz’.
Lorrene Conino, owner of a salon in Palatine, IL shares “I once had a guest at my salon with coarse hair who bought volumizing shampoo products just because their friend with fine hair loved it. It was a disaster for her hair; coarse hair needs moisture, so make sure to choose products that hydrate and nourish your hair.”
In conclusion, having healthy hair not only contributes to your physical appearance but also has an impact on your self-esteem and overall well-being. Healthy hair is characterized by its shine, smooth texture, and firm grip to the scalp. Performing an elasticity test can be a good way to quickly test your hair health.
Maintaining a healthy scalp is equally important for healthy hair as it provides essential nutrients and oxygen to the hair follicles. Factors such as a lack of nutrition, exposure to chemicals, and improper use of hair tools can lead to unhealthy hair. To maintain healthy hair, it is essential to choose hair products that suit your hair type and consult with an expert if needed. With proper care and attention, anyone can achieve healthy and beautiful hair.
(Images via Instagram).
Lorrene Conino is a hair expert and master stylist with over 40 years of experience in the trade. She is also a salon owner. Her salon, Salon Lorrene, was founded over 24 years ago and is currently a leading salon in Chicagoland. Lorrene is also involved in various legislative, scholarship, and philanthropy committees. She has been a board member of America’s Beauty Show (ABS)/Cosmetology Chicago for over 10 years and is currently serving as the vice president.