Taking care of your hair is right up there with other basics like bathing and clipping your nails. There are certain things that you do to make sure that you’re not all unkempt and smelly. Hey, it’s the little things in life. But some of these things can be overdone – especially when it comes to your hair, and it can be detrimental to the health of your precious tresses. But what are they and what exactly is the limit?
One very ordinary act that can easily be overdone is brushing. Using the right tool to brush your hair is great. It keeps those dreaded fairy knots at bay and stimulates the scalp to produce sebum – a natural oil that helps keep hair healthy, but whether you’re using a Denman or a Goody, nonstop brushing can cause split ends and hair loss. The repetitive motion can weaken strands, which is the last thing that you want. Black hair is already pretty fragile, so stressing it with constant pressure will eventually cause it to snap. If you feel the need to brush more often than not, a nice alternative is finger detangling – that way it’s easy to detect any tangles without any unnecessary ripping.
Protective styling is another wonderful way of maintaining hair, especially for those trying to retain length. The ends of the hair are the oldest, thus making them the most susceptible to breakage. Protective styling hides the ends from the environment, harsh elements and keeps hair from rubbing against objects that may rip or snag it (cotton pillows for instance). There are plenty of cute choices including twists, buns, braids and weaves. The damage can still be done though if the style is switched up for work every day, your best friends birthday party this weekend and that job interview next week. Repeatedly taking the hair down and manipulating it into another fashion can make strands brittle and weak from over stimulation, tugging and pulling, causing breakage in the end. The idea is to pick something that will last awhile (or at least a few days) and give you and your hair a much needed rest from styling.
We all love to saturate hair with a nice deep conditioner and get it back to a healthy state via protein, moisture or both. This is great to do with either a homemade or store-bought conditioner. Of course the texture of your hair, any chemical straighteners or color will determine the individual frequency for conditioning, but the standard rule of thumb is once a week for infusing strands with moisture, while protein treatments used to strengthen hair should be done even less often. If you push it, you may be in jeopardy of damaging your tresses. Over hydrating hair can result in stringy, soft strands that will be very pliable. Too much protein will have the opposite effect and cause hair to become stiff and brittle. Unfortunately, these both have the same end result – broken pieces.
Hair butters, creams and even some products that give hair hold like flaxseed gel can have good ingredients and help set a killer style, but an over abundance or not washing them out after the fact can have an ill effect on even the healthiest of heads. Applying too much can make hair stringy, greasy and not exactly something you or anyone else would want to run fingers through. To avoid this, try testing a new product on a small patch of hair to get an idea for the consistency, then feel free to apply all over, starting with a little and adding more as needed. Using too much can also negatively affect the scalp if not cleansed thoroughly on a regular basis. This can cause build-up, which traps dirt and makes it hard for nutrients to reach strands. A good clarifying shampoo or apple cider vinegar treatment should do the trick.
Speaking of washing hair, it can be beneficial for the hair and scalp, but if done in excess your mane can become incredibly dry (red, frizzy and broken). Use of shampoos with sulfates can only dramatically increase this problem since some of these detergents are known to strip hair of moisture. Many people have turned to co-washing which is using only conditioner to cleanse the hair, but some can’t live without the squeaky clean feeling. If you fall into the latter category, once a week with a sulfate-free shampoo such as DermOrganic Conditioning Shampoo will get the job done.
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