Our hair is one of the first things people notice about us, and having healthy, well-looked after tresses can really give a boost to the way we feel about ourselves. So its little wonder that people with damaged, thinning and weak hair often report that it has affected their self-confidence.
Sometimes it can even be a symptom of a medical condition. But if your hair is in a bad way, is there anything you can do to restore its strength and vitality, or do you have to rely on hairpieces and clip-in extensions to cheat the locks of your dreams?
What Causes Hair Problems?
There are many factors that can be responsible for conditions ranging from hair that is weak and refuses to grow to limp, oily locks to more severe cases of female hair loss. Some factors are genetic, handed down by a parent. Others are triggered by changes in hormones – pregnancy, puberty or menopause often seem to be times when people notice their hair ‘change’. Certain illnesses, an unhealthy lifestyle, medications or scalp infections can also be the cause, and there are also environmental factors such as chlorine damage, heating and pollution. Normal hair loss is about 100-150 hairs per day, but usually these are replaced as they shed. Hair is shed from the root, so if you notice it snapping up the length, this can be a sign of severe damage.
How To Restore Your Hair
Finding the right hairdresser who can recommend strengthening products is key. Switch to a sulphate-free shampoo and condition and a hair mask with amino acids, protein and strengthening qualities that are applied and left on once a week can help. Natural remedies such as argan oil and eggs can also make a big difference to your hair’s quality. You can enhance the effects of these by wrapping a shower cap or heated towel around hair after applying to help the product penetrate the follicle. Excessive products can be a bad thing though, so take care not to overload your hair. And make sure to avoid styling products that contain drying alcohol, that will damage and dry out locks further.
Limit Chemicals and Heat
Tempting as it may be, try to stay away from over-styling and processing your tresses. Repeat use of chemical treatments to dye, bleach, perm or straighten locks are going to damage the hair fibre and may cause permanent damage. If you must colour your hair, look into ammonia-free products, or natural alternatives such as henna hair dye. Try and let hair air-dry rather than using a blow dryer, as applying excessive heat to wet hair swells and damages the cuticle. Find products that work with the natural texture of your hair rather than heat-styling it, but if you must use that curler or straightening iron, make sure you apply a generous dose of heat protective spray first.
Switch Up Your Style
Changing how you wear your hair can give it a break from factors that may be causing damage – for example, if you wear ponytails or tight plaits, give hair a break by wearing it loose to avoid tension on the hair shaft. Similarly, if you wear it down but experience tangles and heat damage, try an updo the next day. A good detangling spray may help to prevent breakage caused by brushing out tangles too. Make sure to book in for regular trims to keep hair healthy and consider a supplement with Biotin or Silica to encourage strong, beautiful locks.