An effective hair-care routine involves cleansing, toning and conditioning, carried out regularly. An important aspect of effective care is the use of proper hair-care products. Different types of hair need different hair-care products. The use of wrong products is harmful to the hair. After cleansing, the scalp and hair need toning exercise.The toning of scalp and hair is achieved by gently massaging the head. This helps in stimulating and invigorating the blood circulation required for the healthy growth of hair. Brushing the hair regularly is important for two main reasons:
- To free it of dust, dead cells and tangles
- To stimulate the scalp.
A brush which has bristles with rounded tips is best, since it is less likely to scratch the scalp or tear and split the hair. Also the best brush has boar and nylon bristles - the boar bristles carry oil and help moisturize hair, while the nylon ones gently exfoliates the scalp. The key to a good stroke is in brushing the hair from nape of the neck towards the crown of the head.
The most important part of hair-care is conditioning. It is a restorative routine. If the hair is excessively stripped of moisture or oil due to harsh cleansing, sun or application of harsh chemicals such as perm lotions, etc., the conditioning routine aims at restoring and correcting the imbalance. Conditioning products are especially useful for long hair, where the overlapping scales which cover the outer layer of hair often get roughed up as it grows. Usually, dry hair should be conditioned once a week, normal hair once a fortnight and oily hair not more than once a month. All conditioners are mainly a combination of oils or waxes, detergents and emulsifiers, with optional extra ingredients, often incorporating herbal extracts with gentle plant and vegetable oils and essences.
It is important to dry the hair correctly and in a natural way. It can be easily damaged when wet. The head should be wrapped in a clean towel for a few minutes to remove excess moisture. Rubbing with the towel should be avoided. For wet hair a comb is preferable as brushing may stretch and tear the hair. The best way to dry hair naturally is finger drying. In case of a hair dryer, always use it on the coolest setting, since heat dries out the hair. Over drying does the most damage, so avoid holding the dryer over one area for too long, stop drying hair a little before it feels completely dry and avoid using attachments like nozzles as they concentrate the heat too much. Lemon juice after rinsing acts as a natural setting lotion.
Hair can be damaged by over-exposure to the sun. The sun dries the hair, makes it dull, causes breakage and frays the ends. Hair damaged by the sun is weak and unhealthy. Hence, it is important to protect the hair from the sun by covering it with a scarf etc.
Choose shampoo according to your hair type. For example, use a rich shampoo with conditioner and moisturizer for dry hair, a mild shampoo with conditioner for normal hair, a mild shampoo with adequate conditioner for combination hair, and a lemon and egg shampoo for greasy hair. To avoid scalp infections, avoid using other's towel or comb. Make it a point to regularly clean your towels and combs.
Do not tie or pull back hair back tightly with pins, hair or rubber-bands. Also, try and avoid undue use of rollers, curlers, crimpers or go in for perms which tend to weaken the hair.