Hair Care Basics
By: Vivian Chen
To many, managing your hair may seem like a chore. Do you straighten it? Curl it? Wear it natural? Whatever you may choose, we hope reading up on some hair care basics will help take away some of the stress!
First and foremost, your hair depends on your diet! Eating a nutrient-rich diet helps bring healthiness and gloss to your hair. In addition, taking extra supplements and different vitamins may also help with hair growth and strength.
Washing Your Hair
Have you ever been told that you shouldn’t be washing your hair every day, but have no idea why? Washing your hair every single day dries out your hair and may lead to damaged and split-ends. By skipping shampoo, you allow the natural oils in your scalp and hair to replenish. How often you should wash your hair will depend on your own individual type of hair, lifestyle, etc. Those with finer hairs may wash their hair every other day or every 2 days, while those with thicker hair may get away with washing their hair every 3-4 days.
On the days you do wash your hair, you should be concentrating the shampoo towards your roots to wash away the dirt and oil, and conditioner only on the ends of your hair to help condition them.
Hair Styling Tools
Straighteners & Flat Irons
Although most of you may be familiar with hair straighteners, there are actually many different tools that fall under this category. A “straightener” refers to any device that straightens hair (including flat irons, straightening brushes, hot combs, etc.) and a “flat iron” refers to the styling tool with two heated plates that you place your hair in between. All flat irons are straighteners, but not all straighteners are flat irons!
A flat iron does exactly what its name implies: it straightens and smooths hair using two heated flat iron plates that clamp together. The plates are either one or two inches wide. Using a flat iron is straightforward: simply start by separating your hair into one- or two-inch sections. Then place each section between the heated plates and run the iron down the length of the hair. Most irons also have multiple heat settings, depending on how much heat your hair requires. If your hair is fine or fragile or color-treated, use a lower heat setting (less than 200 degrees) to avoid further damaging your hair. Those with thick or coarse hair may want to opt for a higher heat setting.
Using other straightening tools like straightening brushes or hot combs are also easy. These tools are used the same way brushes and combs are, but distribute heat and straighten your hair when plugged in.
Curler & Hair Wands
Hair curlers and hair wands come in different sizes and shapes so choosing between different brands, sizes and types can be overwhelming. The main difference between a hair curler and a wand is the clip that hair curlers come with. Regardless of which tool you are using, it is best to separate your hair into different sections. When using a wand: wrap the one- or two-inch sections of hair around the heated barrel and hold it in place for ten to fifteen seconds while it heats and curls. When using a curling iron: hold the iron vertically, and place a one- or two-inch section of hair under the clip. Then curl the hair away from your hair by turning the curler so that your hair wraps around it. Using a wand will result in a more relaxed, “beachy” style, while a hair curler will typically give you more “structured” curls.
The “size” measurement of a hair curler or wand refers to the circumference (in inches) of the barrel. The bigger the size, the larger and looser the curls. Depending on the type of hair curler or wand, you can can create different hairstyles ranging from ringlets to waves.
Hair Sprays & Products
Whether you use it to tame fly-away hairs or hold curls, hairspray is among one of the most popular hair products. Hairspray can also protect your hair from humidity and wind, and will help create more volume! Although all hairsprays are tailored for the same outcome, some will indicate a "stronger hold" on their packaging with results in longer lasting styles, while others will provide enhanced shine or volume.
Heat protectants come in various forms like sprays or creams. These products will protect your hair from excessive heat and will help keep it healthy! Ideally, a heat protectant should be used before applying any heat to your hair, including blow drying, straightening, curling, etc.
As indicated by its name, dry shampoo will help lift your hair at the roots on the days you choose not to wash your hair. Dry shampoo absorbs excess oil at the scalp to help your hair last another day without washing. Dry shampoo comes scented or unscented in spray or powder forms. Many brands offer different dry shampoos that target different goals (some will focus on providing more texture, while others may give more volume, etc.).
However you choose to style your hair, we hope reading up on some basic hair care tips has been helpful!