It can be long and wavy, short and straight, frizzy and unmanageable, or smooth and shiny. Hair comes in many different lengths, styles, colors, and textures. Yet just about everyone -- no matter what kind of hair they have -- falls prey to at least one hair problem at some point in life.
This article covers some of the most common hair dilemmas, from hair loss to greasy hair.Grey Hair
Some people consider gray hair as something that makes them looked distinguished; for others, it's a reminder that they're getting older. However you feel about it, gray or white hair is pretty much inevitable with age (if you're fortunate enough to still have hair in your later years).
Scientists have put a lot of effort into investigating the cause of gray hair, and they believe they've gotten to the root of the problem. Hair gets its color from a pigment called melanin, which is produced by melanocyte cells in the hair follicles. Researchers have discovered that melanocytes endure cumulative damage over the years, which eventually leaves them unable to produce melanin. Studies have cited DNA damage and a buildup of hydrogen peroxide in the follicles as possible causes of this disruption in melanin production. Without melanin, the new hair that grows in has no pigment, which makes it appear gray, white, or silver.
Some people start to go gray young -- as early as their teens. When graying begins usually is determined by genes, so if your mother or father became gray early, you may too. If you are one of those people who don't find gray hair distinguished, you can easily cover your gray with one of the many different hair dyes available.Hair Loss
Normally, hair goes through a regular growth cycle. During the anagen phase, which lasts three to four years, the hair grows. During the telogen phase, which lasts about three months, the hair rests. At the end of the telogen phase, the hair falls out and is replaced by new hair.
The average person loses about 100 hairs each day. Hair loss also can have other causes, including drugs or disease.
As they age, men tend to lose the hair on top of their head, which eventually leaves a horseshoe-shaped ring of hair around the sides. This type of hair loss is called male-pattern baldness. It's caused by genes (from both parents -- the idea that men take after their mother's father is a myth) and it's fueled by the male hormone, testosterone. In female-pattern baldness, the hair loss is different -- it thins throughout the top of the scalp, leaving the hair in front intact.
A number of disorders can cause the hair to fall out. People who have an autoimmune condition called alopecia areata lose hair on their scalp, as well as on other parts of their body. Other health conditions that can cause excess hair loss include:
- Medications such as antidepressants, retinoids, NSAIDs, blood thinners, birth control pills and other hormonal treatments, high blood pressure medications, chemotherapy, and radiation
- Severe infections
- Major surgery
- Overactive or underactive thyroid
- Other hormonal problems
- Severe stress
- Autoimmune diseases, such as lupus
- Fungal infections of the scalp
- Pregnancy and childbirth
Certain hair care practices, such as wearing tight ponytails or weaves, or regularly bleaching or perming the hair, can also lead to hair loss. Some people compulsively pull out their hair. This psychological disorder is called trichotillomania.
When hair loss is related to a medication, stopping the drug usually prevents further hair loss, and the hair will eventually grow back. Hair also tends to grow back after most illnesses, radiation therapy, or chemotherapy. Wearing a wig or hat can hide the hair loss until the hair returns. Hair transplants are a more permanent hair-replacement solution.
Hair lost to male-pattern and female-pattern baldness won't grow back on its own, but there are medications that can help slow hair loss and even regrow hair. Minoxidil (Rogaine) is a topical medicine that is available over the counter to treat men and women. Finasteride (Propecia) is a pill that is available to men only by prescription. Injectable cortisone may also help regrow hair lost to certain conditions.Hair Damage
Blow-drying, straightening, highlighting, and perming regularly can wreak havoc on hair, leaving it brittle, broken, and unmanageable. Split ends and dry hair are just two casualties of overstyling.
Excessive styling and heat can cause split ends, which occur when the protective outermost layer of hair (the cuticle) is damaged and peels back. Some treatments for split ends include:
- Brush gently with a soft, flexible hairbrush; don't overbrush.
- Avoid towel-drying. If you do dry your hair with a towel, rub it gently.
- Use a conditioner, and leave on a deep conditioner about once a week.
Hair needs moisture and a certain amount of oil to keep it looking healthy. A number of things can dry out hair, including:
- Washing it too often
- Using a harsh shampoo
- Excessive blow-drying or use of a curling iron or straightening iron
- Exposure to sun, wind, and dry air
- Perms and dyes
- Poor nutrition
- Certain medications
To keep the moisture in your hair, try these tips:
- Don't wash your hair every day unless you have a scalp condition such as dandruff which needs daily shampooing for control. When you do wash your hair, use a gentle shampoo that's designed to infuse moisture into dry hair. Also, use a conditioner daily.
- Limit blow-drying and use of hot irons, hot rollers, or curling irons.
- Increase the time between hair treatments, such as dyes and perms.
- Wear a hat on cold, windy days and put on a bathing cap when swimming.
The scalp contains a natural oil called sebum, which helps keep the skin lubricated. Sebum is produced by the sebaceous glands. Sometimes these glands work overtime and produce too much oil, leading to a greasy scalp. Greasy hair can look dull, limp, and lifeless, and it may be more difficult to manage. To treat greasy hair, try washing with a gentle shampoo that is specially formulated to control sebum.
Drug-induced hair loss, like any other type of hair loss, can have a real effect on your self-esteem. The good news is that in most cases, it's easily reversible once you stop taking the drug.
How Do Drugs Cause Hair Loss?
Drugs cause hair loss by interfering with the normal cycle of scalp hair growth. During the anagen phase, which lasts for three to four years, the hair grows. During the telogen phase, which lasts about three months, the hair rests. At the end of the telogen phase, the hair falls out and is replaced by a new hair.
Medications can lead to two types of hair loss: telogen effluvium and Anagen effluvium.
Telogen effluvium is the most common form of drug-induced hair loss. It usually appears within two to four months after taking the drug. This condition causes the hair follicles to go into their resting phase (telogen) and fall out too early. People with telogen effluvium usually shed between 100 and 150 hairs a day.
Anagen effluvium is hair loss that occurs during the anagen phase of the hair cycle, when the hairs are actively growing. It prevents the matrix cells, which produce new hairs, from dividing normally. This type of hair loss usually occurs within a few days to weeks after taking the medication. It's most common in people who are taking chemotherapy drugs and is often severe, causing people to lose most or all of the hair on their head, as well as their eyebrows, eyelashes, and other body hairs.
The severity of drug-induced hair loss depends on the type of drug and dosage, as well as your sensitivity to that drug.
What Types of Drugs Cause Hair Loss?
Acne medications containing vitamin A (retinoids)
Antibiotics and antifungal drugs
Birth control pills
Drugs that suppress the immune system
Drugs that treat breast cancer
Epilepsy drugs (anticonvulsants)
High blood pressure medications (anti-hypertensives), such as beta-blockers, ACE inhibitors, and diuretics
Hormone replacement therapy
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
Parkinson's disease drugs
Weight loss drugs
Chemotherapy drugs often lead to the anagen effluvium type of hair loss. As these drugs kill cancer cells throughout the body, they also can damage healthy cells, including hair matrix cells. The hair typically starts to fall out within two weeks of starting chemotherapy and progresses more rapidly after 1-2 months, according to the American Cancer Society. Hair loss is more common and severe in patients taking combinations of chemotherapy drugs than in those who take just one drug.
Chemotherapy drugs that tend to cause hair loss include:
How Is Drug-Induced Hair Loss Diagnosed?
If you are experiencing hair loss, your doctor will ask you several questions, including:
When did the hair loss start?
How quickly has the hair been falling out?
What other symptoms do you have, such as scalp itching, burning, or tingling?
What drugs were you taking in the four months leading up to the hair loss?
What other illnesses do you have?
Have you made any changes to your diet or hair-care routine?
The doctor also will examine your scalp to look at the pattern of hair loss.
Tests that may be done include:
Thyroid function tests to look for thyroid disorders, which can sometimes cause hair loss
Hair shaft exam to look at the shape, length, and fragility of the hairs
Pull test: gently pulling on about 60 hairs to see how many come out
Biopsy: removing a piece of scalp tissue for examination
It can be difficult to prove which drug is causing the hair loss, or even that a drug is to blame. Your doctor may ask you to stop taking one drug at a time and see whether your hair stops falling out, but it can take two to three months after stopping a drug for the hair loss to end.
How Is Drug-Induced Hair Loss Treated?
It's important to review any medications you take, and discuss their potential side effects with your doctor and pharmacist. When hair loss does occur from a drug you're taking, there is a good chance that the hair will grow back on its own after you stop taking the medication. If stopping the drug does not improve hair thinning, you may need to be treated with finasteride (Propecia) or minoxidil (Rogaine), medications that slow hair loss and can stimulate new hair growth.
One technique may help prevent hair loss during chemotherapy. It's called scalp hypothermia, and it involves placing ice packs on the scalp a few minutes before -- and for about a half-hour after -- chemotherapy treatment. Cooling the scalp reduces blood flow to the hair follicles, making it harder for the chemotherapy drugs to get into the follicular cells. Cooling also reduces biochemical activity, making the hair follicles less susceptible to damage from chemotherapy drugs. One concern with this technique is the risk of cancer recurrence in the scalp.
After chemotherapy treatment, the hair usually grows back in very quickly, but it may change in texture. In rare cases, the hair will stay thin even after treatment has been stopped. Minoxidil can help regrow hair that is slow to return. Some chemotherapy patients wear a wig or hat to hide their hair loss until their hair grows back.
Medications are designed to treat a variety of health conditions, but sometimes they can have unwanted side effects -- including changes to the hair. Certain drugs can contribute to excess hair growth, changes in hair color or texture, or hair loss.
Is hair loss normal?
Everyone loses some hair every day. Losing up to 100 hairs a day is normal.
But if hair loss runs in your family, you could lose a lot more hair. With this kind of hair loss, you may end up with bald spots if you are a man. If you are a woman, you may find that the hair on the top of your head is slowly thinning. About half of all people have this type of hair loss by around age 50.
Other factors, such as diseases and medicines, also can cause you to lose more hair than normal.
Although hair loss is fairly common, it can be a tough thing to live with, especially when it changes how you look. But there are ways you can treat your hair loss.What causes hair loss?
Common causes of hair loss include:
What are the symptoms?
- Heredity. In most cases, hair loss is inherited, which means it’s passed down from one or both of your parents. This is called male-pattern or female-pattern hair loss.
- Stress, including physical stress from surgery, illness, or high fever.
- Chemotherapy, which is powerful medicine that destroys cancer cells.
- Damage to your hair from pulling it back too tightly, wearing tight braids or ponytails, or using curling irons or dyes.
- Age, since you grow less hair as you get older. Hair also gets thinner and tends to break more easily as you age.
- Poor diet, especially not getting enough protein or iron.
- Thyroid diseases, like hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism.
- Ringworm of the scalp, which is common in children.
Your symptoms will depend on what kind of hair loss you have.
If your hair is thinning, it happens slowly over time, so you may not notice the hairs falling out. If your hair is shedding, then clumps of hair fall out. You may lose hair all over your scalp, which is called general hair loss. Or you may lose hair only in one area, which is called focal hair loss.
With inherited hair loss, men usually get bald spots around the forehead or on the top of the head, while women have some thinning all over the scalp, but mostly on the top of the head.
See a picture of typical inherited hair loss .
Since your hair has a lot to do with your appearance, losing it may cause you to have lower self-esteem if you don't like how you look. This is especially true in women and teens.How is hair loss diagnosed?
Your doctor will ask you some questions, like how much hair you're losing, when it started, and whether your parents have hair loss. He or she will look closely at your scalp and hair loss pattern and may gently pull out a few hairs for tests.
If it’s not clear what’s causing you to lose your hair, your doctor may do a blood test or look at a sample of your hair or scalp with a microscope.How is it treated?
How you choose to treat your hair loss depends on the cause. It also depends on your feelings. You may decide that you need treatment, or you may not be worried about thinning hair or baldness. The choice is up to you.
Hair loss that runs in the family can be treated with medicines or with surgery, such as hair transplant surgery. Some people choose to wear hairpieces, like wigs or toupees. Finding different ways of styling your hair, like dyeing or combing, also can help. If hair loss is caused by something you can control, like stress or medicines, you can treat it by getting rid of the cause.
When you are deciding about treatment, think about these questions:
Which treatment is most likely to work?
How long will it take?
Will it last?
What are the side effects and other risks?
How much will it cost, and will insurance cover it?
Will your hair grow back?
When your hair loss is inherited, your hair won't grow back naturally. Treatment can help some hair grow back and prevent more from falling out, but you probably won't get all your hair back. And treatment doesn't work for everyone.
When medicines, stress, or hair damage cause you to lose your hair, it often will grow back after you take away the cause. If this doesn't help, you may need other treatment.
If you're unhappy with how hair loss makes you look, treatment may help you feel better. It’s natural to want to like the way you look.
But keep in mind that treatment, especially medicines and surgery, can have some side effects and risks. Be sure to discuss your decision with your doctor.
Hair has been credited with being a man's strength, a woman's allure, and the savior of modesty. But even if you're not Samson, Rapunzel, or Lady Godiva, the mythology of hair also has applications for those of us living in the stressful reality of modern life.
It has been said that stress can make you go gray, or cause you to lose your hair. Is that possible?
Sometimes, you might feel like tearing your hair out due to personal, economic, and work-related stresses, but stress won't likely be the direct cause of gray hair. A 2009 study in the journal Cell found that unavoidable damage to the DNA in cells that produce the pigment responsible for hair color is most likely the culprit that causes a hair to turn white.
But can stress accelerate the aging process on a cellular level and, as a result, cause you to go gray before your time? Right now, the answer is debatable.
We have all witnessed the graying hair of many past presidents. Perhaps over long periods of stress, there may be an acceleration of gray hair in some people. But, that idea is mainly speculation.
If the jury's still out on the question of stress being responsible for turning hair gray, then what's the verdict on stress and hair loss? Is there a relationship?
It all depends on what type of stress you're talking about. Stress because you're late to work or you've got a heavy workload is not going to cause you to lose hair. That is short-term, everyday stress is not going to affect your body in such a way that your hair falls out. It takes something larger to do that. Something that causes you to lose sleep, or changes your appetite and raises the level of stress hormones.
Stress and Hair: The Hair Cycle
A normal head of hair contains about 120,000-150,000 strands of hair. Usually, at any one time, about 90% of those hairs are in a growing phase, growing by about 1/2 inch each month. This phase lasts for two to three years. At that point, a hair will go into a resting stage. This "rest" lasts for 3 to 4 months before the hair falls out and is replaced by a new one.
Typically, people shed about 100 hairs a day, most people don't even notice.
Sometimes, a significant stress of some sort may spark a change in your body's routine physiological functions, and cause a disproportionate number of hairs to go into the resting phase at the same time. Then three to four months later, sometimes longer, all those resting hairs are shed. The effect can be alarming. The types of events that disrupt the normal hair cycle, can be caused by the substantial physiological stresses on your body.
Physiological stress is not the same as emotional stress. Hair loss can be one way the body responds to significant physiological stress that may be brought on by diet, medical, or lifestyle changes.
Only those things that cause physiological stress can cause a hair loss event. The good news is that the hair loss from these kinds of events is usually only temporary, as long as the stress event is temporary. Once the stressor is addressed, or goes away on its own, hair grows back and the normal hair cycle resumes.
Stress and Hair: What Causes Hair Loss? A variety of stressors may cause your body to undergo hair loss. It happens, when there's some type of physiological change in your system. "For instance, you go on or off an oral contraceptive. Or you lose more than 15 pounds of weight. Things like this change the physiological balance in your system.
Other stressors could include:
Being on a strict low-calorie dietAfter childbirth when estrogen levels fallSevere illnessHaving a high feverHaving major surgerySevere infectionsHair shedding can also result from certain medications such as some type of blood pressure medications, thyroid disease, and nutritional deficiencies such as vitamin D or excess vitamin A.
Pinpointing the actual cause of the shedding isn't always easy. That's because, there's a three- to six-month lag time between the stressful event and the hair loss. In order to determine the cause, you need to look back at what was happening three, six, or even nine months before the hair loss began.
Stress and Hair: The Physiological & Emotional Connection If you're going through a very severe divorce, you might not be eating properly; you might lose weight or not sleep well. You may go off and then back on your oral contraceptives. All of these things cause physiological stress and an imbalance in your system. The point is, there are a lot of other things that are physiological going on. You're not losing your hair because you hate your ex-husband.
Women have a number of things that happen on a regular basis that they may not recognize as stressors. You start out your life and you're fine, You're 20 years old and get married. You get on some oral contraceptives. Well, that causes shedding.
When a woman decides to have a baby, if she is taking them, she will stop taking oral contraceptives. Maybe you have a little bit of shedding related to that. And then you get pregnant. Pregnancy causes the body to keep the hair that normally would fall out as part of the regular hair cycle, so a woman may notice her hair may feel extra thick and fuller during that time. After giving birth, all the hair that would have fallen out is shed three to six months later.
Also, after birth, you realize you've gained 30 pounds and go on a diet to lose it. That causes shedding. But somewhere in all this, someone in the family dies and, because you've heard that stress causes hair loss, you say, 'Oh my God, I'm losing my hair because someone died.' But that's not it. You're losing hair because you lost 30 pounds.
It's not a foregone conclusion, not everyone gets these episodes of hair loss. Some women go on and off of contraceptives and never have shedding. Some have seven children and have no hair loss related to it. Once you have shed hair in response to a physiological stress, you are likely to do it again.
People have repeated the myth of a direct connection between emotional stress and hair loss for so many years, many people now believe it. "There's no way to predict who's going to lose hair and who's not. If you're a shedder, you'll shed. There's no scientific evidence that points to specific emotional stresses that might trigger the physical stress that can lead to hair loss.
Seeing a Doctor About Hair Loss Unlike other types of hair loss that are more often permanent, hair loss during the normal hair growth cycle happens suddenly. It also doesn't normally cause bald spots, or follow a pattern like genetic or autoimmune-related hair loss. Instead, it's diffuse and causes thinning of the hair across the scalp. That’s because each of the 120,000-150,000 hair follicles is independent of other hair follicles, and is in its own cycle of growth -- some are growing while others fall out.
You may notice after washing your hair that handfuls of hair have fallen out. But, usually by the time someone notices the shedding, the hair is already growing back. Whatever caused it happened three months or more before. The new hair growing in is pushing the resting hair out.
That doesn't mean there's no reason to go to the doctor. Hair loss can be an early sign of about 30 different diseases. It's never too early to talk to a doctor about hair loss. The doctor can evaluate what's happening and help you understand it and know what to do. Products on the market, such as over-the-counter minoxidil and various supplements that are sold for hair loss, can actually cause problems if they're not truly needed and not used properly. It's important, to discuss the use with the doctor first.
A doctor can also help you identify the particular stressor that's causing the shedding. There may be lots of things going on that's causing it. A doctor can help you find them out and help you know how to address them. Once the causes of stress are addressed, the shedding should stop and your hair should return to normal.
Long hair. Short hair. Dry or oily hair, curly or straight. Ever wonder if you're taking proper care of your locks? Are you using the right products? Could your shampoo be damaging your hair? Should you brush your hair more or less? With more than 100,000 hair follicles on your head, it makes sense to learn some hair care tips to keep your hair healthy and shining.Your Skin and Your Hair
Sometimes, the type of skin you have affects your hair type. If you have dry skin, you probably have dry hair. The same goes for oily skin and oily hair.
While there are a ton of products on the market to help teens take better care of their skin, many hair products on the market do more harm than good. Let's look at some of the causes and treatments for dry and oily hair.Dry Hair Care Tips
Dry hair looks brittle and feels "crunchy" to the touch. There are many causes of dry hair, ranging from genetics (if mom and dad have dry hair, you probably will, too) to hair treatments.
Inactive oil glands can cause dry hair. If you have dry hair as a result of dry skin, consider washing your hair fewer times
each week (every two or three days).
Also, pay attention to the type of shampoo and conditioner you use to make sure it replenishes your scalp with essential oils. Words to look for on hair care product labels are "hydrating" and "moisturizing."
Be sure to take care with heat and chemicals, especially if you have dry hair.
Although electric hair straighteners (flat irons) are popular, they do cause serious damage to hair. When used on high heat, hair dryers can damage hair, too. Decreasing your use of these hot devices (or at least using a less hot setting) will help to keep your hair healthier.
If you're not sure whether an appliance will damage your hair, think about your hair the way you think about your skin. Would you blast your face with 1875 watts of hot air every morning? Probably not!
Harsh chemicals in hair color, permanents, and relaxers can strip the hair of vital oils. Some hair dyes contain fewer harsh chemicals than others. Watch out for bleaches and peroxides, because they can make your hair brittle and cause split ends.
Finally, be extra careful in the summer sun. Sunshine and chlorine can both cause dry hair. The easiest solution is to wear a hat or simply avoid getting too much sun (your skin will thank you, too).
You can also protect your hair by wearing a swim cap when you go into the pool. Another option is to saturate your hair with conditioner before heading to the beach or pool. If you swim in a chlorinated pool, wash your hair in fresh water after swimming. If you swim frequently, consider using a shampoo designed to remove chlorine from hair.Oily Hair Care Tips
Do you have oily hair? If you wash your hair in the morning, you may find yourself frustrated by the time evening rolls around, as your hair already appears to need another wash.
Keep in mind that oily hair is really an oily scalp. Wash your scalp and hair as needed, lathering twice if you need to. You might try leaving the shampoo on your head for at least five minutes before rinsing. And condition your hair on the ends only. Avoid brushing your hair too often, as the brush brings oil from the scalp to the ends of your hair.
An oily-hair "quick-fix" is to dab a bit of talcum powder to the roots of your hair.
Also, ask your hairstylist what he or she recommends for oily hair. Stay away from any product that adds "shine" to the hair. It will only add more
oil to your already saturated locks.What About Hair Extensions?
If you're looking for a long hair style -- quickly -- you might be considering hair extensions. Jessica Simpson and Tyra Banks are known for creating long hair styles in the blink of an eye with extensions.
But follow this trend only with caution and with advice from a professional. The most realistic extensions are braided into your real hair, very close to the scalp. They're "painted" with a bonding material, and then "sealed" with a heated solution.
The weight of extensions can pull on your natural hair, sometimes causing hair to fall out. Extensions can also be quite expensive. There are safer, inexpensive alternatives, such as extension clips, that can be found in beauty supply stores or on the Internet.Dealing With Split Ends
You might see split ends if you look carefully at the ends of your hair. You'll see a single hair that has literally split into two at the bottom of the strand.
Split ends can be caused by repeated blow-drying, heat-straightening, or excessive brushing. Once your ends are split, the only solution is to go to the salon to get them trimmed. But you can avoid split ends by brushing less, using less heat on your hair, regularly using conditioner, and protecting your hair from extremely hot or cold weather.
Regular haircuts are a good idea, too. They help rid your hair of damage so that a healthier crop can grow up top.Help! My Hair is Tangled
Dreadlocked stars such as Lenny Kravitz might embrace their stylishly tangled hair. But most of us groan in frustration when we're faced with a mass of tangled hair.
The key to preventing tangles is to reduce the amount of chemicals (dyes, relaxers, perms) that you put in your hair, and to use a good conditioner in the shower. Also, make sure your hair is tangle-free before
you wash it.
Avoid brushing out tangles. Arm yourself with a wide-toothed comb, your fingers, and maybe a leave-in detangler that you can buy at any drug store. Start by gently picking out the tangles at the ends of your hair to avoid pulling out the hair. Once the ends are manageable, move your way up toward the scalp, gently combing.
Above all, remain calm. If you hurry, the tangles could get worse, resulting in a brush or comb full of stray hairs.Six Hair Care Tips for Luscious Locks
- Realize that the grass is not always greener. Embrace your hair in its natural state, whether it's thin and straight or thick and curly, or somewhere in between. The more you struggle against Mother Nature, the more damage your hair will suffer.
- Get regular "checkups" for your hair. Both guys and girls should get their hair trimmed regularly. Even if you are growing out your hair, get a trim at least once every two months (some recommend every six weeks). As you go through puberty, your hair might go through some drastic changes. A stylist can help you manage your hair by giving advice on products to use or by changing your hairstyle.
- Remember: Manufacturers want your money; you want healthy hair.Don't believe the magazines or the back of the conditioner bottle, especially if it says you need every product in a particular manufacturer's line of hair care products. Use only what you absolutely need. Often this can be as simple as shampoo and conditioner, and perhaps a deep conditioner to use weekly on dry or thick hair, or a detangler for tangle-prone hair.
- Beware of the brush. Even though it seems to make your hair shinier, repeated brushing can cause your hair to break and your ends to split. Of course, if you never use your brush, your mom would probably not be too happy. So use it when you need to, just not too much!
- Leave color changes to the professionals. Although do-it-yourself highlights and hair-color kits are easy and inexpensive, the results are almost always not in your best interest. Get a recommendation for a good stylist and consult with him or her (as well as your parents!) before you decide to change your hair color. There are infinite shades of blonde, red, brown, or even black. A stylist can help you pick the best one for your skin tone. Also, your current hair-color might react to certain dyes.
- Take care in braiding hair. Multiple-braid styles can look great. But do not over-twist or over-tighten braided hair. This can apply too much pressure to the hair roots and skin. Use natural oils, not multiple chemicals, on braided hair.
Dermatologists and stylists agree that there's little reason to shampoo every day. Hair is a fiber, think of a wool fiber: The more you wash it, the worse it's going to look. There's no need to wash your hair every day either.
The longer, thicker, curlier, and more processed the hair, the longer it can go between washes. This is because the oils from the scalp do not travel down the hair shaft as quickly, so the hair tends to be dry and requires less frequent shampooing.
But even most unprocessed, short, thin, straight hair can skip a day.
So many people obsess about shampooing their hair every day. They get freaked out because they think anything less will result in dirty, smelly hair, but shampooing three or four times weekly is plenty.
The only reason to shampoo daily would be for the fragrance, and that if you must, you should use a lightweight shampoo.
Lightweight shampoos, also labeled "everyday shampoos," contain milder detergents than others.
There are five or six different detergents, and for each hair type, you're going to get a different mix of those. The key to protecting your hair is choosing the shampoo that suits your hair type.
Powders and dry shampoos do work for absorbing oils between washes. An old wives' trick is to use talcum powder in the hair in lieu of shampoo.
The powders shouldn't, however, replace shampoo all together.
Daily conditioning and scalp massage to break up oils, loosen dirt, and keep hair manageable between shampoos.
Some people with curly hair actually only shampoo monthly and use just conditioner in between to maintain moisture and healthy curls.
As hair types and textures vary by ethnicity, so too does the need to shampoo.
No matter what your ethnicity or your hair texture, we may all do better to shampoo less.
Daily shampooing is only necessary if oil production on the scalp is high. Shampooing is actually more damaging to the hair shaft than beneficial.
Shampoo's bubbles, which people often associate with cleanness, are actually created by the harshest ingredients, sulfates, and are not even necessary for cleansing the scalp. Experts say these foaming agents, which dehydrate the hair, are only in cleansing products because consumers expect bubbles. That's what we've gotten used to because we see the commercials with big white foam.
Excessive shampooing can require excessive styling. Hair washed every day with shampoo tends to need more styling product. Because it's so clean, it's also soft, loose, and floppy and therefore harder to style. All these products in turn lead to more shampooing as they build up and make hair look dull.
Shampoo removes oil and excess skin cells from the scalp. It's not doing any favors for the hair, unless you have a lot of product in it that is making your hair look dull.
Those who give up shampoo say their hair benefits from the body's natural oils.
Dropping shampoo doesn't require new expensive products. A simple paste of one tablespoon baking soda and one cup water to cleanse the scalp. The juice of one lemon in your daily dose of conditioner also works. Or simply switching to nonfoaming, sulfate-free cleansers will also go a long way.
Natural ingredients produce less suds, but they still have plenty of cleaning power -- with the added benefit of less residue.
The Internet is rife with recipes for natural alternatives to shampoo.
Using baking soda once a week, and a variety of shampoo alternatives including lemon juice and even beer. Beer was found in many shampoos in the 1970s.
Shampoo is for the scalp and conditioner is for the hair. Shampooing the scalp and letting it run down over the hair is enough for most people, but how often you shampoo is a matter of personal preference. There are no hygienic or sanitary reasons to shampoo daily. It depends on the scalp and hair type and what you do to the hair.
Super-hot blow dryers definitely can save you time. But you have to know how to use them.
Many women, blow-dry their hair as part of a daily routine. Most feel rushed in the morning and use the blow dryer on hot and on the highest speed. So many women are intrigued by high-end dryers that claim to dry twice as fast, minimize damage, and eliminate frizz -- and cost up to $300. But most pay no more than $20 or $30 for a dryer.
Is it worth upgrading from your drugstore dryer to a pricey pro model with superhero terms like tourmaline ionic and nano ceramic? If you have a need for speed, the investment might pay off. Your current dryer's wattage -- that is, how much heat it generates -- probably ranges from 1,200 to 1,875. Pro dryers can hit 2,500 watts. That means your hair dries faster.
Heat and Hair: Not a Good Combo
High heat is good, but only for a short period of time. "When you continue to dry hair, you boil the water inside the shaft and get a condition known as bubble shaft,” says Don Capellani owner of Salon~Capellani. This is as bad as it sounds -- hair bursts from the steam. The result: Weakened, damaged hair that's more likely to break when combed.
That's where all the top-dollar bells and whistles come in, such as tourmaline-infused or ceramic parts and ionic technology that help conduct heat more efficiently with less wear and tear on hair. These fancy features have quickly become available in inexpensive dryers, too. So if you stick with a drugstore pick, opt for one with lots of speed and heat settings, and use only the lowest ones, Capellani says. Also, hold the dryer at least a foot from your hair to minimize damage.
If time is of the essence, you can invest in a dryer that has the best ionic or infrared technology (the mechanics of cutting your drying time in half) plus fancy features like an easy-to-use "cold shot' button to "set' hair, a four-year or more warranty, and a quiet, highly engineered, lightweight body.
So will you settle for a drugstore or a salon-grade dryer? This is definitely something to think about.
Healthy Blow Drying Tips
These pro tips will help you maintain a healthy mane.
Put on Air. Let hair dry naturally for several minutes or use a special towel, like those manufactured by Aquis, that helps wick away excess water” to trim dryer time.
Do Your Part. Sectioning is important. Most stylists go horizontal or use vertical sections starting at the front hairline. Divide a 2-inch chunk and, with a natural-bristle round brush and dryer, roll the hair forward toward the face for straight locks and forward and back to leave in some wave.
Focus In. Always use the nozzle attachment on your dryer unless you're diffusing curls. This concentrates heat for a quicker result.
Cool Out. The 'cold shot' button is a wonderful tool, it makes your hair malleable. Think of plastic, heating up and then cooling off and setting the shape.
It's supposed to be your crowning glory. But if you've been feeling a bit...dethroned, try our fixes for dryness, dullness, and more. To anyone who's ever considered "catching some rays" a valid summer agenda item (and alas, we've all been there), crow's feet, brown splotches, and rough skin come as little surprise. But at least the antidotes are well-known. There's another kind of aging, however, that tends to catch us off guard, and its fixes aren't nearly as famous as alpha hydroxy acids or retinoids. We're talking about timeworn tresses — and not just newfound grays: Subtle changes in texture, shine, moisture, and manageability can eventually add up to a head of hair you barely recognize. Fortunately, scientists and salon pros alike are paying more attention to age-proofing hair these days. Here, the newest and best solutions to the biggest problems.
Defy Drought Conditions Even if you're taking care of your hair as you always have, you may notice that it has become suddenly — and chronically — dry. "Sebum [oil] production declines as you age," explains Don Capellani owner of salon~Capellani. "It tends to kick in right around menopause, when your scalp may be producing only half of what it did at its peak." And though some would view the demise of the greases as a good thing, it comes at a price: You're forfeiting sebum's protective properties — among them, the lubrication that minimizes friction from neighboring hair strands, combing, and brushing. "Sebum can also decrease flyways on dry days by removing the built-up static charge," adds Capellani. "So when you're low on sebum, hair feels rougher, looks duller, and is less manageable."
To counteract these issues, "you have to treat dry hair as you would dry skin," says Don Capellani. For starters, don't over-cleanse: Try alternating between dry shampoo and your usual suds. "Washing too often strips the natural oil from hair," says Capellani, "whereas dry shampoo can clean and reinvigorate the scalp while sparing your strands the sapping that can come from a shampoo and blow-dry." Try Snappi Dry Shampoo. On the days you do shampoo, follow up with Joico. K-Pak Intense Hydrating Treatment. And for mini moisture boosts throughout the day, Capellani suggests you keep a travel-size spritzer of your leave-in on hand. "You can stash one in your purse or at your desk, and spot-treat any areas that start to feel dry." If you've ever run your hands through your hair to find that it's alarmingly crispy in places, this tip is especially good for you.
Masks packing concentrated moisture, such as The Body Shop Rainforest Moisture Hair Butter, are also particularly important now. If you already apply one every other week, see if weekly use leaves strands softer and healthier-feeling without weighing them down. And if you already apply one weekly, don't be afraid to try it twice a week now. (Expect to experiment before you find the winning frequency.) Curly-haired women, take note: You may want to use masks several times a week; scalp oil is much slower to travel down ringlets than down straight strands, and may never reach the very tips of your hair.
A final note on parched hair: For extra insurance against any attendant dullness, try the occasional glaze — a clear treatment that adds glossiness to your mane and stays on through multiple shampoos. The professional versions are generally among the least expensive treatments a colorist performs — and there are plenty of at-home options as well. Try a Glaze Shine Rinse is one of our favorites. Disguise Thin Evidence The ever-widening part, the ever-shrinking ponytail, the ever-more-visible scalp: They're probably not imagined. "The number of actual hair fibers you have on your head starts decreasing in your 20s," says Capellani, "and may shrink 30 to 35 percent by age 60."
There's another, subtler kind of thinning going on, too: "Recent research suggests that in your early 40s, the actual diameter of each strand starts to shrink," says Capellani. "This shrinkage is believed to be linked to hormonal changes that happen with perimenopause and menopause, as hair growth is such a hormonally driven process."
Subtle or not, thinning is no fun. To fight back, first reconsider the shampoo and conditioner you use. A common impulse is to wash with a clarifying formulation (women often equate the resulting squeaky-clean feeling with bounciness). And while you do want to start with a clean slate to avoid limpness, says Capellani, clarifying formulas can strip too much protective oil from inherently fragile thinning hair.
A better choice, says Capellani, is a keratin-enriched formulation. As hair thins, it loses some of its protein (hence the fragility). Products such as Paul Mitchell can help reinstate a bit of that lost strength. And don't skip conditioner for fear of weighing hair down: "You'll only make the strands more vulnerable to breakage," says Capellani. "And then your hair will look even thinner."
Your styling routine should be rethought as well: "Hair can go from thick to fine over time, and will behave really differently in each state," says Capellani. (Fine hair, for example, is much less adept at holding a style.) So you may not get great results from your old styling regimen. Make sure the new one includes fine hair — specific products, such as Redken Fine Hair Style.
Another important styling step is to avoid back-combing, says Don Capellani. "While the urge is understandable with fine hair, keep in mind that you're roughing up — and permanently damaging — the already fragile outer layer." Instead: Go for a root lifter, such as Paul Mitchell Extra Body Daily Boost Root Lifter Styling moose. Try to minimize exposure to damaging heated styling tools, too. If possible, air-dry your hair most of the way, and blow-dry only to remove the last bits of dampness and to style, says Capellani.
As for the best cut: You want layers around your face and on top for volume, says Capellani. "But no layers on the bottom: When you remove thickness there, your hair gets stringy — the opposite of what you want with fine strands."
If — despite the right cut, care, and styling — the thinning still bothers you, see a dermatologist. Stronger remedies range from Rogaine for Women to Aldactone (a blood pressure medication that's been used successfully off-label to restore hair growth). You should also see a doctor if you notice discrete patches of hair loss on your scalp, or if the thinning has been accompanied by any swelling, scarring, or severe itching. "Whether the underlying cause is an autoimmune issue, stress, or anything else, you want it checked out."
A final note on thinning: If your part has gotten wide enough that you're self-conscious about it, but you don't want to take hair-restoring drugs (or you're waiting for them to kick in), consider CRC Concealing Color Kit, a brush-on, stay-put scalp makeup that's far more believable-looking than the old, inky "spray-on hair."
Restore Faded Glory "Decreased production of melanin — which gives hair its color — is one of the most visible hair changes as we age," says Capellani. "By age 50, 50 percent of us will be 50 percent gray."
That's a lot of fading. And it comes with side effects: "When melanin is present, it absorbs UV rays," explains Capellani. "In its absence, your hair's protein absorbs them instead, resulting in weaker strands." Melanin also boosts shine; less of one means less of the other.
So if you want to go gray gorgeously, "start with a shine-enhancing shampoo," says colorist Sun Chung. She favors Clairol Shimmer Lights; you use it once or twice a week to reduce the yellow and boost the silver: "The look is not only much glossier, but chicer and more youthful, too."
And given gray hair's susceptibility to UV damage, you need to keep yours protected with a hat or UV spray — particularly if you're going to be in the sun. Try Aveda Sun Care Protective Hair Veil. As for those wiry, stand-up grays: "A very light shine spray will help tame them — and obviously help boost shine," says Capellani. Try Garnier Fructis Triple Nutrition Nutrient Spray.
Of course, many women opt to cover their gray instead — and if you fall into that camp, choose your color wisely, advises Chung. "As you age, it's harder to get away with really dramatic colors, which tend to look too severe — and highlight every skin flaw." So skip the black-brown in favor of a chocolatey hue, the platinum blond in favor of a golden blond, and the deep red in favor of auburn. "The warmer tones are the more forgiving ones, especially if you stay within a shade or two of your natural hair color," says Chung. Fix the Wiring No matter how smooth and flowing your locks once were, their texture may be anything but that now. "Researchers in Japan have recently found that hair curvature changes as you age," says Capellani. "There's more of it, but not in a nice, curly way — rather in a wiry, less manageable way." And that newfound texture is also more vulnerable to damage (the tiny kinks leave weak spots along the hair fiber).
Struggling to tame some wiriness yourself? There are two kinds of products that should help, says Capellani: those that protect hair from damage (particularly thermal), and those designed to keep strands smooth. A good example of the former: Blow Heat Is On Protective Styling Mist. And of the latter: Aubrey Organics NuStyle Organic Hair Smoothing Serum.
Also, the kinkier the hair, the greater the risk of brushing-induced damage. "Forget that old 100-strokes-a-night rule," says Capellani. "Anything beyond minimal brushing can create too much friction." So if you can get away with a wide-tooth comb, great. Otherwise, try a boar bristle blend brush such as Goody Boar Blends Ceramic Paddle Brus for detangling and getting your hair into place, and stop there.
From one of the largest and most recognizable beauty salons in the United States…. To the intimacy of an exclusive beauty shop in Highland, Indiana salon~ Capellani...
When it comes to the truth about shampoos and conditioners, the message is the same:
The single biggest truth about shampoo is that it's overused.
We're conditioned as Americans to think that you have to bathe and shampoo all the time, but we also moisturize all the time because of it.
When you shampoo your hair every day, or twice a day, you're stripping your hair of your natural oils. What happens next is that you start to use too much conditioner, to try to keep your hair from becoming dry—and all of a sudden your hair feels oily and then you feel like you have to wash it again.
But, you say…if I don't wash it every day I can't stand myself….
Do you brush your hair? If you’ll brush your hair everyday in the morning and at night, before you style it and before you go to bed, you're going to have much more balanced hair and your hair is going to be a little healthier.
More tips for the perfect shampoo:
If you have fine or oily hair:
Use a shampoo that's cleansing for your oily hair, use one that's volumizing for your fine hair, and just alternate them
And for fine, dry hair, or hair that's colored….
If you have dry hair use something moisturizing, if you have colored hair use something with protein, and alternate that with the volume shampoo and conditioner.
What if you have curly or coarse hair…
Curly hair is lacking moisture naturally so to use something moisturizing is going to give you the best results, the strongest curls, the least amount of frizz.
The hair just feels rough..that's the coarse effect. You're going to use a shampoo that is a little more smoothing, something that adds moisture to the hair, something that's going to seal down the cuticle.
I'm going to put some conditioner on you…
The single biggest truth about conditioner is it gets misused. So many people just glob a bunch of conditioner right on their hand and they put it right here and then they say my hair is really oily here but it’s dry down here.
You apply to the ends first. Start at the ends and work up to the scalp. Whatever left you can rub in, mostly work the ends and then rinse that out after about 2 minutes.
What Are the Treatments for Dandruff?
Mild cases of dandruff may need nothing more than shampooing more frequently. Daily cleansing with a dandruff shampoo to decrease oil and cell buildup can keep moderate dandruff in check, but consult your doctor about more stubborn forms such as seborrheic dermatitis.
Not all dandruff shampoos are alike, so you may need to experiment with them to find the one that works best for you. Here are some examples of some effective over-the-counter shampoos you can try.
Coal-tar preparations (Neutrogena T/Gel, Tegrin
Pyrithione zinc (Suave Dandruff Control
, Pert Plus Dandruff Contro
l, Head & Shoulders
Salicylic acid and sulfur (T-Sal
, lonil T
Selenium sulfide (Selsun Blue
Ketoconazole (Nizoral A-D
) available as a 1% over-the-counter shampoo and a 2% prescription-strength shampoo.
You may need to alternate between types of shampoos if one type initially controls the dandruff but later loses its effectiveness. If you find that you are still scratching and shedding after trying over-the-counter preparations, see your doctor. You may be using the wrong shampoo for your condition. For really stubborn dandruff cases you may need to use a prescription lotion or shampoo.
Most doctors recommend that dandruff sufferers use a medicated shampoo daily, rubbing your scalp well and leaving the lather on for at least five minutes. Be sure to rinse thoroughly; shampoo and soap residue can actually aggravate skin problems. Brush your hair from your scalp outward with steady, firm strokes. This will carry oil from your scalp, where it can cause dandruff, along the hair strands, which need the oil to stay shiny and healthy.