January's Hair Advice:
Dry Hair, and Fly-Aways
Winters in Utah can be brutal on your skin and hair, and moisturizer is almost required! Conditioner is like moisturizer for your hair. But you need to use it correctly to get the most out of it. Here are my tips:
1. Run the conditioner through your ends first.
A lot of people fill their palm with conditioner and plop it right on top of their head, rubbing it into their scalp. Your scalp does need moisture, but if you use the majority of the conditioner on top of your head, your hair might feel limp, you'll have a hard time getting "lift" or volume, and you might feel a little bit greasy. Also, your ends need the conditioner more than your roots do. I place the conditioner right where I would start to gather a ponytail and then run my fingers through the ends.You really want those ends to suck up most of the moisture. Then, I go to the scalp and gently run my fingers through once or twice. The conditioner left on your hands should be enough to moisturize the scalp and roots.
2. Rinse with cool water.
Heat opens the hair cuticle. So when you have the hot water running on your hair it looks raised, like the cuticle on the far right in this picture. This is also what happens when hair dye is put on the cuticle. The chemicals raise the exterior of the hair strand, in order to get to the cortex which is located beneath it. Sorry to get all technical with you, but it's the only way I know to fully explain why this is important. When you run cool water over a raised cuticle in closes up, like the cuticle on the far left in the picture. So the best way to keep the most moisture in your hair is to shampoo and rinse with warm water, put in your conditioner, and then rinse with cool water. This will lock in the moisture and keep your hair feeling smooth.
3. Don't completely rinse out the conditioner.
This rule is hard for people to follow. I think they might be concerned about their hair feeling greasy if they can feel any conditioner still in their hair after rinsing. If you follow tip #1, this won't be the case. When you are finished rinsing, your hair should still feel a little bit slick. This is easier for people with water softeners. And that's where tip #4 comes in:
4. Wait until the end of your shower/bath to condition.
The reason I am telling you this tip, is because it makes numbers 2 and 3 go a little smoother. You won't have to freeze in the cool water, and you won't be in for long enough to risk rinsing all of the conditioner out of your hair.
If you are following all of these tips and still having problems with fly-aways or dry strands, I would recommend picking up a leave-in conditioner that you can use after you wash and condition your hair. And remember, concentrate on the ends. Thats the area that really needs the moisture. If you blow dry and flat iron your hair often, make sure you are using something to protect your hair. You can find inexpensive heat protecting sprays and creams and most drug stores. (Dove, Suave, Pantene, Aussie, Nexxus and Herbal Essences, just to name a few) Make sure you look at the ingredients though. Alcohol dries out the hair so avoid sprays, creams, gels etc. that have alcohol in the ingredients, or you might be making your problem worse.
I hope this helps get you through the dry season without having to deal with pesky fly-aways!
Happy New Year!