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Hair Tips for Different Types

By: Julie Burns - Updated: 9 Aug 2010 | comments*Discuss
Haircare; Hair Type; Hair Washing;

How the hair appears and feels is an outer indication of our inner health - and can be as unpredictable as the weather. Gorgeous, glossy hair is anyone's crowning glory, but it can be hard to maintain our manes in optimum condition. Use the wrong products and it shows. The first and most important step is to identify your hair's present type so that your washing and grooming routine is compatible and makes the most of your hair. To define your hair type, examine how hair appears both the day before you wash it as well as the day after.

Pay special attention to the scalp - it may be in a different condition. To see the scalp, stand with your back against a mirror and angle a hand mirror to the side top of your head to check.

Normal Hair Type

Regardless of natural texture, normal hair tends not to deviate between oily or dry, but is manageable and lies soft and smooth with a good gloss.

How to Maintain:
It's obviously in nourished condition so keep with the TLC, balanced diet and exercise. If and when it does 'play up' into another type, pinpoint possible triggers and treat accordingly. As it is, don't over-wash or over-condition - let its beauty be.

Dry Hair Type

Dull and lacklustre looks, brittle to the touch and at risk of splitting are all dry hair characteristics. At worst, it comes in tandem with a dry, flaky scalp caused by lack of lubricating sebum from the sebaceous glands. Seasonal change, sun damage to central heating or over-processing with chemical treatments can all 'bake' hair this way. On the plus side, dry hair often means naturally full hair that volumises very well, able to hold styles with ease.

Dry Hair Tips:
Gentleness is key across washing to styling. Avoid irritating scalp with strong or perfumed products or a mish-mash mix and match range of treatments and salon processes. Wash regularly with a mild and/or moisturising baby or organic shampoo, paying extra attention to conditioning.

Intensive, deep-heat, leave-on conditioning packs are an ideal weekly healing treat. Avoid heated appliances, back-combing and further breakage by constricting hair into scraped back, tight styles. Stimulate the scalp with fingertip massage all over the hairline to increase blood circulation and elasticity - when wet or dry. Take cod liver oil or increase your intake of oily fish and Vitamin B complex from brewer's yeast to nuts and eggs. Keep close watch on your scalp and if it turns to itching or inflammation, get it specialist checked.

Oily Hair Type

Lank, limp, always appearing in need of a wash, thanks to the sebaceous glands in overdrive. If dandruff's also about, this build-up's evidence that excess oil is slowing the process of dead cell shedding. Positively with this type, hair really does shine when fresh and doesn't need much, if any, conditioning. It's also the best hair type to counteract the drying effects of chemical processes like bleaching and colouring.

Oily Hair Tips:
Ignore old advice about over-shampooing over-stimulating the sebaceous glands. Scalp cleanliness is essential for oil control, therefore wash daily or on alternate days. Stay away from strong 'stripping' shampoos and most chemical-laden, commercial anti-dandruff shampoos. Look instead for mild, natural based cleansing products that balance hair. A final cold rinse blast with a few drops of lemon or cider vinegar can help the scalp as well as hair's acid mantle. Eliminate strong stimulants and junk food from the diet.

Combination Hair Type

A mix of oily scalp and dry hair together create the most problematic hair type.Here, the scalp can feign dryness to the point of flaking with dandruff. What's actually happening is that the hair shaft's drying out due to oil running into the dandruff scales and not along the rest of the hair shaft. Dual action's needed to combat this two in one condition. Attend to the dandruff separately, followed by a gently moisturising shampoo for dry hair with rich conditioner on hair ends only.

Combination Hair Tips:
Various reasons could be behind hair behaving in this way. It could be as a result of hormonal imbalance or nutritional deficiency. If the condition persists, consider seeking medical and/or trichological advice. In addition, gentle Eastern forms of exercise from t'ai chi to yoga can be used to calm the body back into balance.

Any Hair Type Tips

As hair's the outward manifestation of physical change in the body, the following can all contribute to hair that makes you want to hibernate, so take extra care with hair during life's 'hairy' times. These include menstruation, low oestrogen level post pregnancy, bouts of anaemia or general illness, important/stressful live events from exams to emotional grief.

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