Essential Hair Care Tips For The Most Luscious Locks Ever

Do you take care of your hair as well as you take care of the rest of your body? Regardless of whether your hair is fine, curly, textured, or straight, there are some care tips that are universal. You might not have known that towel-drying your tresses is just as bad as washing it during your hot shower, or that exfoliating your scalp is just as important as exfoliating the skin on your face. If reading this made you realize that your hair is overlooked, then get ready for some essential hair care tips you absolutely need to know.

Rinse With Lukewarm Water

a model rinses off in the shower.
Frances McLaughlin-Gill/Condé Nast via Getty Images
Frances McLaughlin-Gill/Condé Nast via Getty Images

Hot showers might feel like the most relaxing way to get clean but it turns out that that scalding water isn’t doing your hair any favors. Hot water actually strips your hair of its natural essential oils which might be why your hair looks dull and feels dry despite the hair products you use to combat those problems.

Not only is hot water bad for your hair, but it’s hard on your skin too. Try using lukewarm water for your showers instead. Your hair (and skin) will thank you.

Condition From Mid-Lengths To Your Ends

a woman applies conditioner
Samanth93302339/Twitter
Samanth93302339/Twitter

It’s common knowledge that shampoo should be followed up with conditioner but the way you use your conditioner is just as important. Conditioner only needs to be applied to certain parts of your hair, instead of your whole head.

Take into consideration where your hair starts getting greasy first, which is usually at the roots. Typically, conditioner only needs to be applied from the middle of your strands to the ends. Using a wide-toothed comb will distribute the conditioner easily while also detangling your hair.

Shampoo At Your Scalp And Your Roots

A woman applies shampoo to her hair.
Chaloner Woods/Getty Images
Chaloner Woods/Getty Images

Contrary to how conditioner should be applied to your strands, shampoo should only be concentrated at the scalp, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. Oil and dead skin cells accumulate at the scalp, which makes it the only area that needs a good cleansing with shampoo.

Shampooing your strands will make your hair dull and dry because it can strip out the moisture. Focus your shampoo only at the scalp and your roots.

Rinse And Repeat

a woman washes her hair
TheCosmeticRUSA/Twitter
TheCosmeticRUSA/Twitter

Before you get out of the shower, you want to make sure that your hair is completely free of any product that might get left behind. It’s important to rinse your hair as thoroughly as possible, otherwise, you run the risk of weighing down your locks with unnecessary buildup.

This issue is exacerbated if you tend to use various products like dry shampoo, hairspray, and sea salt sprays on a regular basis. If you’re noticing gunky flakes at your scalp, then make sure you’re rinsing your hair out thoroughly.

Use A Wide-Toothed Comb On Wet Hair

a woman combs her hair
NaturtintUK/Twitter
NaturtintUK/Twitter

Hair is in its most vulnerable state when it’s wet, which is why you should try to handle it as little as possible after a shower. It’s best to use a wide-toothed comb to comb out our wet hair since using a brush causes your hair to break easily.

The only exception is textured or curly hair which, according to the American Academy of Dermatology, should be gently combed or brush out when wet to decrease hair breakage.

Towels Are Terrible For Your Hair

a woman dries her hair with a t-shirt
Beauty on TApp/Twitter
Beauty on TApp/Twitter

Most of us reach for a towel to dry off our hair but doing so can cause more harm than good. A traditional cotton or terry cloth towel can create more split ends and damage your hair shafts, which might be why your hair is frizzy after towel drying.

Instead of using a towel, try investing in a microfiber towel or use an old cotton T-shirt to blot and gently squeeze your hair dry.

Protect Your Hair From The Heat

a woman applies a heat protectant spray
stylelullaby/Instagram
stylelullaby/Instagram

If heat styling tools are an essential part of your hair care routine, then make sure you’re at least using a heat protectant beforehand. Heat protectants act as a barrier between your strands and your tools in the same way sunscreen protects your hair from the sun, while also locking in moisture.

So before you blow-dry, straighten, or curl your hair, be sure to apply a heat protectant product to reduce unnecessary damage.

Wear A Hat To Shield Yourself From The Sun

a woman wears a hat
itscaroo/Instagram
itscaroo/Instagram

Speaking of the sun, UV rays can do as much damage to your hair as they do to your skin. Not only can you get a sunburn on your scalp despite the presence of your hair, but allowing your hair prolonged exposure to UVA and UVB rays can also damage the hair cuticle, causing brittleness, discoloration, thinning, and frizziness.

To avoid this, wear a hat to protect your head from the harmful rays of the sun.

Don’t Turn Up The Heat

a woman curls her hair with a straightener
mybeautymart/Instagram
mybeautymart/Instagram

It might seem like using your heat-styling tools at their highest setting is the most effective way to get the job done but it’s actually not. Your straightener or your curling wand only have those high settings for in-salon treatments and your bathroom isn’t a salon.

Save yourself the damage and only use your heat-styling tools on a low or medium temperature. It will still make your hair straight or curly without causing excessive damage.

Straighten Or Curl Only Dry Hair

a woman curls her hair
branchsalon/Instagram
branchsalon/Instagram

If you need to straighten or curl your hair right after you’ve just washed it, then it’s imperative that you wait until it’s dry first. Whether you let your hair air dry or if you use a hair dryer, make sure your strands are completely dry before using your heat-styling tools.

Even if your hair is just a little damp, you’ll be stripping your strands of moisture in the same way a drop of water dissipates into thin air when it hits a hot frying pan.

Use A Round Brush When Blow-Drying

a woman blow dries her hair
The Small Things Blog/YouTube
The Small Things Blog/YouTube

When it comes to blow-drying your hair, you’ll want to make sure you’re doing it correctly to avoid damaging your strands and to prevent frizz. Using a hair dryer on yourself may not be the easiest skill but once you get the hang of it, you’ll be doing yourself a favor.

With a round brush, brush your hair in the same direction that you’re blow-drying, gently pulling the hair straight with your brush for smooth strands.

Let It Air Dry As Much As Possible

let your hair air dry
annbraden/Pinterest
annbraden/Pinterest

When it comes to getting your hair dry after a shower, you should give your hair dryer a break and try letting your hair air dry. Air drying your hair is the safest way to go and it allows your hair to take its natural shape in the process.

According to the American Academy of Dermatology, excessive use of heat will cause more damage to your hair in the long run, making it brittle and prone to breaking.

Trim Off Split Ends ASAP

a hairdresser gives a haircut
popmiddlesbrough/Instagram
popmiddlesbrough/Instagram

If you do have split ends and broken strands, then you should book an appointment with your hairdresser as soon as possible. Once your hair is split, the damage is done and it’s irreversible.

While there are products out there that claim to save your from split ends and breakage, they can’t actually make your split ends disappear. These products are meant to be preventative before any split ends take place.

Hydrated Hair Is Happy Hair

hydrate hair with leave-in treatments
bbluntindia/Instagram
bbluntindia/Instagram

Just as people apply lotion to their body and moisturizer to their faces after cleansing, it’s just as important to do the same for your hair. The key to healthy hair is to keep it hydrated and this is all the more important if you apply heat or wash it often.

Look for a leave-in conditioner that will keep your strands hydrated and nourished after a good wash. Apply just a small amount to the lengths and ends of damp hair.

Treat Your Strands To A Deep Conditioner

a woman with product in her hair
Keith Trumbo/Condé Nast via Getty Images
Keith Trumbo/Condé Nast via Getty Images

If your hair is overlooked when it comes to your self-care routine, then it might be time to think about giving it a little extra TLC. A deep condition every now and then will do wonders for your hair and you don’t even need to take any extra time out of your day to do it.

Depending on what kind of deep conditioner you get, you can use it in place of your regular conditioner during your normal routine.

Exfoliate Your Scalp

a woman washes her hair
Cosmopolitan_SL/Twitter
Cosmopolitan_SL/Twitter

Your scalp is pretty much just an extension of your face—after all, they’re attached and the only thing that distinguishes the two are your luscious locks. But because of this, your scalp deserves the same treatment as your face.

Extend your skincare routine to your scalp by exfoliating it regularly with a scrub once or twice a month. This will deep-clean all the oil, dead skin cells, and leftover product that gets built up.

Sleep On A Silk Pillowcase

a woman sleeps on a silk pillowcase
freedomsilk/Instagram
freedomsilk/Instagram

It may turn out that your very own pillowcase is another cause of your damaged, frizzy hair—that is, unless you use a silk pillowcase. Regular cotton or polyester pillowcases absorb the moisture and hair products right out of your strands, causing all the knots and split ends that you wake up to in the morning.

You can solve this problem by investing in a high-quality silk pillowcase, which is also beneficial for your skin as well.

Give The Ponytails A Break

a woman with a ponytail
Evil Erin/Flickr
Evil Erin/Flickr

Anyone with hair that falls past the shoulders knows how good it feels to gather all your tresses up into a ponytail to get it out of your face or off your neck on a hot day. But if you’re the type of person whose go-to hairstyle is a ponytail, consider giving it a break.

Ponytails are constantly pulling on your strands, which not only hurts the scalp but can cause breakage as well. Use pinch-free hair ties, wear your hair down, or do a low, loose ponytail if you must.

Dry Shampoo Can Save You In Between Washes

applying dry shampoo at the roots
kidscoolrealfood/Instagram
kidscoolrealfood/Instagram

Washing your hair too much can also strip your hair of its natural oils that keep it healthy—unless you naturally have an overly oily scalp, in which case regular washing is necessary. But for those who want to wash less often but can’t stand the way their hair looks greasy after a day, it might help you to use a dry shampoo.

Those with ingredients like clay will keep your hair looking fresh without leaving too much residue. Just be sure to shampoo correctly and rinse thoroughly when it is time for a wash!

Protect Your Hair In The Pool

a woman puts on a swim cap
U.S. Masters Swimming/YouTube
U.S. Masters Swimming/YouTube

Swimming usually means fun and games but if your hair had a say, it would ask to avoid the pool altogether. The chlorine in pools does incredible damage to your hair but you can help protect it by wetting and applying conditioner to your hair before diving in.

You could also wear a swim cap with a tight fit or use a shampoo and conditioner that are specially formulated for swimmers to replace the moisture.