Okay, I guess everyone reading this will be thinking to themselves: yes I know all about my hair care
products, thank you! But wait one moment; please bear with me while I explain.
I want to say a quick word about the products we are all familiar with, because a working knowledge of their effect on our hair will help with the overall picture of hair care. To avoid damaging your hair it's very important to find the best hair care products for your own particular needs.
How often you wash your hair will depend on your type of hair, and your own personal preference. Greasy hair might need to be washed as often as once a day; normal or dry hair perhaps twice a week. All types of hair should be washed at least once a week to remove the build-up of dirt and pollutants which most of us are subjected to all the time. But whichever your hair type and however often you decide to wash your hair, always use gentle, natural shampoos. Many products which are available for dandruff and other scalp conditions are too alkaline, and can exacerbate dandruff.
Which Shampoo should you choose?
Most of us go to the shops and buy the best shampoo for dry, normal or greasy hair, or perhaps a medicated shampoo for a dry scalp. We take it home, apply it to our wet hair, massage it in and then rinse it out. But do we know how it works? We all take washing our hair for granted and it's worth taking a few moments to understand what we are actually doing when we use a shampoo, and what happens to our hair.
The molecules that go to make up shampoo have been specially treated and are quite large as molecules go. Each one has a head and a tail, and each of these has their own particular function. The tail attracts dirt, grease, debris and oil, but repels water. Water alone is unable to clean hair because water molecules are unable to pull the debris free from the cuticle.
What actually happens when we wash our hair and massage in the shampoo is that the grease and dirt is rolled together into small globules. This reduces the contact with the cuticles of the hairs. These globules then stick to the tails of the shampoo molecules and as the tails are bonded to the molecules' heads they are then washed out during rinsing when the heads cling to the water molecules. By working together as a team, both parts of the molecule do a good job of cleansing the hair, and this is why shampoo works so effectively.
What Type of Conditioner should you use?
There are literally 100s of shampoos & conditioners on the market. So how do you find the best one for you?
There are two types of conditioners you can use for your hair according to your needs. There are those conditioners you apply after shampooing the hair and leave on, without rinsing; leave it that way and the product continuously conditions the hair afterwards. The other type is the conventional type which should be rinsed off right after applying and massaging your hair with the conditioner.
It's pretty essential to always use a hair conditioner after shampooing and after any cold water treatment because shampoo makes the cuticles of the hair open up so that they lean away from the hair, a bit like roof tiles lifting away from a roof. A conditioner lays them flat again, which is why hair looks shinier after conditioning and why it is less likely to tangle.
Which Conditioner is best for you?
Different hair types need different conditioners. A conditioner for greasy hair should have a low PH value. A conditioner for dry hair and mild cases of dandruff should have a PH of about 5.5. For very dry or chemically treated hair it's best to use a herbal conditioner.
The use of natural hair care products wins hands down over the chemical ones. During my research I have discovered that the careful blend of various essential oils in combination with natural products such as camphor, witch hazel and camomile produce hair products
that prove extremely successful.
A final hair care tip
When drying your hair, it's important not to rub the hair vigorously, but blot dry with a towel. Always use a wide-toothed comb, and never brush your hair out when it is wet. Wet hair has increased elasticity and is more likely to snap or split.
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