Here’s something controversial to start your day: haircare is just as important as skincare. A good haircare routine ensures that your mane remains strong, clean, nourished and free of grease.
The first step is to determine your hair type and the problem areas you want to address. Hair is usually classified into four categories—straight, wavy, curly and kinky. Each of these hair types suffers from common concerns like hair damage, frizz, oil and lack of volume. These concerns are often brought about by heat, dye damage or a bad styling job.
Whether you’re just building a routine from scratch or you’re in need of a refresher on haircare, here’s how you can be strategic in making lather, rinse and repeat work for you and your hair type.
Straight hair often suffers from the following: losing definition and volume because natural oils from the scalp travel evenly down the hair and weigh it down. To avoid looking flat and greasy, invest in a sulfate-free shampoo (most of them have little to no lathering effect) that removes excess oil from the hair and scalp. When applying conditioner, use small amounts and don’t apply on the scalp and roots of the hair to avoid weighing it down with product. You want lift—and that starts with roots.
The rule of thumb when washing hair is to only wash and condition it once or twice a week, but if it feels really greasy, you can incorporate washing in your haircare routine more often.
For styling straight hair, gentle towel drying is the way to go. Although most straight-haired people don’t often use flat irons or blow dryers, add a heat protectant to ensure that your hair won’t dry out in the middle of the day. If your hair is really flat, you can get help from a volumizing mousse, applied on damp hair, to keep it bouncy and voluminous throughout the day.
Similar to straight hair, wavy hair can get oily around the scalp so a sulfate-free shampoo would work as well. However, wavy hair tends to get drier at the ends, especially for longer lengths, so conditioning every time you wash is recommended.
Defining waves can be a struggle for those with this hair type so a leave-in conditioner or a light application of hair moisturizer can do the trick. Apply this to damp hair after towel drying and scrunch your hair with product to augment your natural waves. You can also ditch elastic hair ties or metal clips once in a while, so your hair won’t be prone to breakage. Cloth headbands can be a great styling choice for when you want to show off your defined waves while keeping hair off your face.
Curly hair can become very dry so it’s best to shampoo only twice a week. Shampooing the scalp and the roots of the hair is important in order to maintain cleanliness but shampooing the rest of the hair can cause it to become dry, frizzy and prone to breakage. Conditioner can help your hair out of its dry spell, so make sure to condition deeply and generously every four days. You can also kill two birds with one stone by detangling your hair after you put on the conditioner—this can save you a lot of time in styling.
Because curly hair often gets too dry, air drying or using a diffuser is ideal. If you’ve detangled in the shower, combing can be less aggressive, too. Mousse applied to damp curly hair can keep curls from becoming one big clump. If you’re going to be under the sun for a long time, a heat protectant can prevent your hair from drying out further. Throughout the day, you can also spray water mixed with essential oils (castor, coconut and olive oil work well to prevent dry hair) on your curls, so they’re refreshed and moisturized.
Kinky hair has tight curls made up of fine hair that’s prone to breakage. This hair type can easily dry out and get damaged so your haircare routine has to be focused on moisturizing and hydrating hair. Moisturizing shampoos are best but hair should be shampooed once a week only. Deep conditioning is ideal every two weeks. Hot oil treatments can also be used before your weekly wash; coconut and olive oil are good choices for hydrating hair without leaving it too oily.
Incorporate silk or satin hair pieces when styling your hair, aside from being a classic hair accessory. They provide protection and maintain your curl patterns. At night, braiding your hair into sections helps prevent tangling or flattening the volume of your hairstyle. Don’t overdo it with tight braids or buns though, as kinky hair can get weak and thin when put into constraining styles.