If you’re strands or scalp are dry, consider whether you’re doing any of the below:
Overcleansing – Your scalp is typically covered by strands of hair that protect it from the environment, including the harsh sun, elements of debris from within the air or surfaces you may lay your head against. Thus, your scalp shouldn’t truly be getting ‘dirty’ very frequently. For those whose scalps produce sweat from the heat of the climate or from exercise, for example, a clean rinse in regular purified water cleanses the scalp very well; additionally using a surfactant such as a common shampoo on the scalp is generally too harsh for it. Your scalp may typically react by becoming caught in a cycle of either dryness/itchiness, or overreacting by producing an excess of oil.
Your environment – Wind debris, the sun’s heat – harmful rays and possibly the resulting perspiration/sweat – hard minerals from the water you’re showering in – these things and more are what we refer to when speaking about your environment. Thankfully, we often have the help of our strands to protect the delicate skin of our scalp from most elements.
Your daily/nightly lifestyle habits – Especially if your strands are delicate or unhealthy/weak, you should as much as possible be in the habit of protectively styling your hair. Protective styling refers to the process used to style your hair, and not simply the actual style that you choose to wear. It includes the hairstyles you set your hair in, as well as the manipulation you practice to get it into those styles, including the type of products that you use. Further, it also includes the habits you have that affect your hair, such as laying your head against a car seat back or couch. All of these manipulate your strands to some degree. Some may have stronger hair types that can stand more manipulation than others, while others, for example those with fine or damaged hair, can stand far less manipulation and bad hair habits. But eventually over time, all types of hair can gain significant damage if you’re not consistently using protective styling practices. So determine whether you’re doing any of the things below (you shouldn’t be):
- Are you using products that are causing strand or scalp dryness, such as a common sulfate-containing shampoo or conditioner with silicone or alcohol ingredients?
- Are you scratching your scalp frequently or harshly?
- Are you brushing your scalp? Brushing or combing your strands harshly or inappropriately?
- Are you overcleansing?
- Putting too much product onto either your scalp or strands? Are harsh chemicals going onto/into your strands (such as chlorine, hair-straightening chemicals, etc.)?
- Are you using much heat on your strands?
- Using too much weight on your strands from products, hair accessories or extensions, and even water?
- Laying your bare hair on a cotton pillow at night, instead of a satin pillowcase or headwrap?
- Rubbing your strands against your car’s seat back, the couch, or other surface? Twiddling with or pulling strands as a habit with your fingers?
- Pulling hair tightly into styles? Placing hair pins or other accessories frequently in consistent spots on your scalp or strands?
Your expectations – Patience, knowledge and consistency are required in order to learn and understand the factors that go into maintenance of your hair. When you feel that you’re ready to gain a new protective styling habit, pick the habit you want to learn and practice, research it very well, and take into account your unique personality, as well as environmental and lifestyle needs. Then go! Practice makes for consistency, which makes for an easier journey of creating and maintaining healthy hair (and any habit, of course). We well know how patience is required in just about all good things in life that take knowledge and practice – your delicate strands are no different. Practice with a great attitude, which will help you stay very patient, and even appreciating the unique journey. And last, your hair is your own – that means it’s not the same as anyone else’s. Unapologetically, the same products and regimen as another with great hair will not match your own hair’s needs, for all of the factors mentioned above. Don’t envy another’s hair – envy the hair that YOU will have once you take the time to put in the care it needs. It’ll become its own unique style of beautiful, unlike any others’.