How To Prevent Dry Hair

Dry hair is one of the most common hair problems for women, and can really affect our confidence. There are various causes – from overwashing and overstyling to nutritional deficiencies and contact with hard water – but the consequences are usually the same: lackluster, brittle hair that is prone to excessive breakage and flyaways. If you’re wondering how to fix dry hair, the good news is that there are a number of simple remedies that will help you achieve sleek and healthy hair. Read on to find out more…

What Causes Dry Hair?

But what do we actually mean when we say dry hair? In order to stay moisturised your hair relies on oils that are produced at the root. You can end up with dry hair if:

  • You’re not producing enough oil to moisturise your hair
  • You’re using products that strip the natural oil
  • Your hair lets moisture escape
  • You hair wavy, curly or coiled hair that means the oil from the scalp doesn’t reach the lengths of your hair.

In order to help prevent dry hair, it’s important to understand the things that can cause your hair to dry out in the first place. Environmental and lifestyle factors include:

  • Over-washing
  • The hardness of the water in your home
  • Using too much heat on your hair
  • Nutrition
  • Age
  • Using bleach and hair colouring products
  • Chlorine
  • Sun
  • Extreme cold and humidity

If you are suffering from dry hair, take a look at your lifestyle and environment – they play a huge role in the overall appearance of your locks.

Hair Washing Habits

How often should you wash your hair?

Among the biggest culprits when it comes to dry hair is the shower. One issue is over-washing your hair. How often you wash your hair depends on your hair type and how fast your hair tends to get greasy. While shampoo is great for removing dirt and sweat, over-washing your hair can strip your scalp of those wonderful natural oils that it needs to stay nourished, stripping away sebum which keeps your locks looking sleek and shiny. As a rough rule, washing your hair two to three times a week, is a good way to protect the natural oils in your hair, while still giving you that fresh and fabulous clean-hair feeling. The temperature of the water you use is also really important, especially in the colder winter months. Tempting as it may be to turn the heat up to the max, hot water can strip the hair of its natural oils and in turn dry out your scalp. Turn the water down to a lukewarm temperature, to help prevent drying out your hair.

Does hard water dry my hair out?

Yes, it can. If you live in one of the 13 million homes in the UK that are affected by hard water, then you might find that hard water in your house is harder on your hair and therefore your scalp, which can lead to dry hair. Hard water contains higher levels of calcium and magnesium, which can irritate your scalp and cause a build-up of these minerals in your hair. This build-up can produce a film on your hair, making it harder for moisture to penetrate the hair follicle, leading to drier hair. A water softener removes these minerals, giving you softened water, which is kinder and softer on your hair and doesn’t leave a residue behind when washing. Washing with softened water can mean that you don’t need to use as many products, which is kinder to your skin and hair.

Healthy Hair Products

Which products should I avoid for dry hair?

Using healthy hair products is key when it comes to the question of how to get rid of dry hair. There are so many products to choose from that it can be hard to know where to start, but if you have dry hair and scalp then as a general rule, sulfate-free shampoos tend to be less drying. Shampoos with sulphates in strip your hair of oil – giving it that squeaky clean feel – and remove the product from your hair and scalp, but it makes it hard for your hair to regulate its natural oil production, and it may sway greatly between being very dry but then very oily at the roots as your scalp tries to produce oil to combat the drying shampoos. You might even want to use a co-wash, which is a conditioner-based wash, such as Lush’s Avocado Co-Wash. It can take a while – up to two weeks – for your hair to get used to these shampoos if you’ve been using traditional ones all your life, but soon enough your hair will begin to regulate its own oil production. When it comes to conditioners, many traditional ones have silicones in, which make hair feel really smooth but don’t necessarily nourish hair. These silicones build up on your hair and then require a sulphate-filled shampoo to remove, which starts the cycle all over again.

Which products should I use for dry hair?

Hair masks and oils will be your hair lifesavers when it comes to preventing dry hair, especially in the colder months. Using natural oils such as coconut, jojoba, almond and argan oil will help to moisturise your hair and nourish your scalp. They seal the outer layer of your hair with moisture, helping to repair any damage and improve the overall appearance of your hair, boosting your hair’s natural moisture content, leaving you with hydrated, luscious locks. Apply the oil, or a specific hair mask, to dry hair just before you wash it or leave the oil on overnight for a deep-conditioning treatment.

Hair Styling Secrets

How you go about drying your hair can also help to prevent dry hair. After you have washed your hair, grab a microfiber towel and instead of rubbing your strands between the fabric, you want to gently scrunch your hair to help dry it. Rubbing is a big no-no as the friction that is created by rubbing causes breakage.

When it comes to styling your hair, less is always more. While heat styling tools like blow dryers, curling irons and straighteners are an integral part of many women’s styling routines, they may also be the reason your hair is drying out. Remember:

  • If you need to use a hairdryer wait until most of your hair is dry, before reaching for the dryer, this will cause less damage than drying your hair from soaking wet.
  • Keep the heat low and to use an effective hair protectant before using any kind of heat and styling tool.
  • Try to limit the number of times you style your hair with heat tools to twice a week, or less if you can.

Instead, opt for a more au natural approach. Wrap your hair with a cloth or towel after showering; wear loose hairstyles instead of tight ponytails; and purchase a natural bristle brush that is gentler on your locks and less likely to cause breakage. Another top tip when it comes to the question of how to cure dry hair is to schedule a trip to the hairdresser every four to six weeks to trim off unhealthy split ends and keep your hair looking fresh and fabulous.

Take a Look at Your Diet

As with most things skin and hair related, what you are putting into your body has a direct impact on the outward appearance of your hair. What you eat and the vitamins and minerals you consume can help to prevent dry hair. Make sure you include foods in your diet that are rich in omega-3’s and antioxidants – think green vegetables, blueberries, tomatoes, broccoli, kidney beans nuts and oily fish – which help to nourish the scalp and strengthen the hair cuticle. Don’t forget to stay hydrated throughout the day too, drinking enough water is critical for maintaining the health and appearance of both your hair and skin and preventing dry hair.

Want to find out more? Read more about how hard water affects your hair in our Hair Care Hub.

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