With today’s hectic schedules around work and family life, the environment, and constant styling, our hair can often look damaged and lifeless.
We can visit the salon for professional help, but we don’t always have the time, or it may not always be within our budget to do so.
This is why we need some tips on how to get soft shiny hair with some help from home remedies.
The damage we do to our hair?
Some people style their hair every day, others a couple of times a week, but no matter how often we do it, when we do, we are changing the structure of our hair.
- Using hair straighteners, blow dryers or curling irons changes the hydrogen bonds in our hair. This is usually a temporary change, but if the temperature of the dryer or straightener is too high, or we do this on a daily basis, it can over time, cause permanent changes to the hair structure.
- When we permanently colour or highlight our hair, this changes the colour pigment with the use of ammonia and peroxide. To cause this change, the colour needs to penetrate through the cuticle (outside layer) to reach the cortex (inside layer) to change the pigment. Bleaching takes this process further by stripping it of colour and weakens the hair.
- The tension caused by ponytails or braids can result in permanent damage, especially if worn every day. The hair is pulled which will weaken it over time and can result in a receding hairline.
- As with permanent colour, if we perm or use chemical straighteners, this will weaken the structure of the hair as the bonds within the hair are broken down and rebuilt in the new form either around the curler or with straightening.
The anatomy of hair.
As with our skin and nails, hair is made up of keratin, a fibrous protein structure. There are no blood vessels or nerves within the hair structure, which is why we do not feel pain when we have a haircut.
The hair cells are formed at the roots in-bedded in the scalp, from there they form keratin which takes on the shape of the hair follicle, this is why some people have straight hair and others have curly hair.
If the protective outer layer, the cuticle, is healthy it will lie flat and allow the light to bounce from it provide a sheen. If this cuticle has been damaged with over styling or chemical abuse, it will be rough to touch and our hair will look dull.
The pH balance of the hair is important too, as the closer this is to 5.5 the healthier the hair will look and feel.
So how do we obtain healthy shiny hair?
Home remedies to the rescue
Sometimes a simple change in the products you use can make all the difference. Such as changing your shampoo to one specifically for shiny hair or a conditioning shampoo. But to get the best results we may need to use other products.
- Conditioner – Apply a small amount of conditioner to the hair after shampooing. Rub into the mid-lengths and ends of the hair but try to avoid the scalp as this may cause it to become oily. Rinse with water to remove, or you may use a leave-in conditioner which will protect the hair further when styling. For best results leave the conditioner in the hair for a few minutes covered with a towel or shower cap to allow it to smooth down the cuticle, then rinse.
- Conditioning Masks – Prepare a conditioning mask to apply to the hair at least once a week in the beginning until your hair has improved, this may then be done monthly thereafter. There are many masks on the market, but to prepare one using products you can find in the store cupboard at home is just as effective.
- Honey Mask – apply the honey to your hair, and scalp for at least 5 minutes, as honey warms it is easier to massage throughout the hair. Cover and leave for 20 minutes then shampoo and rinse. As honey is a natural antiseptic it helps with itchy scalp and infections and will provide wonderful moisture.
- Egg Whites and Lemon Mask – beat egg whites with a few drops of lemon, apply to the hair and scalp. Cover and leave for 20 minutes then shampoo and rinse. This will soften and strengthen the hair.
- Yoghurt Mask – as yoghurt is packed full of natural vitamins and minerals such as vitamin B12, Riboflavin and Niacin, it is a great mask to use. Lightly whip the yoghurt, apply to the hair, cover and leave for 20 minutes. You will find your hair feels nourished, silky and smooth.
- Apple Cider Vinegar – sometime our hair may look dull and lifeless from a build-up of products we use. Apple cider vinegar cleanses the hair, cleans the scalp, removes build up, and help to restore to the natural pH balance. The vinegar will help to close the cuticles and make the hair smoother and shiny. Dilute 1/4 cup of vinegar in a cup of water for your final rinse after shampooing.
- Hot Oil treatment – this is a wonderful way to treat your hair while also providing relief from stress. Hot oil provides you with lovely healthy shiny hair, and, if mixed with a few drops of your favourite aromatherapy oils will help to lift your mood too. Use oils such as coconut, sweet almond, even olive or jojoba heated and applied to your hair at least once a week for a lovely treat. For best results apply the oil to your hair, wrap in a warm towel and leave for 20 minutes, the oil will heat and penetrate your hair. Shampoo and rinse.
The last resort!
Prevention is always better than cure so if we use some suggestions above to maintain our hair, we should be able to keep it in a healthy shiny condition.
However, sometimes if the damage is too bad, we may need to start again. This doesn’t have to be as drastic as it sounds, a small trim to remove split ends can often do the trick. Also, if the hair is regularly trimmed, even while growing it we will keep that healthy shiny result.