Your ultimate guide to beautiful hair

Sherlwyn T.
Beauty & Fashion - Beautiful You on Yahoo! Malaysia

It is said that a beautiful hair is a woman's crowning glory and a head of beautiful hair begins with proper maintenance and care. Read on to find out how you can achieve beautiful and healthier hair all year long.

Boost hair with superfoods

The key to beautiful, healthy locks is eating well. Protein and omega-3 fatty acids found in salmon and nuts generate a healthier scalp. Nutrients found in leafy vegetables, beans, and carrots are also good for your hair. Stay away from fad diets designed for quick weight loss as most of these diets lack proper nutrients, such as zinc, biotin, or protein - all these can lead to brittle hair or hair loss.

Protect hair from sun

Like your skin, sun exposure is no kinder to your hair. It dries out your hair, especially if you have very sensitised hair (colour treated). With our sun-blazing climate in Malaysia, it's essential to guard your hair with a light hair spray packed with SPF protection.

Lukewarm water for shine

Although many of us enjoy a nice, hot shower, it is actually bad for the scalp. Hot water strip the scalp of sebum, which is the protective oil that acts a natural conditioner and gives hair its shine. This doesn't mean you have to endure through cold baths. Instead, use lukewarm water to wash your hair.

Protein for split ends

We all know, perfectly coiffed hair doesn't come without some sort of styling, however frequent hair styling, perming, colouring or bleaching can damage your hair's protective outer layer, known as the cuticle. A damaged cuticle will result in the dreaded split ends, but don't fret just yet as proteins are known to restore the damage. Look for conditioners that contain protein. What they do is penetrate the hair shaft and repair split ends. The fix only lasts until the next shampoo, so you'll need to use it regularly.

No oil treatments for dandruff

It's a misconception that dandruff is caused by a dry scalp, but in actual fact, it is caused by an inflammatory process that affects the scalp. Rubbing oil into the scalp can make the inflammation worse, resulting in more unsightly white flakes. That is why medicated shampoos are your best bet at treating dandruff.

Do not brush your curls

It is true when they say curly hair is harder to maintain, because they are more likely to break and become dry and brittle. The key is to use a pick as it keeps curls looking better as opposed to brushing or combing your hair. Conditioners with polymers such as polyvinylpyrrolidone also help to smooth hair and make it more manageable. Avoid excessive use of flat-irons and relaxers, - this can damage your hair further.

Do not comb excessively

The 100 brush strokes a day is a myth. In fact, too much brushing will break off more of your precious hair. Most people lose an average of 50 to 100 hairs every day, so a little hair loss is normal. To minimize additional hair loss, use a brush with ball-tipped bristles and avoid brushing while your hair is wet.

Avoid intense hair dye jobs

Most of us are no strangers to hair colouring process and are likely to experiment with various colours. But the next time you plan on having a hair makeover, know that you're risking damage to your hair with more extreme colour changes. If you absolutely want a colour change, some stylists recommend staying within three shades of your natural colour to minimize the damage.

Shower before swimming

The rule of thumb is to always rinse your hair before entering the pool. This will prevent harm to your hair caused by chlorine. When your hair is soaked with water, it won't absorb as much chlorine contained in the pool.  For added protection, use a pH-balancing hair product to safeguard further chemical damage.

Take a styling break

Some days it is wise to leave your hair alone. You might not realise this, but all the combing, tugging, blow drying, and chemicals from styling products are detrimental to your hair shafts. If you have damaged hair, avoid excessive styling and give your hair a break. Sometimes, less is more.