A key point to remember while focusing on healthy hair is that hair care is not too far removed from skincare. A healthy scalp is the secret to lustrous tresses. If you focus on keeping your scalp clean and nourished, you can see significant improvement in the quality of your locks. Knowing how to properly wash your hair actually helps to reduce most of the hair problems that we face.
Hair Structure and Stages of Growth:
Before we proceed with the proper methods of washing and caring for achieving healthy hair, there are a few basic information that you need to be aware of. Understanding what constitutes your hair and the stages it goes through between growth and shedding will be immensely helpful to the complete process. Based on these information you can customise your routine according on your hair type and requirements.
The hair follicles grow from the dermis and are coated with protein filament. A strand of hair constitutes of cuticle and cortex. The cuticle is a protective, colourless, thin layer that surrounds the cuticle, whereas, it is the cortex that gives the hair its colour and texture.
Hair roots, enclosed within follicles, lie beneath the skin. These follicles carry nourishment from the blood and produce new hair. The follicles absorb lipid, angina, sweat and carbs to produce the protective keratin layer of the cuticle.
Interestingly, hair goes through three stages within its growth cycle.
Anagen Phase is the primary period of hair growth. The cells in the hair bulb divide and multiply rapidly to assist the process. This process can continue for 2 to 8 years before the follicles detach themselves from the dermis.
Catagen Phase is the next stage which lasts for anywhere between 2 to 6 months. This resting phase ends when new hair grows from the dermis.
Telogen Phase is the last stage when the grown hair rests in the roots while new growth occurs underneath it. This phase can last up to 3 months.
Unless the hair falls out on its own, it can stay in the Telogen phase for 6 to 8 years. This is one of the reasons why you should be patient while trying a new product on your hair as it takes minimum 21 days to regenerate hair.
How to Stimulate Hair Follicles for Hair Growth:
Considering the information provided, you can now understand how important it is to take better care of your scalp to automatically get healthy and glossy hair. For that purpose, properly cleaning both hair and scalp is a crucial step.
Detangling before shampooing- This step is often overlooked as most of us jump into the shower first without detangling the dry hair. Due to pollution and hair product usage, the build up on the scalp can further tangle your wet hair. Detangling them in the shower causes hair fall. To prevent this, you must detangle your dry hair with a wide toothed comb before stepping into the shower. This step helps to kick start the pre-cleansing process that provides a thorough cleaning of the scalp.
Deep conditioning- You can use hot oil, heavy hair masks or even homemade masks for this step. Apply any of these on your hair 30 minutes before shampooing and wash it off later. This process helps to protect the oil balance of the roots and scalp. It prevents the shampoo from extracting all nutrients from the scalp. You can use a shower cap after doing a hot oil massage to help maintain the moisture balance.
Cleansing- Use a mild shampoo to cleanse your crown area for the first wash. This will reduce the product and oil build up. Make sure to choose a shampoo that is sulphate free and apply it after diluting it with a little amount of water. For the second cleanse, apply the shampoo throughout the length of your hair as well as the crown, and wash it off with warm water.
Conditioning- Choose low chemical conditioner that is suitable for your hair type and apply it to the tips and length of the hair, avoiding the scalp. You can leave it in for 5 to 10 minutes. Detangle your locks after applying the conditioner to smoothen them.
Rinsing- Use cold or room temperature water to do the final rinse. This will close your cuticles and strengthen the hair. The cold hair also helps retain the natural shine of the hair, unlike warm water that will strip off all the nutrients.
Drying- Pat dry your hair with a soft towel. Do not rub your hair and avoid friction. This will help keep your hair non-frizzy. Apply a leave on conditioner to semi-dry hair and comb it out smoothly. If you use heat to dry or style your hair, using a heat protector spray or serum is absolutely necessary.
You can stimulate hair growth if you follow this routine. As it takes care to treat the scalp with extra attention, the hair follicles remain healthy and help the rapid growth of hair.
How to Stop Hair Loss and Regrow Hair Naturally:
In addition to the proper cleansing methods, you can adapt these 15 healthy habits to reduce hair fall and boost hair growth.
Wash Less, Trim More. Washing your hair excessively will cleanse out the essential oils and nutrients from the scalp and roots. Wash your hair when it becomes oily. Twice or thrice a week is recommended but you can shampoo your hair according to the oiliness of your scalp. Trim the split ends to further boost healthy hair growth.
Use Hair Product. Do not refrain from using hair products for fear of build up on the scalp. You hair needs the protection of leave in conditioners and heat protectors.
Treat but Protect. Even if you treat your hair chemically, make sure to protect and take extra care of your hair. Treated hair is especially vulnerable to damage and you have to be extra careful to avoid that.
No Excessive Combing. This popular myth of combing your hair too much to give it shine actually uproots the hair easily.
Protect from Sun Damage. Use heat protector serum even when you are not heat styling your hair to protect it from the sun. If you are exposed to long hours in the sun, cover your hair as best possible.
Limit Chemical Treatments. Some popular chemicals used in hair treatments end up making your hair more prone to breakage.
Use Shower Filter. Specific areas have extreme harsh water which affects the texture of the hair. Install a shower filter or water softener to protect your hair from damage.
Eat Healthy. A healthy and balanced diet ensures healthy hair growth. You can take supplements for any nutrient deficiencies you might have.
Scalp Massage. You can massage your scalp using your fingertips to stimulate blood circulation.
Low Manipulation. Touching your hair often leads to breakage.
Style Hair Once a Week to limit heat styling.
No Elastic Bands to tie your hair. You can use clips or cloth bands to avoid friction and breakage.
Remove Stress. The stress hormones can cause premature balding. You can try to meditate and relax to avoid extreme hormonal changes.
Adequate exercise keeps the body healthy which produces all the necessary nutrients for hair. Exercise can even help you relax and avoid stress.
No Sulphate Products. Hair products with sulphate are not at all recommended as they strip your hair off all natural oils.
Following these healthy habits religiously will definitely have a positive impact on your hair growth. Protein and moisture are the two most significant factors that aid the process of hair growth. Simply being able to balance these two factors can produce healthy and shiny hair.