Is there such a thing as perfectly groomed hair? We all frequently see glamorous women with flawless locks on screen and in magazines but can we ever hope to achieve something that great? Are we prepared to put in the hours and spend the money that’s needed to look that good?
The answer is that we probably should. Your hair can make or break your appearance, ruin or perfect your look and have a huge influence on your self-confidence.
Why is hair so important to women?
The hair care and hair styling industries are multi-million million pound enterprises because we care about our hair. Why is this?
There is no doubt that styled correctly, your hair can enhance your natural beauty. It can accentuate your eyes, your bone structure, and your skin tone. It can finish off your look. If you’ve spent a fortune on your outfit but have barely bothered to run a comb through your hair, you run the risk of looking like a woman who is wearing someone else’s clothes!
Look at the films and TV. Which characters have bad hair? They are ones that the writers are trying to portray as having low self-esteem and personal problems. Bad hair gives the impression that you have ‘let yourself go’ and are no longer worried about what you look like. The opposite is also true. A stunning new hairstyle screams self-confidence and a love of life. Perhaps that is why so many women race off to the hair salon when they break free of a toxic relationship. Out with the old and in with the new!
Your hair is your ultimate accessory. It can make or break an outfit. Some clothes will look fabulous when you have one hairstyle and then you try them on after changing styles and they look completely different.
Ultimately, good hair shows that you care about your appearance and that you look after yourself.
The best advice for washing your hair
If you want your hair to look great you have to start looking after it. I don’t mean spending hundreds of pounds on expensive salon treatments and products. It’s what you do at home that really matters.
How often you wash your matters. Your hair follicles produce a natural oil that keeps the hair shaft healthy and looking sleek. If you wash your hair every day, you will strip too much of this oil away and be left with dry, damaged and lifeless hair. I know that it is a great, fresh feeling when you have just washed your hair but try to limit it to every 2 days or so. Daily hair washing is too damaging.
Choose the frequency of washing that suits you. This is where your hair type and lifestyle come into play. If you have curly hair, you can go longer between washes because the oils take longer to travel down the hair shaft and it doesn’t look greasy. If you have used colouring products on your hair it will already be dry and will not cope with frequent shampooing. Exercising daily is a great lifestyle choice but what about your hair? You can wash the sweat out of your hair with warm water only. You don’t need to use shampoo every day.
Embrace dry shampoo. This product is your best friend. It enables you to get several days between washes and still look fantastic. It also gives your hair amazing texture and volume. You can use it once your hair has become oily but you can also use it the day after you have washed your hair and it prevents oil from building up in the first place.
Washing technique is important. Don’t use more than a 20p size blob of shampoo and even less if you have short hair. Use the shampoo on the scalp only. It will naturally come into contact with the ends as you wash it out. Never scrub the ends as this will cause serious damage.
Look after your scalp. Healthy hair can only grow from a healthy scalp. Massage it firmly as you wash your hair and it will aid blood circulation.
Watch the temperature. Lukewarm water is best for hair. If you like your showers boiling hot, turn it down a little when you are washing off the shampoo and conditioner.
Apply conditioner to towel dried hair. The conditioner does not work well when it is applied to dripping wet hair. At the very least, give it a good squeeze. If you have the time, towel dry lightly so that the conditioner can penetrate the hair shaft and deliver the necessary moisture where it is needed. Concentrate on the ends of your hair as they need it most.
Drying your hair for the best effect
Washing and conditioning your hair will leave it shiny and nourished but it’s how you treat it afterward that will control how fabulous it looks. There are techniques for blow-drying your hair that you can easily use at home to get that salon-perfect look every time.
Start by giving your hair a gentle comb through but don’t ever use a brush on wet hair as it will damage it. Start combing at the bottom and then work your way up. Apply a heat protection product which will coat the hair and form a barrier whilst you are styling.
A good quality hair dryer is a must. It is designed to protect the hair as you blow dry. You should select a low heat setting; point the nozzle downwards and several inches from the hair to prevent over-heating. Tip your head upside down and apply heat to the roots for maximum volume and movement. Then use a good quality brush to finish off the ends.
If can avoid blow drying completely every few washes this will give your hair a break from the heat and you will see the difference. Use styling tools carefully and sparingly. They can cause significant damage to your hair if you over-use them.
Natural products for your hair
As with all parts of our body, our hair responds best to natural products that work in harmony with our body’s natural chemistry. They are environmentally friendly, cheap and do not contain harsh chemicals which could disrupt the natural pH balance of your scalp.
Raw egg is suitable for all hair types. The yolk is packed with fat and proteins and acts as a scalp moisturiser. Meanwhile, the white of the egg contains enzymes which help to remove unwanted bacteria. You use it by applying half a cup to clean hair and working it through gently. Leave it to work for 20 minutes and then rinse it with cool water. Shampoo your hair again to remove all traces of the egg and condition as normal. This treatment works best if it is repeated every month.
Modern life throws a lot at our hair. Strong styling products and air pollution can leave it feeling and looking a little dull. You can treat this with natural dairy products such as sour cream and natural yoghurt. Both of them contain lactic acid which gently strips away built up grime and residue. They also have high-fat contents which act as a moisturiser. They work best if you massage half a cup into damp hair and then leave it to work on your hair for 20 minutes. Rinse it off and then shampoo and condition as you normally would. Every other week is the optimum frequency for this treatment.
Some deficiencies in our diet, stress and some shampoos can leave us with a dry and itchy scalp and unsightly dandruff. This can make wearing dark clothes a nightmare. A natural treatment that you can try is lemon juice mixed with olive oil. Olive oil is an ancient remedy for many skin complaints and has been popular since Roman times. All you have to do is make up a mixture of 2tbsps of olive oil, 2 tbsps of fresh lemon and 2 tbsps of water. Massage it gently into your damp scalp, focussing on problem areas and then relax for 20 minutes whilst it works. Listen to some music or meditate. This will help with the stress that is causing the problem in the first place. Then wash it off with warm water and shampoo and condition as normal.
Dress it up
Accessories finish off a fabulous hair style. If you are suffering from hair loss or you simply feel like your hair needs a helping hand, you can take a look at Pure Wigs for a wig or hairpiece that suits your style. Scarves make stylish accessories worn scrunched in a headband.
You can use a temporary wash-in colour to bring out the beauty of your natural hair colour for a special night out. It’s the cheapest way of getting quick results and it washes out if you don’t like it!
For special occasions, you can choose a stunning barette, swirl, vine or bando to add a touch of glamour. Now your crowning glory will be the centre of attention!