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10 Expert Winter Hair Care Tips to Protect Your Tresses

image02While winter brings the holiday season – and plenty of opportunities for window shopping – we’re also facing snow, wind, and colder, drier temps. What’s a girl to do?

Whether you fear a dry, itchy scalp or frizzy hat head, we’ve got you covered with a ten-step plan to protect your hair all winter long:

 

1. Chill Out, Girl

A piping hot shower feels amazing after you’ve spent an hour outside shoveling your butt off, but raising the temp of your shower can wreak holy havoc on your hair.

“Not only are you washing your hair’s protective oils down the drain, but the heat throws your scalp’s pores into overdrive to keep up with oil production, which can damage the root and lead to additional shedding,” explains Dr. Ryan Welter at Prevention.

Your best bet? Turn the water temperature back a few notches, especially when you’re shampooing.

Super hot water can dry out your skin, too, and nobody likes ashy elbows. Invest in a good body lotion – and a stellar conditioner – once you start to feel a nip in the air this fall. And remember to stay cool.

 

2. Wait It Out

If you’re a ride-or-die shampoo girl who suds up more than a few times a week, it might be time to pump on the breaks.

Nothing works better on hair than your own natural oils, but frequent shampooing can rob your scalp of these precious conditioners.

“Instead of shampooing, try skipping the full wash and just rinse hair in the shower every other time. This will help rebalance the pH level [of your hair] and won’t deplete any existing moisture,” suggests stylist Sarah Rappolt at TeenVogue.

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Does the thought of waiting days until your next shampoo gross you out? Try a dry shampoo to keep your locks squeaky clean between washes.

And if an itchy scalp makes waiting murder, switch to a dandruff shampoo or tea tree oil treatment to help kick the urge to scratch.

 

3. Cozy Up with Conditioner

This wouldn’t be a Hairfinity post if we didn’t tell you how important it is to treat your locks with a little TLC with the three Cs of winter hair care: condition, condition, condition.

“Using a deep conditioning treatment adds moisture back into hair, which helps it to become stronger, healthier, and shinier,” stylist Rita Hazan explained to InStyle, especially if your hair is color-treated.

Need a break in your budget? Leave your regular conditioner on for a few minutes while you sing a tune for an extra hydrating boost.

Alternatively, invest in a deep conditioning treatment or hair mask for a luxe treat once a week.

 

4. Learn to Love Oil

When it comes to beating back the dry scalp winter blues, a rich oil treatment for your scalp works wonders. It’s like a hair mask on speed.

“Natural oils help prevent dryness and add shine,” stylist Mara Roszak told Refinery29.

Slather a nutrient-rich oil like coconut, argan, or almond oil on your scalp before hopping in the shower. While you’re doing your thing, let the oil work its magic on a dry, itchy scalp and moisture-zapped strands. Five minutes later, voilà. A new, winter-proof head of hair.

“It’s actually a plus to have oily hair in the winter,” stylist Nunzio Saviano reminds Refinery29 readers. “Your natural oil is the best conditioning treatment.”

Shine, baby, shine.

 

5. Steam Up Your Mirrors

Scalding hot water in the shower isn’t exactly great for your skin or your scalp – but steam is great for both!

Ladies with natural hair, take note, says beauty reporter Cherise Luter.

“If natural hair could talk…it…would say how much it loves steam,” writes Luter at Bustle. “Curly hair eats steam for breakfast. So, treat your hair to a steam therapy every morning by ditching the shower cap.”

On days when you’re not shampooing your hair, spend a little extra time in the shower so your hair can receive all that extra moisture.

 

6. Hug Your Humidifier

Speaking of steam, consider putting a humidifier in your bedroom for the colder months. Not only will the extra moisture help relieve congestion and nix your snoring habit, but it’ll also work wonders for your skin and hair.

“A humidifier will help to keep more moisture in the air during those harsh winter months, which in turn will help keep our hair from drying out too fast,” explain the editors of Essence.

We know how easy it is for girls who’ve gone natural to lose moisture between conditioning treatments.

You’ll sleep that much easier with a humidifier – and wake up with healthier hair, too!

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7. Break Out the Scissors

Stop dreading your appointment at the salon and start rejoicing when you hit that once-every-six-weeks benchmark, stylist Ron Lewis told Marie Claire.

Without regular trims, you’ll be looking at split-end city – and damaged hair spells major trouble.

“The longer split ends are allowed to remain, the worse they can become, gradually working their way up the hair shaft until damage becomes extreme,” warn the experts at L’Oreal Paris.

Once your hair splits, there’s really no way to fix it. Split end treatments are temporary fixes at best, so buck up and make an appointment, already – or turn your own pair of shears on the struggling strand, so it can get back on track.

 

8. Stop Static in Its Tracks

All winter long, we’re constantly pulling hats, scarves, sweaters, and giant puffer coats off and on, creating an extra crackle in the air.

“When temperatures dip, your hair picks up an electrical charge from the dry air, causing it to stand up,” trichologist Philip Kingsley told Cosmopolitan.

All this electricity can actually throw off the pH balance of your hair, not to mention making it extra dry and frizzy. Sounds like a recipe for a bad hair day in our book.

If you struggle with static, upgrade your old brush for one with carbon-fiber bristles, or switch to a silk pillowcase to calm down those ions and restore moisture.

 

9. Swap Synthetic Fibers for Natural Ones

10350900333_2a7ca87661_oIf your grandma still knits you caps out of itchy wool, it might be time to finally write her a thank you note. (Who are we kidding? Call your grandmother. She knit you a hat.)

According to hairstylist Ted Gibson, a loose wool cap “is best to avoid flat, static-y hair.” (And we all know what static can do.)

Otherwise, look for hats “made from materials like cotton or cashmere [to] help avoid static cling,” suggests expert Kien Hoang at Huffington Post, since “ones made of synthetic materials will make it worse.”

Whatever hat you pick, make sure it’s cute enough to justify minor bouts of hat head.

 

 

 

10. Eat Your Vitamins

You know how we feel about treating dry, itchy hair from the inside out, so this tip should come as no surprise!

When it comes to a well-nourished head of hair, your diet makes all the difference, says nutritionist Jo Lewin.

Think protein, iron, and lots of vitamins A, C, and E for healthy strands – along with “good” fats like omega-3s for extra shine.

“At the grocery store, fill up a cart with foods full of healthy monounsaturated fats and omega-3 fatty acids, such as fish, nuts, olive oil, flax, sardines, and avocados,” writes Sophia Breene at Greatist.

Work that grocery cart, and you’ll have stronger, well-conditioned locks before it’s time to make a new set of resolutions.

Winter might be coming, but there’s no need to run for the hills. Plan ahead, give your locks a little extra loving, and dial back on heat styling and scalding showers to make your skin – and your tresses – hydrated and happy.

 

What’s your winter hair survival plan? Tell us about your moisturizing master plan in the comments below :

 

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Behind the Scenes with Biotin

Portrait of young beautiful woman with extra long glossy hair

Sometimes the search for healthy hair products can lead down an internet rabbit hole – how do you separate expert research from an internet advertorial?

At Hairfinity, we’re dedicated to keeping you informed of all the ingredients in our products, so you know what you’re using – and why it works.

Today we’re giving you a no-nonsense, behind-the-scenes glimpse of what makes Biotin an important part of a healthy hair routine – and how it’ll help you grow longer, stronger locks.

Get to Know Your B-Vitamins

Unless you’re a regular in the supplement aisle, it’s easy to suffer from vitamin overwhelm. There’s lots to remember, especially when it comes to the powerhouse Vitamin B family – there’s 8 of them, after all!

So, what’s the big deal with B-Vitamins?

“They…play important roles in different aspects of cell metabolism, helping you stay energized throughout the day,” Dr. Frank Lipman told lifestyle blog Goop.

“But they are also important in promoting healthy skin and hair, balancing moods and relieving stress, helping mental clarity and focus, supporting cardiovascular health, preventing migraines, and promoting immunity.”

Biotin is a B-complex vitamin – you might also hear it referred to as Vitamin H – and it helps keep your metabolism humming.

Biotin

“From a nutritional perspective, biotin helps convert food into energy, facilitate liver detoxification, and improve the production of proteins that make up hair, skin, and nails,” nutritionist Dana James explained to Women’s Health.

It’s this link between biotin and the production of the protein keratin that has most excited women who have biotin deficiencies, or who suffer from hair loss.

“Biotin deficiency is rare and low levels may result in brittle nails and hair loss,” cautions dermatologist Susan Stuart at Huffington Post.

“However, hair loss and brittle nails may have multiple causes and taking biotin supplements may actually halt this process and even help to reverse it.”

When it comes to growing a healthy head of hair, it’s best to get a holistic view, which is why expert dermatologists often point to diet as a solution.

“Biotin supplements show best results if you’re already deficient,” Dr. Dennis Gross confirms at New York Magazine. “You can naturally find biotin in nuts, eggs, and leafy greens.”

Time to hit the salad bar! Read on for more tips on a healthy, biotin-fueled diet.

 

Fix Your Hair from the Inside-Out

“Chances are the average person is already getting plenty of B vitamins from the food they eat,” dietitian Tanya Zuckerbrot confirmed at DailyBurn.

And in order to make sure you’re eating a healthy-hair diet, here are the foods you should be stocking up on:

Eggs

These little powerhouses contain about 25mcgs of biotin each, according to Self. Whip up some scrambled eggs for breakfast to start your day right.

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Almonds

Turns out this trail mix staple can fuel your diet in more ways than one. A quarter cup of these tasty nuts contains more than 14mcgs of biotin, along with plenty Omega-6 fatty acids.

Salmon

This popular “brain food” can help you with what’s on top of your noggin, too. With about 5mcgs of biotin per 3 ounces, salmon is the perfect catch for tonight’s dinner.

Avocado

Never feel bad about your guacamole habit again! A single avocado contains about 6mcgs of hair-healthy biotin.

By incorporating these nutrient-rich foods in your diet, you’ll be one step closer to longer, stronger, healthier hair.

Give Biotin a Helping Hand

While biotin is crucial for hair and nail strength, there are other vitamins and minerals you can focus on to reach peak hair health, too.

Here are some of the most crucial vitamins and nutrients you need to give your hair, skin, and nails some oomph:

Iron

“People who have problems with hair loss or hair growth tend to be iron deficient – especially women,” dermatologist Paradi Mirmirani explained to U.S. News & World Report.

If this problem sounds familiar, then experts suggest you spend some quality time with your local butcher. A single 3-ounce serving of beef has a whopping 5 milligrams of iron – about half of your recommended daily need.

If you’re a vegetarian, then keep an eye out for leafy greens with high iron content, like spinach, beans, and tofu, suggests Audrey Bruno at Self.

Protein

Hair feeling lackluster?

“Pump up the protein,” dietitian Dawn Jackson Blatner suggested to U.S. News & World Report. “Include a small dose at each meal and with each snack, and you’ll keep your hair follicles strong.”

Think handfuls of nuts, lean red meats, eggs, chicken, and pork.

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Zinc

This super powerful mineral “promotes cell reproduction, tissue growth, and repair,” reports Tina Benitez-Eves at Men’s Health.

So if you’re losing strands or experiencing dry, itchy scalp, fill your shopping cart with shellfish, poultry, eggs, and milk.

Omega-3s

America’s obsession with “healthy fats” has probably put this term on your radar.

Omega-3 fatty acids “contribute to brain health and may help reduce inflammation,” writes Amanda MacMillan at Health.

They also happen to keep your scalp from getting too dry, which helps your hair stay full and shiny.

For a diet rich in omega-3s, stock up on tuna fish, nuts, and flax seed.

What’s Up with Keratin Treatments?

At Hairfinity, we think it’s important to treat the hair from the inside-out by focusing on diet and, if necessary, vitamin supplements.

Still, we understand that women who struggle with hair loss or lackluster locks are looking for any solution out there.

And while there are plenty of safe external treatments that will give your hair the nutrients it needs to grow thicker, fuller, and longer, keratin treatments should be approached with caution.

Even though biotin helps to produce keratin naturally in your body, applying keratin chemically to your hair might pose significant risks to your hair and scalp.

According to a story reported in Harper’s Bazaar, some of these treatments use dangerous chemicals, like formaldehyde and methylene glycol, both carcinogens.

Plus, the treatment often requires high heat, which can damage already-fragile hair.

“Subjecting a fine or heavily highlighted head of hair to a 450 degree flat iron…may not leave your hair feeling as wonderful as these treatments tend to claim,” celebrity hair stylist David Babaii told Harper’s.

Instead, suggests beauty writer Nicole Catanese, try boosting the production of keratin through your diet.

“[Load] up on ample protein…with foods such as eggs, poultry, and Greek yogurt, as well as iron, which is found in chia seeds and leafy greens like spinach,” Catanese writes.

The potential risks of keratin treatments serve as a helpful reminder: just because something is naturally made inside your body, doesn’t mean it works as well outside your body. That’s why diet is king!

Take It Easy

If you’ve already fallen in love with biotin, a word of caution.

It’s easy to take too much – and wind up with symptoms like high blood sugar, skin rashes, or low insulin, according to Huffington Post.

The smarter move?

Chat with your doc about your hair health, especially if you plan on supplementing with biotin.

“Many women with thinning hair have low levels of biotin,” nutritionist Gina Keatley told Self.

“But this isn’t the only potential cause of thinning hair, and biotin shouldn’t be a go-to remedy unless blood testing reveals that you have low levels of the vitamin,” she adds.

Until then, use our handy primer to maximize your grocery cart for shinier, healthier hair.

With so many DIY treatments and healthy-hair supplements floating around on the web, it’s smart to know more about the vitamins you’re taking – and how to amp up your diet for more desirable locks.

By incorporating more vitamin B-complex into your diet, along with the minerals and nutrients that help make your skin, nails, and hair super strong and healthy, you’ll be on the path to thicker, more gorgeous hair in no time.

Do you supplement with biotin? Tell us about your success with Vitamin B in the comments below :

 

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My Hair Won’t Stop Breaking… Now What?

hairbrushWe’ve all heard that terrible sound. You’re brushing your hair like nobody’s business, then a tug, a pull, and snap.

Uh-oh. Sounds like you’re in need of some hair repair to strengthen your strands and prevent breakage, fly-aways, and other unsightly disasters.

You’d be surprised at what you can do for stronger hair – everything from changing your diet to extra-careful styling can make the difference between luscious locks and flyaway frizz.

Here are our best tips for hair triage – follow along so you never have to worry about weak, brittle strands messing up your good hair day ever again:

Strong Hair Dos

1. Do: Eat a Healthy-Hair Diet

It’s what’s inside that counts – literally.

Changing your diet to include hair-healthy fruits, veggies, and nuts can make the difference between flawless hair that’s stronger than ever – and hair that just keeps breaking.

“Vitamin C is essential to building collagen in our bodies,” nutritionist Keri Gans, RDN told Refinery29.

“And collagen, which is a connective tissue that gives structure, is important for hair strength and growth.”

Without collagen, you could be looking at frizz, split ends, and snapped strands.

According to nutritionist Lisa Drayer, protein can help, too.

“Without enough protein, the texture of your hair can change,” Drayer explained to Refinery29. “It can result in hair that’s dull, dry, thin, and brittle.”

So the next time you’re in the grocery store, remember to nab some fruits high in Vitamin C, like strawberries, cherries, and oranges, and plenty of lean protein, for stronger hair.

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2. Do: Become a Moisturizing Maven

Healthy fats and oils aren’t just good for your skin, says Hallie Levine Sklar at Health.

The fatty acids and antioxidants found in Omega-3s also make incredible moisturizing treatments for malnourished hair.

Thankfully, the beauty industry’s starting to catch on. If your hair’s in need of a pick-me-up, try out a hair oil made from coconut, avocado, or argan oils to restore moisture to your hair and scalp.

“Hair oils are a favorite of beauty experts everywhere, and for good reason,” writes Barbara Gonzalez at Cosmopolitan.

“They’re full of essential fatty acids and they’re lubricating, which means they’re great for healing split ends, sealing in moisture, and detangling.”

Try Hairfinity Nourishing Botanical Oil for the ultimate experience..

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3. Do: Embrace Spa Day

Too often we think of special treatments – like a good hair mask – as a treat rather than a necessity.

And if you have weak, brittle strands, than you need to treat yourself more often! To start, hop in the shower before applying your mask, says celebrity stylist Chuck Amos.

“Washing your hair rids [it] of unwanted dirt and oils the from scalp and shaft,” Amos explains at Refinery29.

“When you deep condition, you restore the moisture and essential oils back to your hair after the cleansing process.”

Most stylists recommend using a hair mask about once a week, and suggest looking for ingredients like restorative fatty acids and lipids (like those found in avocado and olive oil).

Life’s about to get way more relaxing, my friend.

4. Do: Call Your Stylist

Scheduling a regular trim is a surefire way to keep hair strong, happy, and healthy – so don’t be afraid of those shears.

We know, we know – you’re probably trying to grow your hair out, not go shorter. Don’t worry, says stylist Cynthia Alvarez, a trim will help you get where you need to go even faster.

“Removing split ends is the only way to prevent further damage on other parts of the same hair shaft where split ends are present,” Alvarez told Cosmopolitan.

“Allowing a professional stylist to trim your hair every six weeks will help to keep it in optimal shape and decrease breakage.”

Embrace your turn in the salon chair for happier, healthier hair.

Strong Hair Don’ts

1. Don’t: Style When Wet

If you’re trying to do more than comb your hair when you step out of the shower, you’re headed straight for splitsville.

“Hair is weakest when it’s wet, and wet hair is more prone to tangling,” explains Anna Borges at Women’s Health. “To prevent shower-induced snarls, give your hair a brush before hopping in.”

Alternatively, you could invest in a brush that’s designed to maneuver through the tangles and knots of wet hair.

But you’re probably better off just using a wide-tooth comb to prevent breakage – or taking Borges’s sound advice, especially if you have fine hair.

The truth is, already-weak strands really can’t stand up to constant shampooing or specific kinds of styling, says stylist Gino Giumarello at StyleCaster.

If you have fine hair, Giumarello also recommends avoiding “pulling hair back…or up, styling with heat, and teasing hair.”

Sorry, ladies. Time to give up that ponytail in the name of healthier hair.

2. Don’t: Dial Up the Heat

We love the toasty-warm feeling of drying our hair as much as anyone, but styling your hair by jacking up the heat could cause more harm than good.

Heat from hair dryers or styling tools can strip your hair of moisture and make your hair more susceptible to breaking.

“Blow drying causes a ‘flash drying’ effect that not only removes the surface moisture but also removes water that is bound to the hair,” explains Shannon Roamanowski at Self.

“The effect of this flash drying is that the cuticles become dry, rigid and brittle. When the hair flexes, the pressure causes the cuticles to crack.”

Ouch! Thankfully, there are good work-arounds, but they require time you might not always be willing to put in if you’re running out the door to work.

“In order to prevent heat damage and breakage, I recommend letting hair air dry until it’s almost completely dry before using a blow dryer to finish a look,” stylist Kim Kimble told StyleCaster.

Time to hang up your blow dryers and give your hair a break!

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3. Don’t: Over-Wash Your Hair

This can be a tough one, especially if your hair starts to feel overly oily – or dry and itchy – between washes.

“Unless your hair is super oily, washing it every day can make it very dry and cause it to break easily,” celebrity stylist Ursula Stephen confirmed at Cosmopolitan. (She styles Rihanna’s hair, so pay attention!)

Instead, you’re better off shampooing a few times a week and using dry shampoo in between washes to cleanse your scalp of dirt, oil, and product build-up.

“The natural oils from your scalp are fantastic for your hair,” Drybar founder Alli Webb told StyleCaster.

We’re not saying you have to hop on the “no ‘poo” bandwagon, but waiting between washes can help restore sheen and luster to your locks. Right on.

4. Don’t: Skip Appointments with Your Stylist

If your hair’s struggling, a routine can help it get back on track, especially if you use chemical straighteners or relaxers, says celebrity hairstylist David Lopez.

“If you get a relaxer too often, you’ll definitely suffer from severe hair dehydration and end up with brittle strands that break easily,” Lopez told Cosmopolitan.

“But if you wait too long in between services, you run the risk of having the relaxed hair break away from your new growth.”

It’s better to stay on top of your calendar and plan ahead. Work with your stylist – who knows all there is to know about building a healthy head of hair – for a stronger coif.

While there’s plenty you can do – or not do – for strong, healthy hair, the best piece of advice we’ve heard?

Just be yourself.

“The ultimate tip to avoiding breakage is to simply learn to accept your hair in its natural state. Changing your hair by constantly dyeing, curling, or straightening leads to damage,” stylist Carlos Flores told StyleCaster.

A man after our own hearts!

Whether you decide to put your hair in the trusty hands of your own stylist, up the amount of omega-3s in your diet, or treat yourself to a restorative hair mask, stronger hair is within sight.

What are your strategies for avoiding broken strands? Tell us what works for you in the comments below :

 

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How to Get Thicker, Fuller Hair: A Data-Backed Answer

image03Whatever your challenges with thinning – or just plain thin – hair, it’s easy to find yourself in a cycle of dead-end products boasting quick relief, few results, and endless frustration.

No more.

There are steps you can take to grow a thick, full mane you can be proud of.

Here are five simple, scientist-approved ways to improve your hair health this year:

1. Change What You Eat

If you want thicker hair, there are styling tricks and then there are foolproof ways to change your body from the inside-out.

To make strong, healthy strands of hair, your body needs plenty of protein, while Omega-3 fatty acids will help you produce nourishing oils for your scalp.

“All basic nutrients contribute to keeping us whole and healthy, but protein provides the building blocks that allow us to repair, replace, or grow bones, skin, muscles, and hair,” explains nutritionist and health expert Joy Bauer at her website. (You’ve probably seen Bauer dispensing must-follow advice on NBC’s Today Show!)

“People who don’t get enough protein in their diets, such as those with anorexia nervosa or who follow any extreme weight-loss diet, will slow the rate of new hair growth,” she adds.

While some hair loss is genetic, more likely thinning strands are brought on by stress, medication, or – let’s face it – just getting older.

“In both men and women, levels of androgens [a hormone related to testosterone and hair growth] decrease after about age 40, which leads to thinner, slower-growing, less luxurious hair as we get older,” writes Bauer.  

Eating a hair-healthy diet can make a big difference as you face these hormonal changes, especially if you’ve recently switched to a vegetarian lifestyle or feel sideways with stress.

Look for dietary staples like chicken, turkey, and other forms of lean protein to help your body build keratin, an important protein for hair growth. Gone green? Think eggs, lentils, legumes, and tofu.

Even if you are getting enough protein, be aware of your mineral intake, too, suggests dermatologist David Leffell.

“Because both zinc and iron are key to cell production in hair follicles, a deficiency in either nutrient could also cause hair to thin or even fall out,” Leffell told Self Magazine.

Hunt down fortified cereals, lean beef, and shellfish – like oysters – for a diet rich in iron and zinc. Veggies like broccoli and spinach, along with lentils and beans, are also important sources of iron.

Finally, stock up on fish, walnuts, and flaxseed – all foods rich in Omega-3 fatty acids that will give your hair sheen and volume by fostering a healthy scalp.

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2. Shower Smarter

Tired of all that hair circling the drain? Use your time in the shower to work on cleaning your scalp instead of nailing your best Adele impression. (Girl, we know you can get it.)

In fact, scaling back the number of times you shampoo per week could help you grow healthier, well-hydrated – and, yes, thicker – hair, says beauty writer Jessica Prince Erlich.

“Overwashing can dry out your hair, so the less you shampoo, the more hydrated it will be and the longer it will grow without breaking,” Erlich writes at Harper’s Bazaar.

“When you do shampoo, consider a sulfate-free formula; they often contain less harsh detergents, or none at all, and therefore help preserve your hair’s natural oils,” she adds.

Dermatologist Nicole Rogers, however, urges consumers to be wary about the marketing claims made by companies with sulfate-free shampoos.

“There is no scientific evidence that the ‘sulfate-free’ component makes shampoo gentler than other shampoos that contain sulfates,” Rogers told the American Academy of Dermatology.

While sulfates are known irritants for people with sensitive skin, natural or relaxed hair, and eczema, there’s no guarantee that sulfate-free shampoos will help a finicky scalp.

Your best bet is to closely examine the ingredients label on your shampoo and avoid known irritants or allergens.

As ladies with sensitive skin know, this is usually easier said than done!

Use resources like the product ratings database at The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics to research product ingredients and find the best fit for you.

3. Get A Haircut

It’s easy to feel ashamed or uncertain if you’re experiencing hair loss – but don’t let thinning hair scare you away from the salon chair.

“Although it seems counterintuitive, trimming your hair while growing it out will actually encourage hair growth by getting rid of any damaged, broken, or split ends,” writes Ashley Okwuosa at Women’s Health.

Even healthy hair will start to split after about 3 to 4 months after your last cut, and split ends make the structure of your hair weak.

“The ends, which have been styled and colored the most (since the farther a strand is from its root, the older it is), are vulnerable to splitting,” explains Hannah Morrill at Real Simple.

“When you don’t trim regularly, hairs can split right up the shafts and break off, even though the follicles are still in the growth phase,” she adds.

That’s not exactly an ideal environment for the thicker, fuller hair you’re probably imagining!

While it might be painful initially, it’s worth it to sit in that stylist’s chair and get a trim – your hair will thank you.

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4. Cool It

Damage from styling tools is a one-way ticket to splitsville – not to mention duller, drier, flatter hair.

Limiting heat styling protects your hair cuticles, which are crucial for growing thick, healthy hair, says Dr. Alan Baumann, a physician and hair transplant surgeon.

“Once the cuticle is damaged, the moisture balance is disrupted and your hair is more prone to breakage,” Bauman told Prevention.

Lowering the heat on your hair dryer – or letting your hair air dry before using heat – will make a huge difference and protect your delicate strands.

Just be careful when you’re air drying your hair, cautions health and beauty writer Nina Elias.

Wet hair actually swells and “the longer the swelling goes on…the more pressure it puts on the delicate proteins keeping hair intact, which can lead to more damage,” she explains at Prevention.

Your best bet is to let your hair dry most of the way before turning on a hair dryer, Elias suggests. Just remember to keep that heat setting on “low.”

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5. Drink More Water

Not to sound like your mom or your overbearing auntie, but you need to start drinking more H2O – especially if you want to grow thicker locks.

That’s because the water you drink helps hydrate your entire body – and makes a huge impact on the moisture levels in your skin and hair, says stylist Jeanie Syfu.

“It’s the oldest trick in the book, and truly the top trick to getting your hair to look its best. When you don’t drink enough water, your hair and skin dry out, which can also slow down the process of new hair growth,” Syfu told Self.

Time to break out that water bottle and get drinking – but it might take more water than you’re expecting.

“Because your body will take care of your vital organs and tissues first, with limited water intake, your hair can get dehydrated far sooner than the rest of your body,” nutritionist Kimberly Snyder explained to Fitness.

“Water also helps flush toxins from the body that can hinder your hair from growing in healthily,” she added.

More water and fewer toxins? Your skin – and hair – will look amazing.

A few simple changes to your everyday routine – from your diet to the products you use in your shower – can make a remarkable difference in the way your hair looks and feels.

So if thin, limp strands have got you down, then it’s time to act – and make changes from the inside-out.

Do you have thin hair? Tell us about the changes you’ve made in your routine that helped breathe life into your locks :

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The Science of Shine: What It Takes to Get Lustrous Locks

9427989513_0e3e7f7026_oPerfect hair – you know it’s out there. But how on earth can you turn your dry, frizzled mane into shiny, lustrous locks?

With a little know-how and a lot of TLC, you can strengthen, repair, and rejuvenate your hair from inside-out – and we can help.

Here’s everything you need to know to get mega-watt style this winter:

Take Your Vitamins

Turns out unlocking a healthy sheen involves more than just caring for the hair on your head – you have to think big. Like your whole body big.

According to dermatologist Dr. Melissa Piliang, healthy hair and nails come from taking your vitamins – and eating right. (Yes, even if you’re on a diet.)

“We tend to restrict carbohydrates or fats for weight lost or replace them with juices, but vitamins [from whole foods] contain important nutrients like biotin, zinc, and B-complex that help to enhance the health of our hair,” Dr. Piliang told Huffington Post.

You can get plenty of B6 vitamins just by re-thinking how you eat – a good strategy to try before turning to supplements for extra help.

“Biotin, niacin, and cobalamin are among the most popular B-complex vitamins that help restore shine and thickness to strands,” reports HuffPo’s beauty editor Dana Oliver.

“Load up on whole grains, eggs, avocados and legumes, as they are some of the best food sources for B-complex vitamins,” she adds.

And if it’s zinc you’re after, put some red meat in your grocery cart and fire up the grass-fed steaks. (Don’t mind if we do.)

Another ingredient to look out for? L-cystein.

“L-cysteine, found in egg yolks, optimizes the production of keratin, a protein critical for growth,” explain the editors of InStyle.

If you need more help organizing your shopping list by what’ll make your hair feel stronger – and shinier – than ever, check out this handy list from Health for more nutrient-rich foods.

And, if all else fails, try this tip straight from Michelle Obama’s hairstylist, Johnny Wright: “I have my clients break open Vitamin E capsules and rub the gel directly on the hairline,” he told InStyle.

This souped-up antioxidant treatment restores shine and nutrients to your hair instantly. You’ll be rocking that produce aisle like the model in a shampoo commercial before you know it.

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Caring Means Repairing

Most hair damage comes from dye jobs and blow-outs – all those chemical treatments mixed with high heat wreak havoc on your head, making your hair look drab and dull.

“Your hair will be much better off if you start blow-drying when it isn’t dripping wet,” dermatologist Ranella Hirsch told Allure.

Styling wet hair can make delicate strands more prone to snapping, while constantly updating your dye job can totally deflate your look.

If you’ve gone a little overboard with styling lately, no worries – there’s still time to course correct.

Get your shine back by giving your hair a bit of a boost with a new shampoo, says stylist Oscar Blandi.

“Washing your hair too frequently can strip it of its essential oils,” Blandi told Elle, and hair with plenty of essential oils is – you guessed it – happy, shiny hair.

Hair oil can also help restore a sheen that’ll make ‘em turn heads, smoothing frizz and putting a spotlight on your locks.

“Oils of all kinds infuse your hair with instant moisture, prevent and conceal split ends, and improve the strength and smoothness of your strands over time,” explains Hannah Hickok at Redbook.

Think rich, fatty oils like avocado, coconut, and jojoba for major wattage. Read up on this trend in Self and find the oil that works best for your hair!

Hello Hydration

According to celebrity stylist John Corbett, shiny hair is well-hydrated hair.

“When the hair is healthy, the cuticle stays closed, which means less frizz and your color looks better because light reflects off your hair,” Corbett told The Today Show. “Masks can help repair what styling and the environment takes out.”

A deep conditioning treatment from an oil-based hair mask will leave your hair hydrated, smooth, and oh-so-shiny.

If you want to conquer an easy DIY project in your kitchen, check out Elle’s hair mask solution (that also – oddly – sounds delicious).

Combine avocado, coconut milk, honey, and lemon oil into a paste and coat your hair to restore mega-moisture to your locks.

“The omegas in both avocado and coconut milk moisturize and repair summer-damaged hair, adding shine in the process,” Victoria Dawson Hoff explained to her readers.

“Maple syrup (or honey) also conditions and adds shine. And while it’s optional, we gave our formula a superfood boost with lemon oil, which is particularly helpful in combatting both thirsty locks and a dry scalp.”

Sounds like a recipe for success – and super shiny hair.

Searching for a Little Clarity

According to Stylecaster’s beauty editor Rachel Krause, clarifying shampoo is like a reset button for your hair – so it should be used sparingly and wisely.

“All shampoos will cleanse your hair of the usual oil and residue, but a targeted clarifying formula will cut through more stubborn gunk, like the kind you get when you use styling products all the time,” writes Krause.

Because too much clarifying shampoo can put a damper on your shine, save it for when your hair needs a little extra TLC.

“If you’re a product fiend, use a ton of dry shampoo, or spend time in chlorinated pools, once a week will do the trick, but if you have hair that’s on the drier side or are a slave to your color, limit it to once a month, since clarifying formulas can strip the hair,” cautions Krause.

We know, we know. No one likes adding another treatment to their beauty routine.

But clarifying shampoo could make the difference between dull locks drowning in dirt and product – and shiny hair that’s totally gorge.

Beautiful african woman drying her hair with a towel in the mirror

Lock in Your Hard Work

Now that you’ve repaired and moisturized your way to a healthier sheen, it’s time to lock in all that hard work with a water-soluble, silica-based serum.

“[Silicone] can actually make hair that is dry and damaged look and feel like it’s healthy by filling in the porosity—what looks like frizz and split ends—and driving and locking in conditioner,” celebrity hairstylist Bridget Brager told Coveteur.

The only drawback? If it’s not water-soluble, silica can cause build-up and throw you right back into the cycle of dry, damaged hair you’re trying to fight your way out of.

“Look for products containing Cyclomethicone,” suggests Brager. “This is the most commonly used silicone in hair care products and it does everything Silicone promises to do, but won’t leave buildup on the hair.”

Serums that include nutrient-rich emollients – think argan and coconut oil – might also be a good solution for that finishing touch.

According to Hannah Hickok, you can even pass on chemical-based serums altogether and find all the ingredients you need right in your home.

“Skip products with ingredient labels you can’t pronounce and make [beauty blogger Alexis Wolfer’s] cuticle-strengthening, all-natural shine serum,” Hickok suggests at Redbook.

“Not only does the simple concoction use stuff you probably already have in your kitchen—meaning it’s safe and chemical-free—it’s also cheaper than any product you’d buy in the beauty aisle,” she adds.

If dry, dull hair is getting you down, it’s time to step up your game. By eating nutrient-rich foods chock-full of B-vitamins and antioxidants, you’ll be one step closer to hair greatness.

The rest all comes with planning – and having the right products for your hair. Whether you’re a styling junkie or a DIY mama, there’s plenty you can do to restore moisture and lock in that healthy glow.

Do you have a go-to hair mask that helps restore shine? Tell us what works for you in the comments below :

 

Image credits:  Flikr, Pixabay, Flikr

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Get to Know Your New Best Friend: Vitamin B12

vitamins-26622_1280There’s a reason they call Vitamin B12 the “energy” vitamin – this essential nutrient powers just about everything in your body, from brain function to the growth of red blood cells.

Read on for ten reasons Vitamin B12 is your new BFF – including how it can help you maintain healthy skin and that lustrous, foxy mane:

1. Put a Little Pep in Your Step

If you start dragging your feet or feeling low, it could be a sign you’re missing one of the key vitamins for putting an extra little pep in your step – especially if you’re a vegetarian.

Why? Vitamin B12 is “virtually nonexistent in plant foods,” reports Malia Jacobson at Women’s Health.

“Not getting the recommended 2.4 micrograms per day could leave you feeling weak and tired. (This goes for you, too, vegans.),” she adds.

You can find this ultra-important nutrient in fish, red meat, turkey, and eggs – but if that’s against your diet, you’ll have to supplement. Check with your doctor to find out whether this means you.

2. Two Tickets to the Gun Show

Whether you’re working out like a maniac in the weight room or simply trying to burn off that baby weight, Vitamin B12 helps you power through your workout.

And if you don’t have enough in your system, you could feel weak in the knees.

“A severe B12 deficiency results in anemia, which can be picked up by an ordinary blood test,” explains Jane Brody at The New York Times.

“But the less dramatic symptoms of a B12 deficiency may include muscle weakness, fatigue, shakiness, [and] unsteady gait.”

That’s because working out your muscles consumes oxygen – and they need plenty of red blood cells to keep up with your Zumba instructor!

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3. Improve Your Memory

There’s a reason they call fish “brain food” – rich in Vitamin B12, our friends from the sea also contain plenty of omega-3 fatty acids, which are linked to brain health.

Perhaps that explains why aging patients – who are at a higher risk for Vitamin B12 deficiency – are also at greater risk for degenerative diseases of the mind.

Strangely enough, symptoms of Vitamin B12 deficiency in older folks can “often mimic those of dementia, such as memory loss, disorientation, and difficulty thinking and reasoning,” reports nutritionist Stephanie Middleberg at Health.

Even the rest of you spring chickens should keep an eye out for these symptoms, too, Middleberg suggests.

4. Stay on an Even Keel

Between PMS and the ever-present threat of menopause, our emotional lives can feel like enough of a ticking time bomb as it is.

Turns out, getting enough Vitamin B12 is also an important part of managing your feelings.

“I routinely recommend both fish oil and the B vitamins to patients experiencing depression and anxiety,” writes Dr. Sheenie Ambardar at Huffington Post.

That’s because “the entire range of B vitamins, including vitamins B12, B6, and folate, [are] helpful in regulating mood,” she adds.

Of course, you should definitely check in with your doc to see if mood swings are symptoms of something more serious.

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5. Maintain Killer Eyesight

While we can’t promise that taking B12 supplements will help you see in the dark, you do need this vitamin for healthy eyesight. (Not as sexy as having a superpower, but we’ll take it.)

“The optic nerve is responsible for carrying signals from the eyes to the brain; without it, even a patient with otherwise healthy eye could lose vision,” explain the minds behind Rebuild Your Vision, a vision health supplement research firm.

“B12 deficiency renders nerves, including the optic nerve, more brittle, and can cause damage to the optic nerve, resulting in decreased central vision.”

Make sure you’re eating plenty of fish and other meats, so you don’t wind up groping around in the dark!

6. Rev Your Metabolism

After you hit 30, nothing about your metabolism feels straightforward anymore. Say goodbye to eating pizza and junk food at any hour and hello to your desk salad.

If you’re getting enough Vitamin B12, though, that desk salad doesn’t have to be so sad. (In fact, go ahead and give yourself some points for eating veggies!)

“Inadequate amounts of B6, B12, folate, thiamin and niacin can leave you feeling depressed and fatigued, slow the body’s metabolism, and increase your risk for chronic diseases,” Dr. Samantha Heller told Today.

“Get the bulk of your B’s from food, where they pair up with other vitamins and minerals for a complete synergy of action.”

Time to put that spinach desk salad to work.

7. Fire Up Those Neurons

If you’re having trouble staying motivated through your morning meetings, a bowl of fortified cereal – chock-full of Vitamin B12 – might do you more good than a cup of coffee.

“[Fortified] whole grain cereals are a snack that’s rich in folate, complex carbs, and easy-to-access protein,” writes Sarah Mahoney at Prevention.

“Fortified cereals are also a great source of vitamin B12, linked to how well we remember things,” she adds.

Come on, science, who are you kidding? Coffee’s still the best.

8. Stick to the Straight and Narrow

Because Vitamin B12 is crucial for maintaining a healthy nervous system, patients who suffer from a deficiency often feel tingling sensations in their limbs.

“Depletion of your vitamin B12 stores leads to nerve damage,” writes Esther Crain at Health.

“No wonder pins and needles in your hands and feet, shaky body movements, and trouble walking are all consequences of long-term B12 deficiency.”

Here’s to standing our ground.

9. Fight Off Colds

When enough of this vitamin’s coursing through your veins, your immune system stays in tip-top shape.

That means all those cold germs that come home from your kid’s school or rub off on the subway won’t stand a chance.

Give your immune system a one-two punch with yogurt, which contains both Vitamin B12 and probiotics.

“It acts like a lock and key to keep the good stuff in and the bad stuff out,” says dietician Laura Manning at Women’s Health.

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10. Show Off Healthy Hair, Skin, & Nails

Because Vitamin B12 regulates cell reproduction, it’s the key to making your hair, skin, and nails the picture of health.

Okay, so “cell reproduction” isn’t a super-sexy secret for getting perfect hair, but it is important, says health and beauty expert Tracy Piper.

“Your locks tell so much about your health, so when you’re deficient in certain vitamins and minerals, your hair doesn’t have optimal shine or bounce,” Piper told Harper’s Bazaar.

“B vitamins help your hair, skin and nails grow effortlessly,” she adds. “Do you have a moon on your fingernails? If not, that can be a sign of B12 deficiency and lack of circulation.”

Piper suggests taking an “active B complex” so your body can properly absorb all those nutrients.

Become the picture of health and get super shiny hair? What else could a girl ask for?

Whether you’re trying to breathe life back into tired, dull locks or simply stay on top of your health, one thing’s for sure – life looks pretty terrible with a B12 deficiency.

Because this vitamin is in charge of just about everything when it comes to energy, movement, and brain function, keep a good B complex on speed dial (just like any other BFF in your life).

As always, if you have any questions about supplementing, or your energy levels are lagging, it’s time to make an appointment with your doctor to get everything checked out.

(We promise to do our best to give you health and wellness info you can actually use – but we’re definitely not your family doc!)

No doubt about it – adulting is hard. But with Vitamin B12 in your corner, everything is way easier.

What are your go-to supplements for staying on top of your hair game? Tell us what you use – and how it’s working for you – in the comments below :

 

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90’s Inspired Half-Up Ponytail Tutorial

Kendra from Glamtwinz334 is back with another guest vlog! Here, she teaches us how to recreate one of the popular 90s-inspired hairstyles that have been trending lately.

What you need:

  • Heat protectant
  • Brush
  • 1 ½’ curling iron
  • Hairspray
  • Scrunchie

First, apply your favorite heat protectant and brush it through your hair to make sure it is applied evenly. Next, use the curling iron to curl your hair, starting at the back of your head and curling away from your face. Once your hair is all curled, use a comb to part your hair from ear to ear. Then brush the top section into a ponytail and use a scrunchie to secure it. Separate your curls to your liking by raking your fingers through your hair. If needed, use a control paste on your edges to clean everything up. Apply a little bit of the control paste to the base of your edges with your fingers and then use a brush to smooth everything back. Set your hair with a bit of hairspray, and you’re all done!

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Bohemian Hairstyle Tutorial

Guest vlogger Kendra from Glamtwinz334 shows us how to create a bohemian, semi-messy style in a few easy steps.

What you need:

  • Heat protectant
  • Brush
  • Comb
  • Curling wand
  • Bobby pins

Start by applying your favorite heat protectant to your hair. Brush your hair to make sure the protectant is applied evenly. Using a comb, part your hair down the middle. Start curling your hair by taking a 1 inch section of hair from the back of your head and wrapping it around the curling wand away from your face. Hold for 10-15 seconds, depending on how long your hair takes to curl, and then release. Repeat this process until all of your hair is curled. You can either curl all of your hair away from your face, or you can alternate curling your hair away from your face and towards your face, depending on your personal preference. Once your waves are cooled down, rake your fingers through your hair to blend them together. Then, take a small section of hair from behind your face framing layers and braid it until it reaches the middle of the back of your head. Use a bobby pin to secure it. Repeat on the other side.

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How to Style A Twist Out 3 Ways

 

Guest vlogger NaturalNeicey shows us how to style your old twist out in 3 different ways.

Style #1: Half-Style

This style is inspired by the big hair of the 80s and 90s! Section the top quarter of your hair into a V-shape. Tie that section into a ponytail using a satin scrunchie so it doesn’t break or snag your hair. Fluff your hair out to your liking. The key to making this style work is blending your hair together so you can’t see the definite part.

Style #2: Retro-Pompadour

Section off the front 3 inches of your hair. Starting on one side of your head, grab and twist the hair away from your face, twisting the hair around to the other side and down. Wrap the twisted section around to the back of your head and pin in place. Take a 6 inch piece of hair from the same side where you started the twist. Twist that piece of hair, wrap it around and pin in place right by where you pinned the first twist. Fluff the rest of your hair, and you’re done!

Style #3: Pigtail Buns

Inspired by Scary Spice, this style is for the edgier girls who aren’t afraid to be a little different! Section off the first quarter of your hair. Split that into two small pony tails using hair ties. Twist one section all the way down to the bottom, and then twist that section around itself, making a small bun and securing the end by tucking it into the bun. Repeat on the other side. Fluff your hair, and that’s it.

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Hairstyle Basics: How to Use a Curling Rod for Effortless Waves and Curls

Guest vlogger Rose from RositaApplebum shows us how to effortlessly curl your hair with a curling rod for beautiful waves. Perfect for date night, girls night out, and even prom!

What you’ll need:

  • 1 ½” Curling wand or traditional curling iron
  • 1” Flat iron (optional)
  • Claw hair clip
  • Duck hair clips
  • Hairspray

Start by parting your hair into two big sections. Secure the hair on the top with a claw clip to keep it out of the way. Divide the lower half of your hair into two smaller sections. Take half of one of those sections and wrap it around the curling iron away from your face. If you are using a traditional curling iron, wrap your hair around the clip instead of through it like you normally would. Wrap the next curl in the opposite direction. This will create a more effortless, beachy look. Clip up your curls so they can set. Pro Tip: The longer you keep the curl clipped, the tighter the curl will be! For this look, take the clips out when your hair has set to a soft curl.

Repeat the curling and clipping process on the other side. Then take down another section of hair from the claw clip and continue curling your hair, alternating the direction of each curl, until all of your hair is done. For the top section, start the curls 2-3 inches from the root so that they lay flat. You can use the curling wand or a flat iron on your bangs, depending on how soft you want them to lay. Use the flat iron to touch up the top of your hair and tame any flyaways. Set your look with a little hairspray so your curls last all night! For those of us who’s curls always seem to fall, try spraying each section with a little hairspray after curling for extra hold.

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