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Hair Care for Older Women

If you thought you’d hit 50 and just cruise right into retirement, those first few post-menopausal years can be a rude awakening.

(Yes, we can hear you cackling from here.)

Between hormonal changes, added stress, and fatigue, your body has had it up to here with aging – and your hair’s no exception.

We’re not just talking about all that gray – which can look perfectly chic, thank you very much. We mean the thinning, coarse, and dry hair you do battle with on the daily.

If this problem sounds oh-so-familiar, you’re not alone. Here are four expert tips to turn it around in 2017:

1. Change Your Hair from the Inside-Out

Once you hit the big 5-0, it’s more important than ever to stock up on hair-healthy fruits, veggies, and proteins to strengthen those follicles. You can also add a hair supplement designed to fill in the gaps left by your regular diet.

At the New York Times, Dr. Alan Bauman “recommends eating foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids like salmon and flaxseeds, as well as dark green vegetables, which are strong sources of vitamins A and C, needed by the follicles to produce sebum, hair’s natural conditioner.”

That means it’s time to stock up on fish, avocados, and all the broccoli you can handle. And don’t forget to add lean protein to your cart! Protein is one of the most important building blocks of keratin, which helps your hair and nails grow back stronger than ever.

But eating well is only the half of it. According to Bauman, stress tends to hit over-50s even harder, especially if you’re already wiped from experiencing hormone-overload.

“Elevated levels of cortisol — a type of steroid hormone produced by the adrenal gland — can contribute to temporary hair loss,” Bauman told AARP. “This is known as telogen effluvium, or excessive shedding.”

Shedding up to 100 strands a day is perfectly normal, but it you’re losing more than that – or you notice bald spots – stress could be the tipping point.

So if you’re looking for an excuse to kick back, relax, and treat yourself like a queen – you’ve got it.

Your health – and your hair – deserve it.

2. Minimize Breakage

Thanks to all those swirling hormones, not to mention the rapid slowing of hair growth, your locks won’t recover from damage as quickly as they once did, says dermatologist Heather Woolery-Lloyd.

“When hair breaks faster than the rate it grows, you don’t have any length and that leads to thinning,” Woolery-Lloyd explained to Huffington Post.

And the hair that does grow back? Well, it’s not as elastic as it once was, either – meaning it’s prone to even more breakage.

“It’s true that as you age, your hair also loses some of its elasticity causing it to become brittle,” dermatologist Jeffrey Benabio told HuffPo.

“Yet, often, dry, brittle hair is less related to aging and more related to the products you use,” Benabio adds. “

Hair that is repeatedly treated with chemicals — bleaches, hair straighteners, permanent dyes — can become stiff, dry and prone to breakage.”

The years after 50 tend to be a time when many women self-consciously double down on their efforts to change their hair and recapture their youth – which is precisely part of the problem.

“As hair ages, we tend to torture it more, which makes matters worse,” Bauman confirmed at The New York Times.

Just think about all the times you used a curling iron to bend your hair to your will, or how often you’ve headed to the salon to erase your gray!

By easing off the heat, nixing the chemical treatments, or letting your gray shine through, your hair will have an easier time bouncing back. You can also use hair products like Hairfinity’s Advanced Hair Care which has been proven to reduce breakage by up to 95%.

3. Restore Moisture

As teens, oily glands were the bane of our existence. We lived in fear of pimples and how they would mar our social cred or ruin a school photo. (Yuck!)

So you could be forgiven for thinking that producing less oil is a side benefit of getting older – but you’d be wrong about one thing: a dry, itchy scalp does nobody any favors.

As you age, the oil glands on your scalp begin to shrink, producing less oil over time. That means the natural oils from your scalp that work to hydrate your hair aren’t working so hot by the time you hit 50.

With some preventative care, you can avoid a dry scalp and coarse hair, too – all it takes is a little oil.

“Naturally occurring oils (like argan and coconut) have been proven time and again to add shine, strength, and moisture to brittle hair, thanks to a high concentration of fatty acids that help penetrate the strand’s shaft and repair hair from the inside out,” explains health and beauty writer Nina Elias.

Beef up your shower routine with a natural oil hair mask to strengthen, repair, and hydrate. Most experts suggest lathering up with a mask at least once a week. And if an over-the-counter fix doesn’t appeal, there are plenty of DIY treatments to try, too.

Other experts suggest limiting your time in the shower or making the switch to dry shampoo to encourage the natural oils you do have to stick around.

“Try not to wash your hair every day,” dermatologist Rebecca Kazin recommended at Prevention. “Do it every other day instead to maintain its natural oils.”

Finally, says stylist Nick Arrojo, consider investing in a new hairbrush to encourage the natural oils in your scalp to moisturize the rest of your hair.

Opting for a boar bristle brush will “make styling easier and promote shine and smoothness – benefits almost everyone wants,” Arrojo told Prevention.

Learn more about the importance of boar bristle brushes here – and you’ll cash in on those shiny hair benefits in no time flat.

4. Give Your Hair a Boost

While you’re thinking about making changes, there are two more elements of your beauty routine where small tweaks can help your hair feel stronger and more luxurious.

First, ditch that old conditioner and opt for a luxe conditioning treatment with super-powered vitamins.

“Three ingredients to look for: hydrolyzed keratin, which can provide the hair with strength and vitality, as well as moisturizing olive oil and shea butter,” stylist Arrojo told Prevention.

Remember: keratin = protein for your hair, while olive oil and shea butter will lock in moisture for sapped locks, benefiting a dry scalp, too.

And if changing your diet or upgrading your conditioner doesn’t give you the oomph you need, we recommend taking biotin or silica supplements for stronger, healthier hair.

“Those with biotin deficiencies have dry, brittle hair and when you supplement them with biotin, their hair returns to normal,” Woolery-Lloyd explained to Huffington Post.

“Silica helps to strengthen collagen – research is weaker on this but it helps strengthen your existing hair,” she added.

As with all super-charged vitamin treatments, check with your doctor before taking supplements. And remember to be patient. It can take up to six months before you start to see changes in your hair – but if over-50s are experts in anything, it’s the virtues of taking your time.

 

While there are some things we love about getting older – say, not caring a whit about what other people think, or finally nabbing our AARP discount – coarse, thinning hair is not one of them.

Whether you’ve been noticing an uptick in the number of hairs circling your shower drain or wondering why all the moisture’s been sucked out of your locks, getting older means changing the way you take care of your hair – grays and all!

As frustrating as this cycle might be, all it really takes to improve your tresses is a little TLC. Think luxurious natural oil masks, fortified conditioners, and supplements to help give your hair a bit of a boost.

We might not be able to turn back the clock, but we can sure as heck help your hair look amazing in 2017 – no matter how old you are.

 

Do you struggle with dry, thinning hair now that you’re over 50? Tell us what you do to nurture your tresses in the comments below:

 

Images: Flickr, Pexels, Pixabay, Pixabay

 

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Healthy Hair While You Sleep

Staying on top of a complicated hair care routine is no walk in the park.

Between all the shampoos, deep conditions, and making bedhead look effortless, it takes oodles of time to look your best – and take care of yourself to boot.

If you’re out there working that gorgeous, healthy head of hair, you might as well use all the time you’ve got to look fabulous. Which means learning how to keep your tresses on point – even while you’re sleeping.

That’s right – we’re about to take beauty-rest to a whole new level. Here are five expert tips for transforming eight hours of shut eye into spa time for happier, healthier hair:

1. Silky Smooth

If you’re still sleeping on cotton pillowcases, it might be time to upgrade. And while this may sound like another piece of “treat yourself” indulgence, we promise it’s way more practical.

According to John Kenmuir, president of Manito Linens, a silk pillowcase really is that much kinder on your delicate hair.

“As an ultra smooth fabric, silk pillowcases won’t bind or catch hair the way manmade fabrics can,” Kenmuir told Huffington Post. “Hair glides on silk rather than rubs.”

Sleeping on cotton can also sap moisture from your skin and hair, but a silky fabric won’t dry you out.

“The tightly-woven, smooth fibers of silk help keep moisture close to the skin,” dermatologist Jennifer Peterson explained to Everyday Health.

More moisture in your skin and scalp means less time – and money – you have to spend on expensive hydrating treatments. Double win!

More benefits to investing in this little luxury? Silk sheets will help you stay warm in winter and cool in summer – and help you beat the discomfort of hot flashes, if you’re headed into menopause. (P.S. Our condolences.)

2. Ditch That Band

No one likes to wake up feeling enveloped by their long tresses – it’s hot, sticky, and pretty darn uncomfortable.

But far too many women put their hair up before they go to bed and then secure their long locks with an elastic band. This is pretty much torture for your hair, says beauty writer Lauren Valenti.

“Because you’re tossing and turning through the night, you’re adding even more pressure the roots and hair shafts,” writes Valenti at Marie Claire.

All that pressure means you’re more prone to breakage, which is caused by weakening the hair follicle until your hair gives up – and snaps.

This is super hard to repair, but easy enough to prevent. Be extra careful about how tightly you tie your elastics – especially at nighttime.

“The pressure of a super-tight rubber band around a ponytail can wear away at your hair’s cuticle and cause the strands to break,” explain the editors of Prevention.

“Anything that puts tension on the hair follicle for a long time, like braids or extensions, can pull hair out by the roots and even cause balding.”

Um, no thank you!

If just thinking about all that hair in your face makes you squirm, consider an alternative hairstyle before pulling your hair into that pony.

At Bustle, beauty writer Sienna Fantozzi suggests a few different options. “If you have to tie it back, go low with a ponytail or loose braid at the nape of your neck,” she writes.

Better safe than sorry. And better strong, healthy hair than a damaged, broken mess.

3. Tie a Knot

Rocking a head of natural curls? Help your hair bounce back in the morning with the help of a silk scarf and a technique known fondly as “pineappling,” suggests stylist Gabrielle Corny.

“You pull your hair up to the top of your head and put it into a loose ponytail to prevent indents,” explains Corny at Glamour.

“Then you leave your natural curls out on the ends and secure the ‘pineapple’ with a headband, clip, or sleep cap. The next morning, give hair an extra pick-me-up with a curl refreshing spray, and style as desired.”

With your curls up and out of the way, you won’t have flat, lifeless hair when you roll out of bed, a perk Refinery29’s social media editor, Larissa Green, loves.

“Pineappling is great for natural hair because it keeps the kinks and curls along the base of your neck from getting smashed, which allows the coils to fall better in the morning,” Green told the blog.

Plus, with a silk scarf to your name, all the moisture in your hair and scalp will finally stick around.

When you’re a girl with natural curls, retaining moisture in your hair is super important – especially because it’s such a challenge. And with good reason, says Tippi Shorter, Global Artistic Director for Textured Hair at Aveda.

“Curly and coily hair don’t get the natural scalp oils that straight and wavy hair get [because] curls and texture don’t allow for constant brushing, which is how natural scalp oils moisturize hair,” Shorter told the beauty blog StyleCaster.

If this sounds painfully familiar, switching up your pillowcases will help – and so will these next two oh-so-effective ultra-conditioning treatments.

4. Masked Maven

Hair masks are essentially deep conditioning treatments in disguise.

The basic idea? Apply a naturally moisturizing oil or butter to your tresses to help lock in moisture and bring your hair back from the dead.

“A weekly mask is just the TLC your hair needs (and deserves) to get your hair hydrated, soft, and healthy again,” writes Erin Lukas at InStyle.

And what’s more relaxing than sleeping while your hair reaps the benefits of all that added moisture?

For dry or curly hair

If you have dry or curly hair, look for strong, natural hydrators. Think coconut oil and shea butter to help relieve your scalp and lock in moisture.

You can also “scan labels for argan oil, a powerhouse ingredient that coats curly hair, giving you both a boost of shine and an infusion of moisture, sans buildup,” confirms Crystal Martin at Refinery29.

Boom! Gorgeous hair guaranteed.

Fine Hair

Fair warning: if your hair’s on the thin side, you’ll want to take it easy with these heavy oils and natural butters.

Pay more attention to the ends of your hair – and don’t leave that mask in overnight, unless you want an oily mess on your hands.

Instead, make masking a special pre-bedtime ritual and rinse completely before you hop in the sack.

Whatever kind of hair you were born with, slathering on a moisturizing mask once a week will take your bedtime from pure beautyrest to jealousy-inducing secret weapon.

5. Wrap It Up

Ready to take your hair care night game to the next level?

Consider a moisturizing wrap – a hair mask that uses the heat of a towel or a shower cap to keep all that hydrating goodness close to your scalp.

“Hair masks are all about moisture,” stylist Joel Warren told Huffington Post.

“There are plenty of ingredients found in your kitchen that can be applied to the hair to hydrate it, such as yogurt, mayonnaise, honey and olive oil,” he added. (If you can’t resist the urge to  DIY beauty products, try these masks out, pronto.)

Voila! Thanks to the natural heat of your body – trapped by a towel or shower cap – you can transform dry, damaged hair overnight.

If you’d rather wrap your natural hair in a silk scarf to keep it extra safe, try one of these three nighttime-approved styles from the blog NaturallyCurly.com on for size.

Cute hair with more hydration? Yes, please.

 

When it comes to sporting healthier, hydrated hair, we could all use a little boost – especially during the long, cold winter nights that dry out our hair and our skin.

With a little bit of extra TLC, you can mask, wrap, and treat yourself to a luxurious night’s sleep – and a gorgeous head of hair the next morning.

Do you use a special overnight treatment? Tell us your best moves for #wokeuplikethis style in the comments below:

 

Images: Pexels, Pexels, Pixabay, Pexels, Pexels

 

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Hair Care

How to Beat Hat Head This Winter

Winter weather might bring gorgeous snowscapes and plenty of opportunities to sip hot cocoa, but it also dries out your skin and makes your hair go frizzy and flat.

“Harsh conditions like cold and wind strip the cuticle (the outermost layer of the hair strand), making it rough and susceptible to dryness and static,” dermatologist Harold Brody told Shape.

Sound familiar?

If you’re not sure how to stay warm and look super put together this winter, then you need our top five tips for beating back hat head.

Trust us – hat head is flattering for no one. Here’s how to avoid the frizz:

1. Upgrade Your Hat

When it comes to winter outerwear, materials matter. Even though it’s warm and toasty, wool will worsen the effects of hat hair, says Self writer Kristin Booker.

“Wool, cotton, and other coarse fabrics can cause split ends and breakage, a tip even more important if you have curls or natural-textured hair,” Booker writes.

Light, breathable materials, like silk, can help protect your tresses all winter long by forming a barrier between your hair and any outdoor wear you might need.

“If you’re going to go with a beanie or hat, pick one that’s loose-fitting, lightweight and made of soft, silky fabrics like satin, silk or cashmere – that way it won’t flatten your hair,” suggests Abigail Thorpe at Real Simple.

“If you want to opt for a thicker, warmer hat, make sure it’s lined with a soft fabric, or even suede,” she adds.

Still worried about breakage? Strengthen your hair all winter long by eating a hair-healthy diet chock-full of omega-3 fatty acids and plenty of protein.

Oily fish – like salmon and trout – along with the omega-3 fatty acids found in avocados and walnuts can help make your hair stronger and shinier as the snow begins to fly.

2. Dry Your Hair – The Right Way

All we want once winter weather comes on is to be warm as quickly as possible – especially when we slip out of the shower.

But if rushing your blow out can cause major problems, then how do you dry your hair in the winter without freezing your buns off?

According to stylist Mark Townsend, it’s all about carefully timed air-drying – and that starts as soon as you grab a towel.

“Don’t wrap it on top of your head, though,” Townsend cautioned Refinery29. “It can cause serious breakage around the scalp.”

If you’re worried about using a rough material like cotton to towel off, Townsend suggests using a microfiber towel.

Once you’ve removed most of the moisture from your hair, it’s important to leave time for your hair to air dry and soak the rest of that hydration up – even in winter.

High heat – whether from hairdryers or styling tools – can absolutely wreck the texture of your hair.

“Blow drying causes a “flash drying” effect that not only removes the surface moisture but also removes water that is bound to the hair, which is called water of hydration,” explains Shannon Romanowski at Self.

“Cuticles become dry, rigid and brittle. When the hair flexes, the pressure causes the cuticles to crack.”

If a wet head during the wintertime sounds like torture, most stylists recommend washing your hair at night, so your hair has time to dry before you head to work in the morning.

Loose braids, buns, or low ponytails can help you get through the night without catching cold.

3. Book Those Styling Appointments

Winter weather is especially hard on your hair, making it more prone to split ends, dryness, and breakage.

If you’re tempted to hide under the blankets all winter long, you’ll miss out on opportunities to keep your hair healthy. That includes regular trims every six to eight weeks, so you can say sayonara to split ends.

Monthly check-ins at the salon outside of your budget? Then go DIY to prevent breakage, suggests health and beauty writer Molly Carroll.

“If you notice a split end in between trips to the hair salon, don’t wait until your next visit and just trim the strand yourself,” Carroll writes at StyleCaster.

It’s especially important to stay on top of split ends in the wintertime. Unattended, split ends can cause already brittle hair to split further, damaging the follicle.

Regular trims, along with paying close attention to the amount of heat you use when styling, will help keep your hair stronger and healthier – no matter how often you put on your hat to head outside.

4. Add Volume

There’s nothing like a knit cap to take all the va-va-voom out of the volume you carefully styled into your hair that morning.

You can avoid this pitfall in the first place by playing a trick with your part, stylist Dawn del Russo told Real Simple.

Switch your part to the opposite of your head. “When you take your hat off and shake out your hair, you’ll still have all of the body and structure you left with,” says del Russo.

Genius.

If the damage is already done, the editors of Woman’s Day suggest running your fingers through your hair to bring it back to life. Unlike a brush or comb, your fingers won’t create extra static.

You can also switch up your styling strategy for the winter, focusing on building volume to lessen the dreaded effects of hat head.

“Volumizing sprays will add body to the hair, keeping it full for hat days,” hairstylist Ted Gibson told Huffington Post.

A very quick shot of heat to your roots before you head out the door can also give you a lift – just be careful not to overdo it.

If you’re combatting fine, limp, or thinning hair year-round, keep an eye out for supplements that use amino acids to help “enhance the production of keratin,” or protein, in your hair, writes Cassie Steer at Marie Claire.

With all that volume in place, taking off your winter cap once you get in doors is less apt to send you running for a mirror.

Hairfinity’s solution: Try our Harifinity Volume Builder Amino Acid Booster, a nutritional supplement that provides the hair with an intense boost of amino acids, the hair’s natural building blocks, plus support for normal hair growth from the root. The result is healthier, protein-infused hair – and a whole lot of volume to keep the winter blues at bay.

5. Combat Static

That distinctive snap-crackle-pop of static electricity from peeling off a winter hat is enough to make anyone cringe.

Static electricity and flyaways are a direct result of colder, drier winter air, explains Shannon Romanowski at Self.

Add friction from peeling off all those layers, and you’ve got yourself a real bad hair day.

In order to avoid looking like you stuck your finger in a socket, breathe moisture back into your hair by using a leave-in conditioner or hair mask.

“The more porous and damaged your hair is the drier it will be and the more likely that static charge will build up,” writes Romanowski.

“Be sure to use a good rinse-out conditioner every time you shampoo to keep hair moisturized and lessen the likelihood of charge building up in the first place.”

We could all use a little TLC in the long, cold winter months. A luxurious hair mask is a great place to start!

Protect your hair from frizz, fly-aways, and flatness this winter by ditching high heat styling, adding plenty of moisture back into your delicate tresses, and avoiding breakage at all costs.  Use a hydrating conditioner like Hairfinity Balanced Moisture Conditioner and follow up with a luxurious leave-in conditioner. 

Hats might be necessary to brave the cold, but – with a little prep – they don’t have to ruin your good hair day, too.

How do you style your hair in the winter? Tell us your best tips for staying on point even when the temperature dips below freezing:

 

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What Your Hairstyle Says About Your Personality


If you think booking an appointment with your stylist is all about looking good and feeling better – think again.

Spending an hour in the salon can give you an instant bolt of confidence, but the way you cut your hair also sends all sorts of messages to the people around you.

How you’re perceived in a staff meeting, how much money you make, and your desirability on the dating market can all stem from the first impressions people have about your appearance – and there’s even data to back it up!

We dug into what body language experts and stylists had to say about five key hairstyles, so you know what kind of signals you’re sending:

Short & Sweet

From the bob to the blunt cut, shorter hairstyles tend to be associated with straight-forward, serious, and professional women who have smarts and a lot of class.

“Short hair in contemporary American culture is typically seen as less sexy, but more professional,” Rose Weitz, a professor of women and gender studies at Arizona State University, told Today.com.

“Women are expected to be feminine, but are also are expected to fit in with men’s norms in the workplace…more often than not, they’re working with male bosses and working with male higher-ups, so, that’s always a tradeoff,” Weitz added.

For hairstylist James Vides, this perception also has plenty to do with the confidence you need to go short.

“It always seems that in a group, it’s the girl with short hair who comes off as the most confident, youthful, fun, and flirty,” Vides told Elle.

“It takes a lot of self-assurance to pull off a short hairstyle, but as long as you love it, you can rock it.”

Use it to your advantage: If your look helps people believe you’re capable, file that away and act with confidence! Offer to lead a team at work, show off your listening skills as you build consensus with your taskforce, or lobby for a promotion or more responsibility – just make sure you’ve earned it, first.

Subvert expectations: If you’re perceived as serious because of your sharp, no-funny-business look, be the first one to ask friends and colleagues out for a drink and to show your fun side. Even doing it once will increase the likelihood that you’ll be invited out the next time there’s a group activity on the books.

Stay on top of your style: Thick hair, even when it’s short, tends to be drier than fine tresses. Make sure you’re getting enough moisture by using a leave-in conditioning treatment. Apply to your tips and work upwards for fully moisturized, gorgeous hair.

 

Long, Romantic Waves

If you’re rocking that Disney Princess hair, you may be perceived as youthful – or younger than you are – and potentially even less professional.

In stylist Franco Della Grazia’s book, long hair can still be professional, as long as it’s under control at work.

“A woman who turns up for a corporate job interview with long, superstyled hair will be perceived as high-maintenance,” Della Grazia told Elle.

“And, unfortunately, a woman who labors over her hairstyle and appearance will be seen as someone who might spend too much time on herself—and not enough on her work.”

On the upside? Data shows that men still love long hair on women – but that’s a double-edged sword.

Men might be warmer to you at work, as they were in Johanna Cox’s story about navigating her position in national defense with a pixie cut. But that might not mean they respect you.

While you should cut your hair to please no man (or woman) other than yourself, we get why more male attention might be a win for some ladies.

Use it to your advantage: Feeling desirable is great, but respect and consideration is better. Make sure your date knows how to treat you right.

Subvert expectations: Sweep your hair into a low pony or bun to signal you’re ready to dig in and work. Don’t be afraid to speak up at staff meetings to show you’re ready to lead.

Stay on top of your style: Often women who opt for long hair think about length before health. Be sure to get regular trims to eliminate split ends and prevent breakage.  You can also use products proven to repair split ends and reduce breakage like Hairfinity Revitalizing Leave-in Conditioner and Hairifnity Nourishing Botanical Oil.

Curly Girls

According to Elle, rocking a head full of natural curls usually signals that you’re loads of fun to be around.

That’s because a woman with curls is often perceived as “carefree and approachable,” Della Grazia explains.

But for some women who decide to rock natural hair, it could be the choice holding them back from the job, says executive recruiter Stacey Gordon.

“Not once has anyone asked me about how I ‘get my hair that way’ when it is straightened,” Gordon writes at Forbes, speaking to the many micro-aggressions women of color might face in the workplace.

“During an interview, an African-American woman with straightened hair is confident in the knowledge that her hair is not a factor in the interviewer’s thoughts because we have all bought into the idea that straightened hair is acceptable. Curly, kinky and braided hair is not,” Gordon adds, though she challenges the underlying assumption about this idea.

Push back against these assumptions yourself by taming your mane (just a little) – then killing it in a blazer during your next interview.

Use it to your advantage: You can lead the pack with a cheerful attitude and your spirit of goodwill. Those aren’t bad ways to get things done – at work and at home. Just make sure no one tries to walk all over you.

Subvert expectations: If you’re “on” all the time, it might be hard to make space for yourself to be quiet. Don’t be afraid to ask for space and time when you need it – or just take it for yourself.

Stay on top of your style: Girls with natural curls understand how difficult it can be to keep hair properly moisturized. Look for ultra-conditioning oils like coconut, jojoba, and avocado oils.

Blonde vs. Brunette

American’s associations with hair color are as old as the hills – and research shows these attitudes aren’t changing anytime soon.

Blondes: fun, outgoing, ditzy.
Brunettes: serious and mysterious.

Ugh. There’s little to be done about subtle social and cultural mores like these, so we say: embrace your natural color, no matter the association, or experiment with a new look that makes you happy.

Stay on top of your style: Remember: dyeing hair can lead to major breakage. Make sure you work hard to put moisture back into recently dyed hair to keep it soft, supple, and healthy.

Going Gray

In the past four or five years, gray hair has been embraced by artists and countercultural babes as a way to signal an affiliation with all things cool, hip, and subversive.

For women over 40, perceptions about gray hair can run the gamut from distinguished to aging, says Weitz.

“By and large, it’s still an unusual choice to let hair simply, naturally go gray,” Weitz told Today.com.

“This is not a culture that venerates the elderly, and especially not a culture that supports elderly or older women. So, you have to have a certain level of confidence to choose to go gray.”

Match your natural gray hair with a cut that will flatter your cheekbones and make you feel as powerful and confident as you really are.

Use it to your advantage: If you’re old enough to go silver, you’ve been around long enough to deserve respect. Ask for it.

Subvert expectations: A sleek bob or asymmetrical cut can undercut the notion that you’re an old fuddy-duddy. Unless you want to lean into your crotchety side, in which case – go for it.

Stay on top of your style: As we age, our hair becomes thinner and more porous. Cut down on heat styling, amp up the protein in your diet, and create volume with a layered cut.

Initial perceptions about our hairstyles might not be fair, but people make snap judgments about appearance all day long.

Make those cultural perceptions work in your favor – and, more importantly, learn how to keep the hair you do have healthy and happy.

Have you ever experienced judgment based on your hairstyle? Tell us what happened in the comments below:

Images: Pexels, Pexels, Pixabay, Pixabay, Pexels

 

 

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Natural Alternatives to Hair Dye

Whether you’re looking to cover up your gray or sport a whole new look, dyeing your hair usually means spending hours in the salon with harsh chemicals.

Not only will hair dye do a number on your hair – stripping the shaft of its strength and moisture – but the number of chemicals in a single application could add up to more damage over time.

We decided to investigate the benefits of natural hair dyes – and which chemicals you should keep an eye out for if you head to the salon:

Why Go Natural?

For women who want to eliminate their gray hair, regular appointments with a colorist are a way of life. But what if dye actually puts you in the path of all sorts of scary health risks?

According to the Environmental Working Group, one of the most trusted independent research groups in the beauty industry, many conventional hair dyes do contain harmful chemicals.

In fact, the EWP “found that 69% of hair-dye products they tested for their Skin Deep database may pose cancer risks,” reports Alexandra Zissu at Good Housekeeping.

Currently, their database has almost 1,000 products devoted to hair coloring, with brands ranging from L’Oréal Paris to Revlon.

It’s a super comprehensive list that can help keep you informed, should you decide to purchase boxed dye.

So, you’re committed to dyeing your hair, and you’re thinking of using a natural dye – great! But what will dyeing your hair actually do to the overall health of your locks?

Because hair dye works by coloring the hair shaft, colorists use ammonia to help remove the protective layer of the cuticle. The dye will only set once your original color is treated.

“In order to get the color that you wanted, your current color has to be destroyed,” stylist Ni’Kita Wilson explains to Huffington Post. “That’s where the peroxide comes in, and that breaks down your natural hair pigment.”

But this process makes your hair weaker and more vulnerable to breakage – especially right after the dye is applied.

If you’ve noticed a change in texture or volume after regular dyeing, it’s time to up your conditioning game.

Make sure you’re using a gentle shampoo that won’t strip moisture further from your hair, and schedule some extra shower time to accommodate weekly deep conditioning treatments.

“Look for a mask with moisturizing and repairing ingredients (like shea butter, glycerin, and keratin), and use it from midlength to ends once a week,” advise the editors at Oprah Magazine.

Of all the complaints leveled at natural hair dyes, inconsistent color or lack of staying power seem to be the most common.

“People report turning orange as carrots (with real henna), or very inconsistent results, even with the same product, over time,” writes Zissu at Good Housekeeping.

“These colors don’t last very long, either. But that’s par for the course with a more natural dye, as it doesn’t penetrate the hair shaft like a synthetic does.”

While it’s true that manufactured hair dyes are generally preferred by colorists because they work more efficiently and effectively than natural dyes, you still run the risk of encountering some pretty nasty chemicals if you decide to dye the old-fashioned way.

If you’re on the hunt for a new colorist – or you just buy boxed color at the store – here are the primary offenders to keep an eye out for:

PPDs: When PPDs react with hydrogen peroxide to help bind hair color to the hair shaft, it can unleash the potential for cell mutation – and that spells increased cancer risk.

Lead acetate: A heavy metal contaminant linked to cancer and toxicity.

Resorcinol: Usually used to help achieve a specific dye color. When resorcinol reacts with the dye developer, it can irritate skin.

Walk on the Wild Side

Ready to embrace a chemical-free color treatment? There are a few different ways to go.

If you want to commit full-stop, then look for natural ingredients like henna and vegetable-based dyes.

Because of its color, henna is best for true redheads and brunettes; it makes a great base ingredient for natural or organic boxed dyes, too.

“Natural henna, on its own, creates a red-orange color, so if you see products offering other colors produced with henna, realize the manufacturers have mixed the henna with other ingredients to achieve those colors,” advise the editors at Annmarie skin care.

Most salons won’t offer dye sessions with natural ingredients like henna or vegetable-based dyes, however, so you’ll have to be comfortable tackling a DIY dye job.

You can always invite a friend over and make a spa day of it – not a bad way to spend an afternoon, if we do say so.

For those of you who might want a more professional experience – we hear you. While salons that don’t use ammonia or other harsh products are harder to come by, they do exist, and their owners are passionate about the products they use.

When you call to book your appointment, ask if your stylist uses “ammonia-free, herbal-based, low-PPD, and dyes that are also lead-, toluene- and coal tar-free,” suggests Zissu.

Finally, if you’re not opposed to using some chemical treatments, there are always ammonia-free boxed dyes available at major retailers.

Zissu recommends the brands Herbatint, Light Mountain, and Surya Henna, amongst others, since they don’t use harsh chemicals.

Say goodbye to painful burning or other uncomfortable sensations, and get ready for soft, naturally dyed hair.

Protecting Your Hair & Scalp

Even if you’re making the switch to natural dyes, coloring treatments can be pretty traumatic for your hair.

“Hair always gets a little damaged when applying color, even if you’re going back to your natural hue,” write the editors of InStyle.

“Both permanent and semi-permanent dyes contain hydrogen peroxide, which chemically changes the color of the hair pigment,” they add.

Even Herbatint, a British company that sells ammonia-free, vegan hair color, uses hydrogen peroxide in its primary hair color line.

They also offer a temporary dye line called Vegetal that uses no peroxide or PPDs. Essentially Vegetal works by introducing highlights and lowlights into your hair.

Rather than dramatically changing your hair color, this safer, temporary dye alters the tint or shade of your existing color.

Asking your stylist for highlights and lowlights is a great alternative to dyeing your hair, suggests Zissu, because “they don’t place dye in contact with the scalp.”

Not only are these techniques safer than dyeing your hair, but they’ll also protect your hair from all-out damage, especially if you stock up on an all-natural hue.

If you plan on dyeing your hair regularly, it’s really important to commit to a haircare routine that will bring moisture and vitality back to your locks. Otherwise, you could be stuck with a dry, dull, lifeless look.

One of the first things to add to your routine is a sulfate-free shampoo, or a shampoo that has fewer surfactants – the ingredients that make shampoo foam and bubble.

“When it comes to your typical lathering shampoo, you get a squeaky clean feel because you’ve removed all the oils,” hairstylist Mara Roszak explained to Elle.

The more you strip those natural oils from your scalp, the harder it becomes for your hair to bounce back from harsh dye treatments.

Keeping your shower temps low, avoiding heated styling tools, and making time for conditioning treatments will all make a big difference, too.

After all, what’s the point of a fancy new ‘do, if it doesn’t help you look – and feel – healthy, happy, and gorgeous?

With a little bit of planning – and doing your homework when it comes to hair color ingredients – you can help your hair bounce back from a dye job faster than ever.

While finding a salon that offers ammonia- and hydrogen peroxide-free coloring treatments might be difficult, it’s not impossible.

Plus, many of the less toxic brands of hair color – once out of reach and sold overseas – are now easily accessible via the Internet. (Thanks, Google!)

Of course, if you want to be super subversive, you could always embrace your gray as it comes in – and wear your new color with pride.

Have you found a natural hair dye that works well? Tell us which treatments you can’t live without in the comments below:

Images: Pexels, Pixabay, Pixabay, Pexels

 

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Tame the Mane: Tips for Styling Thick Hair

If you’ve ever tried to wrangle a thick mane in heat or humidity, you know how hard it can be to make your hair behave.

Sure, your stylist marvels about how much gorgeous hair you have, but the rest of the time?

Try dealing with a super dry scalp or waiting for ages while your hair dries in the morning. Agony, amirite?

Time to ditch your laundry list of heavy hair complaints and start showing your hair who’s boss. Here are seven tips you can use to style unruly hair into submission:

1. Say No to Knots

Chances are you’ve chucked half your brushes in the garbage by now because they don’t work, or they tangle your hair into complicated, painful knots.

Especially if you’re transitioning from relaxed to naturally curly hair, your thick mane puts up a heck of a fight against normal styling tools.

Not only is forcing that brush through unruly hair plain painful, but constantly trying to de-tangle your hair can also cause breakage and other damage to your precious tresses.

Don’t despair, just stay proactive with the right detangling brush, says beauty writer Marianne Mychaskiw.

“Equipped with flexible plastic bristles, [detangling brushes] easily glide through your layers, and work wonders at removing stubborn knots and tangles with minimal hair loss,” Mychaskiw writes at InStyle.

And, according to stylist Lisa Price, you should try “not to tug and pull when detangling, but…[comb] gently from the ends and [work] your way up the hair shaft.”

Straight, smooth hair is in sight – you just have to nail down your strategy.

2. Quench Your Thirst

All that thick hair can prevent your conditioner – along with other natural oils – from penetrating all the way to your scalp.

Not only will lack of natural oils leave your scalp dry and itchy, but it might mean the rest of your hair is begging for a drink, too.

An itchy head is uncomfortable – but preventable. You just need to show your hair and scalp a little bit of TLC.

Unlike women with fine hair, you can handle a heavy conditioner that coats strands from root to tip.

“Coarse hair types can get dry and brittle like dried-out leather – you need to restore moisture with oils or shea butter to bring it back to life,” stylist Mark Garrison explained to Women’s Health.

Before you hop in the shower, use a wide-tooth comb to brush the natural oils from your roots through the rest of your hair. This will help alleviate itch and restore balance.

As part of your regular routine, use a leave-in conditioner like Hairfinity Revitalizing Leave-In conditioner made from powerful conditioning ingredients, like quinoa, baobab extract, and camelina oil.

These rich, plant-based ingredients have plenty of moisture and fatty acids to help your hair stay soft, smooth, hydrated, and strong.

3. Outsmart Humidity

If your hair’s already thick, humidity just seems plain unfair.

All that extra moisture in the air makes your hair expand, making you feel bulkier and less beautiful than ever.

According to beauty writer Carly Cardellino, that’s because your hair is fighting its way back to its natural shape, using the extra moisture in the air to accomplish its mission.

“If your hair has any kind of natural texture and you’re trying to keep it frizz-free or straight, any moisture in the humid air will cause it to slowly revert back to its natural curly or wavy state and most likely frizz up,” explains Cardellino at Cosmopolitan.

While you can’t exactly fight nature, you can try to outsmart it by locking in moisture during your shower routine.

“You’ll want to use a lightweight moisturizing formula that will inject your hair with the hydration it needs so that it doesn’t soak up excess from the humid air,” stylist Ammon Carver told Cosmo.

An added oil-based serum can help seal your hair cuticle, keeping all that moisture in – and the humidity out.

4. Dry without Damage

During the summer, we tend not to notice how long it takes for our hair to air dry. But in the winter? Waiting for your hair to do its thing seems to take forever.

You might be tempted to crank up the heat on your blow dryer, but that could lead straight to damage, says Dr. Michael Roizen of the Cleveland Clinic.

“The extreme heat from hair dryers (and from curling irons) causes the water under the cuticles (the outermost layer of the hair) to form bubbles that stress and break the hair,” Roizen explained to Bustle.

When you have super-thick hair, you need a multi-step strategy to get dry, gorgeous hair without causing damage.

The first step, according to health writer Ninia Elias, is to allow your hair to air dry about 80% of the way. Then, use a hair dryer on the lowest heat setting to style your hair in sections.

“[Blow] your hair dry, keeping the dryer about 6-inches away from hair at all times and moving it around continuously,” Elias writes at Prevention.

This strategy gives you the best of both worlds – less heat damage from your hair dryer and a controlled air dry that won’t leave you staring at your watch. Win-win.

5. Cut for Weight, Not Length

While you should definitely rock whatever style makes you feel glam and confident, learning how to talk to your stylist about thick hair can really help keep your mane under control.

To de-bulk, ask your stylist to take out all the extra weight holding you down.

“If you have thick, dense hair and desire something lighter, looser, and more flowing, then asking your stylist to take weight out of your hair is your best bet,” Bumble & Bumble stylist Allen Thomas Wood told Into the Gloss.

“This is done by using the scissors or a razor to carve out slivers of hair and lighten up the overall effect,” Wood explained.

If you’ve never had a stylist do this for you, you’re in for a treat, my friend. You’ll feel lighter than air and twice as happy.

6. Embrace the Braid

Long, thick hair can be overwhelming, especially when you’re at work and need your hair up and out of the way.

According to Marie Claire UK, an over-the-shoulder braid will show off your gorgeous hair while keeping it out of your eyes and away from your neck.

“Braids and plait hairstyles look especially good when thick, as proven by Blake Lively’s incredible fishtail plait,” gushes beauty writer Natalie Lukaitis. (We gotta admit, this style looks pretty great on Ms. Lively.)

An added bonus? Braiding your hair is also one of the best strategies for keeping your hair safe – and styled – overnight.

“Because of the interweaving, there’s less pressure on individual strands, which can result in less breakage – and tangling, too,” explains Miriam Lacey at Prevention.

Not to mention you’ll wake up with extra beachy waves, no effort – or vacation dollars – required.

7. Shop for Extra Security

Raise your hand if you’ve ever broken a hair tie or lost your fair share of bobby pins? Yeah, that’s what we thought.

Sometimes thick hair is just too much for normal-hair restraints – making it harder to pull your hair back or put it up for a night out on the town.

Time to upgrade your hair ties and master the fine skill of bobby pinning tresses.

Like up-dos, bobby-pinning is an art. You’ll need to get some expert advice from Allure and Good Housekeeping for keeping all that hair under control.

While thick, lustrous hair sure seems like every lady’s dream, as any woman with a dense mane knows, the dream comes with a price and a ton of hassle.

The grass really is always greener, isn’t it.

But you can beat the heavy mane blues by getting out in front of common problems, like lack of moisture or unruly tangles, with a smart shampoo and conditioner strategy.

And once you find a hairstylist who knows how to de-bulk all that extra hair to give you a light cut full of movement – hold on for dear life. She – or he – is absolutely worth every penny.

Do you have heavy, thick hair? Tell us how you cope with all the extra weight – and still look fine – in the comments below:

 

Images: Pexels, Pexels, Pexels, Pixabay, Pexels

 

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How to Treat Thin Hair Right

If you see extra hair clogging the shower drain, don’t start sounding the hair loss alarm right away.

Before you panic, get some perspective. According to London-based dermatologist Dr. Jennifer Jones, hair loss becomes more common as women age.

“About 45 per cent of women will have some degree of female pattern hair loss by the time they reach 50,” Jones told The Daily Mail.

Here’s what else you need to know – and how you can turn the tables on your follicles for a healthier, happier ‘do:

1. Know the Causes

From aging to iron deficiency, there’s plenty going on underneath the surface that could be causing your hair to thin or fall out.

And while there’s not a whole lot you can do about getting older – sorry, ladies! – you can keep an eye out for other symptoms.

“We believe that treatment for hair loss is enhanced when iron deficiency, with or without anemia, is treated,” dermatologist Leonid Benjamin Trost and his co-authors wrote in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology.

You should also keep an eye out for symptoms of lupus and consider how hormonal changes – including childbirth or thyroid disease – may be affecting your body, advises Sally Wadyka at Prevention.

Of course, don’t just take our word for it. If you’re concerned, you should schedule an appointment with your doc to talk things over – and get some insight.

It might be worth asking your primary care physician about the possibility of blood work to help determine what’s up, too.

“If the blood test reveals that you have low iron, for instance, your doctor will put you on a supplement,” explains Lesley Alderman at The New York Times.

“If your hair loss seems to be the result of menopause, you and your doctor can discuss whether hormone replacement therapy would be a good idea,” she adds.

So while it might be tempting to stress out on your own, make a call and start looking for some answers.

In the meanwhile, follow the rest of our hair-healthy steps, so you can focus on looking – and feeling – better than ever.

2. Change Your Diet

Thinning hair is a surefire sign that something’s up. But thank goodness you can easily and effectively address extra shedding by changing your diet to include more protein, iron, and Omega-3s.

“Hair is a protein fiber (as are nails), which means you need to eat protein to grow new strands and keep the existing ones strong,” writes Leah Polokoff at Prevention. “Protein is also required to produce keratin, a key structural component of hair.”

Fill your cart with foods rich in protein and natural fatty acids, ingredients that are great for hair and scalp health, Polokoff suggests.

Think fish – like salmon – eggs, spinach, and a healthy dose of nuts and seeds to build stronger strands with extra shine. 

You can also try supplements designed to give your hair the nutrition it needs.  Hairfinity Healthy Hair Vitamins are formulated to fill in the gaps left by your regular diet ensuring that your hair receives the benefits of several nutrients.  In addition, adding an amino acid supplement like Hairfinity Volume Builder provides the hair’s natural building blocks, plus support for normal hair growth from the root.

 

3. Ease off the Heat

We know, We know. You’re addicted to that curling iron and your special-ordered ion hairdryer. Girl, we get it.

But if you’re overdoing it on heat styling, you could be making your problem worse – even permanent, cautions Dr. Jessica Krant, a dermatologist.

“Scarring of the follicles [from excessive heat styling] can occur in a way that cannot be recovered through medications or procedures,” Krant told Huffington Post.

“There is also a delayed effect, so it can be months to years after the damage is done that the hair no longer grows well,” she added.

Suffering from thinning hair? Then it’s important to find other, less damaging ways to style your locks.

At Today.com, stylist Jamika Wilson recommends adjusting the settings on your styling tools to avoid harming your already-delicate hair.

“For fine hair, lower temperature settings are best, but no hair [thickness] should use 400 degrees,” said Wilson, describing the maximum heat setting for most professional styling tools.

“While you think this gets your hair straight and smooth, you are actually damaging the hair,” she added.

If the thought of abandoning your tools altogether sends you into a panic, consider styling your hair every other day to give your tresses a much-deserved break or using a heat protectant.  Hairfinity Revitalizing Leave-In Conditioner can be used to protect your hair heat treated at 450° F.

4. Shower Your Scalp with Love

Thinning hair got you down? Then direct a little TLC toward your scalp, which will help protect and nourish your hair follicles.

“You’re halfway there every time you shampoo: massaging your head in the shower improves blood flow to the scalp,” writes Madyka at Prevention.

“This means a better environment for hair growth, but it also aids the penetration of any treatment shampoos you use,” she explains.

And while you want to be careful to use a conditioner like Hairfinity Balanced Moisture Conditioner that won’t weigh down your hair and make it look oily, you should still be sure to wash regularly, say the editors of Martha Stewart.

“Use a volumizing shampoo and conditioner loaded with rice or wheat protein, which strengthens and expands the diameter of the hair shaft,” the editors suggest.

“And remember, your roots are naturally hydrated by scalp oils, so only condition ends.”

Have fine hair? Then shop around for a conditioner with “avocado oil and and omega fatty acids to help hair maximize its natural water retention and boost growth and shine,” advises Megan McIntyre at Refinery29.

Fine or thinning hair might require a little extra TLC, but it makes a big difference when you get that hair care combo just right.

5. Give Your Hair a Boost

If you’ve scheduled an appointment with your doc, it’s worth bringing up a treatment like Minoxidil – one of the only FDA-approved treatments out there.

“Minoxidil can enhance the size of the follicle so that it produces a bigger strand of hair,” dermatologist Wilma Bergfeld told Prevention.

According to the same article, as many as 50% of women who use the treatment notice an improvement over time.

If you’re not ready to commit to prescription strength treatments, there are other ways to make your hair stronger – and fuller – from the inside out.

Vitamin treatments like biotin or supplements with amino acids can help you boost the strength and volume of your hair, and improve the health of hair that’s growing in, too.

“[Biotin] has been shown to help hair and nails grow, and it may also aid skin-cell turnover, which keeps your complexion looking fresh,” explain the editors of SELF.

Like protein, amino acids can help strengthen the protein structure of the hair follicle. Incorporating these treatments into your daily vitamin regimen can help you grow stronger, fuller, shinier hair.

6. Say Om!

Stress is terrible for your body – and that goes double for your hair! And while stress-related hair loss is a common phenomenon to keep your eye out for, the timing of hair loss might not make immediate sense.

“Because there’s a delay between when a hair stops growing and when it falls out, there’s likewise a delay between a stressful event (which can be physical, like surgery or trauma, or emotional, like a divorce or loss of a job) and when hair loss might occur,” explains Julie Beck explains at The Atlantic.

According to Beck, you might start shedding up to three months after you felt like pulling on your own hair. If this sounds familiar, play detective and take a look at your calendar to see what was happening three months ago. 

Looking for a way to take the stress off your hair?  Try Hairfinity’s Detox & De-Stress Anti-Oixidant Booster designed to supports the scalp’s natural stress reduction mechanisms.

Need more ideas for how to chill out? Try integrating more exercise and meditation into your day, suggests Linda Ellery at Huffington Post.

“Exercising for a minimum of 20 minutes per day reduces stress by increasing the production of endorphins in the body,” writes Ellery.

“Regular exercise is also a great way to increase self-confidence and lower the symptoms associated with depression and anxiety.”

Losing hair can feel devastating enough – don’t be stressed out on top of it. Get out there and move, so you can start feeling better – and growing stronger, healthier hair.

If you’ve been struggling with hair loss over the past few months, we know how upset and frustrated you must feel.

But don’t give up on your hair – there’s still plenty you can do to make your hair healthy and full of volume again.

From changing your diet to becoming a zen master, give yourself a little extra TLC. You deserve it.

Have you suffered from hair loss? Tell us what you do to treat your hair right – even when everything feels wrong:

 

Images: Pexels, Pexels, Flickr, Pexels

 

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10 Homemade Hair Mask Recipes to Try At Home

image02We aren’t born with perfect hair.

But we can get closer – with all-natural hair mask recipes that help repair damage, nourish our scalps, and eliminate product build-up.

If you’re looking for a way to give your mane a new lease on life, try one of these recipes on for size:

1. For Damaged Hair

From high heat styling tools to harsh chemical treatments, hair gets damaged in all sorts of ways.

This nourishing hair mask from BuzzFeed gives your hair a boost with egg yolk, honey, and coconut oil to restore moisture, protein, and shine.

“Eggs work as a cleaning agent because of the lecithin they contain, and it can produce healthier tresses due to their high volume of protein,” explains Lucy Aitken Read at Cosmopolitan. “Essentially an egg is nature’s two in one shampoo and conditioner.”

Combine 1 egg yolk, two tablespoons of coconut oil, and one tablespoon of honey. Apply to your hair and let set for 30 minutes. Wash the mask out with your normal shampoo and conditioner.

 

2. To Reduce Breakage

Hair breaks – or gets split ends – when it’s fragile, dry, and brittle.

This can happen because of styling choices, but sometimes there’s something more serious going on with your diet, and breakage is a sign you need to up your protein intake.

Help your hair heal with a hair mask made from Greek yogurt, apple cider vinegar, and honey. Greek yogurt helps give your hair a protein boost, while apple cider vinegar will cleanse your tresses, and honey will help seal in moisture.

Combine 1 cup yogurt, 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar, and 1 tablespoon of honey. Apply to your hair from roots to tips, then let it set for about 15 minutes. Rinse with water.

 

3. For An Itchy Scalp

Colder weather got you down? Combat dandruff and itch with a lemon juice and olive oil hair treatment that’ll leave your tresses feeling nourished and refreshed.

“The acidity in lemon juice helps rid your scalp of any loose, dry flakes of skin, while the olive oil moisturizes the [newly exposed] skin on your head,” natural beauty expert Janice Cox told Woman’s Day.

To find relief, combine two tablespoons of olive oil with two tablespoons of lemon juice and another two tablespoons of water.

Apply to your hair, massage into your scalp, and let it set for about 20 minutes. Shampoo as normal. Use every other week.

 

4. For Dry Hair

Hair that’s been chemically relaxed or even dyed can often feel dry and brittle. Breathe some moisture back into your hair with a honey and olive oil double whammy.

“Both honey and olive oil are great humectants, meaning they attract and hold onto water molecules,” writes Nikki Walton, founder of the lifestyle blog CurlyNikki.com.

“Honey is a natural antiseptic and anti-inflammatory. So this mask will also help with dandruff and scalp irritation.”

Per Nikki’s instructions, mix one tablespoon of honey with two tablespoons of olive oil and let it set for about 20 minutes.

You can also add essential oils to the mixture to further nourish your locks. Rinse and wash with your normal shampoo and conditioner.

image04

 

5. To Restore Moisture

If you need to take a deep, hydrating dive, this French clay, avocado oil, and lavender essential oil mask will leave your hair smooth, shiny, and stronger than ever.

“The high silica content of the clay helps to soothe irritated scalp conditions like dandruff, decrease breakage, and add shine and lustre to hair,” writes Walton.

Mix ¼ cup of Rhassoul clay, 1 tablespoon avocado oil, 70ml of water, and a few drops of an essential oil like lavender together. Work in sections across your scalp, beginning at the roots of your hair and drawing the mixture down.

Slap on a shower cap, watch your favorite 30-minute TV show, and you’re good to go.

 

6. For Natural Hair

Ladies who rock natural hair understand how important locking major moisture into your locks can be.

“Those with thick, curly hair can be more prone to dryness and frizz, which makes a boost of hydration paramount,” writes Rebecca Taras at Refinery29.

Try this avocado, mayonnaise, coconut oil, and honey mask straight from the hair gurus at BuzzFeed for an ultra-hydrating treatment.

Mix half an avocado with ¼ cup of mayonnaise, two tablespoons of avocado oil, and one tablespoon of honey in a large bowl.

Apply to your hair in sections, from the roots to the tips, cover with a shower cap, and wait 30 minutes. Rinse and wash with conditioner.

image07

 

7. For Curly Hair

Thick, curly hair also needs a little extra TLC – it can take a good amount of conditioner to make your tresses perk up!

Whip up a conditioning mask from 1 egg, two tablespoons of mayonnaise, one tablespoon of olive oil, and one tablespoon of honey.

Apply to your hair, wrap in a towel, and wait thirty minutes before washing out with shampoo and conditioner.

While it might sound weird to use condiments on your hair, mayo actual works wonders, says beauty writer Rebecca Sample Gerstung.

“Mayo is made with an oil base, and it makes hair shine,” Gerstung explains at Real Simple.

Meanwhile, the egg will help restore proteins and vitamins to your hair, while the olive oil and honey provide much-needed moisture.

 

8. To Beat Product Build-Up

If you use a ton of product to keep your hair in line, you could be headed for limp, lifeless hair weighed down by build-up.

For beauty expert Janice Cox, there’s one simple solution: baking soda.

“Nothing eats through product buildup like baking soda,” Cox told Woman’s Day. That’s because baking soda will cut through acidity like a knife through butter.

To use Cox’s suggested treatment, mix up to two tablespoons of baking soda into a paste with water. Apply to damp hair, and wait for 15 minutes before hopping in the shower and shampooing as normal.

image06

 

9. To Restore Elasticity

Heat damage or chemical treatments can make our hair feel limp – unable to bounce back from the rough treatment.

If this problem sounds familiar, whip up this banana, honey, and olive oil mask from StyleCaster to get back on track.

“Banana has just enough protein to improve elasticity while the combo of honey and oil moisturizes strands and hydrates the scalp,” explains Shannon Farrell at the top-notch beauty blog.

Mix one ripened – soft – banana, one tablespoon of honey, one tablespoon of olive oil, and a few drops of lavender essential oil in a large bowl, then apply from roots to tips, massaging your scalp.

Wrap in a towel, and let the mask sit for 15 minutes before washing.

 

10. To Restore Shine

Feeling a little lackluster headed into the holiday season? Then it’s time to turn on some mega-wattage shine with a nourishing mixture of avocado, coconut milk, and honey.

“The omegas in both avocado and coconut milk moisturize and repair…damaged hair, adding shine in the process,” explains Victoria Dawson Hoff at Elle. “Maple syrup (or honey) also conditions and adds shine.”

In a blender, combine a whole avocado, one cup of coconut milk, a tablespoon of honey, and lemon oil if you have it on hand.

Apply in sections from the roots of your hair to the tips, then cover with a shower cap and wait for 30 minutes.

Rinse out, then shampoo and condition as normal. With all that avocado and coconut milk, you should see an immediate difference in the shine and lustre of your hair.

If you have major hair envy when celebs hit the red carpet, then it might be time to up your hair game.

Each of these hair masks is designed to solve a tricky – but oh-so-common – problem, and you can find many of the ingredients in your pantry or the grocery store.

Gorgeous, well-hydrated hair is within reach – you just have to work for it. Or, in this case, sit back and read your fave magazine while the hair mask does the work for you.

Do you have a no-fail DIY treatment you depend on for shiny, well-nourished hair? Tell us your secret recipe in the comments below:

Images: Pixabay, Pixabay, Flickr, Unsplash

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Itchy Scalp? Try These 5 Steps Now

image02With the cold winds of winter comes dry, itchy skin – and, for many of us, a dry, itchy scalp, too.

As embarrassing as it may feel to deal with a little dandruff on your shoulder, it’s a super common problem – and there’s plenty you can do to address it.

According to dermatologist Fayne Frey, almost everyone “experiences dandruff at some point in their lives — usually individuals from adolescence to about age 50, when the sebaceous glands are most active.”

Even if it’s small comfort to know you’re not alone, you’ll be relieved to learn there’s an end in sight to that persistent itch.

Here’s our five-step guide to stopping your scratching in its tracks:

1. Do Some Sleuthing

First things first – do you really know why you’re itching?

Dandruff – or seborrheic dermatitis – is one of the most common scalp problems dermatologists diagnose.

Your scalp might feel dry and itchy, but dandruff is often caused – paradoxically – by oil glands working in overdrive.

“It’s the cause of an overproduction of oil or other secretions in the skin, or an increase in normal skin yeasts,” cosmetic surgeon Carlos Wesley told Glamour.

As extra oil builds up on your scalp, the skin cells you would normally shed in the course of your day stick around instead.

The extra cells start to build up over time – and it feels really uncomfortable. Cue your furious scratching, and an embarrassing amount of dandruff flaking from your scalp.

Still, there’s always the possibility that your dry, itchy scalp isn’t dandruff at all, but an allergic reaction to a recent dye job or hair product.

“Allergic reactions will generally go away on their own if you can identify and avoid the chemical to which you are allergic,” reassure the experts at the Cleveland Health Clinic.

“This is challenging and specialized tests in a dermatologist’s office may be needed to sort out which chemical is causing the allergy.”

Even more serious can be cases of ringworm or autoimmune disorders like psoriasis, all of which can cause redness, irritation, hair loss, and unbearable itching.

“Unfortunately, it is not possible to prevent psoriasis, but the condition is often controllable,” Dr. Frey told Refinery29.

“Preventing flare-ups may be possible with shampoos containing tar or selenium sulfide.”

Like dandruff, psoriasis is an extremely common scalp condition, even though it only “affects 2% of the population,” according to Frey.

If a few weeks of avoiding styling products and using an anti-dandruff shampoo get you nowhere, then it’s probably time to make an appointment with your doc to discuss what’s going on up there.

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2. Get Your Shampoo On

If you’ve got run-of-the-mill itchy scalp and want to fight back, find a way to treat that oil build-up as soon as possible. For most of us, that means it’s time to lather up.

“[If] you have yeast overgrowth, it’s going to benefit you to shampoo a little more frequently,” dermatologist David Bank explained to Women’s Health.

“[Every] time you do it, you’re basically working on crowd control in terms of trying to get rid of the excess amount of yeast that’s partly driving the flaking.”

With the right shampoo and the right balance of treatment, all of your efforts at “crowd control” will eventually translate into sustainable relief.

Look for shampoos that contain dandruff treatments like zinc or selenium sulfide, then apply your ‘poo directly to the scalp for the best results, says dermatologist Papri Sarkar.

“For most people I recommend using [anti-dandruff shampoo] only on the scalp, not the hair, because it is quite drying,” Sakrar told Glamour.

“You can rotate it with other shampoos but make sure to use it at least a few times a week to prevent the spot from coming back.”

Flakes be gone!

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3. Exfoliate Away

That’s right: you can – and should – exfoliate your scalp, especially if you’re experiencing dryness, itchiness, or dandruff.

“Yes, just like you’d exfoliate your face, your scalp…can benefit from the removal of dead skin cells, dirt, dandruff, oil, and product build-up, giving your roots an ideal environment for hair growth,” writes Victoria Moorhouse at StyleCaster.

Turns out exfoliation is good for your skin no matter where it is on your body – even if it’s covered by a head of thick hair.

According to beauty writer Alisa Hrustic, scalp exfoliation is also a great next step if you’ve been using an anti-dandruff shampoo but not seeing results.

“If moisturizing shampoos aren’t cutting it, try incorporating a scrub a few times a week to aid in removing any buildup on the scalp,” Hrustic writes at Women’s Health.

Like facial scrubs, scalp exfoliants contain natural ingredients like salt or sugar to help you rub away those extra dead skin cells. Citric acid, like lemon juice, can also help to zap dead skin and make it easier to remove from your scalp.

Hrustic even offers her own DIY scalp exfoliation recipe – a combination of sugar or sea salt with a moisturizing oil like coconut – for readers to try.

4. Make a Mask

When it comes to ditching that itch, managing moisture is key.

“As with the skin on any other part of the body, a dry, tight feeling can be due to a lack of moisture and oils, both in your diet and applied topically,” trichologist Sara Allison told Cosmopolitan.

Allison’s advice is certainly the general rule when it comes to maintaining a healthy scalp – but scalp health can also get thrown out of whack if you’re facing oil over-production, rather than under-production.

Dandruff, for example, is usually a sign of oil over-production, which is why the products that counteract dandruff buildup are often extremely drying.

Buildup on your scalp may actually be preventing your scalp’s natural oils from doing their job to keep your scalp and hair healthy, balanced, and well-moisturized.

Combine this effect with drying anti-dandruff shampoos, and you could wind up inadvertently adding to your itch factor.

“Oil can really help combat dry scalp conditions,” dermatologist Valerie Goldburt told Women’s Health. “This is true for any cause of dry scalp. I’ve actually recommended baby oil, but you can also use olive oil or coconut oil.”

Now’s the time to stock up on your favorite hair mask for instant relief.

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5. Take It Easy

While you’re combating an itchy scalp, take a step back from chemical treatments, hair dyes, and styling products until you have a sense of how they’ll affect your tender noggin.

Dermatologist Michael Lin suggests avoiding these treatments because they can dry scalp out or irritate existing conditions.

“Sensitivity to ingredients in hair care products or hair dyes, especially paraphenylenediamine, can cause a red, itchy, scaly scalp,” explains Lin at Refinery29.

“Washing too often with shampoos that contain harsh chemicals like sulfates or using too many styling products also may irritate your scalp, causing dandruff.”

Worried about sulfate shampoo but not sure if making the switch is worth the hassle? The extra itch and irritation caused by these chemical lather-makers might make it worth your while.

“[If] you know that you’re sensitive to sulfates, you should definitely opt for a sulfate-free formula to prevent any scalp irritation,” scalp expert Anabel Kingsley told Women’s Health.

Just beware – sulfate-free shampoos can also dry out your scalp even more (see step number four to avoid this dangerous cycle).

There’s no doubt about it: fighting dandruff or an itchy scalp brought on by cold weather can feel like the pits. But it doesn’t have to last forever.

By following our tried-and-true five-step plan to itch-free freedom, you can treat, exfoliate, and moisturize your scalp until it’s as healthy and happy as you are.

As a gentle reminder, don’t be afraid to seek help from your doctor or dermatologist if none of these steps work for you.

It’s okay to get extra oomph from a prescription treatment – not to mention expert medical advice!

Have you ever had to deal with an itchy scalp? Tell us what brought you relief in the comments below:

Images: Pixabay, Pixabay, Pixabay, Pixabay

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