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‘Hair Care’ Posts

The 30 Second Guide to Healthier Hair

We get it, you’re busy. Between work, family, and trying to keep some semblance of a social life intact, self-care is usually the first to go out the window. So, we’ve come up with a few ways to keep your hair game strong, whether you have 30 seconds or 30 minutes to spare.

30 Seconds: Damage Defense Collagen Booster

Providing your hair with extra strength in the time it takes to drink a sip of water could be the ultimate beauty hack. Just add a capsule of Damage Defense Collagen Booster to your daily Hairfinity Healthy Hair Vitamin routine, gulp, and go.

1 Minute: Nourishing Botanical Oil

Consider this product the ultimate pinch hitter. Smooth a few drops onto your hair, paying special attention to the ends, to create a protective barrier from humidity and UV rays.

1 Minute: Revitalizing Leave-In Conditioner

This multitasking product can save your hair in so many ways in a minute or less. Use it for added moisture when needed, and spritz liberally before any hair-challenging situations, like swimming or heat styling.

10 Minutes: Strengthening Amino Masque

Fortify your hair against everyday stressors like intense levels of indoor climate control, pollution and even frequent hair brushing with weekly deep conditioner rich in proteins and vitamins.

Sixty Minutes: The Ultimate Protection Kit

The name says it all: Geared towards weaves and protective styles, Beneath the Weave Purifying Shampoo and Beneath the Weave Moisture Balancing Conditioner cool and soothe your roots and scalp with ingredients like peppermint, tea tree oil and aloe. After cleansing and moisturizing, condition your hairline and any hard-to-reach areas that need hydration with the Infinite Edges Serum. Finish with a soothing scalp massage or treat the ends of your dreads, locs or braids with nutrient-rich Nourishing Botanical Oil.

Have a few more minutes to spare? Treat yourself to a custom hair care program on us with our complimentary consultations.

 

Color-Extend Hair Products: How Much Do They Really Do?

Color-extend hair products are always making promises – Strong color protection! More vibrant color!

Sound familiar?

But if you’ve invested your hard-earned money in an expensive dye job, it’s important to know that the color-extend hair products you purchase live up to the hype.

We decided to investigate how helpful color-depositing conditioners are for extending the life of your new style – and how you can prevent your color from fading before your next appointment:

Color-Depositing Conditioners 101

These deep-conditioning treatments are chock-full of nutrients dyed hair needs to revive shocked strands back from the dead.

Color-depositing conditioners can help you even out the color and tone of your dye job, says beauty editor Marianne Mychaskiw.

“Used once a week in place of your go-to conditioner, a color-depositing formula can help to revive the color lost to the elements, and buy you some serious time between appointments,” Mychaskiw writes at InStyle.

“These conditioners are infused with pigments that either help amplify your shade, or neutralize unwanted brassy tones,” she adds.

Whether you’ve gone bottle blonde or bold black, color-depositing conditioners will prevent roots from showing before their time and help your hair look and feel more even-keeled during that crucial post-dye adjustment period.

Non-Depositing Shampoos Work, Too

Although they don’t have the pigmentation of color-depositing conditioners, non-depositing shampoos still offer benefits for recently dyed hair.

According to Good Housekeeping, these “products…seal the cuticle of the hair so it better holds on to the dye you already have” and also help you “protect against UV fade.”

After product testing more than 24 color extend shampoos and conditioners, including mainstays like Redken Color Extend, for more than 500 hours on 220 samples of human hair, the great minds at Good Housekeeping gave non-depositing shampoos a thumbs up.

Still, if you want to keep your color around for as long as possible, it’s probably best to minimize the time you spend sudsing up your hair.

“If there’s one thing just about every colorist will agree on, it’s that washing your hair frequently does more harm than good,” writes Alexandra Duron at Prevention.

“The detergents meant to get grime off your scalp cause color to fade faster,” she adds.

Try shampooing every two days with a color-depositing formula and switching to dry shampoo if you need a pick-me-up after the gym or before a work event.

Color-Enhancing Glazes Offer an Extra Boost

In addition to color-friendly products for the shower, many stylists recommend using color-enhancing glazes to help extend the life of your hair.

“Unlike a gloss, a glaze does not contain peroxide or ammonia,” explains Samantha Faragalli at InStyle.

“They are incapable of depositing or lifting color from the hair cuticle, making them even more temporary than a gloss,” she adds.

While a color gloss might help you amp up the wattage on your hair, the harmful ammonias will strip already-delicate dyed strands – unless you already have blonde hair.

According to Faragalli, glosses are perfect “if you need to fill porosity and are looking to maintain the current color you have.”

Chat with your hair stylist to find out which product works best for your hair’s needs.

Fade into You

By taking a few protective measures, you can ensure your dye job sticks around for the full 4 to 6 weeks.

Here are six expert tips for maintaining color and infusing life back into your tresses:

1. Press Pause on Shampoo

Okay, don’t press pause forever. But you should definitely take it easy, especially in the first few days after your appointment.

“After having your hair colored, wait a full 72 hours before shampooing,” stylist Eva Scrivo told Good Housekeeping.

“It takes up to three days for the cuticle layer to fully close, which traps the color molecule, allowing for longer lasting hair color,” she explained.

If you don’t yet use a sulfate-free shampoo, consider making the switch to protect your color.

“If you have chemically treated hair, you’ll especially want to steer clear of the drying formulas [in sulfate shampoos],” writes Alexis Bennett at InStyle.

“Besides stripping hair follicles of essential oils, sulfate shampoos can also cause untamable frizz, and damage to the scalp,” she continues.

Um, no thanks.

2. Go Deep

A regular deep conditioning treatment is crucial after you dye your hair, says stylist Kyle White.

“To prevent damage, one week after dying your hair, do a deep-conditioning treatment; continue to do so on a weekly basis,” recommends White at Refinery29. “My favorite deep conditioner is coconut oil.”

Because it’s light enough to use regularly, coconut oil will add moisture to your newly dyed hair without adding oil or weight.

Jojoba oil, which is closest to the natural oils of your hair, is a great option for hair masking, too.

“Make a quick mask by adding a drop or two to your regular conditioner to amp up hair’s moisture level and color retention power,” suggests Duron at Prevention.

Whichever natural treatment you decide to try, your hair will thank you for the extra boost.

3. Seek Out Shade

As anyone who dyes their hair for the summer can tell you, a hot summer day is your dye job’s worst enemy.

In addition to wearing a hat or silk scarf while you’re sunbathing, you should also consider a shampoo with more oomph, says Danielle Emig of StyleCaster.

“Bring a shampoo that has UV protection on your vacation,” Emig suggests. “Use one that protects and also repairs damaged hair…[by removing] minerals, chlorine, and salt.”

The UV protection acts like a shield for your delicate tresses – and takes care of any build-up you manage to drag back from the beach, too.

4. Touch-Up Your Color

Nothing spells the end of a dye job faster than roots that show their true colors. Help your color last longer by scheduling an appointment for highlights, says colorist Rachel Bodt.

“Adding soft highlights by either painting or highlighting the ends will cut through the dark and add dimension to the hair so you don’t see the strong line of demarcation,” Bodt told InStyle.

Depending on how you transformed your look with color, creating natural-looking transition colors with highlights or lowlights can make your return to your natural shade that much more graceful.

5. Beat Mineral Build-Up

When you have dyed hair, it seems like danger is everywhere. Sun, shampooing, and styling can all cause hair to fade.

But there’s one danger lurking in your shower you might not have accounted for. To avoid mineral buildup that can cause dye jobs to fade fast, outfit your shower head with a filter.

A clarifying apple cider rinse once a month can also help with mineral build-up, says hair color expert Sharon Dorram.

“The rinse will freshen highlights and boost shine by removing the dulling mineral buildup that’s accumulated on the hair shaft,” Dorram told Prevention.

Apple cider vinegar is a great way to clean the scalp and remove excess oil or product build-up, too – here’s looking at you, dry shampoo users!

6. Nix Heat Tools

Because recently-dyed hair is porous, it absorbs heat more quickly – making it more susceptible to permanent damage.

“Try to avoid using volumizers, mousse, hairsprays, and even gels with high heat for long periods of time,” Dorram explained to New Beauty. “The hair is too vulnerable and easily damaged.”

And, just in case you feel like rolling the dice and taking a chance with your flat iron, you should watch this wild video from colorist Guy Tang before you plug that thing in.

In case you were still harboring doubts, color-extend products can help you breathe life back into dyed hair.

They’re full of natural moisturizers and – if you purchase a color-depositing product – pigments that help you eke the most out of your new color.

But color-extend products aren’t the only thing you should be doing to protect your new look.

Regular deep conditioning treatments, smarter styling, and preventative care will ensure that you look fabulous until you schedule that next appointment with your colorist.

Have you tried a color-extend product to maintain your color? Tell us your verdict in the comments below:

Images: Pixabay, Unsplash, Unsplash, Unsplash

How to Care For Delicate, Curly Hair

If you’re rocking 4b or 4c curls, then your delicate, curly hair is in need of way more TLC than the curls of women who roll out of bed with their loose waves still intact. (If only!)

Without proper care, you’ll face dry, brittle curls that threaten to split, break, and give up the ghost.

So stop worrying about your hair and settle into a routine that will help you feel polished and put-together – even if you’re rocking an afro.

Follow these 8 tips for building a tried-and-true routine for kinky hair:

1. Cut Down on Cleansing

4b and 4c textures are naturally dry – which means you can’t afford to over-wash your hair.

“Fine and delicate, your curls are extra dry and vulnerable to heat and style damage because they have fewer cuticle layers than other textures,” explains Erica Metzger at Refinery29.

This means you should cut back on regular shampoos to retain moisture (Metzger recommends only shampooing once every 10-14 days), and only reach for sulfate-free shampoo when it’s time to cleanse.

Co-washing can also be a good substitute for regular shampooing, since it helps dry hair retain moisture.

“That’s why some curly girls swear by the co-washing routine,” writes Nadine Anglin at Huffington Post Canada.

“They wash their hair with sulphate-free conditioners only, and then use a mild clarifying shampoo once a month to remove product build-up.”

Your hair should feel softer, smoother, and oh-so-silky.

2. Hot Oils Galore

In need of a moisture boost? You can’t go wrong with a hot oil treatment, perfect for restoring moisture to delicate curls without overwhelming them.

At Bustle, beauty editor Kristin Collins Jackson reveals some of her favorite hot oil treatments for curly and kinky hair – including a combination for ladies with 4b and 4c curls.

“Castor oil is a lifesaver when it comes to fighting dry, brittle hair,” writes Jackson. “Combine it with coconut oil, which is amazing at sealing in moisture…and [lavender] oil [for] a healthy scalp.”

An added bonus? Castor oil and coconut oil will help you detangle with ease.

Just remember: some oils are used to seal in existing moisture, while other oils are used to condition, or add, moisture to your hair. As you navigate life with kinky curly hair, the difference is crucial.

“Take time to understand the difference between moisturizing and oil products,” stylist Vernon François told Allure.

And be patient, he adds. “It can take several weeks to notice major changes. Give a product time to work before you give up on it, unless you notice drastic negative effects.”

3. Consider Your Conditioner

When you have tightly coiled, delicate curls, regular leave-in conditioner won’t cut it, says Keora Bernard at CurlyNikki.com.

If you have high-porosity, delicate curls, try a water-based conditioner that won’t weigh your hair down. “Fine hair appreciates mists, sprays, and lighter conditioning products,” Bernard suggests.

Apply your leave-in conditioner right after you get out of the shower, and follow up with your regular styling products, whether that’s curling cream, oil, or a light pomade.

4. Dry Demands

Women with delicate, curly hair have unique needs when it comes to drying hair out of the shower. Towels can be too rough, and heat styling can sap your hair of life.

“Post-shower, blot your curls with a microfiber towel or cotton T-shirt, and apply a small dollop of styling primer through your hair,” suggests Metzger.

Many women will put damp hair into protective styles, like twist-outs, while their hair air dries – though you can expect this to take just about all day!

Finally, says Michael Lupo, be wary of cotton. Pillowcases and clothing can do a number on delicate, shoulder-length hair, especially if you’re transitioning to your natural texture.

“When your strands are constantly brushing against your shoulders, friction will do its nasty work and the clothes you are wearing, particularly cotton, will sap the moisture from your ends and make them more prone to breakage,” Lupo told Huffington Post.

You know it’s serious when a stylist puts your t-shirt on the chopping block!

5. Primed and Ready

Plan on using heated styling tools? Then you need to break out the primer, says Sabrina Perkins at NaturallyCurly.com.

Primers “create a weightless, humidity-resistant shield between the strands and whatever you apply or that comes in contact with your hair,” writes Perkins.

“They allow the style to last longer, frizz to be at bay and stave off damage during styling.”

And – yes – even women with 4b and 4c curls can use primer without weighing down their hair.

If pairing with curling cream – as recommended by our friends at Refinery29 – remember to go easy on the application.

6. Embrace Curling Cream

One thing’s for sure – when you have 4b or 4c curls, rolling out of bed is basically impossible. To protect your curls from freaking out with frizz, you’ll have to use a curling cream on damp hair.

Instead of giving your head the old pat-down, actually work the curling cream into your hair, suggests beauty editor Nicole Catanese.

“[Rub] a quarter-size amount of curl cream…in your palm, taking random-size sections, and twisting your curls around and around your finger, so each curl gets wave-defining attention,” writes Catanese at Cosmopolitan.

Make sure to only use a little – otherwise, you’ll weigh down your delicate curls, cautions Michael Lupo, the marketing director for natural hair care line Carol’s Daughter.

“When we change anything about our hair, we always panic, buy a ton of extra styling products and put it all on,” Lupo told Huffington Post.

“Our hair ends up looking greasy or weighed down, so we end up washing our hair too frequently which just dries it out.”

Don’t get stuck in this cycle because you went overboard on curling cream.

7. Protection Spell

Need a break from heat styling, relaxers, or other harsh treatments? Embrace protective styles, suggests beauty editor Anglin.

“Constant tugging from brushes and combs plus intense heat from blow dryers can lead to dried out tresses, traction (thinning) around the hairline, and even breakage,” warns Anglin at Huffington Post Canada.

“Take a styling sabbatical for a few weeks or months, and try braids, twists, head wraps, or even a weave.”

Not sure which protective style suits you best? Check out this list from natural hair blog, Her Given Hair.

8. Trim Trim Trim

If your delicate curls are prone to breakage, heading to the salon can feel a little bit like torture.

But you have to do it, says trichologist Steve Pullan, otherwise you’ll be prone to split ends and breakage that could permanently damage your hair.

Women with 4b and 4c curls must treat their hair ever so delicately – but that doesn’t mean skipping your turn in the stylist’s chair. Plan on getting a trim every 8 to 12 weeks.

“Think of your hair as fiber or as a cashmere sweater,” Pullan told Self. “You wouldn’t drag your hands over a delicate cardigan 100 times, so make sure you’re being just as gentle with your hair when you comb and style it.”

Curls as cashmere? How’s that for self-care advice?

While rocking natural curls with a delicate texture might be a lot of upkeep, we hope you embrace your curl pattern and all that it has to offer.

With regular moisturizing treatments, extra TLC, and protective styling, your delicate, curly hair should stay strong and healthy – until it’s time to hit the stylist’s chair again.

Do you have 4b or 4c curls? Tell us which strategy gives your curls an extra boost in the comments below:

Images: Unsplash, Unsplash, Unsplash, Unsplash

Summer Hair Care: How to Keep Your Hair Healthy All Season Long

Summer means long days at the beach and long nights at your fave bar with outdoor seating. It also means you need a summer hair care routine to keep your hair healthy all season long.

Even if you feel rested and relaxed, all that outdoor exposure can spell major damage for your hair if you’re not careful. But don’t give up your quest for the tastiest ice cream cone or the best spot to lay out in the sun just on account of your ‘do.

Fight frizz, lock in moisture, and protect your hair from harmful UV rays with our ten tips for keeping your hair healthy all summer:

1. Trim for the Summer

Heat, chlorine, and salt can make hair more fragile. Cut your hair before the season starts to prevent split ends from getting worse, says beauty editor Rachel Krause.

“If you plan on rocking long locks this summer, you should be prepared to part with your overgrown ends before hitting the beach for optimal hair health,” Krause writes at StyleCaster.

“As hair grows out, split ends continue to split up the hair shaft, so nip them in the bud as quickly as you can.”

You don’t have to rock a pixie to keep your hair healthy (though in hotter weather, who would blame you?). Just remember to schedule your regular trims at the salon to keep potential damage at bay.

2. Stop the Sweat

It’s only natural: in summer things get a little more sweaty. To fight oil and build-up, it’s important to shampoo your scalp more regularly – especially if you depend on dry shampoo during the rest of the year.

“Dry shampoo is great at tackling oil in between washes,” explains Jenna Rosenstein at Refinery29. “But then add the element of more sweat and, well, your dry shampoo is working overtime.”

If you depend solely on dry shampoo for your hair care needs in the summer, you’ll wind up with more build-up than you know what to do with.

Massage dirt and oil away from the roots of your hair when you hit the showers, and – depending on your hair type – consider shampooing every two days or every other day to get your scalp squeaky clean.

Just take it easy on the ends of your hair, since these tend to dry out more quickly as weather gets warmer.

3. Dive Deep

All that extra heat – and more frequent shampooing – can do a number on your ends.

To combat dryness or brittleness, add a mask, deep conditioning, or hot oil treatment into your routine to make sure your hair gets the TLC it deserves.

“I grew up in Hawaii, and we were always using coconut oil and macadamia-nut oils for homemade masks,” celebrity stylist Jen Atkin told Marie Claire.

“They don’t contain silicone, so they’re more like lotion for the hair and won’t build hair up or weigh hair down.”

Atkin also suggests using avocado oil to treat and prevent sunburns on the scalp. The scalp is one of the most vulnerable areas on your body in terms of sun exposure, and avocado oil can help you ease discomfort if you forget to pack a hat for the beach.

4. Tame Frizz

While there’s nothing you can do to fight humidity during the dog days of summer, you can take steps to minimize the effect of a frizz halo.

Try running a dehumidifier in your room at night, suggests Jolene Edgar at Health, or even running coconut oil through your strands before you style.

“Nix frizz at the beach by slicking back your hair with a little coconut oil and braiding it loosely,” Edgar recommends. When you take the braid out at night, you’ll have gorgeous, frizz-free waves.

Turning down the heat on your styling tools or using cool air on your blow dryer can all make a difference, too.

5. Pool Protection

If your blonde hair turns brassy as soon as you get in the pool, you already know chlorine is your enemy.

Rinse off in the shower before you hop in the deep end, suggests trichologist David Kingsley.

“Wet hair with tap water before you take the plunge and it won’t absorb much chlorinated water,” Kingsley told Prevention.

All it takes is an extra step to protect that expensive dye job – or your natural blonde locks – from transforming into something more sea monster than surfer girl.

6. See UV Later

Sunscreen isn’t just for your skin. Your scalp and hairline are naturally sensitive areas – and the least likely to get the kind of coverage that can save you from a painful burn.

Looking for a natural solution?

“Rub sesame oil – a natural UV filter – onto the ends of your hair before hitting the beach,” salon owner Jet Rhys told Health.

The natural oils will help protect your scalp and moisturize dry ends for a two-in-one protection plan.

7. Amp Up Your Color

Dyeing your hair this summer? Then you need a plan to prevent the sun from draining your color – or damaging your newly-fragile tresses.

Try a keratin treatment to protect your color and prevent it from fading, suggests celebrity stylist Ashley Javier.

“They build a protein shield that makes hair easier to style – it’s less fluffy, frizzy, and vulnerable to heat and oxidation,” Javier explained to Marie Claire.

For a more natural approach to keratin treatments, try using regular coconut oil masks for protection and a much-needed moisture boost.

Stick with sulfate-free shampoo to zap frizz and help color last through the summer.

8. Protective Styles

Protective styles like loose braids, bantu knots, and low buns can give your hair a break from heat styling and over-shampooing – plus, they’re perfect for summer.

Take advantage of summer’s less formal vibe and try out one of these easy-peasy protective styles from StyleBlazer.

While you’re thinking about pulling your hair back, you may also want to brush up on how to avoid breakage from hair ties.

Rule #1? Never pull hair back while it’s wet – even if you’ve just popped out of the pool.

“The hair is at its weakest point when it’s wet,” stylist Tommy Buckett explained to Harper’s Bazaar. “It stretches a little more when you pull on it, but it can only take so much before it snaps.”

Hair should be completely dry when you put it up to avoid putting too much pressure on the shaft and inviting damage.

9. Under Cover

Thank goodness the floppy beach hat is back in style. Not only will a hat or scarf protect your scalp from the scorching sun, but it can also save the delicate skin on your face from direct exposure.

“Because there’s no effective chemical product or dye designed to counteract the impact of ultraviolet rays on hair…a wide-brimmed hat is your best weapon for summer hair care,” Cheri McMaster, the principal hair scientist for Pantene shampoos, told Prevention.

Just remember to hold on tight when that ocean breeze starts blowing!

10. Avoid Beach Hair Breakage

Your hair is at its most fragile when you step out of the ocean. And while we love the loose, wavy beach hair look, trying to comb out those tangles can cause major breakage.

“The best thing you can do is go straight to the shower and rinse out the salt,” explained Diane Minar, the senior scientist for Nexxus, to Refinery29.

“Don’t try to comb out the knots until you have a chance to use a moisturizing shampoo and conditioner,” she added.

Once you’ve rinsed and shampooed out the salt spray, you should be able to detangle as normal.

Whether you’re jetting off to the beach for the summer or hanging by the pool in your neighborhood, don’t forget to extend summer self-care to your hair.

Beat the heat with protective styles, conditioning masks, and a strategic shampoo sesh, so you can float through vacation worry-free.

Do you switch up your hair-care routine for the summer? Tell us what you do in the comments below:

Images: Pexels, Pexels, Pexels, Pexels

7 Hacks for Taming Frizzy Hair Once and For All

While we look forward to all things summer, there’s one thing we never, ever miss: frizz-inducing humidity. There’s not much you can do to fight the elements, but there are plenty of tricks for taming frizzy hair once and for all.

We rounded up 7 of our fave hacks for getting your hair to behave – even when the temperatures outside start rising:

1. Space Out Your Shampoos

Frizz can happen to anyone – especially if you have dry or damaged hair.

“When hair is damaged or dry, the outer layer of hair (the cuticle) lifts, which allows moisture to pass through and swell your hair strands,” explains Lindsey Metrus, BuzzFeed’s style reporter.

If you’re dealing with hair that’s extra-sensitive to moisture, do your best to space out your shampoo sessions. About every two to three days works best, says Elisa Hills, co-creator of BLNDN, a hair care line for blondes.

“Any more, and you risk stripping your hair of its natural, protective oils that keep it shiny and healthy,” Hills told Greatist.

With more natural oils on your scalp, your hair should have an easier time retaining moisture and strength – especially when that dreaded humidity hits.

And, if you haven’t already, consider switching to a sulfate-free shampoo for added frizz-protection. Sulfates are the chemicals that help give your drugstore shampoo all those extra bubbles – but they also strip away moisture.

When it comes to fighting frizz, you want to leave your hair with its natural defense system. Kick sulfates to the curb and strategize your shampoo sesh for a healthier head of hair.

2. Co-Wash with Conditioner

Girls rocking natural or curly hair know how hard it can be to lock moisture into thirsty strands.

Since curly hair can prevent the scalp’s natural oils from penetrating the entirety of the hair shaft, women with these hair types often suffer from dry, brittle, or broken cuticles. That’s a ripe environment for frizz.

If this sounds familiar, try co-washing your hair with conditioner once or twice a week to give your hair the moisture it needs to be happy.

Thankfully, according to Vogue’s Mackenzie Wagoner, there are a whole lot more options for women who need extra moisture to fight that frizz halo.

“[The] latest generation of hybrid cleansing conditioners has bridged the gap between washing and moisturizing,” writes Wagoner, “offering the gentlest rinse your hair has ever received, while simultaneously smoothing the cuticle and eliminating frizz.”

It’s a great formula: co-washing + more moisture = frizz-free.

3. Multi-Task with a Mask

Even if your hair’s not excessively dry, you can still suffer from an occasional visit from the Frizz Fairy.

To cut down on general frizziness, try using a hair mask or hair oil treatment once a week, says beauty editor Carly Cardellino.

“Doing a special treatment at least once a week, especially in colder months when the air is dry, will help fill any holes in your hair shaft that soak up outside moisture and contribute to frizz,” Cardellino writes at Cosmopolitan.

Bonus? Your hair will be red carpet-level soft and shiny for days and days.

4. Better Blow Dry

Whether you head out the door with a wet head, or spend hours in front of the mirror with a blow dryer, it’s time to rethink your routine.

Everything you do once you step out of the shower can impact how much frizz you’ll have to contend with during the rest of the day, from towel-drying to heat tools.

“Using a bath towel is considered the standard way to dry off the hair after washing, but if done incorrectly, it’s basically the fastest route to breakage and frizz,” explains Rachel Krause at StyleCaster.

Instead, twist hair to squeeze out moisture while you’re still in the shower, then do the same – gently! – with your towel. Anything more intense might damage your hair.

While it feels like letting your hair air dry can save a few extra steps, without a little bit of heat you could be adding to your frizz problem.

According to a recent study reported in Prevention, “While the heat of a dryer can cause more damage than not using one, using a hair-dryer at the right distance and temperature can actually cause less damage than letting hair air-dry.”

Huh?

Apparently all that left-over moisture from your shower can, over time, force your hair’s cuticle to expand – and become more prone to breakage. So while air drying is good for your hair, letting your hair air dry completely is bad.

Once your hair is almost finished air drying, blast it with a little bit of heat. Remember to push the “cool air” button on your hair dryer to avoid frying your strands.

And ladies with curls? If you’re not already using a diffuser to help you tame your mane, it’s time to get on that:

“A diffuser is a blow dryer attachment that minimizes a lot of the frizz that comes when curly hair is naturally air dried,” hairstylist Britt White explained to Good Housekeeping.

“It also gives a boost to the curls that may lay flat because of your hair’s weight and length,” she added.

There you have it: the perfect way to blow dry curls into submission while eliminating frizz.

5. Dial Back Your Heated Tools

By now you know that excessive heat, especially from styling tools like straighteners, flat irons, and blow dryers, can cause major damage.

But did you know what actually happens to your hair?

“Hot tools such as hair dryers and curling irons fry off your hair’s cuticles, the first line of defense against dryness, leaving the cortex exposed,” explains Jill Percia at Women’s Health.

“The parched cortex is left no choice but to soak up moisture from the air to compensate, causing frizz.”

If you want to curl or straighten your hair, just be sure to turn down the heat, says stylist Roxy Brennan.

“The flat iron is most dangerous of all the hot tools in my opinion,” Brennan told Refinery29. “It should always be used on low heat and with little pressure.”

6. Style Smarter

Sometimes you can do everything right, and you’re still fighting frizz when you check your hair in the bathroom mirror.

A restorative hair serum can help fight frizz – and will also offer added protective benefits for your tresses.

“While a leave-in conditioner adds moisture, adding a serum on top can help your hair retain [the conditioner’s] hydrating ingredients,” explains Jessica Cruel at PopSugar.

“This product will also help keep out unwanted moisture that can cause hair strands to swell,” she adds.

On the go? Keep an old mascara wand and a travel-size hairspray in your bag to smooth down fly-aways, suggests Lindsey Metrus at BuzzFeed.

It’s the perfect solution to calm those “frizzy areas” around your ponytail “or those annoying baby hairs around your crown,” Metrus writes.

Travel-size frizz protection? Yes, please.

7. Wrap It Up

Chances are you’re sleeping on cotton-blend sheets. (Hey, we’re not judging.)

But you should know that cotton can wreak havoc on dry hair – making it even drier and more prone to frizz.

“To keep your cotton pillowcase from sucking up all the moisture in your hair, wrap it up at night in a bun, and then tie on a silk scarf, which will retain moisture,” stylist Ursula Stephen suggested at Cosmopolitan.

That’s right – you can beauty sleep your frizz away.

There’s no use fighting the weather, but you can act now to tame frizzy hair into submission. From co-washing to better styling products, embracing a no-frizz beauty routine will help you get sleeker, shinier hair – once and for all.

How do you fight frizz? Tell us your best tips and tricks in the comments below:

Images: Unsplash, Unsplash, Flickr, Unsplash

Homemade Hair Masks to Try Right Now

Nobody’s born with perfect hair. Okay, maybe Béyonce – but even Bey gives her hair a little TLC to keep it looking fine. You deserve the queen bee treatment, too – and quick DIY homemade hair masks are the best thing you can do to moisturize, protect, and lavish love on your hair.

Choosing ingredients from your own kitchen cuts down on expenses, and it’s also a great way to use all-natural solutions for common problems. (Because we all need fewer chemicals in our lives!)

Here are 5 hair masks you need to try right now – plus, a quick primer on how to decode common hair mask ingredients:

1. For Natural Hair

1/2 Sliced Avocado
1/4 Cup Mayonnaise
2 Tbsp. Coconut Oil
1 Tbsp. Honey

Transitioning away from straightened hair or already rocking that ‘fro? Your hair is probably begging for extra moisture.

We love this great mask recipe from BuzzFeed – it’s chock-full of healthy fats that will deep-condition your locks and boost hair repair if you’re suffering from breakage. Honey, a natural humectant, will help seal in moisture.

Pulse all ingredients together in a blender and apply to damp hair. Cover hair with a shower cap or towel for 30 minutes, then wash with shampoo and conditioner. Use mask once per week for best results.

Via: Buzzfeed

2. To Beat Frizz

2 Tbsp. Yogurt
1 Tbsp. Honey
(Add 1 ripe banana or a ¼ tsp of coconut oil for a moisture boost)

Sure, these ingredients sound like the beginning of a breakfast smoothie recipe, but yogurt will help you gently remove product build-up and seal your hair cuticles, while banana and honey offer an extra shot of moisture and prevent breakage. Switch out the banana for coconut oil if you’re in need of more moisturizing power.

Blend in a small bowl, or use blender if adding banana. Cover hair with a shower cap or towel for 30 minutes, then wash with shampoo and conditioner. Rinse well. Use mask once per week for best results.

Via: Bustle

3. To Combat Oily Strands

1 Tbsp. Apple cider vinegar
1 Tbsp. Honey
2 Tbsp. Coconut Oil

Yes, women suffering from greasy strands can benefit from a moisturizing mask, too. In fact, too much oil is a great reason to whip one up!

Apple cider vinegar is a perfect natural exfoliant, and can help remove excess dirt, oil, and product build-up. With all that gunk out of the way, moisturizing honey and coconut oil can go to work.

Coconut oil is generally light enough that it shouldn’t send your hair into a greasy nose-dive. If you’re worried, start with a little less than the recipe calls for, and see how your hair reacts. Focus attention away from the roots and toward the shaft and ends of the hair.

Whisk apple cider vinegar, honey, and coconut oil together in a large bowl. Apply to damp hair and cover with a towel or shower cap for 30 minutes. Rinse well, then shampoo your hair as you normally would.

Via: Natural Living Ideas

4. To Zap Dandruff

2 Tbsp. Olive oil
2 Tbsp. Lemon juice
(or 15 drops tea tree oil)
2 Tbsp. Water

Combatting dandruff is difficult, to say the least. While your scalp often feels dry and itchy, those white flakes can appear because of oil and product build-up, too.

Olive oil is gentle and protective, so it won’t further irritate your scalp, while the acidity of lemon will serve as a gentle exfoliant. Buh-bye, flakes! If you try this mask once and feel you’re in need of something a little stronger, try switching out lemon for tea tree oil.

Whisk olive oil and lemon (or tea tree oil) together in a large bowl. Apply to damp hair and cover with a towel or shower cap for 30 minutes. Rinse well, then shampoo your hair as you normally would.

Via: Bustle

5. For a Moisture Boost

1 Tbsp. Egg yolk
1 Tbsp. Avocado
¼ Cup Honey

All hair types can benefit from an occasional moisture boost. Plus, who doesn’t want super shiny, soft hair?

Don’t be nervous about this egg yolk – with protein and fatty acids, egg yolks help strengthen and protect hair. Avocado has plenty of rich, fatty acids and Omega-3s, which are great for deep conditioning, while honey locks all that moisture in.

Blend egg yolk, avocado, and honey. Apply to damp hair and cover with a towel or shower cap for 30 minutes. Rinse well, then shampoo your hair as you normally would.

Via: Woman’s Day

Decoding Common Ingredients in DIY Hair Masks

So, you’re on board with natural hair masks you can whip up in the kitchen, but you want to know more about what these ingredients actually do?

We’ve got you covered. Here are 8 of the most common hair mask ingredients you can find in your kitchen – and how they will make your hair shine, shine, shine:

  • Coconut oil replenishes hair’s moisture, repairs breakage, and improves strength and flexibility. Unlike other oils, coconut oil is actually able to penetrate your hair shaft. That means once your hair absorbs the oil, it won’t wash away.
  • Eggs contain so much good stuff, they’re author Janice Cox’s favorite natural ingredient. “The [raw] egg is really the best of all worlds,” Cox – who wrote Natural Beauty At Hometold Woman’s Day. Use the yolk to benefit from hair-softening proteins and fatty acids, and whip up the whites to remove product build-up with powerful enzymes.
  • Honey is a humectant, which means it attracts and retains moisture. Since it’s not a fat – like coconut oil – it’ll add shine to your hair without adding extra oil or weight.
  • Olive oil is chock-full of Omega-3 fatty acids and oleic acids that protect hair from damage and prevent moisture from evaporating from starved strands.
  • Mayonnaise isn’t just for sandwiches. Your hair can benefit from the proteins in its egg yolks and the fatty acids in its oils. According to StyleCraze, mayo can also help smooth and seal cuticles shut, upping your natural defenses against pollution and styling.
  • Avocado, everyone’s fave trend fruit, is much richer than other oils and perfect for delivering Omega-3 fatty acids, protein, and vitamins directly to moisture-starved strands. Like coconut oil, avocado oil can penetrate the hair shaft to give you moisture where you need it most.
  • Bananas offer multiple benefits, from preventing dandruff or breakage to adding moisture and shine. With plenty of potassium and natural oils, they’ll help bring elasticity back to tired, damaged hair.
  • Yogurt contains natural lactic acids that act as a great cleaning agent and exfoliant. Massage yogurt into your hair, and these acids will help slough away dead skin, dirt, and product build-up. Plus, yogurt contains tons of protein, which is great for encouraging hair growth.

The next time your hair needs a little bit of help to go from blah to Béy, look no further than your kitchen cabinets. Chances are you have everything you need to whip up a hair mask and settle in for a spa day.

Add a mask to your hair routine to maintain moisture in your locks, prevent breakage, and sport shiny, soft hair all month long.

Do you have a favorite DIY hair mask recipe? Tell us your secrets to shiny hair in the comments below:

Images: Unsplash, Unsplash, Pexels, Pexels

8 Reasons Why Your Scalp Health Matters

We spend so much time focusing on our hair. Do we have split ends? Is our curly hair too dry or unruly? Are we shedding too much? While these are important questions, focusing on scalp health might be the key.

“Hair follicles need natural oils from the glands that surround them to function,” hair restoration surgeon Robert Dorin explained to Prevention.

“If you have a dry, irritated, or unhealthy scalp, the hair your follicles produced will likely be drier and less manageable, too.”

Here are 8 more reasons your scalp health impacts hair growth – and how you can create a better environment for gorgeous hair.

1. Scalp pH Affects How Your Hair Grows

Every product you use on your hair has the ability to shift the pH balance in your scalp, and it’s your pH balance that provides a healthy environment for new hair growth.

“A substance that is too alkaline will cause the hair cuticle to open [drying out your hair], while a substance that is too acidic will cause the cuticle to contract,” explains beauty editor Taylor Bryant at Refinery29.

Not sure what’s going on up top? According to Bryant, ladies who suffer from dry hair or dandruff most likely have alkaline pH levels, while curly-haired girls tend toward higher levels of acidity.

In truth, most cosmetics companies are pretty good at testing for pH balance before they roll out a new product.

“We’ve known for ages that to prevent hair from feeling dry and looking dull, we have to balance the pH with certain ingredients,” cosmetics chemist Ni’Kita Wilson told Refinery29.

Still, it’s always important to check out the ingredients in your shampoo and conditioner. Make sure you’re using the right product for your hair type.

2. Dry Scalp Can Lead to Breakage

Feeling itchy? Dandruff or winter-dry skin are common causes of flaking, but relieving that itch could create bigger problems for your hair.

“Itchy scalp…may result in hair loss due to scratching-induced hair damage,” dermatologist Dr. Alan Baumann told Prevention. “Once the cuticle is damaged, the hair fiber is prone to breakage.”

Yikes. Time to break out the zinc shampoo!

Major dryness can also be a side effect of poor diet. If you’ve been staying away from avocados and olive oil to try and slim down, you might be accelerating hair loss or damage, says dermatologist Karen Ansel.

“Fat is key for a healthy scalp,” Ansel told Self. “Without enough in your diet, your scalp can become dry and inflamed, leading to hair loss.”

The next time you’re at the grocery store, stock up on salmon, walnuts, or flax oil, so you can recalibrate and nix the itch.

3. Healthy Scalp = Good Elasticity

Good hair elasticity is an indication of the overall health of your hair – if your hair is elastic, it means it has the right amount of both moisture and protein. Your hair is probably soft and strong – perfect for a great hair day.

Maintaining a healthy scalp can help you ensure your hair gets the proper amount of natural oils – and moisture – that it needs. A dry scalp will irritate your follicles, while an overly oily one leads to build-up.

Neither of these conditions will help your hair stay strong.

To check in on the elasticity of your hair, do a quick shower test, suggests Nick Stenson, the artistic director for Matrix.

Once your hair is wet, “begin to slowly stretch the hair,” Stenson advised Bustle. “If it breaks almost immediately, your elasticity is low, but if it stretches to 50 percent of its original length, your hair has high elasticity.”

Taking proper care of your scalp is only bound to improve the elasticity and overall strength of your hair, too.

4. Good Circulation Improves Hair Growth

Who doesn’t love a good scalp massage? Turns out, these heavenly treatments are good for more than just relaxation.

“Blood flow to the hair cells means healthier hair growing out of your scalp,” stylist Triana Francois told Huffington Post.

Scalp massage is especially important for women who suffer from conditions like dandruff or scalp build-up, says trichologist Philip Kingsley.

“Scalp massages aid in the removal of dead skin cells from the scalp – and a flaky scalp is known to worsen hair loss in certain individuals,” Kingsley explained to Huffington Post.

“It can be very beneficial to those who suffer from scalp conditions such as dandruff, seborrheic dermatitis and psoriasis.”

Not to mention, it’s an extra chance to relax, chill out, and enjoy a moment of self-care.

5. Scalp Build-Up Is Bad for Everybody

Yes, scalp build-up is as gross as it sounds.

A sign of an unhealthy head, this problem occurs when you’re not shampooing often enough, causing oil and product to accumulate and irritate your hair, or when your scalp is too dry and the extra skin cells aren’t being exfoliated away.

This is a terrible environment for hair growth, says dermatologist Doris Day.

“A buildup of product or excessive dandruff on the scalp has been shown to clog hair follicles, and if it’s bad enough, it can be difficult for hair to grow,” Day explained to Prevention.

The solution? Scale back on product use, find a shampooing routine that works for you, and address scalp conditions like dandruff head-on by consulting with your dermatologist.

6. It Deserves Your Protection

In addition to regular build-up, a mistreated scalp can also foster unseemly fungal growth. (Gross.)

“Although no definitive cause has been identified, a yeast (fungus) called malassezia that is in the oil secretion on the skin, seems to be the most likely culprit [of seborrheic dermatitis],” reports Dr. Mona Gohara at Good Housekeeping.

“Some predisposing factors include Parkinson’s, depression, diabetes, a weakened immune system, and obesity,” Gohara added.

Since this condition is exacerbated by extra oil, it’s important to protect your sensitive scalp. Hit the showers after you exercise to remove extra build-up, or take some time to relax if you’re having a rough week at work.

(Remember: scalp massages might be particularly helpful if you’re prone to infection, too.)

7. Flakes Signal Need for a Major Moisture Boost

It might be embarrassing, but if you’re noticing flakes, your scalp is trying to send you a message.

“Hormonal fluctuations, elevated stress, poor nutritional intake, and not cleansing enough all contribute to dandruff, a fungal infection on the skin,” trichologist Elizabeth Cunnane Phillips told Prevention.

If the cause is dandruff-related, an anti-fungal shampoo should calm the urge to scratch. And if you’re suffering from dry skin, a conditioning mask or hot oil treatment should help you feel relief.

“Many women don’t use conditioner on their scalp because they’re afraid to clog pores or weigh down fine hair,” dermatologist Francesca Fusco explained to Allure.

But don’t believe the naysayers, Fusco suggests. You can get away with applying conditioner on top of your head, especially in the winter months. Just like other sensitive skin areas, your scalp sometimes needs a little bit of extra TLC.

8. Inflammation Can Increase Shedding

There are a lot of conflicting messages online about shampooing, and the dry shampoo fad has made it worse – especially if it means you’re avoiding regular showers.

“[Dry shampoo] deposits substances to coat the follicle that can build up,” dermatologist Sonia Batra told The Atlantic.

And if the scalp is irritated and inflamed from build-up, it’ll completely shut down new growth.

“The resulting inflammation can weaken the follicles and increase shedding,” Batra continued. “These products can also cause hair follicles to stick together, so that a hair that would normally shed during brushing may take two or three strands along with it.”

Don’t just rely on dry shampoo to get you through a busy week. Remember to shower regularly, cleanse your scalp to prevent build-up, and keep healthy hair where it belongs: on your head.

Although scalp problems can cause plenty of embarrassment, they’re more common than you might think – so don’t feel bad if one of the issues we’ve covered happens to you.

Talk to your dermatologist so you can identify and treat the (often very treatable) concern before it causes bigger problems, like inflammation or even hair loss.

Most importantly of all, treat your scalp with the TLC it deserves. Everything from hot oil treatments in wintertime to scalp massages will help you feel like a queen – and boost new hair growth, too.

Have you had to switch up hair products to promote a healthier scalp? Tell us your favorite scalp care tips in the comments below:

Images: Unsplash, Unsplash, Pixabay, Pexels

The 6 Best Oils for Healthy Hair

Not all oils are created equal, especially when it comes to the best oils for healthy hair.

Whether you suffer from a dry scalp or monster frizz, an oil treatment might be just what you need to prevent breakage and improve your hair’s overall health.

That’s right! Natural and botanical oils can treat just about anything that ails you – even if you have fine or slightly oily hair.

So you can navigate this trend without looking like you never shower, we rounded up the 6 best oils for returning moisture and essential fatty acids to your hair for soft, shiny locks:

1. Sweet Almond Oil

Rich in vitamin E, almond oil is perfect for women who experience regular dryness and even breakage, according to natural hair blog CurlyNikki.com.

“Often times shampooing and frequent manipulation can cause our hair to become dry and break,” writes Michelle Thames at the blog. “Almond oil can help restore the protective oil layer in the hair.”

Chock-full of magnesium, a mineral that helps prevent breakage and encourage new growth, almond oil can also help reduce inflammation and eliminate dandruff.

2. Coconut Oil

A nourishing oil that won’t push oily hair over the brink, coconut oil is one of our favorite go-to treatments for daily wear-and-tear.

“Frizz-prone hair or those hair types susceptible to environmentally-caused damage should seek out coconut oil, which has strengthening and protective qualities,” suggests Megan McIntyre at Refinery29.

With plenty of restorative healthy fats, coconut oil can help you build stronger hair, prevent breakage, and zap frizz from your fro.

Finally, a fat that’s actually good for you!

3. Olive Oil

Olive oil is a great solution if you’re experiencing an itchy or uncomfortable scalp. It’s gentle enough that it won’t cause further inflammation, but rich in moisture, too.

“If you suffer from dandruff, rather than using expensive chemical shampoos, try massaging some olive oil into your scalp,” suggest the brains behind Thrive Market, a natural beauty retailer.

“The natural moisturizing effects of the fatty acids and vitamin E in olive oil will help with the dryness and, over time, reduce or eliminate the frustrating condition.”

Since oils help you retain moisture in your hair, treating dandruff with olive oil will help eliminate flaky build-up and ease your urge to itch.

4. Jojoba Oil

Tired of fighting snarls, knots, and tangles? Use jojoba oil to smooth the way with your detangling comb.

In addition to its antibacterial and antifungal properties, jojoba oil is the closest substance to your own natural sebum on the market. That makes it the perfect oil for coaxing knots to loosen, so you don’t damage your hair the next time you attempt to comb out your ‘fro.

Like all oils, jojoba will deeply moisturize your strands, helping you prevent breakage – and more knots – in the future.

5. Moringa Oil

With plenty of crucial vitamins for improving hair strength – like vitamins A, B, and C – moringa oil can help you bounce back from heat damage or breakage without getting too oily up top.

“Moringa oil adds strength to fragile hair without weighing it down,” explains Kristin Collins Jackson at Bustle.

“Apply a small amount on your styling tool, like a rat tail comb or toothbrush, and gently smooth down the hairs that are giving you trouble.”

Think of it as the perfect serum for managing those pesky fly-aways.

6. Apricot Oil

Don’t just smell like a peach – use the Omega-9 fatty acids and linoleic acid in apricot oil to strengthen hair and help it grow.

According to NaturallyCurly.com, apricot oil also helps you find balance and stave off the effects of humidity.
“It not only seals in the moisture, but it also absorbs small amounts of water from the air’s humidity to help maintain that barrier of hydration inside the strand and scalp,” writes Sabrina Perkins.

Break this out when you want soft, shiny movie star hair for a night out on the town.

Using Botanical Oils for Your Hair: A Quick Primer

Natural and botanical oils are some of the best conditioners for healthy hair – not to mention some of the best vehicles for the essential fatty acids that can strengthen hair and prevent breakage.

But remember: oils are still, well, oily, which means they should be used sparingly – and not on the roots of your hair.

“It’s always best to keep the oil away from where your natural oils come from,” Michael Wilson, a stylist for Bumble and bumble, explained to Refinery29. “So avoid the scalp and roots of your hair and focus on your mid-shaft and ends.”

“Start with less and see how your hair responds [before you add more],” he added. Practical advice.

Still not sure whether botanical oils are for you? Here are some of the most common reasons stylists recommend that their clients use oil on their locks:

  • To combat a dry or itchy scalp. When dandruff starts to build up on the scalp, it prevents your hair and scalp from receiving the natural oils that help keep hair soft and supple. An oil treatment can get your scalp back on track. Use a delicate oil like almond or olive oil to massage away dead skin cells and pour much-needed moisture back into your locks.
  • To strengthen hair prone to breakage. Hair that’s been sapped of moisture is dry, brittle, and ready to snap. Use an oil treatment to soak up moisture and strengthen hair with fatty acids and other vitamins. Oils like moringa and coconut will be especially beneficial.
  • To restore shine and lustre. Few of us take the time out of our busy routines to think about our hair’s future. (Admittedly, this is something we love to do.) But scheduling a regular hair mask with an oil treatment is like taking out an insurance policy on the future health and happiness of your hair. Plus, it’ll look extra shiny and feel super soft thanks to all those healthy fats. Coconut oil is a great all-around treatment.
  • To repair heat damage. Too much heat from styling tools or blow drying spells frizz or breakage. If you have your straightening tools turned up too high, you might even damage the cuticle for good (Remember: anything higher than 350 degrees is too hot!). Take a break from all that heat and grab your nearest oil treatment to restore moisture and repair strands. Look for moringa or apricot oil to help with damage control.
  • To moisturize dry, damaged hair. Whether you’re on-trend and bleached your hair ash-blonde, or use relaxer regularly, your hair is probably hurting. Combat damage with a serious oil treatment. Almond and olive oil will work wonders on dry, damaged hair.

Our hair comes into contact with all sorts of stressors every day. Pollution, heat styling, and other chemical treatments all take a heavy toll, leaving locks lifeless and in need of deep, restorative treatment.

Thank goodness botanical oils – from almond to apricot and everything in between – are the answer to soft, supple, and healthy hair.

Whether you need to bounce back from heat damage, or you just want a fun way to give your hair some extra TLC, find a way to introduce an oil treatment into your beauty routine.

Do you use oil to keep your hair healthy? Tell us which ones you can’t live without in the comments below:

Images: Pexels, Pexels, Pexels, Pexels

Stress and Hair Growth (Hint: They’re Related)

Noticing extra hair in the shower drain? All this shedding could be an indicator that your body’s under stress, and it’s had enough – and it’s affecting your hair growth.

When your body experiences stress, whether hormonal or traumatic, it can respond by sending brand new – and confusing – signals to your follicles.

We’ve got the skinny on how those signals – and all the stress – mess with your head. Plus, we’ll tell you the four things you can change to help your hair recover from a traumatic event more quickly.

Know Your Growth Cycle

As anyone who’s ever waited for a bad haircut to grow out knows, hair growth can take a long time. That’s because each of the hairs on your head is in a completely different phase of its growth cycle.

According to WebMD, “At any given time, a random number of hairs will be in one of three stages of growth and shedding: anagen, catagen, and telogen.”

During the anagen phase, your hair is busy using your protein-rich diet to generate new growth. Once your hair reaches the catagen phase, it “rests” before moving onto the telogen phase, the point in the cycle when your hair sheds.

Many women who experience hair loss are actually going through very short growth, or anagen, phases. That’s why you might notice short, fuzzy hair sprouting in new patches or “mass” shedding after a big life-event.

“When you have these conditions, your body halts hair growth, and then things get restarted and all these hairs that have been halted start to get pushed out at the same time,” explains dermatologist Bethanee Schlosser at Self.

Whether you’ve had surgery or experienced a death in the family, stress-related hair loss goofs up your natural growth cycle. Here’s what happens:

How Stress Freezes Things Up

Cortisol, the “stress hormone,” is powerful stuff. It makes our body react as if we’re in a life-or-death situation, so we feel like reaching for fatty foods to keep going, or staying on high alert even if it’s way past our bedtime.

“When cortisol spikes, it tells the body to eat something with a lot of calories—a great survival tactic if you need energy to flee a predator but not if you’re fretting over how to pay bills,” nutritionist Shawn Talbott told Prevention.

And if your cortisol levels are running high due to trauma or other hormone-related issues, it most likely means your estrogen levels are too, low.

Both trauma and hormone-related stress can cause a “dip in hair-growth-promoting hormones, such as estrogen and progesterone, and an increase in hair-loss-promoting hormones, such as androgen and testosterone,” explains Priya Rao at Women’s Health.

For some women, this cycle of hormone miscommunication can last for months – often long after the traumatic event happened.

According to The Atlantic, that’s one reason why you most likely noticed an uptick in how many strands of hair you shed once your break-up or job hunt was already in the rearview. The other reason, is, of course, the hair growth cycle itself.

“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,” reports Julie Beck.

If you take a look at your calendar from three months ago, Beck says, you’ll most likely be able to pinpoint the event that brought on all that extra unwanted stress.

No matter what kind of battle you’re facing, chronic stress should be managed with heaps of self-care – and regular consults with your fave doc.

Combat Stress-Related Hair Loss

Here are four strategies we recommend to stay on top of whatever life may throw your way:

1. Fine-tune Your Diet

Nothing says “stressed out” like binging on ice cream sundaes or sneaking handfuls of chocolate between meals. (Thanks, cortisol.)

If you’re spending too much time snacking thanks to life stressors, you might be sabotaging the fuel your hair needs to grow.

“[Protein is] essential to hair growth,” dermatologist Francesca Fusco told Fitness. “Even though there’s nothing that can speed up the process, there are things you can do to slow it down, and not ingesting enough protein is one of them.”

And there’s not exactly a whole lot of protein – or other macronutrients – in a box of Oreos. (Sorry to break to to you.)

Get back on track with a hair-healthy diet full of protein and Omega-3s. Think salmon, avocados, walnuts, and flax seeds – the nutrient-rich proteins and veggies your hair needs to bounce back.

2. Double Check Your Birth Control

Have you recently gone on the pill? Your body might be having a negative reaction to all that progesterone, causing your hair to thin and fall out, says dermatologist Neil Sadick.

“The progesterone component can break down into a male-like hormone in the body,” Sadick explained to Women’s Health.

This issue is more common than you might think. Make it a point to discuss your symptoms with your general practitioner or your OB-GYN, so you can come up with a game plan.

3. Hop on the Treadmill

Exercise is especially helpful if you’re going through a stressful life transition, whether you’re moving, looking for a new job, or planning a wedding.

The more you can manage stress on a daily basis with preventative exercise, the less you’ll feel like pulling your hair out as the big day gets closer.

One of the most surefire ways to reduce stress is to get those endorphins pumping, says physiologist Monika Fleshner.

“Exercise helps produce resilience, not because it eliminates the stress response, which would be bad because you want your body to recognize and respond to dangerous situations, but because it acts as a buffer to it,” Fleshner told Fitness.

“Say your boss asks, ‘Why haven’t you met your deadline?’ If you’ve been exercising regularly, you’re less likely to respond with a full-blown physiological stress response — elevated heart rate, high blood pressure — as would someone who is sedentary,” she adds.

One more reason not to be a couch potato!

4. Chill Out

Nothing says “self-care” like knowing when you need to take a break and relax.

Mastering relaxation techniques – from yoga to meditation – can also have a positive impact on your body’s ability to handle stressful situations.

According to Prevention, “People who practiced Buddhist meditation significantly decreased both cortisol and blood pressure in a 6-week Thai study.”

Hit the mat for gorgeous hair? We only have one word: “Om.”

It’s no fun to deal with hair loss – especially if accelerated shedding happens after a period of high stress, hormonal change, or trauma.

Still, stress-related hair loss is common enough that there are plenty of women who’ve faced the same issue – and lived to tell the tale.

Learn to recognize the signs of elevated stress in your body, so you can address its effects on your health – and your hair – before you start shedding like crazy.

Better yet, take the preventative route by planning a hair-healthy diet, making sure you get regular exercise, and taking time out for self-care – especially when you feel “too busy” for a soak in the tub or some quality time on your yoga mat.

That’s when you need it most.

Have you ever experienced stress-related hair loss? Tell us how you got your groove back in the comments below:

Images: Unsplash, Unsplash, Unsplash, Unsplash

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