Some states have already loosened restrictions on barber shops and hair salons, and some will reopen shortly. But, regardless of whether your state is allowing in-person hair services or not right now, you may not feel comfortable visiting face to face, and that’s OK.
You may not have the skill to cut or color your hair at home as your stylist would, but there are lots of things you can do on your own, from home, to keep it healthy and beautiful.
How to Keep Your Hair Healthy During a Pandemic
#1. Don’t wash your hair more than you have to.
Washing your hair every single day is a recipe for frizzy, dried-out tresses. Shampoos contain detergent, which strips hair of its natural oils, which actually contain the essential nutrients your hair needs to be healthy. And, unfortunately, it’s a vicious cycle, because the more you wash your hair and strip it of its natural oils, the more oil it will produce and the greasier your hair will look between washings.
Luckily, though, you can train your hair to be washed less often by gradually increasing the number of days you go between washing it. And, since most of us are stuck at home anyway because of the pandemic, it is a great time to start training your hair.
It’s not just the shampoo that’s a problem when you wash your hair; it’s also the water, itself. When your hair is wet, it swells from the inside, which forces the cuticle up and can lead to frizz and breakage. If you can’t stand the idea of letting nature take its course with your hair between washings, using a dry shampoo is a better alternative than giving in and doing a full wash.
#2. Wash and condition correctly.
When you do wash your hair, make sure that you do so correctly. Since your scalp is what actually produces oil, the root system is where it builds up and where the shampoo should be focused when washing your hair. The ends, on the other hand, are the weakest and most brittle part of the hair shaft, and should be avoided when washing.
Stick with shampooing only the roots of your hair to avoid overdrying the ends. As you rinse the shampoo out of your roots, it will pass through the ends. That’s plenty of detergent for the ends of your hair.
When you condition your hair, concentrate on the ends of your hair, starting at about chin-level. If you condition your scalp, it can clog up the hair follicles and disrupt its natural oil production. Plus, as the ends are the driest, most brittle part of your hair, they need the extra protection and moisture most of all.
#3. Take a break from the heat.
Heat can do serious damage to your hair, and that’s true whether you’re talking about letting the sun beat down on your hair, styling your hair with heat, blow drying your hair, or using hot water to wash and condition your hair.
Heat can damage your hair in many different ways. It dehydrates hair, which can make your hair look less bouncy and leave it more prone to splitting and breakage. Protein damage is another effect of excessive heat on hair, and it can damage the shine, elasticity, and texture of your hair. Last but not least, too much heat can affect the pigmentation of your hair, causing it to fade.
To protect your hair from heat damage, wash and rinse your hair with cold or luke-warm water instead of hot water. Also, if there’s ever a time to forego styling with heat in favor of protecting your hair, it’s during the midst of a pandemic when you’re quarantined at home. And, when you’re out in the sun, keep your hair covered.
#4. Avoid brushing your hair when it’s wet.
When your hair is wet, it’s weaker, more fragile, and more prone to breakage. In other words, when your hair is wet, it’s at its most vulnerable. Furthermore, when you brush wet hair, there’s more tension, which means you have to pull harder and your hair will be more likely to get damaged during the process.
So how do you safely smooth out your hair after washing it? The first step is to carefully squeeze the water out of it with an old t-shirt, which is actually gentler on your hair than a towel. Then, let it air dry naturally, and comb it using a wide-tooth comb.
If you don’t want to wait for it to dry fully naturally, make sure to protect before blow drying with a heat protection spray. And, keep in mind that allowing it to air dry, for even a few minutes, will help to save it from damage, so delay just a little before you reach for your blow dryer.
#5. Treat yourself to a scalp massage.
A little self-care can go a long way these days, and a good old-fashioned scalp massage is a great option because it’s both relaxing and great for your hair, in many different ways.
Massaging your scalp every once in a while stimulates blood circulation, which boosts growth. It strengthens the roots systems and transfers the natural oils that keep hair healthy and vibrant. It also strengthens hair, making it more resilient to damage caused by brushing and styling.
Throughout the day, give yourself a quick scalp massage using your fingertips. For more conditioning power, massage a little coconut or argan oil into your scalp before washing your hair.
Find a barber shop or beauty salon near you with Top Rated Local® for an online consultation or an in-person appointment, whatever you feel most comfortable with.