Do you feel your hair has the texture of straw in summer? Does it go all frizzy and static in winter? Chances are your hair is very dry and lacks hydration.
Hydrating your hair is vital for your scalp health, if you want to keep hair issues at bay. We tell you how you can hydrate your hair to keep it soft and full of life.
Understanding Hair Hydration
Drinking water alone cannot hydrate your hair. Hair hydration implies providing enough water to the roots of your hair through proteins, humectants and natural humidity in the air. Retaining enough water content in your hair prevents it from becoming dry, frizzy and lifeless. This is not possible with just moisturization.
Why Does Hair Need Hydration + Benefits
Whatever the type of hair you have - fine or thick, rough or smooth - it needs hydration. Dry hair can lead to other problems like breakage, split ends, hair fall and color loss. This happens because the strands of the hair are dead and need to be nourished externally.
In some cases, your scalp is dry when there is not enough natural oil being secreted to hydrate your hair. Age, heredity and other conditions lead to a slowing down of oil production, leading to dry hair. To combat this, hair needs to stay hydrated.
Sometimes, the hair structure is such that the moisture in the strand evaporates easily, leading to dry hair. Each strand of hair has the medulla at the centre -- the innermost layer. The middle layer, known as the cortex, surrounds it.
The cortex is what gives your hair its texture, curls, elasticity and shape. If the outer layer, cuticle, is loosely placed, it allows the moisture to escape from the hair. This in turn causes dry hair that is weak and breaks easily.
The more hydrated your hair, the healthier your hair stays. When you keep your hair well hydrated, it reduces hair fall, gives your hair a shine and you have thick, strong and healthy hair.
How To Hydrate Your Hair?
A. Choose The Right Products
You can use products that have ingredients to hydrate and moisturise your hair. Avocado, coconut, olive and almond oils; aloe vera, shea butter and glycerine can help hydrate and moisturize your hair. Ensure your conditioners include some of these ingredients too in order to lock the water content in your hair.
B. A Shampoo That Hydrates
A good way to hydrate your hair is to use a hydrating shampoo that can clean your hair without stripping it of its natural oils. It needs to leave your hair strands with humectants that lock in the moisture from your conditioner and leave in serum.
C. Argan Oil
Oils contain ingredients that help soften the hair strands and aid absorption of the oil to hydrate and nourish it. This wonder oil is loaded with antioxidants that prevent hair damage. It is an ingredient in several shampoos, leave-in serums and conditioners. For added benefit, take a few drops of argan oil and apply on your hair to give it sheen and moisture.
D. Coconut Oil
Coconut oil contains lipids that soften the outer layer or cuticle of the hair. Once softened, the oil can be absorbed by the cortex and the medulla, giving the hair shine and hydration. It also helps reduce frizziness in dry or curly hair.
E. Almond Oil
This oil has vitamin E and proteins that nourish and strengthen the hair strands by bringing the cells of the cuticle closer. It may even help in preventing breakage. Rub a few drops on your palm and run it through your hair or mix with any hair conditioning mask.
F. Use A Spritzer
You can make your own hair spritzer, which is a blend of aloe vera and rose water. Spray on clean hair every day for regular hydration. It can even be used on the scalp to promote healthy hair growth and to protect your strands from the sun.
G. Shampoo In Moderation
If you wash your hair too frequently, you are likely to dry it further. Use a shampoo specifically for dry hair. They may contain humectants like aloe vera or apricot oil, which retain the natural moisture in your hair while hydrating it. Avoid transparent shampoos as they are designed for oily hair type. The creamy ones are mostly designed for dry hair.
H. Condition Right
Be generous with your conditioner as it hydrates your hair thoroughly. In fact, you can wet your hair and apply a hydrating conditioner without shampooing it on the days you don’t wash it. Your hair gets hydrated and your scalp feels clean with the water rinse.
Change your conditioner according to the weather. You will need a cream-based one with deep conditioning ingredients in winter and a milder one in summer.
I. Use Sun Protection
You should use a leave-in hair spray or serum that offers protection from the UV rays of the sun. You can also dab a little Vitamin E oil (natural sun protectant) on your hair or a conditioner if you are going swimming and wear a swimming cap. If you are going to be out in the sun for long, wear a hat, a cap, or a scarf.
J. Nourish With Masks
Deep conditioning treatments for your hair are a very effective way of hydrating them. From eggs to honey, avocado, olive oil and curds, you can find ingredients in your kitchen to hydrate dry hair. Mix the ingredients into a paste, apply and wash off after 15-20 minutes.
K. Rice Water Starch
Once you strain the water after cooking rice, rinse your hair with it to strengthen the strands. Rice water has an ingredient called inositol, which hydrates hair all the way to the core and repairs damage. Refrigerate overnight and use even daily for severely damaged hair.
L. Hair Serums
Use hair serums and leave-in conditioners. These help to undo the damage caused by chemical hair treatments. Some leave-in conditioners need to be applied on wet hair while some can be applied on semi-dry hair.
How Often Should I Hydrate My Hair?
Ideally, you should hydrate your hair with a mask or a deep conditioning treatment at least once a week. But, every time you shampoo your hair, use a leave-in hydrating serum or conditioner for extra hydration.
Dos And Don’ts Of Hair Hydration
What You Should Do
A. Drink More Water
Just as drinking water is good for the skin, drinking water ensures that your body stays cool from within. In hot weather, drinking water keeps your body from overheating, which can actually lead to dry hair.
B. Dry Your Hair Naturally
Skip the blow dryers. Period. Whatever the weather, unless you are styling your hair for an event, avoid using a blow dryer for your hair. Squeeze excess water out and let the air do the rest. Experiment with different hairstyles on semi-dry hair if you want curls.
C. Brush Your Hair The Right Way
While you should avoid brushing your hair when it is wet, once it is semi-dry and you have your leave-in serum on, brush it gently with a large brush or a wide-toothed comb to remove the knots and tangles.
What You Should Not Do
A. Avoid Excessive Use Of Chemicals
Whether it is hair color or hair spray, hair straightening or perming, too many chemicals in the hair can make it very dry and dehydrated. Use ammonia-free colour if you can, and chemical-free products to straighten frizzy hair.
B. Stay Away From Heat Inducing Gizmos
Hair straighteners, curling irons, heated rollers and blow dryers to style your hair a certain way can all cause dryness and dehydration of the hair. These gizmos work at high temperatures and that heat can remove the natural moisture from the hair.
You can also use a product that protects the shaft of the hair from heat by applying it prior to using a curling iron or a straightener. Ionic hair dryers help the hair to get rehydrated.
Hair Moisture Vs Hair Hydration: What Is The Difference?
Hair moisturisers essentially smoothen out the outer layer of hair to give it softness.
Hair hydration is done to increase the moisture within the strands of hair.
A hair moisturiser typically contains emollients and water repelling oils that seal the moisture in your hair.
Hair hydrating products contain humectants like glycerine which can help the water get absorbed into the core of the hair strand.
Seal the moisture after hydration with a moisturiser to ensure hair stays hydrated for longer.
Hydration adds water, and other nutrients to the inner layers of your hair.
Moisturising strengthens the hair.
Curly hair needs more hydration than straight hair.
Moisturisers for the hair are either water or oil-based.
Other natural humectants that hydrate hair are coconut water, aloe vera and witch hazel.
When you use a hair moisturiser, there is less breakage and better growth.
Hair hydration products have a higher content of water.
there are various contributing factors that can dry out your hair. What is important is using the right hydration products to nourish the inner layers of the hair and keep it hydrated. Avoiding practices that dry out the hair is also important.
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