When it comes to attainable hair goals, none is more coveted than having a strong mane. Although fairy tale princesses used their enviable hair to hoist gentleman callers up towers, most of us are just regular ladies hoping to protect our strands from needless breakage.
The golden rule of maintaining strong strands is remembering that your hair is very fragile. Protecting it from heat, chemical treatments, and undue stress will help it feel stronger and grow longer with less breakage. Wondering exactly how to strengthen your hair? We’ve got you covered with 12 easy tips.
This may seem like common sense, but hair that’s regularly styled needs to be washed on a regular basis. Product formulas can create build up, which can ultimately lead to an itchy head and potential flakes. Keep your hair feeling good by really scrubbing with your fingertips every time you wash.
Choose one hair system.
We always recommend having a hair goal in mind. While switching them up every few months is no problem, focusing on one attainable goal at a time will help you see the difference in your hair. Whether you’re angling to minimize breakage or boost shine, pick a hair care system (usually shampoo, conditioner, and weekly treatment) specially formulated for that cause. If you’re not sure what’s included in the system, be sure to check the back of the package.
Sleep with your hair up.
One of the keys to healthy-looking hair is protection—and not just from the blow dryer, either. Before heading to bed, consider trading your old cotton pillowcase for a soft satin version. If you’re not looking to spend any cash, use a no-tangle elastic to tie your hair into a loose knot or braid. You’ll see fewer snarls and feel good about the strength of your mane.
Invest in satin.
If there’s one lesson we’ve learned, it’s that strong hair and cotton sheets don’t always go together. Instead of risking static and knots, opt for a satin pillowcase that won’t snag hair. You’ll be surprised at how strong your hair feels.
Brush from ends to roots.
One of the most common mistakes we see happens during brushing. Pulling a tool from roots to ends can place unnecessary stress on your hair, resulting in tugging and potential breakage. Instead, place your hand midshaft and begin by brushing just the ends. Work backward up the strand an inch at a time, so you’ll be completely detangled by the time you reach the root.
Never style wet or damp hair.
As a rule, we try to avoid touching our hair unless it’s totally dry. Wet and damp strands can be more fragile than their dry equivalents, breaking easily. To avoid most water-induced damage, always rough dry your hair about 70 percent of the way before starting in with a brush.
Rely on heat protectant.
This may seem like a basic tip, but you’d be surprised how many women use a heat protectant on a casual basis. Hot temperatures can wreak havoc on your strands, so make sure to protect your mane every single time you style.
Style with the lowest heat possible.
A further note on that heat styling point: You probably don’t need to use the highest setting on your curling iron for your hair to look good. In fact, many professionals recommend beginning as low as possible. Gradually raise the temperature until you begin to see results.
...Or avoid heat altogether.
As the years pass, formulas designed for air-drying hair become more and more effective. From the L'Oréal portfolio of products, we’re big fans of Redken’s No Blow Dry Just Right Cream for medium hair, which is a Hair.com editor favorite.
Keep your body healthy.
In our opinion, there’s no substitute for a healthy lifestyle as the foundation for strong, beautiful hair. Eating a balanced diet, managing stress, and getting plenty of exercise will lead to a healthier body.
Don’t pick your split ends.
If there’s one golden rule of strong hair, it’s that you should never pull at or pick the split ends you find. Doing so can cause the hair to split even further up the strand, increasing your chances of breakage. Instead, try a leave-in formula like Redken’s Extreme Anti-Snap Anti-Breakage Leave-In Treatment.
Schedule regular haircuts.
When you go too long between cuts, your hair can start to look shapeless and fall flat. If you’re working with fine strands, those overgrown ends can make you feel like you have even less hair. Besides keeping your hair looking beautiful, a regular cut will help get rid of any damage or split ends.
Remember that color takes time
.Beware any colorist who recommends going from black to blonde hair in a single session. Pros are constantly reminding us that color changes are a lengthy process, sometimes requiring two or three sessions. To protect the integrity of your hair, be sure you’re taking your time.
Make your color last.
Not all color choices are created alike. Blonde and red shades are notorious for lots of maintenance and some premature fading, which is why those who wear them are back in the salon chair every few weeks. To get serious about strong hair, talk to your stylist about transitioning to a color that’s gentler on the hair—think dark shades that don’t require bleach or balayage applications that grow out without noticeable roots. Use salon-quality care at home to ensure your shade stays beautiful for as long as possible.
...Or take a break from color.
There’s no rule saying you have to maintain platinum highlights at all times. If strength is a priority, step away from the blonde for a few months and reassess. You never know: You may return to the salon with a newfound desire to try a color that was previously outside of your comfort zone.
Let salon experts deal with the damage.
If you tried a home treatment that went awry or just can’t seem to keep heat styling from taking a toll, turn to the professionals. Talk your stylist through your daily routine, detailing any products you use and how you apply them. A trusted expert should be able to identify the problematic parts of your routine.
Invest in serious treatment when you need it.
Salon professionals want you to leave with your best hair ever—we’re talking strong, shiny, and beautiful. Those who need a little extra help achieving those goals can invest in treatments like L’Oréal Professionnel’s Serie Expert Powermix Treatment.
Your stylist knows best.
There’s a reason salon professionals know what they’re talking about. After many hours of training and years in the salon, they’ve seen most problems. Don’t be afraid to give them a ring if you wish your hair felt stronger.
Interested in personalized hair care advice? Use our salon locator to book an appointment at a salon near you.
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