HAIR STRENGTHENING 101: BEST TREATMENT, PRODUCTS, AND MORE
There’s no doubt that strong, healthy hair can fuel confident, fierce vibes, but don’t let weak hair break your self-image. Hair can speak volumes, we just need to listen!
So what strengthens hair?
Signs of Weak Hair
Listening to your hair can be hard, but accurately identifying the issue can heal your locks faster. Weak hair can display itself in many ways, but here are some of the most common symptoms:
- Extreme Tangling
Sound familiar? You have nothing to worry about! First, let’s find the root cause.
Causes of Weak Hair
It’s true, there are many causes of hair weakness. Some may be easy to pinpoint, such as loving your flat iron a little too much, while others may be harder, such as an undiagnosed medical condition. If you’re doing all the right things to no avail, or are experiencing other symptoms in addition to weak hair, consulting your doctor is always a healthy path to take! In the meantime, here are some causes to check off your list.
- Heat Styling The love between a person and their styling tools can run deep, but just like many things in life, there can be too much of a good thing. Too much heat can cause thermal damage, preventing proper moisture retention and resulting in damaged, weak hair. Even worse, if you’re not already using a heat protectant!
- Genetics This answer could be frustrating for some and a relief to others but either way, it’s no secret genetics play a huge role in just about everything. So if you feel like you’re doing everything right and still struggling with weak hair, know that genetics can be at play!
- Imbalanced Diet Weak hair can be a good indicator of an improper diet, including eating disorders. Deficiencies in certain vitamins and minerals — Iron, Zinc, Vitamin D, and B12 to name a few — can negatively impact your hair shaft’s composition, causing overall weakness, hair loss, and more.
- Bleach or Hair Dye Bleach works by breaking down your hair’s pigment, which also breaks down the natural fatty acids on the hair shaft, weakening your strands. Although less abrasive, dye still contains harmful chemicals that can weaken and damage hair.
- Treat Wet Hair Gently How you treat your wet hair can make or break it. When hair is wet, it is in its most weak and delicate state. So yanking a brush through wet tangles, plopping your wet head on a pillow, or rocking the wet messy bun are all big no-nos if you want to avoid weak hair.
- Overwashing Excessive washing strips your strands of crucial moisture while putting them under frequent stress and friction. This can weaken hair shafts. There isn’t a perfect number of times you should be washing your hair, so this one is trial and error, but be on the lookout for signs of overwashing.
How to Strengthen Hair
- Eat a Balanced Diet We know you have a lot on your plate, but being mindful of what makes it to your fork can make those tresses seriously touchable. Fruits, veggies, and protein should be frequent guests on the dinner menu, especially those with vitamin c, biotin, iron, and zinc. This doesn’t mean you can’t indulge in the occasional pizza slice or pastry though, just stick to the “everything in moderation” rule and you should be just fine!
- Wash Less Sometimes, less really is more, and that’s especially true when it comes to washing your hair. Overwashing can strip your hair of its natural oils, which then stimulates too much oil production, leaving you with dry hair and a greasy scalp. Find a number that works for you, just try not to wash more than every other day and be patient as your scalp adjusts. Curly hair folks should consider co-washing, which is just subbing out shampoo for conditioner every other wash. Think of all the shampoo you’ll save.
- Massage Scalp Not only does it feel amazing, but scientific research suggests there are also amazing benefits. Scalp massages stimulate blood circulation which sends oxygen to the hair follicle and nutrients to the root. This has been shown to bolster hair growth and thickness while also doing wonders for your mental health by reducing stress hormone levels, blood pressure, and heart rate.
- Moisture When looking into hair health, the word “moisture” is never far behind. Moisturized hair is more elastic, less prone to breakage and tangles, and just overall healthier. Luckily for you, there are gobs of products out there to help — conditioners, serums, oils, sprays, leave-ins — you name it. So test out some new fun products and embrace the healthy shine.
- Aloe Vera Aloe vera is far from just a beautiful succulent that helps with sunburns. Due to its moisturizing properties and nourishing vitamins, it has gained traction in the hair care world. Some even say it works well to fight off dandruff and soothe the scalp with its anti-inflammatory agents. You can use the gel straight from the plant, massaging it into the scalp and rinsing after a few minutes, or try one of the many products on the market.
- Rice Water Rice water is the starchy liquid left over after rice has been cooked or soaked for a long time, and as it turns out, it’s super nutritious for your hair. Not only does it make it shiny, but it encourages growth and makes for a great hair strengthening treatment. So give your rice a wash, soak overnight, strain, and massage it into your scalp before your next shampoo. The best part? It’s far cheaper than most hair remedies you’ll find.
Five Quick Tips for Preventing Weak Hair
We’ve combed through some causes of weak hair and how to strengthen hair, but for the on-the-go people, we’ve compiled a short list of easy prevention tips.
- Turn Down the Heat Opt for heat-free hairstyles like loose waves or braids. When you do use heat, apply a heat protectant first and always start with the lowest setting.
- Stray Away from Tight Hairstyles This can put unnecessary pressure and strain on your roots and the hair follicle, causing damage and reducing your hair strength. Let that hair flow free.
- Do not overprocess Hair Probably the hardest thing to let go of next to hot tools, but parting ways with dye or bleach can save your hair. If you’re not ready, just make sure you have it done by a professional and don’t skimp on the moisture.
- Trim it off Hanging on to dead ends doesn’t do your look, or your hair, any favors. Snipping off split ends prevents them from traveling up, saving you from a drastic cut you might not be ready for.
- Skip the Dip We fully support your inner water baby, but chlorine can dry out those strands, so tread lightly when it comes time to swim or opt for poolside instead.
Hair Strengthening Products
There are some great hair strengthening products out there, most of which focus on moisturizing and protection. Depending on your hair type, finding the products best for you can take some trial and error, but can really aid you in your hair strengthening treatment.
- Conditioner Hydrating the hair follicle is the key to hair strengthening, increasing its resilience to everyday stressors like your brush, ponytail holder, pillowcase…the list goes on. Deep condition two to four times a month for an extra boost in strength and shine, or once a week for damaged hair. Need a step up? Hair masks penetrate the hair’s cuticle, working to repair and restore from the inside out, actually helping to reverse surface damage. On the go? Spritz in a leave-in conditioner for all day hydration.
- Serums and oils These are another great way to lock in moisture and strengthen hair. Hair serums work great for those trying to combat frizz and enhance your hair’s natural texture. Hair oils are traditionally made from coconut, jojoba, or argan oils and help nourish your hair while giving it a healthy glow!
- Heat protectant Although we don’t recommend the frequent use of hot tools, we’re not saying don’t get your hair done on your wedding day. Just make sure to always use a heat protectant when you turn on the heat.
- If you’re struggling with limp, fizzy, or dull hair that is easily tangled and broken, you might be up against weak hair. This can be caused by bleaching, overwashing, overuse of heat tools, or being too rough with wet hair.
- To strengthen your hair try eating a well-balanced diet rich in vitamins and retaining moisture in your hair by washing less, using aloe vera, or even rice water. Hair serums, oils, masks, conditioners, and heat protectants can all help with locking in moisture and protecting your hair, thus making it stronger.
- Prevent weak hair by avoiding heat, staying away from tight hairstyles, and reducing chemical treatments such as bleach and dye. Keep up with your trims to reduce split ends from moving north, and be mindful of time spent in chlorine pools which can dry out and weaken hair.
Whether your hair is a core part of your identity or just a fun experiment waiting to happen, strong, healthy hair is the best hair. So massage your scalp with rice water, try out a funky new heatless hairstyle. or find your new favorite hair mask. Have fun, flip that hair, and enjoy it.