When it comes to hair, we all have our tried and tested routines. But it can be easy to fall into bad habits which might not be the best for keeping strands in tip-top condition.
Take dry shampoo. It is arguably one of the smartest beauty inventions (beloved by hairstylists and editors alike) but using it incorrectly can really affect healthy hair growth. And if you head to bed with wet or damp hair, you might want to think about the effect it could have on your scalp.
Ahead, consultant dermatologist Dr Alia Ahmed reveals the biggest hair mistakes you could be making unknowingly and how to reverse them to achieve your best hair ever.
Be careful when using scalp scrubs
Scalp scrubs are great for chipping away at grease, flakes and product build-up but Dr Ahmed says it’s easy to go overboard.”I don’t have a problem with using scalp scrubs,” says Dr Ahmed, “but rubbing a hard, physical exfoliant into your scalp or face can be quite harsh. Your skin, including your scalp, is very stress-responsive. If you are going to use an exfoliant, use it gently and not during every wash. You can use it once a week and you probably don’t need to use one unless you have a lot of build-up on your scalp.”
Dr Ahmed mentions that a good shampoo should effectively cleanse your scalp so you shouldn’t really need a scrub. Dr Ahmed rates the Head & Shoulders Anti Microbial Daily Protect Shampoo, £5.99, for eradicating build-up quickly and effectively without completely stripping your hair or scalp of goodness.
Dry your hair before you go to bed
Blow-drying wet hair can feel like a chore and prolonged heat from hairdryers can cause damage in the form of split ends and dry lengths. It’s no wonder, then, that many of us head to bed with damp hair, especially when the weather is warm. But it isn’t that great for your scalp.
“It’s probably not the best idea to go to sleep with wet hair,” confirms Dr Ahmed. “If you trap water in your hair and then lie on it, you’re creating a humid, steamy environment which proliferates nasties on your scalp.” Those nasties can be anything from oil and dirt to bacteria from your pillowcase or the environment, which will only multiply in a warm, moist environment.
If you find that your scalp becomes itchy or that your hair feels greasy when you let it dry naturally, it might be worth giving your hair a quick rough-dry with a hairdryer on a medium setting so as not to cause too much damage over time. Try ghd Helios Hair Dryer, £159, which dries hair at record speed.
Tie your hair up before bed
If you have long hair and struggle to get a brush through it in the morning, Dr Ahmed explains that tying it up before you go to sleep can minimise detangling the next day. “It means you won’t have to over-style it the next morning. But don’t tie it with a tight, elastic hairband,” says Dr Ahmed. Instead, use a lightweight scrunchie, which won’t tug or pull at your hair further. We recommend Silke London Coco Hair Ties.
Don’t just use hair oils for styling
Hair oils aren’t just for styling. Dr Ahmed explains that applying a couple of drops before bed can protect and nourish strands while you sleep, especially if you’re due a haircut, as so many of us are right now.
“You can use a hair oil overnight in the ends of hair, rather than on your scalp,” says Dr Ahmed. “Letting it soak into the ends, which need the most moisture, is a good idea. Hopefully, your styling will also be easier in the morning, too.” We rate Herbal Essences Hair Oil Blend Argan & Aloe, £5.99.
Rethink the way you apply dry shampoo
Dry shampoo is something of a saviour when you’re feeling lazy or require a quick spruce-up but removing it properly is the key to better hair.
“Using dry shampoo is fine,” says Dr Ahmed, “but you have to remember it’s an additional product that is settling on your hair and scalp. Putting it on every day for maybe five days and washing your hair once a week is not the best thing to do because the build-up keeps building on top.” Dr Ahmed points out that your scalp traps all the oil and bacteria that cause dandruff – if you’re not keeping your scalp clean and healthy, imagine the hair that has to grow through that. “Hair tries to battle through dust, grime and flakes – you’re not going to get the optimal quality of hair,” says Dr Ahmed. Her advice? “Just remember to regularly wash out dry shampoo effectively. Even if you’re only washing your hair two times a week, use your water-based shampoo effectively and really massage it in,” says Dr Ahmed.
You might also want to double cleanse your hair to eradicate all traces of dry shampoo residue.
Switch up your pillowcase
This isn’t a must but if your hair is dry and damaged and you want to give it a helping hand, it could be an idea to rethink your bedding.
“Think about the surface that you’re sleeping on,” says Dr Ahmed. “A silk pillowcase reduces friction and static, so you’re less likely to snag your hair against it compared to a rough pillowcase. Silk is a light fabric so you can get the air through hair, too.”
Silk turbans or bonnets are nothing new and have long been recommended for textured hair but Dr Ahmed mentions that they can be beneficial for everyone who wants to protect their lengths while sleeping.
Use a shampoo/conditioner duo (especially if treating dandruff)
It’s fine to use a shampoo that’s different from your conditioner but if you’re treating your scalp for something like dandruff, it’s another matter.
“If you’re using a different conditioner to your treatment shampoo, use it on the ends of your hair, not the scalp, so that you don’t disrupt the active ingredients,” says Dr Ahmed. In other words, rubbing conditioner all over your scalp after using a treatment shampoo will dilute all those hardworking ingredients so they won’t work as well. Instead, concentrate your conditioner on the ends of your hair and make sure you’re washing it out properly.Credit: Original article published here.