This conversation got me thinking about the many things that affect our hair and how it's so easy to get side tracked with routines that we forget about these correlations! With that in mind, let's review a few things so we can all be on the right track to healthier hair!
1. Stress LevelWe all deal with stress. We usually equate stress with bad, but stress isn't always negative. (Here's where I'm going to get all "psych major" on ya!) Eustress is essentially defined as "good stress". The definition of stress is your body's reaction to change. Good stress is associated with positive life changes...like marriage, having a baby, getting a promotion, etc. These are all great events but the change involved with them is great as well! Bad stress is sort of self explanatory.
Stress affects our bodies, whether we're aware of it or not! Sometimes we can be so caught up in the changes going on that we don't even realize we're stressed out! We all know our hair grows in a cycle. Stress can throw off that cycle.
"Sometimes a significant stress...may spark a change in your body's routine physiological functions...and cause a disproportionate number of hairs to go into the resting phase at the same time. Then three to four months later, sometimes longer, all those resting hairs are shed." - SourceMESSAGE: Remember, stress won't always manifest itself in the present, but it can cause issues. Take inventory of your life often because stress can sneak up on you!
2. DietDiet affects your body in more ways than one. What you put in your body is always going to come out, one way or another. A healthy diet feeds healthy hair, but a change in diet can shock your body! Diet highly impacts weight gains and losses, but things like losing significant weight (upwards of 15 pounds) or eating a low-calorie diet can affect your hair! Physiological changes or stresses, as opposed to something like emotional stress, is more likely to cause a hair loss event.
MESSAGE: Be mindful of how your diet affects you when you're out here trying to get 'snatched for the summer'...which simply means to have a good-looking body!
Change in diet is usually coupled with exercise when people are trying to live healthier lives or achieve body goals. When you workout, you're bound to sweat! The water your body loses affects your body in many ways, and...that's right, you guessed it...it affects your hair too! It's recommended that you drink about half your body weight in ounces BUT when you're working out, you have to hydrate more to replace the water your body is losing.
3. Water Intake
"Like skin, hair needs lubrication from the inside out. If your hair roots are deficient in adequate water levels your tresses will eventually become dry, brittle and may stop growing at your maximum genetic rate. Even worse, hair...may stop growing completely." SourceMESSAGE: Make sure you're keeping your body hydrated, so your body parts can function properly!
4. Protective StylesProtective styles can be great for growing your hair. The purpose of putting this here is to remind you to be mindful of the styles you choose. You have to know your hair, and what your hair can handle.
I get it! We all need a break from doing hair! However, you want your hair to come out of the protective style better than it was when it went it. Don't pick hairstyles that pull and tug at your hair if you have fragile hair. If you don't know how to properly care for long-term protective styles or you don't want to put the energy towards maintaining your hair underneath the protective styles, choose a short-term option. These are the types of things you want to consider when thinking of your next protective style.
MESSAGE: The purpose of protective styles is to protect your hair. Know your strengths and weaknesses, but most of all...know your hair!
Very few people like getting trims, but evaluating the day-to-day care of your hair can help you decide how needed trims are for the health of your hair. The more exposed your ends are, the more likely they are to get damaged. For instance, if you wear your hair out a lot, your ends are constantly rubbing on your shirts, car seats, chairs you sit in, etc. They're bound to get damaged when dealing with outside elements over time.
The ends of our hair strands are the oldest and weakest parts of our hair. Getting regular trims helps keep damaged ends from wreaking havoc on our heads! Take split ends as another example. If they aren't cut immediately the split can travel up your hair shaft causing the need for a hair cut, as opposed to just a trim!
MESSAGE: Trims keep minor problems from becoming major problems. So, protect your ends and keep an eye on them!
Many of us may not consider this when trying out products for our hair. This is something I've had to learn the hard way. Since the natural hair movement became a 'big thing', many brands have tried to capitalize on that. There are new brands popping up everyday and there are old brands coming out with new product lines catered specifically to "natural hair". We've all heard this before, but regardless of how well a product appears to work on your hair, you have to know what's in it.
6. Quality of Hair Products
Everyone's hair is different. There are tons of ingredients used to make all kinds of hair products, but a few things to stay away from include alcohols, certain oils, and products with high pH values. Knowing what's in your products can help you maintain healthy hair as well as find the products that work best for the styling your hair.
MESSAGE: Just because it's made for natural hair, doesn't mean is for your hair!
It's always best to be armed with information that will help you be better in the future. I was aware of all these things before revisiting my cosmetologist, but I needed to be reminded! It's so easy to forget things you should remember, but I hope this list helps you remember gives you a good starting place when considering things in your daily routine that may be affecting your hair!
What are things in your routine that affect how you care for your hair?