Summer puts a lot of stress on us – from the suns UV rays to the chlorine in your favorite swimming pool. Never has it been more important to take care of ourselves, and that includes our hair. Too much swimming in chlorinated pools can leave your hair feeling brittle and dry – and it’s terrible on hair that has been color treated. A quick search on the internet will bring up a wide range of apparent wonder products for your locks, all claiming to give you that just stepped out of a salon glossy shine.
But, do you really know what you are putting in your hair? Could some products actually be doing more harm than good? Some studies show that products that include synthetics, such as parabens and sulphates, can actually cause damage and are said to ‘suffocate’ the hair.
Artificial products can provide a false impression of healthy hair, making hair easier to brush through and giving a silkier and shinier look. However, the ingredients, such as silicones, have been said to actually damage hair – the feeling of healthier hair is purely superficial. In addition to this, silicones can be hard to wash out, as you continue to use products containing silicones, the residue builds up and can gradually damage your hair rather than protect it.
So how can we protect our hair? Most people subject their hair to daily heat from hair dryers, straighteners and other styling appliances. Added to this are environmental factors like sun exposure, pollution and even the cold weather.
The best way we can look after our hair is by knowing exactly what we are putting on it. Always check the labels of products and research ingredients that are unknown to you.
Better still, try and go as natural as you can.
Thankfully there are plenty of natural ingredients you can use, many of which are readily available in your own kitchen or local store.
Using a homemade conditioning mask just once a week will greatly benefit your hair. They are quick to prepare and apply and will leave your locks feeling healthy and easy to manage. The costs are kept reasonably low as most times you will be using ingredients that you already use at home.
Did you know the oils found in an avocado are very similar to the natural oils produced in our skin? These natural oils are unlikely to be found in any man made product available to buy on the high street or online. Avocado contains the kind of fats that are good for you, however, they are not just for eating – they can play a vital role in restoring the richness and health of your hair.
Simply use a ripe avocado and mash it up. Add a tablespoon each of olive oil and honey, and if you want to make it smell nice, add a drop or 2 of lavender oil. Apply the mixture to your hair and leave it in for at least an hour, preferably overnight. Wash it out and style as normal.
Another wonder ingredient is coconut. Coconut is excellent for enriching hair with oils – a quick glance at the latest shampoos and conditioners on the shelves will reveal many that are infused with coconut oils. Coconut oil has lots of small medium-chain fatty acids and is able to penetrate into the hair quickly. By using a small amount of coconut oil in your hair you can moisturize split ends and give a healthy shine to your locks.
Bananas are also rich in natural oils, potassium and vitamins that help to protect the hair by preventing split ends. Bananas also soften the hair and promote shine, growth and can help to control dandruff. You can simply grab a ripe banana, mash it up and apply it to your wet hair. If you want to turn it into more of a conditioning treatment you can simply add a little honey (about 1 tablespoon) and a little olive oil. Leave on for about an hour (or overnight) and then rinse well. If you struggle with tangles in your hair you will find that this conditioning treatment will make it much more manageable.
The use of natural hair care products on a regular basis, combined with drinking lots of water throughout the day, will protect your hair and leave you feeling and looking fabulous all summer long!