If you’ve ever walked down the haircare aisle in any shop, you’re sure to find a whole lot of products offering the solution to dry hair: moisture. There’s a good reason for that, hair — especially curly and coil hair types — need it.
But your hair washing routine requires more than just slathering on conditioner — it’s how you treat your hair. Here’s how to restore it’s moisture and have your mane looking great.
Dry hair is not forever
Just because your hair is dry doesn’t mean it needs to stay that way.
Despite what shampoo tells us; dry hair is not a hair ‘type’ but rather a condition that can be treated. Your first step is to find out what is drying out your strands.
This could be anything from the type of shampoo you’re using to the amount of heat your hair is exposed to.
Dry hair happens when the scalp doesn’t produce enough oils or is letting oils escape.
Since hair doesn’t produce its own lubrication, it relies on the oils made in the hair root to keep hair moisturised. So, if your hair is dry and you’re experiencing a flaky scalp, chances are your scalp is dry too.
If your scalp is fairly well moisturised then it might be that the protective layer in your hair — the cuticle — might be damaged. When the cuticle is healthy it lies tightly together and keeps the moisture in, and heat and sun damage out.
But when the cuticle is damaged, it separates and peels away from the hair, which allows the moisture to escape.
Getting to the root cause
The tricky thing is that there are several things that can damage your hair. Let’s take a look at some of the most common causes of dry hair and just how you can fix it!
The Problem: Over-washing your hair or using a harsh shampoo that strips your hair of oil.
The Solution: This might seem a bit taboo but you can totally skip a wash day or two- yes, even after a sweaty workout. Washing your hair too often can strip your hair from oil, leaving it dry and brittle.
So, skip a wash or two and instead do a co-wash. Co-washing involves washing your hair with just a rinse-off conditioner. This allows for your hair to still be clean but gives it an extra boost of moisture and conditioning.
When it is wash day, use a shampoo designed specifically for dry hair. These shampoos are usually creamy and have ingredients like aloe vera, Moroccan oil or vitamin E.
This sulfate-Free Cleansing Cream Shampoo from Cantu is a soft and gentle cleanser that removes excess product build-up for squeaky clean roots for lighter, bouncier and healthier looking hair. Buy it here for R199.
The Problem: Using heat on your hair too often.
The Solution: When you heat style your hair, be sure to use a heat protector. This provides a barrier between the hair strand and heat, ensuring that the cuticles stay intact and moisture stays in.
While you’re heat styling your hair, try to keep the heat down to a minimum. Some flatirons go up to 450 degrees — which means you’re frying your hair into submission — so, for the sake of your strands, use the lowest heat settings possible.
Afri True Heat Protection Serum is enriched with Vitamin E and argan oil, and is ideal for use with all heat styling tools to smooth, protect and add shine to hair. Buy it here for R36.99.
The Problem: Using chemical treatments like relaxers, perms and dyes.
The Solution: If you’re dying your hair, go for an ammonia-free permanent dye as they are gentler and better for dry hair.
The same goes for straightening treatments, the less harmful chemicals, the better. You could find something like a Keratin treatment, which aims to straighten your hair while strengthening it.
Just be sure that you have chemical treatments done by a professional hair salon.
The L'Oreal Elvive Keratin Straight Oil Replacement gives you protection against heat damage and helps to replenish hair fibres from the inside out, leaving your hair silky smooth. Buy it here for R99.
READ MORE: 7 Simple ways to repair damaged hair
The Problem: Exposing your hair to too much sun, wind and dry air.
The Solution: We all love a little sun and sea- but it can be damaging on your hair. So, if you’re going swimming — whether its sea or pool — be sure to slather your hair with conditioner to protect the strands from damage.
And when you’re out in the sun, protect your hair from harmful UV rays by wearing a hat or scarf.