As a teenager, I had pretty thick, long and healthy hair. All I did then was to use a shampoo that my mum bought and oil the hair pretty often. But as the years go by, I have lost quite a bit of it, and also the texture has changed; Oiling is not that frequent anymore. The only positive change is, now I pay attention to what hair products I use.
However, I recently realised that when I say ‘pay attention’, all I have done is read the labels and not really think about if that hair product suits my hair. So I did some research on how to make an informed decision about which hair products to use for my hair. Let’s start with the basics;
Let’s start with the basics;
There are three main hair types – Oily, normal and dry. To check you hair type all you need a little tissue test. On the second day after washing hair, place a tissue paper on the scalp and press lightly.
- Oily hair – There are oil patches on the tissue paper. Oily hair usually makes the strands to stick together, is always looking dull and flat, and is prone to dandruff.
- Dry hair – Tissue paper is dry. Dry hair types also are frizzy and have split ends.
- Normal hair – May show some oil patches on the tissue paper but the true test for normal hair is through an inspection. Normal hair stays fresh and manageable even after a few days of washing.
- Combination hair – Some hair types tend to be oily at roots but dry through the length, sometimes with split ends. Longer hair lengths are prone to such types of hair conditions.
Porosity refers to the hair’s ability to absorb water. Check your porosity by putting a few hair strands into a bowl of water and let it sit for about 2-4 minutes. If the strands are floating, your hair has low porosity, and if they have sunk, you have high porosity.
Now that your know your hair type and porosity (it helps to know your texture and density too, but that is for another day!), let’s see how you need to care for them.
How to care for your hair
Oily hair: The important thing to maintain oily hair is keeping it clean. Even though I do not recommend washing your hair every day, doing it quite often with a shampoo designed for oily hair helps adequate sebum removal. Even though it sounds counterintuitive, oiling the scalp at least once or twice a month helps the health of the hair regardless of the hair type. Before washing your hair, apply lightly heated coconut oil all over the scalp and length of the hair. Leave it for 30 minutes and wash off.
Dry hair: Dry hair needs a lot of conditioning. Oil treatment mentioned above is an ideal option for dry hair and may be done once a week at least. Deep conditioner and leave-in conditioners are also friends of people with dry hair. Please remember to keep heat away such as curling irons and flat irons to avoid further damage. If you really need to use them, use a heat protecting spray with moisturising properties to avoid drying.
Normal hair: Normal hair needs the least attention regarding hair care. But a healthy diet and using shampoo and hair care products that are free from sulphates help maintain the health of the hair.
Low porosity: Low porosity requires assistance in retaining moisture. Use hair products with humectants (a substance used to reduce the loss of moisture) in them. Some common humectants found in hair care products are glycerine and Silicate. If you have low porosity, check if your hair care products include these or any other humectant listed here. Deep condition with some heat preferably sourced from above (like holding a dryer above the head) helps with moisture as well.
High Porosity: If you have high porosity, it means your hair absorbs water and is prone to frizz in humidity (If you are a huge ‘Friends’ fan as I am, imagine Monica Geller in Barbados). Products with protein help to minimise the pores. Tracy recommends products with aloe or whey protein.
Combination hair: Depending on the combination you have, use the appropriate tips from above. For example, if you have oily roots with dry lengths (the most common type of combination), deep condition the lengths but avoid the scalp. You may also need to use light oils or elixirs on the length of the hair to tame the frizz and maintain moisture.
In a future post, I will suggest some recommendations of brands and products to use for each hair type. Stay tuned for it!… Please comment below your suggestions, questions.
See you in another post!