Haircare Basics – Dos and Donts of Brushing and Combing
When you brush and/or comb your hair, you do more than just style it.
You also clean it by removing loose particles like those left behind by old shampoo and conditioner; nourish it by descaling and stimulating the scalp, which improves circulation and brings more oxygen and nutrient-rich blood to your hair roots; and add to the impression of volume by gently lifting hair strands away from the scalp.
To that extent, combing and brushing are important yet easily overlooked components of any hair care regimen. Proper brushing and combing is a simple matter, and can be covered with a few basic dos and don’ts.
Haircare Tips ~ The Dos
Do choose combs and brushes that are soft and flexible (see below for details).
• Do brush your hair at least once a day, but not more than twice, starting underneath at the scalp and working out to the ends. Also, brush from the back forward – not from the top back – to help prevent split ends.
• Do comb with a light touch, adding a dab of moisturizer or cream rinse conditioner to the comb’s teeth if you find that it wants to grab and snag.
Haircare Tips ~ The Don’ts
• Don’t ever yank or jerk your way through a snag; the reason it hurts is because you’re literally tearing out your hair.
• Don’t become obsessive about brushing or combing. Too much of either damages the cuticle covering of your hair strands, resulting in split ends, broken hairs, and diminished luster.
• Don’t stick with a cut or style – even one you like a lot – that necessitates constant brushing and combing. You’ll wind up doing more harm to your hair than the style is worth.
Washing Your Hair: How Often Is Too Often?
As recently as the 1960s, most people washed their hair just once a week, or twice a week, tops. The cleansers people used on their hair back then were by and large stronger. But today, daily washing is the accepted standard, especially in the United States.
This increase in the number of weekly washings has been made possible by—and gained momentum from—the rapid and continuing development of gentler shampoos and more effective conditioners, as well as our national preoccupation with personal hygiene and cleanliness.
Many shampoos, in fact, are now formulated with the idea of daily usage in mind. However, unless your scalp and hair are very oily or you work in an exceptionally grimy environment, once a day is probably more washing than your hair really needs.
If you find that your scalp and hair are prone to dryness, but your complexion is not, you should try keeping the cap on that shampoo bottle for a day or two, just s a test. It could be that the problem is not the lack of natural moisture in your hair, but how often you wash it.
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