Follow these tips and banish bad hair days for good.
1. Know your water.
If your hair looks dull or is hard to style, the problem could be your tap water. Ask your local water department which type of water you have. Soft water has few damaging minerals, but well water contains natural minerals (called "hard water") that can leave hair lusterless, hard to manage and even impart a brassy, orange hue. To rid hair of mineral buildup, suds up every week with a clarifying shampoo.
2. Steer clear of plastic-bristle brushes.
Proper bristles are key for hair health. Use a combination of natural boar bristles on either a round or flat brush for dry hair. Soft, rubber-toothed wide-paneled brushes are best for damp hair.
3. Brush before shampooing.
A few gentle strokes on dry hair will help remove product buildup and scalp flakes, as well as stimulate the scalp and promote blood flow, which delivers nutrients like oxygen, to hair follicles.
4. Trim your troubles.
As the ends of your hair get older and damaged by rough handling, they become prone to splitting. Hair grows on average half an inch per month; regular trims (every four to eight weeks) will help maintain healthy ends.
5. Give wet hair extra TLC.
Wet hair stretches and snaps more easily than dry hair, so avoid wooden combs that can have microscopic divots that snag hairs. Instead, use a wide-tooth plastic comb while hair is wet; then, once it's towel-dried, switch to a good brush.
6. Try an ionic dryer.
Ions are atoms with a positive or negative charge. These particular hairdryers bathe your hair in negative ions, which help break up water molecules faster and cancel out hair-damaging positive ions. Plus, you'll cut your hair-drying time in half. To prevent frizz, use a nozzle (or diffuser for curly hair) in order to concentrate the dryer's airflow on sections.
7. Deep condition once every two weeks.
Deep-conditioning treatments penetrate the hair shaft and strengthen strands. To intensify the treatment, use heat from a blow dryer, which causes the cuticle to open and the ingredients to penetrate.
8. Give textured or relaxed hair a break.
African-American hair tends to be coarse due to a lack of natural oils (more so if chemically processed). Opt for gentle color choices like semi-permanent or vegetable dye and space processing treatments at least two weeks apart (with weekly conditioning treatments in between).