As women, we've all had those bad hair days. It seems if our hair isn't working right, then the rest of the day is pretty much shot, as well. There are many causes and defenses that we as women can take to ensure we all have good hair days. Understanding the problems and solutions to our individual hair needs are key in overcoming the bad hair day.
Biology of Hair
First, here's a brief Biology lesson. Hair is a fibrous protein known as alpha Keratin. It is elastic in texture and insoluble in water. There are several different parts to each hair. The follicle is the shaft that each hair grows from in your head. Each follicle has a gland that secretes sebum that's our natural skin oil. Sebum provides lubrication for our scalp and hair, as well as giving a person's hair a certain pH. Hair follicles can grow in perfectly straight or have bends; this causes the condition known as "naturally curly hair". If your glands produce too much sebum, you may develop oily hair. Other factors, such as shampoo and chemical buildup can effect your hair, as well. So can the weather, the environment, even the sun.
Most women know what type of hair they have, so they more or less want to know solutions and ways to avoid the problems. For the most part, we can separate hair into several different categories, some overlap; for example, if you have thick hair; it's usually the oil that gives you a problem; or with thin hair, it's usually the limp, dullness that you dislike; many times the problems interweave with one another. The problems listed below are women's most common complaints when it comes to their hair.
Oily hair, caused by the secretion of too much sebum or natural oil; mix that with the chemicals build up and weigh down the hair, can be quiet a problem. Here are a few solutions in fighting oily hair. First, avoid brushing your hair a lot, this stimulates the glands to produce more sebum. Wash your hair in a nourishing liquid shampoo frequently, at least every two days, daily if possible; leave the shampoo on your hair for at least 5 minutes; give it time to rid the hair of oils. Having too much hair can be a problem, as well. Too much hair often means lot's of follicles with lots of natural sebum being produced. Often the natural oils mixed with the hair products weights the hair down, causing that matted look. Wear your hair in easy-to-manage styles, perms often helps oily hair by lifting the cuticles away from the scalp, making it less easy for the sebum to travel up the hair shaft. Once a week squeeze the juice of two lemons into a quart of water, distilled water is best, this will cut out oiliness in the hair.
Dry hair is caused by the lack of water in the hair, not the lack of sebum produced. Shampoos and chemicals used in coloring and perms, as well as medications can strip the moisture from the hair, causing it to be dry. Another culprit that causes dry hair is the environment and weather, often times in the winter; the moisture in our hair is drawn away. People that are born with natural curly hair are often victims of dry hair, especially in the winter; this creates "frizzy" hair. A great remedy to dry hair is a homemade mixture of ¼ cup of vodka, 2 tablespoons of apple juice, 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar, and 1 teaspoon of lemon extract. Spritz the mixture onto the hair, leave on for 5 minutes and then rinse with cold water. Use shampoos that are formulated without alcohol, that are full of nutrients and vitamins; avoid dry heat from blow dryers, curling irons, and hot rollers. Another helpful hint, apply conditioner to your hair prior to shampooing; it will help ensure the shampoo doesn't wash away all of the sebum. Another common problem with dry hair is split ends, split ends are caused when hair is damaged, either by harsh shampoos, direct sunlight, hair dryers, perms or bleaching, or lack of routine hair cuts. The only cure for split ends is to have them cut off.
Thin hair is another problem for many women. All people are born with the genetic disposition to produce a certain number of hair follicles. There's basically no salve or tonics to increase follicle growth. However, there are options and remedies in making fine hair appear fuller. Use a clarifying shampoo once a week to wash away oils and leftover styling products that tend to weight fine hair down. The rest of the week use a volumizing shampoo formulated with polymers to thicken each hair strand. Use a light, not heavy conditioner, only on the ends. Stay away from silicone products that often weigh the hair down, look for specially formulated products for thin hair. Healthy hair or normal hair is great, if you're one of those fortunate people that have "normal" hair, then you probably don't worry too much about bad hair days. But even healthy hair can suffer from the occasional split end, oil factor, or drying. Because the sun, humidity, vitamin deficiencies, illnesses, drugs, and chemicals can effect our hair. They are considered the enemies. The best steps to ensure healthy hair is to avoid them. But unfortunately, it's sometimes out of our control. Following simple regiments and listening to your stylist for styles and treatments specifically for your hair type can prevent those "bad hair days".