It’s no secret that for better or for worse, modern society places a high premium on appearance. As we’ve said many times before, this wouldn’t be the case in an ideal world where people would simply judge one another based on their character and personality.
Given that these biases are ever-present then, we’re of the mind that the discerning gentleman can leverage them to his advantage in order to look more confident, polished, and put together. And, of course, we spend a good deal of time here at the gentleman’s Gazette talking about how clothing can have this effect. Equally as important as clothing, however, is your face and your hair.
What Type Of Scalp Do You Have?
Caring for your hair has a lot to do with caring for your scalp. After all, while hair follicles can be of different thicknesses and of different shapes resulting therefore in straight, wavy, kinky, or curly hair, the strands themselves aren’t actually living. Therefore, proper hair care starts at the scalp.
Your scalp naturally secretes an oil called sebum which is what keeps both your scalp and your hair hydrated and healthy, therefore, it’s important to know that different people have different scalp types.
If you have an oily scalp, you’re probably already aware of it because your hair will often look oily or even greasy even if you’re not doing anything to it regularly. As far as products for an oily scalp are concerned, you should avoid things that market themselves as hydrating or moisturizing and gravitate more toward products that talk about strengthening and balancing the hair.
One more note about managing oily hair, don’t over scrub. Though it may seem natural to really get in there with a lot of force, treating an oily scalp gently is actually going to be your best bet as if you over stimulate your scalp will actually produce more sebum thus compounding the problem.
These are the types of scalps that usually result in conditions like dandruff. As such, here’s where you’ll want to look for shampoos, conditioners, and other products that place an emphasis on hydrating and of course, if you suffer from an extremely dry scalp that over-the-counter products alone don’t solve, consult your doctor.
Finally, if you don’t have a scalp that’s overly oily or overly dry, congratulations! You just have a normal scalp. You don’t have to look for products with any particular benefits placed above others, just make sure that you have a good balance between hydrating and fortifying.
Healthy Hair Habits
Take Lukewarm Showers
Taking piping hot showers, while they can certainly feel good, will strip all of the natural oils out of your hair making it look dry and also more prone to frizziness and split ends but while you may think that the answer would then be to take a bracing cold shower, this actually won’t help you a lot in the long run either.
If the water in your shower is too cold, the capillaries in your scalp are going to narrow and constrict meaning that blood flow in the area will be lesser and therefore, your hair won’t be receiving the nutrients it needs. So the easiest solution is to find a happy medium and shower in water that’s lukewarm.
Look For Sulfate-Free Products
The issue with most cheaper shampoos is that they’ll contain compounds called sulfates. You’ll usually see these in the ingredients list under names like sodium lauryl sulfate, for example. The main point of these ingredients is to make shampoo foam more and create more suds because naturally, we feel that if a product is sudsing, it’s doing a better job of cleaning things, it’s just a natural human impulse.
In addition to creating more bubbles though, these sulfates are going to take the natural oils out of your hair, which as we’ve already discussed, isn’t a good thing. Your hair will end up dry and brittle as such, finding a shampoo that’s free of sulfates and naturally cleanses and strengthens your hair is going to be your best bet.
Sometimes, these sulfate free shampoos can be a bit more difficult to find but your barber will probably have some ideas for you. In particular, you’re going to want to look for certain ingredients like hydrolyzed wheat protein, amino acids, and vitamin E. Also, the occasional use of a clarifying shampoo will get out any built-up hair product that you may have gotten in your hair over time.
Don’t Shampoo As Often
Most men probably shampoo their hair every time they take a shower but this simply isn’t necessary. Even shampoos that are free of sulfates are going to take the natural oils out of your hair more quickly. As such, even though it probably is important that you maintain a daily showering routine, just rinsing your hair with water is going to be more helpful than shampooing every time.
Most barbers recommend that you only shampoo your hair two to three times a week. Furthermore, if you’re using quality styling products, most of them are going to be water soluble so you won’t need to worry.
When you shower, conditioner is designed to moisturize and protect your hair and also soothe and settle down its cuticles which are the rough shingle like edges around the central hair shaft. Men with curly hair are going to benefit especially from using conditioner daily as smoothing down these cuticles of curly hair will help it look its best.
So the best way to care for your hair in the shower is to rinse it with lukewarm water and apply conditioner on a daily basis and occasionally, to use shampoo a few times a week. Here’s a related point, if you’ve ever heard the old saying “rinse and repeat”, don’t actually apply this knowledge in the shower. Just one application of conditioner and of course, of shampoo is going to be more than enough for your hair without drying it out.
Be Gentle When Toweling Off
While it’s tempting to want to get your hair dry right away and do this by aggressively scrubbing with your towel, doing this to wet hair which is more vulnerable is probably going to lead to excessive breakage. Therefore, using the towel with a bit of a softer touch and working in the natural direction that your hair grows is going to be better for it in the long run.
Not only will the hot air from most blow dryers lead to more frizziness and split ends, but but it’s also going to dry out your scalp. If you do want to use a blow dryer to add some more volume to your hairstyle, using one that has a cool setting is going to be your best bet. Overall though, just letting your hair air dry will be healthiest.
Go Easy On Styling Products
Using products to add more life to your hair or just to do something different with it than it would naturally is a great way to change things up and enhance your look. Still, if you use too much product, your hair is probably going to look matted down or otherwise, unnatural. Therefore, experiment a little bit to find out what the right amount of product is for you and then don’t use too much.
Keep Your Hair Natural
What we mean by this is excessive perming, coloring, straightening, and so on is just going to excessively damage your hair. Of course, men are probably less likely to have these procedures done but even so, only do them every so often if you’d like to experiment and to keep your hair healthy, avoid undergoing these kinds of hair procedures.
Use Right Tools In The Right Ways
Hair is naturally delicate so it’s important that you know how to style it without doing any damage. For example, because wet hair is more susceptible to damage than dry hair, you shouldn’t use a hairbrush when your hair is wet. The hair strands can get tangled in the many bristles of the brush and can get pulled out more easily.
If you’re going to style your hair when it’s wet, it’s better to use your hands or to use a relatively wide-toothed comb and when using a tool to styling your hair, it’s important to do so with smooth movement. If you move too quickly or use too much force, you’re probably going to have an increased chance of pulling hair out of your scalp or damaging the scalp itself.
Get A Haircut Regularly
It’s important that you have a regular haircut routine. Most barbers recommend that you get your haircut around every four to six weeks. In other words, every month to month and a half. One additional note here, if your barber or stylist takes appointments, try to get one in the morning since they won’t have already been cutting hair all day. By the time you get to them, they’ll probably have a slightly sharper eye when cutting your hair.
Skip Ill-Fitting Headwear
Putting on headwear that’s too tight may cause decreased blood circulation to your scalp and therefore, your hair might be less healthy. For example, if you’re engaged in a helmet sports like bicycling where the helmet is rubbing on your scalp for most of the time, you may suffer from something called friction alopecia where this rubbing causes hair to fall out more easily. Luckily, most healthcare experts believe that friction alopecia is more temporary.
More permanent, however, is the condition known as traction alopecia which is caused by pulling the hair back tightly for extended periods of time, as in the recent fad for man buns, for example, and if you are wearing tight headwear or have your hair pulled back tightly for strenuous physical activity, not only is the friction or tension alopecia going to be at play but also the increased sweat production probably won’t be great for your scalp either. The solution here then is to just make sure that you’re wearing headwear that fits your head properly and that your hair isn’t under any additional tension.
The chlorine that you’ll typically find in swimming pools is very harmful to your hair as it’s going to dry out both the hair and the scalp. In order to protect your hair from the chlorine then, before getting into the pool, you can wet your hair and apply just a bit of mild conditioner and if you’re confident enough in your own image, wearing a swim cap could be another choice.
Limit Sun Exposure
Of course, as we said earlier, you should make sure that your headwear fits but don’t spend too much time in the sun with your head exposed, especially you’ve already got thinning hair. If your scalp is subjected to a sunburn, it can produce a compound called superoxide which will cause your hair to switch from being in a growth mode to being more in a shedding mode, not good.
In today’s fast-paced society, there are any number of things to be stressed about but if you can take a few moments each day to center yourself and find a place of calm, not only is this going to have numerous other health benefits but it’s also going to help your hair as well. Specifically, this is because stress has been shown to tighten the scalp and restrict blood flow therefore cutting things off to the hair. In addition to finding time to de-stress each day, getting regular scalp massages will feel great and will also be healthy for your hair.
As you might expect, it’s as simple as trying to eat right, get enough sleep, and exercise as much as you can. These general pieces of advice in addition to slightly increasing your intake of things like zinc vitamin C and vitamin D will lead to healthier and more vibrant hair.
Armed with these 15 tips then, not only will your hair be healthier but it should also give you less trouble as you try to groom it so you can avoid those hair raising situations.