If you want your hair to look its best, then it’s imperative that you keep it healthy, which starts with understanding the healthiest way to take care of it. If you have wavy, straight, or curly hair, use these top 10 healthy hair tips to keep your locks looking lustrous and gorgeous all year long.

1) Use vitamins to help your hair look healthy

The primary vitamins for hair health are Vitamin C, Vitamin D, and Vitamin E. These vitamins, also known as antioxidants, help your body repair any damage it may have accumulated throughout your day. Healthy hair experts recommend taking a supplement that combines all three of these important nutrients or eating foods rich in them. There are many multi-vitamins which contain all three of these essential vitamins in just one pill. If you prefer to stick with food-based sources of vitamin supplementation, carrots and kale are excellent choices as they contain high amounts of Vitamin C while avocados provide lots of Vitamin E. Another good option is eggs: they’re full of natural protein but also have plenty of both Vitamin C and D.

2) Water – drink up!

Drinking plenty of water is essential for healthy hair, so make sure you get enough water every day. How much is enough? The general rule of thumb suggests you should drink over 2 litres per day, or 8 glasses of water. And if your urine is clear or light yellow in colour, then you’re hydrated and well on your way to optimal health. This is also great for weight loss; experts have stated that drinking water can help burn off about 5 calories per glass. If you struggle to drink that much fluid, add it into a healthy smoothie with fruit and other nutrients! For example: strawberry banana-flavoured yoghurt topped with lots of pineapple chunks – delicious!  Caffeine, carbonated and alcoholic drinks are all diuretics that can drive away your good efforts. Reduce them from your diet and you’ll likely increase your water consumption.

3) Avoid harsh shampoos

Harsh shampoos can be stripping for your hair and scalp. Over time, repeated use of these products can take a toll on your hair, leading to damaged locks. A buildup of chemicals in your hair can also lead to problems like dandruff and flaky skin. If you want healthy-looking locks, it’s best to steer clear of harsh shampoos or styling products—especially those with lots of chemicals. You should also make sure you’re using gentle conditioners and hydrating oils on your hair.

4) Give your strands a break

Breakage can occur when you wear your hair in tight ponytails or styles so avoid always having the same style or aggressively brushing your hair to avoid unnecessary breakage.  Don’t over-colour: Colouring your hair will take its toll on your hair, especially if you are using bleach or a colour that is lighter than your natural colour.   Washing your hair every day will strip it of its natural oils and cause it to become dry and brittle. To combat damage from daily washing, try alternating between washing your hair every other day or once a week with a mild shampoo and conditioner. Get rid of tangles before you wash: You should use anti-tangling spray on damp hair to help comb through knots without causing any more damage.

5) Treat your scalp with oils

While your hair may have a reputation for being very strong, your scalp is actually just as sensitive as any other part of your body. Over-washing and heat styling can lead to dryness and other scalp conditions. To counteract dryness, use a mild moisturizing oil (castor oil, jojoba oil or coconut oil) once a week. If you’re especially prone to dandruff, try massaging chamomile tea or rosemary essential oils into your scalp for two minutes before rinsing with warm water. Be careful not to touch your eyes after applying these oils – they are potent!

6) Let your hair dry naturally

Blow drying your hair is not as harmless as it seems. For one thing, blow dryers heat up your hair shaft and damage it over time. As your hair gets drier, its cuticle will begin to lift and create split ends. This is especially bad for curly or natural African American hair that is already vulnerable to breakage. Avoid thermal styling tools: They not only undo any progress you’ve made with conditioning treatments and leave-in products, but they also trap moisture in your hair shafts so they can expand and break under stress later on.

7) Use a restoring hair mask once a month

Sure, a weekly deep conditioning treatment will get you results (bye-bye split ends and dull hair), but an in-salon mask can really make a difference. The most common is an Argon oil treatment, which restores hair that’s been overprocessed or worn down by chlorine. It seals and protects each strand, leaving your hair fuller, healthier looking, and shinier than ever before. If your hair tends to frizz up in humid weather (or all year long), try a coconut oil mask or one of its natural alternatives that work on damaged hair—it can be quite rejuvenating.

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