Photo by: Jacob Lund // Adobe Stock
The first step to proper hair care is identifying your hair type! Your hair type can range anywhere from normal to oily to greasy - or it can be a combination of all three. By knowing your hair type, you can develop a hair care routine that is best suited for the overall health of your hair.
To help you figure out what hair type you have, we have listed below the recognizable traits of each category, followed by tips and tricks to help you manage your bountiful hair, no matter what group you fall into. Let’s get to it!
If you have normal hair, your hair tends to be consistently shiny and healthy. Normal hair is easy to manage and soft to the touch, but it is important to have a proper hair routine. Without a proper hair care routine, normal hair is still prone to breakage and damage
Managing Normal Hair
Maintenance is key. Balanced products are the best for this type. The most effective routine for this type is to keep it simple. To prevent damage, use heat protectants prior to using a hair dryer, light hair oils, and nutrient-rich finishing sprays. These products not only prevent your hair from damage and drying out, but they also won’t add excess oil to your already well-balanced scalp.
Here are some additional tips when it comes to using a hair dryer:
- After you shower, let your hair air-dry naturally until it’s about 70-80% dry.
- Prep your hair with a heat protectant. A heat protectant is crucial to maintain the health of your hair because it acts as a barrier between your hair dryer and your strands.
- Section your hair into 1-inch sections, then work section by section.
- Use a low heat setting on your AER Dryer to reduce frizz and dry your already partially dried and protected hair.
- When using a nozzle attachment, slant it so it’s pointing down the hair shaft from the root to your tips. And, keep it at least 3 inches away from your hair.
Combination hair means your scalp is oily and your ends are dry. This hair type is a result of your natural oils not traveling down to your ends like they should be. People with curly, frizzy, or long hair tend to have combination hair. However, combination hair can be treated with the right products and hair tools.
Managing Combination Hair
The trick to caring for your combination hair is to balance out the oiliness and dryness with the right hair products and an AER Dryer to create a happy medium.
To begin, let’s start with how you wash your hair. Make sure that when you shampoo your hair, you focus the product at your roots, thoroughly massaging it into your scalp. For conditioner, keep it away from your scalp and start at the midpoint between your scalp and the end of your hair all the way to the ends. Keep the conditioner in for a few minutes and then rinse out completely.
After you shower, add a moisturizing product and allow your hair air dry -- letting it get at least 70% dry before reaching for your hair dryer.
Combination hair should be washed at most three times a week. If your scalp gets greasy on non-washing days, add a dry shampoo into your routine. Or you can embrace a chic up-do and take advantage of the natural state of your hair with an ever-trending slick ponytail.
If your ends are damaged and you feel as though they are beyond repair, look to get a haircut from a stylist that knows your hair type. Aim to trim your hair every 6-8 weeks. After each haircut be sure to apply a nourishing oil to the ends a few times a week as a way to care for your healthy hair. To avoid any added oils traveling to the scalp, braid your hair loosely before you go to sleep.
Sometimes combination hair can look a bit dull. When that happens, try adding a shine spray that will help bring out your hair’s natural lusters, and avoid using hot tools such as straighteners or curling irons as these will deplete your hair further of natural oils.
Finally, a tell-tale sign you have greasy hair is that your scalp has overactive sebaceous glands that are producing way too much oil. Although we need our natural oils to help keep our hair soft and healthy, too much of it can leave you feeling like a grease ball. What causes greasy hair? Well, it could be as simple as using the wrong products for your hair, or you could have curly hair that you don’t brush enough.
Managing Greasy Hair
If you’re noticing that air-drying your hair is causing your hair to get greasy, try blow drying your roots after your shower. Not only will this prevent your hair from getting greasy, but it also boosts volume. Blow drying your hair helps those with greasy hair as it causes the hair to have a rougher texture, which in turn absorbs the natural oils your scalp produces.
Also, you will want to find products that balance your natural oils, and avoid washing your hair every day, as this will exacerbate the problem. Try washing your hair a few times a week and use mild shampoos and conditioners that contain lighter oils, like argan or jojoba, which are less likely to cause build-up on the scalp. Use dry shampoo between washes.
In regards to all the products you use, avoid hair products with ingredients like occlusive oils, parabens, phthalates, and synthetic fragrances, as these ingredients can cause even more greasiness in the long run.
In Case Your Hair is Dry
We got you covered. When it comes to dry hair, it is important to note that the hair is starved of moisture. To determine if your hair is dry, take a strand and place it between your fingers. Try and see how easy it is to break your hair with a singular strand, and if it becomes frizzy then your hair is dry. To combat dryness, look for products that include argan oil and shea butter. Both of these will help deliver intense hydration and will replenish your hair. As mentioned with combination hair and oily hair, try to avoid washing your hair too much, and when you do wash it, use products that nourish and revitalize your hair to be shiny and smooth.
Drying your hair
We already covered how to dry normal hair, but we wanted to give you a few more tips that can be applied to all hair types. We think it’s important because if you dry your hair incorrectly, your hair is more prone to damage.
Towel drying properly
- Don’t rummage your hair with a towel - instead, press your hair with the towel to remove excess water. Use a microfiber towel or a clean t-shirt for better results.
Using the hairdryer
- If your hair is already fully dry after a shower, avoid blow drying it. Moisture is really important when blow drying your hair because it helps keep your strands nourished and elastic while drying. Once it is gone, you risk causing breakage, brittleness, dullness, and dryness.
- Start on high speed and high temperature, and as your hair dries, gradually reduce the heat. This technique will help you avoid over-drying and damaging your hair.
- Choose a paddle brush or a round brush for styling. Be sure to choose one made of soft, pliable plastic and use it gently.
- Hold your hair dryer about 6 inches away from your hair.
Adding volume and body:
- Try turning your hair upside down as you finish blow-drying for added body and volume. Using your hair dryer, let your hair hang down towards the ground and gently brush your hair in this direction while following with the hair dryer.
One last takeaway:
Ingredients to avoid:
With so many products on the market, it can be overwhelming to choose the best ones for you. One way to narrow down the list is to avoid the following ingredients which can cause harm to your hair in the long run: sulfates, parabens, cocamide DEA, silicones, behentrimonium chloride, diethanolamine and triethanolamine, isopropyl alcohol, and polyethelyne glycol.
Maintaining the health of your hair doesn’t have to be overwhelming, as long as you have the right tips and tricks. With a few key products, you can achieve the beautiful hair you were meant to have.