When it comes to exercising, we think of our bodies and our skin. We think about how running, weights and yoga can help tone and sculpt; keeping our skin strong and bodies healthy. Little do we think however, about how we can give our hair a workout.
While it's not possible to actually physically exercise your locks, you can use a multitude of products that help to strengthen, revive and keep them shiny and healthy. In the summer months, this is especially important when saltwater, chlorine and sunshine can wreak havoc on your hair and leave it weakened and dull.
So, just what is healthy hair, and how do we give it the workout it deserves?
What is Healthy Hair?
Hair health is often something that is overlooked in our busy schedules. While we concentrate on keeping our complexions glowing, we forget to pay the same attention to our locks.
Your hair should always be strong, shiny and bouncy. Healthy hair should have a lustre to it, meaning that it should never look brassy or dull, or have bitty and split ends.
At some point, all of us will experience some degree of hair damage, caused by lifestyle, stress and the environment, but learning what condition your hair is in will give you all the tools you need to combat your particular condition.
My hair is fragile
Fragile hair is characterised by weak fibres, easy breakage and dullness. It can be due to any number of reasons, but overuse of styling tools and environmental aggressors are the leading causes.
It's easy when you have this condition to mask the damage with heavy treatment masques, but these won't address the underlying issue. Following a prescribed haircare routine, enriched with the nutrients your locks need will help repair the existing damage and keep your hair protected against any further breakage.
The tug test helps determine how elastic your hair is, to determine whether or not it is fragile. Simply dampen a few strands of your hair and tug slightly. If your hair bounces back to its original length, it isn't damaged, but if it breaks off, your hair is weak and needs a unique treatment and routine to repair it.
Look for products that use words such as "elastic" and "collagen" as these will be the best ones to repair the broken bonds in your hair. Tigi's Elasticate Shampoo and Conditioner are great everyday options, as they are infused with Hydrolysed Wheat Protein, which contains Amino Acids to build up the missing protein in your hair and keep it elastic and bouncy. Once a week, pre-shampooing, use the cult Philip Kingsley Elasticizer, which improves the strength and suppleness of weakened hair. You can read more about what makes it so fantastic on our blog.
Finally, use a specially made hair towel to use post-washing, as regular towels are made up of rough fibres, which actually cause the hair to weaken. The Aquis Hair Towel minimises damage by using soft fibres that nourish and condition the hair as they soak up excess water.
Instead of using heat tools, such as hairdryers and styling tools, try letting your hair air dry. This will quicken up the repair process and also strengthen any weakened fibres.
My hair is damaged from colouring
The colouring process is one of the worst things your hair can go through. Bleach and excess lightening products seriously weaken the fibres, causing undue damage that is hard to reverse. However, using the right products and limiting the amount of times you get your hair coloured will help to improve its condition.
Otherwise known as a sink test, the colour exam is an easy way of testing how bleach has affected your hair. Healthy hair should float, whereas porous hair will absorb water and sink to the bottom. This is because when colour penetrates the hair shaft and fibres, it weakens their bonds and opens them up to damage from the environment and water absorption.
Simply drop 4 strands of your hair into water (one from the front, back and each side), and if they float, they are healthy, if not, you need to adjust your haircare routine.
When it comes to protecting your coloured locks, there are luckily lots of treatments to choose from depending on your specific needs. However, when it comes to everyday shampoo, there's no other brand better prepped for coloured hair than Kérastase. Their Reflection Chroma collection has been specially designed to care for lightened locks and leave you with beautifully shiny and healthy hair. Formulated with the brands exclusive SYSTÈME CAPTURE™technology, which combines Vitamin E and UV Filters to nourish and protect the hair from environmental aggressors, it's your everyday shield to preserve your locks vibrancy.
Treatment wise, there are so many to choose from, which can be alternated in your haircare routine to achieve the best results. Olaplex's Hair Perfector is loved all over the world for its ability to repair the broken bonds in your hair from the colouring process, and protect it against further damage. You can read more about it on our blog for more information.
Kérastase's newest products to market are incredibly exciting for anyone with coloured hair as they are an at-home salon style treatment that revive dulling locks. Formulated with the brands exclusive Chelators Complex, the Touche Chromatique works by neutralising the water particles responsible for causing colour fading. All you need to do is add 10 pumps of the product into the Fondant Chromatique or Masque Chromatique, leave on for 5 minutes then rinse.
Coming into the summer months, coloured hair also needs a lot more protection from UV rays and heat damage, which is what makes Tigi's Beach Bound Protection Spray so perfect. It contains a blend of Sunflower Seed Oil and Grapefruit Extract to nourish the hair and help keep it protected and converse colour vibrancy.
Use a mask treatment once a week to help keep your hair soft and nourished, as the colouring process can dry out your locks and leave them dehydrated.
My hair feels rough
When your hair feels rough and uneven, chances are it's very dehydrated and in need of some urgent hair attention to reverse the damage. If your hair does feel this way, you will also notice other signs and symptoms such as dullness, weakness and frizzy fibres that have been broken from the damage.
Known as the porosity test, this hair exam helps you determine whether your hair needs an injection of moisture to correct its loss of hydration. Simply slide a section of your hair in between your fingers and if it feels uneven and quite brittle, it is damaged and needs some nourishment.
To replace the lost moisture in your hair, you need a shampoo and treatment that are brimming with conditioning ingredients to restore your fragile locks.
The Wella Professionals Fusion Shampoo and Conditioner are enriched with the brand's exclusive and unique "Silksteel Fusion" technology, which combines Micronised Lipids and Silk Amino Acids to smooth damaged hair fibres and prevent them from further breakage. When you do have dehydrated and visibly damaged locks, it's important not to mask the problem, and instead physically address the concerns to find a long-term solution. This is what the Wella Fusion line centres around, and when used as part of your haircare routine, will give you the locks of your dreams. The line is actually inspired by the silk thread of spiders, which is one of the strongest fibres in the natural world, which is what makes it so effective at strengthening and improving the condition of your hair.
One of the worst things you can do for dehydrated hair is to use heat styling tools, which will only cause further damage. If you do intend on using them occasionally however, it's essential to use a protectant product, that helps to shield your locks from the damaging heat. Philip Kingsley's PK Prep Perfecting Spray contains Pro Vitamin B5 to help condition and nourish parched hair fibres, creating a shield against any further dehydration. Infused with Glyercin and Polymers, the spray also helps protect your hair against the heat and condition the scalp, so your hair is healthy from root to tip. The result is a bouncy blow-dry from the comfort of your own home.
Don't forget that dehydration can also be caused by a build-up of impurities and dirt. Try using a purifying shampoo once a week to remove dead skin cells from the scalp and product build-up so your hair remains soft and shiny.