13 Little Habits For Healthier Hair

Unlocking the secret hair hacks to having effortless, perfect hair is pretty much equivalent to discovering the eighth new wonder of the world. It's a miraculous feat that seems so promising, so within reach, but despite your best efforts, just doesn't work out like promised. And yet there is always that awe-inspiring, special group of individuals, casually strolling through life in slow motion, luscious locks tousled by the breeze, who seem to have these secrets flowing through their veins.

Hey — thanks to the beautiful diversity genetics has to offer, we're all born with different features. Personally, the massive ball of untamed frizz chilling on my head in the morning will inform you that the person you may see three hours later did not, in fact, wake up like this. A lot of witchcraft needs to go down before I allow myself to venture out in public. Suffering through my hair struggles pretty much throughout my childhood and teenage years has led me through a labyrinth of research, products, and rituals to try to find that one thing that works for me.

Now I'm not saying I've necessarily found it. But what I have gleaned over these educational years of trial-and-error — from hairdressers, beauty articles, and friends — have been some healthy habits that really did start helping my hair. We all deserve to have fabulous looking hair, and we all can. Here are 17 healthy hair habits to establish to start grooming that mane to perfection.

1. Eat Protein

According to WebMD, one of the key ingredients to having great hair is a balanced diet. You may be rolling your eyes at this point because you've been fed that line, or one similar to it, repeatedly. And if you're as impatient as I am, you want those immediate results. But for this remember these two words: protein and patience. As Paradi Mirmirani, MD, of the Permanente Medical Group in Vallejo, California and a member of the North American Hair Research Society told WebMD, since a strand of hair is composed primarily of protein, it needs protein to grow. Some of the greatest sources of protein can be found in chicken, turkey, fish, dairy products, legumes, and nuts, according to BBC Good Food.

2. Vitamins And Minerals

Aside from stocking up on the protein, there are other vitamins you should make sure you're taking, whether through food or supplements. Dr. Melissa Piliang, a dermatologist at the Cleveland Clinic, told The Huffington Post that a daily intake of iron, vitamin D, zinc, and B-complex vitamins will improve the health of your hair.

3. Avoid Tying Your Hair

Wearing your hair back consistently over time causes constant tension that will damage the follicle of your hair, celebrity hairstylist and founder of Hair Room Service Michael Duenas told SheKnows. But sometimes you just have no choice. Duenas suggested tying your looser, and never while it's wet, as that's when your hair is weakest. Beauty expert Alexis Wolfer also suggested using metal-free elastics to help prevent breakage.

4. Stay Natural Whenever You Can

This is a pretty simple, generic rule to follow that is definitely easier said than done, but incredibly important to remember. Avoid using heat styling products as often as you can, as this strips the moisture.

5. Brush Correctly

Believe it or not, there is a right way to brush your hair. In fact, Women's Health pointed out seven ways you're brushing your hair wrong. Some things to avoid are brushing from the root to the tip, as this rips hair out of the follicle; brushing when wet; brushing too often, using the wrong brush (you should be using natural boar bristles which are gentler and better at distributing oils), and using dirty brushes that get clogged up with stray hairs and product buildup.

Mason Pearson Pocket Bristle Hair Brush , $120, Amazon

6. Dry Correctly

Be careful not to blow dry your hair too soon. Kristina Barricelli, celebrity hairstylist and co-owner of the Gemini 14 Salon in New York City told Real Simple that since hair is less elastic when it's wet, it's more prone to breaking from the tug of the brush. Since the last bit of moisture in your hair is what provides the set, start blow drying a little bit to get the excess water out, let your hair air dry until it's about 80 percent dry, and then style as needed, Mark Garrison, owner-stylist of the Mark Garrison Salon in New York City suggested. One exception for those of you with those extra coarse, curly, or dry locks would be to let it air dry to only 25 to 50 percent to avoid that frizz. And always remember to use extra caution when drying it with a towel because of its extra sensitivity.

Hot Tools Ionic Anti-Static Dryer , $29, Amazon

7. Trim, Trim, Trim

This is one of those rules my mother drilled into my skeptical, frizzy head from my stubborn childhood days. Somehow, the logic of cutting hair to allow it to grow faster and healthier just didn't make much sense to me. But as Cosmopolitan pointed out, getting regular trims keep tips looking healthy and prevent splits from working their way up strands, which would cause you to chop off even more hair down the road. So snip away!

8. Shampoo Sparingly

According to Real Simple, over-washing will remove too much oil from the scalp and dry out strands, despite how gentle of a shampoo you could be using. Stylist and creative consultant for John Frieda, Harry Josh, told Real Simple that most women need to shampoo only three times a week — and less often if their hair is on the dry side. Less frequent washing also means not as much blow-drying, another culprit of parching and destroying your hair.

9. Switch Up Products

Total Beauty asked several women who happened to be a part of this group of humans with perfect hair to spill some of their secrets. Many women said they switched up their shampoo and conditioner so their hair wouldn't get used to the same product.

10. Deep Condition

As pointed out on Matrix, when working to heal weak hair, the first line of defense is to start with the scalp; if your scalp is healthy, your hair will follow suit. With this there are definitely some deep conditioning dos and don'ts for natural hair.

Caviar Moisture Intense Oil Creme Deep Conditioner , $14, Amazon

11. Always Use Protection

This should just be the general rule for life, to be honest. For those times when you absolutely can't resist the frying flat irons and curling irons, prepping your hair with a good heat protector should become second nature before laying a finger on any styling tool.

ghd Heat Protect Spray , $22, Sephora

12. Hats

Keeping with the protection theme, try wearing hats whenever you can to protect your hair from the unforgiving elements.

13. Don't Take Super Hot Showers

Blasting your scalp with extremely hot water will dry out your hair and create tangles that lead to breakage, Brian Phillips, founder of Canada's World Salon, told Stylist.

And there you have it — healthy hair every day. Or, at least, some tips to help you get there sometime soon.

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