As someone whose hair has spanned the spectrum from very oily to very dry, I gotta say — I'd choose oily hair any day of the week. Sure, it walks that "greasy" line, but at least it's perpetually moisturized and shiny. (And it looks great in a ponytail.) Dealing with hair that is always dry, on the other hand, can kind of get old fast.
This is mostly because dry hair makes styling way more difficult than it needs to be. "Dry hair tends to be less manageable than normal or oily hair because it is more prone to frizz and breakage," says Ilias Zarbalis, Master Stylist and Owner of Ilias Zarbalis New York City Salon, in an email to Bustle.
It also doesn't look the healthiest, which can put a huge damper on any styling you do manage. "However, this is nothing the right product cannot fix," Zarbalis says. "Prep damp hair with leave-in conditioner and tame any flyaways with a hydrating hair spray."
Keep in mind, though, that dryness can be a sign of early damage, so getting to the root cause (no pun intended) is definitely in your best interest. Read on for some reasons why your hair is always dry, as well as what to do about.
1. You're Over Washing
I love a lathery shampoo just as much as the next gal. So I get that it's tempting to hop in the shower on the daily and get those bubbles going. But over washing hair, and/or using a harsh shampoo, can strip away your hair's natural oils, according to an article on WebMD.com. If you think this is where you go wrong in the dry hair department, then decrease your shampoo habit to only once or twice a week.
2. Or Maybe Under Conditioning
"Hair becomes dry when it is stripped of its natural oils," Zarbalis says. Which is why not conditioning often enough can lead to dried out hair. Don't ever skip this step when washing your hair, and consider doing a deep conditioning treatment. Your thirsty strands will thank you.
3. The Weather Is To Blame
My hair is noticeably dryer in the summer, mostly because I let it fry in the sun and dry out in the pool. But winter weather can wreak havoc, too. As celebrity stylist Richard Marin told Women's Health, "... with winter comes extreme cold followed by overheated indoors, which can make hair parched and dry." Upping your conditioning treatments during the colder months may help.
4. Your Scalp Has Seen Better Days
The health of your scalp has a lot to do with how healthy (or unhealthy) your hair looks. That's because hair has no lubrication of its own, and therefore relies on oils made in the hair root to keep things looking moisturized, according to WebMD. "Keeping strands hydrated is essential to overall hair health, and healthy hair begins with a nourished scalp," Zarbalis says. "I suggest using a hydrating shampoo daily and incorporating a hair masque into your routine once or twice a week. These steps will help nourish hair from the root down and prevent future damage."
5. Constant Dyeing Has Dried Things Out
Color processing is yet another thing that can strip your hair of moisture, Zarbalis tells me. Going au naturale is the only way to avoid this type of damage. But if you absolutely must get your dye on, then try to extend the time between treatments. Or, opt for a less-damaging dye. Fortunately, there are new safe and temporary options that won’t damage your hair, noted Teen Vogue.
6. Heated Tools Are Your Weakness
A lot of us don't have much a choice when it comes to styling our hair. It's either tame it with a heated tool, or feel less-than-great all day long. I get it. But using heated tools definitely contributes to dry hair, so go forth with your tools with care. "It’s important to incorporate a heat protectant into your styling routine, and be sure to use a light oil to give hair some shine," Zarbalis says.
7. Swimming Is Your Go-To Sport
Remember what I said about summer and hair damage? Well, let's get back to that for a second. If you swim all summer long, or like to do laps at the gym, then chlorine may be what's doing your strands in, according to Healthline.com. If this is you, consider wearing a swim cap (how cute), or washing hair ASAP when you get out.
8. That Hair Dryer Needs To Go
One more note about heated tools: your blow dryer is just about as bad as it gets. Drying your hair too often — especially after applying alcohol-based styling products — can really suck up the moisture, according to WebMD. Stave off the need to blow dry by sprinkling on some dry shampoo, or wear your hair up for a few days. It'll give dry strands a chance to recover.
9. You Apply Chemicals With Abandon
Hair dye is one thing. But other chemical hair treatments can cause dryness, too. These include perms and relaxers, according to WebMD. Chatting with your stylist is always a good idea. He or she can figure out a plan to give you the hair you want, without all that damage.
10. Your Hormones Are Causing Problems
Hormones are to blame for all sorts of problems within the body, including (unfortunately) how dry your hair tends to be. "Birth control pills, pregnancy, and menopause are all times of physiological shifts within the body that can have an adverse effect on the hair, including dryness and brittleness,” hairstylist Sylvia Vaugh told Women's Health. If you think hormones are messing with your 'do, asking your doctor for his or her advice may be your best bet.
11. You Brush Right After A Shower
I've definitely made the mistake of dragging a brush through my wet hair, so I know it causes all sorts of damage. And as Vaught said, "This won’t necessarily dry the hair, but it will leave the ends brittle and lead to breakage down the entire strand." Using a wide-toothed comb is a much better option.
And remember, your hair may be dry, but it doesn't have to be that way. Simply fixing your bad hair habits, and being all about that moisture, will give you the shiny, healthy locks you're looking for.
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