From regularly testing out the next-big-thing hair color to our deep love for heat styling tools (beachy waves, how we adore you), hair gets a lot of daily attention from the beauty obsessed among us. Anyone who has experienced a good hair day knows the mood-boosting elements they bring. And not to sound cliche, we have to admit that healthy hair is generally happy hair. With hair that has a solid integrity, you don’t have to put in much more effort than a hair flip to make it look good. From managing your coloring schedule to watching the chemicals you’re allowing to bypass your hair shaft’s barrier, there are plenty of things you can do to rock healthy hair. We rounded up 101 tips to get you started.
1. Don’t brush your hair when it’s wet. Hair is more susceptible to damage when it’s damp than when it is dry.
2. Not all hair brushes are created equal for every hair type. Stick to wide-tooth combs if you must detangle damp locks (obviously not ideal) or boar bristles to distribute oils.
3. Treat your hair to a deep conditioning masque once or twice a week. Depending on the ingredients used, these products provide a rush of hydration (even more so than the average conditioner) and nutrients that repair and nourish the hair shaft.
4. Use a diffuser to evenly distribute the heat from the blow-dryer in your hair, so that you’re not forcefully drying out one section of hair.
5. Keep the blow-dryer a good six to eight inches away from your scalp to avoid burning or stripping the scalp of essential oils.
6. Practice giving yourself head massages to improve blood circulation and to exfoliate dead skin cells from your scalp.
7. Scalp exfoliation is essential to remove dirt and debris from your scalp, as well as flakes that look like dandruff but aren’t. Use a scalp exfoliation product to foster a better environment for hair growth.
8. Know the difference between dandruff and dry flakes. Dandruff is sebum and product build-up combined with bacteria and sometimes a production of yeast, while dry scalp is essential dead skin cells being sloughed off from, well, being dried out. Treating these two things require two different processes.
9. Treat dandruff with dandruff-specific shampoo you find at the drugstore, just remember not to overuse the product. You don’t want to switch your dandruff problem to a dry scalp problem.
10. Naturally treat dandruff by working tea tree oil to your scalp and rinsing out. This specific oil has a strong anti-bacterial element that fights what could be causing the overproduction of skin cells.
11. Baking soda works for dandruff, too. Create a paste of baking soda and then rinse it out in the shower. This will help absorb the excess oil. As a rule, baking soda helps balance pH of your skin—and news flash, your scalp IS your skin.
12. Scalp health does affect your hair, as the oils found on your scalp are meant to be distributed down the hair shaft, but if that area is lacking, your strands may suffer, too. Give your scalp a treat by using a moisture-enhanced shampoo.
13. Untangle your hair from the bottom instead, working your way up to eliminate breakage.
14. Getting trims every so often won’t make hair grow faster, but it will help hair from further splitting down the hair shaft.
15. Use a heat protectant spray to prevent your heat tools from scorching your hair, damaging the hair shaft and removing needed oils from your hair.
16. Heat from styling tools isn’t the only thing you need to worry about. Like your skin, the sun’s UVA and UVB rays can damage your locks by drying out your hair, damaging the structure of the cuticle. Once that cuticle is damaged, UVA rays, specifically, can damage the inner fibers of the hair shaft, one being where the pigment is held called the medulla. The sun can warp the color in this layer since the cuticle is damaged—i.e your protective barrier. This explains why you see so many hair dye jobs going bad when too exposed to too much sun. Many sprays and hair protectants include substances that work as UVA and UVB protectants.
17. Experts say that fine and curly hair is more susceptible to sun damage, so if this is your hair type, be sure to use products that block those rays.
18. To further protect your hair from the sun’s harmful rays, try physically covering your hair with a hat.
19. Another pool essential that has harmful effects to your hair? Chlorine. It dries out hair because it removes essential oils (the stuff that keeps your hair hydrated) and the chemical deposits can fade or change the hue of color-treated hair. Wear a swim cap to prevent your hair from meeting up with this chemical.
20. Before heading into the pool, jump in the shower and soak your hair with water. Your hair will absorb the fresh water, essentially not leaving any room for your hair to absorb as much of the chlorinated water once you dive in.
21. Give your locks a boost of moisture before jumping in the pool by applying a rich oil like coconut oil or olive oil. These substances will also leave little room for chlorine absorption and since they’re of a rather thick, oily consistency, they won’t wash off right away.
22. Follow your swimming activities with a quick rinse of your locks, too. This will prevent the chemical deposits from sitting in your hair, further warping the color and drying them out.
23. Want an at-home clarifier? A mixture of one part apple cider vinegar and 4 parts water is said to help remove chlorine that can damage your hair and your hair color.
24. Make a baking soda paste by putting in one tablespoon of the product in a cup of water and working its way through your hair. This will also help remove the chlorine.
25. That carbonated water in your pantry? Keep it! Carbonated water also works as a clarifier, removing product build-up and chemical deposits from your hair. Just rinse in through your hair like you would when you’re showering.
26. Practice blow-drying your hair with a cooler setting if you don’t need the heat to hold a style. The cool air is less likely to prevent heat damage to your locks.
27. Air-drying your hair is a great option to give your hair a break from the heat, but remember to be gentle when rubbing the towel through your hair. A vigorous shake with the towel on your damp hair could cause breakage.
28. Never straighten or curl wet or damp hair. When your hair is in this state, it is at its most vulnerable. The heat can penetrate the hair cuticle and wreak havoc.
29. Showering in super hot water can damage your hair by opening up the cuticle of the hair, leaving it susceptible for major moisture loss. Keep the water cooler or stick to what experts suggest as luke-warm.
30. When rinsing product out of your hair, use cold water. This is said to help close the cuticle, trapping some of the good-for-you ingredients of the product and moisture in your tresses.
31. For a gentler hair-drying experience, pick a ceramic hair-dryer, which minimizes the damage caused by direct heat of traditional blow-dryers.
32. Another hair-dryer option is to use a tourmaline product, which emits the same type of less-damaging heat as ceramic dryers but also emit negative ions, which break down water droplets quicker.
33. If you have fine or damaged hair already, experts claim you should allow your hair to air-dry about 80 percent before using the tool.
34. Since it’s not good to concentrate on one section of hair for TOO long, try moving your blow-dryer simultaneously with your brush or turning your round brush as you blow-dry, switching up which sections actually feel the heat.
35. Change up the heat of your blow-dryer by “pumping” shots of cold air into your hair to cool your locks down.
36. If you live in an area with a ton of mineral deposits in the water, try investing in a water filter that blocks those substances from trickling out of the spicket and into your hair.
37. Curling irons cause hair damage, too—and probably more so than just your average blow-dryer. Be sure to not lose track of how long your hair is wrapped around the barrel—this heat can actually burn your hair.
38. Keep curling iron heat between 300 and 400 degrees so that you can temporarily change the proteins of your hair without drying your locks out.
39. Suffering from dry ends? When curling your hair, try to keep them out of the clamp or left out from being wrapped around the iron. You don’t want to dry them out even more.
40. Spray on a heat protectant before applying a curling iron. You don’t want to soak your strands but lightly spray any area where your hair will be touching the direct heat.
41. When taking your hair out of a clamp iron, gently let go of the clamp—about half way so your hair can slip through—and pull the device down slowly. This will prevent you from yanking out your hair while trying to remove it.
42. Ever notice all the stray hairs on the counter when you’re done straightening your hair? When using a straightener, glide the clamp down the hair shaft instead of “pulling it” to prevent hair breakage.
43. Try to give your hair at least two days off a week from heat-styling. It deserves the break!
44. While your hair deserves the break, hair types handle styling in different ways. Chat with your hairstylist about an ideal schedule for your specific hair type to really get the lowdown on what will aggravate it.
45. Start off the week with a blowout, transitioning each day to hairstyles that don’t require much heat, like braids and fun ponytails.
46. Get curly hair without heat by braiding damp hair and sleeping on them.
47. Try fabric rags, foam rollers, or Velcro rollers that create overnight curls or soft waves without any heat.
48. If you wear your hair up often, try not to create super tight ponytails or buns that pull at the hairline all the time. This can cause breakage straight from the root, and in extreme cases, hair loss.
49. Sleep in a silk scarf or on a silk pillowcase to avoid breakage and tangles. This is also a great tip for preventing wrinkles on your face!
50. Nix the 100 strokes a day habit—it really only gives your hair more of a chance to break.
51. At-home tricks can help you determine if your hair is damaged or not. To see if your hair is strong, gently pull on the strands. If they snap easily, experts say you should avoid using super strong chemicals on your hair, like bleach.
52. To see if your hair is fragile, experts suggest you study your curl pattern or texture. If it differs throughout your head of hair, your hair may be in a fragile state.
53. To detangle teasing, use your hands to separate strands and hit the shower before attempting to brush it out. Using a detangling spray or watered-down conditioner should help loosen up any knots.
54. Try to wash your hair every other day at the very most if you can get away with it. Excess washing can dry out hair, create build-up of chemicals, and worsen some dry scalp issues. How often you wash your hair really depends on the hair type, though. Thick hair that’s normal to dry can go longer, while those with fine, oily hair may need to kick the washing up a notch.
55. If you have extensions, make sure you’re regularly detangling at the root to avoid matting.
56. Try to avoid wearing extensions that are applied via a weft into your hair in extremely tight ponytails often—they can pull from your root.
57. Those with dry hair and scalps should try “cleansing shampoos” specifically made for dry hair that gently clean while pumping in moisture without weighing your hair down.
Chemicals and Ingredients
58. Stay away from sulfates. These chemicals, commonly found in hair products, are the reason your shampoo lathers and creates those suds. They may cause irritation, be drying, and fade hair color in some.
59. Parabens don’t have a great reputation either. While it is not confirmed and more research is needed, the preservative found in beauty products, specifically shampoo, has been said to be possibly linked to some cancers and disturb hormone activity. If you’re unsure of this component, you can find a paraben-free formula, too.
60. Silicones are found in many conditioners, but for some, they can build-up on the hair, and some claim they may prevent nutrients from getting into the hair shaft. If this is a concern for you, search for silicone-free products—you’ll be surprised to find out how many there actually are.
61. Alcohol-based and products high in fragrances aren’t great, either. Often, they dry out the scalp (when in shampoos) and the hair you’re cleansing. If you notice your shampoo is a bit drying, see if this could be the case.
62. Look for products with natural oils that induce the scent instead of man-made alcohol-based fragrances.
63. The amount of shampoo depends on the type of product you are using, so always read what the bottle suggests on the directions. However, fine strands or short hair may need less of a formula than thick, super long hair.
64. Experts say that a good rule of thumb to figure out how much shampoo to use is to apply a quarter-sized amount of shampoo and conditioner to your hand and work it through your locks.
65. While you’ll definitely want to concentrate heavily on the scalp, you should be applying your shampoo from root to tip, massaging gently on the scalp to avoid irritation.
66. Keep conditioner placed from mid-length to the ends of your hair—concentrating on those ends is key. Too much conditioner on your scalp could cause build-up and an excess of oils where your hair naturally already creates them.
67. There’s a reason your shampoo or conditioner always runs out before the other. Not everyone needs to wash or condition their hair at the same rate. Don’t force yourself to use more product just to stay at the same product pace.
68. For hair that needs moisture and just a light cleanse, try a cleansing conditioner that removes debris and build-up but really targets hydration.
69. Use a deep hydration mask once a week for a burst of moisture.
70. Apply a dry hair oil, like argan oil or marula oil, that absorbs quickly to your damp hair and let it air-dry for a protective, moisturizing, and reparative treatment.
71. Try products that aim to condition and revive the keratin in your hair, the protein building blocks contained within your hair that gives it elasticity and strength.
72. Keratin treatments, where keratin and other chemicals are combined to soften and straighten your hair, may give you the texture you desire, but they often require very high heat and some contain not-so-great chemicals like formaldehyde. Look for a version that’s formaldehyde free and talk to your stylist to see if your hair is up for the process.
73. To avoid all costs with chemicals, switch over to an organic hair care line and check out the ingredients lists of your favorite products.
74. Try applying a product enriched with coconut oil to strengthen or moisturize hair after color-treatments or a day out in the sun.
75. Marula oil—this extremely light hair oil is filled with antioxidants and fatty acids to give strength and build your hair back to its healthy state. It’s also great to apply to dry ends.
76. Tea tree oil is very soothing and an anti-bacterial, found in some shampoos to cleanse as well as to provide relief to the scalp.
77. Black seed oil is pretty much a newbie when it comes to hair oils, but the Kardashians swear by it for shiny, hydrated hair.
78. Avocado oils are huge in fatty acids (replenishing lipids to protect your hair) and vitamin E (antioxidant superstar) and are found in many conditioners.
79. Look out for olive oil, a hydrating ingredient that’s often found in conditioners. It’ll really saturate your hair with nourishment and make it really shiny, but you’ll want to rinse it out thoroughly, as it’s extremely thick.
80. Try a sheet mask for your hair, formulated with keratin and collagen.
81. Create DIY hair masks using recipes that call for common ingredients found in your kitchen, like olive oil, coconut oil, honey, avocados, baking soda, aloe vera oil, and even bananas.
82. When going in for a drastic color change, like super dark to extremely light blonde, consider asking your colorist about Olaplex, a treatment which prevents breakage by acting as a barrier between the bleach and your hair.
83. Double processing takes a toll on your hair, as it first involves bleaching your current hair color to get it to the one you want. Spread these salon visits out to avoid your hair screaming for some TLC.
84. Minimize washing after coloring your hair—this process may have already caused some breakage as well as dullness and striping natural oils could be less than beneficial.
85. Want a color that leaves as little damage as possible? Consider going darker, which often puts less strain on your hair.
86. If you’re going platinum blonde, remember to regularly mask your hair in coconut oil to seep as much hydration back into your hair as possible.
87. When bleaching your hair, apply bleach to the root last to minimize breakage at the roots. You don’t want permanent fly-aways!
88. Drink water to keep yourself hydrated but also to keep your body functioning its best for healthy hair growth.
89. Eat plenty of protein, like fish or chicken, to keep your hair strong.
90. Caffeine has been linked to hair growth when applied topically. Try products that include this specific ingredient!
91. If you’re experiencing a noticeable amount of hair loss, talk to your doctor to target the cause, as it could be a sign of a bigger issue.
92. Stress and hair loss have been linked, so keep in mind your stress levels, the effects you’re feeling because of them, and practice healthy control mechanisms to keep your body in check.
93. Head to the salon with dirty hair, as bleaching will dry out your hair and you don’t want to further strip it before going in for an intense process.
94. Eggs are a solid source of protein and reportedly contain biotin within the yolk, which is an ingredient that promotes hair growth.
95. Because of the zinc they contain, oysters have been said to be a good food to eat for hair health.
96. Dairy products, like yogurt and milk, are rich in calcium, a key factor in strengthening your hair.
97. Spinach is high in iron and in B vitamins for long, shiny hair.
98. Need a quick work snack? Walnuts contain protein and omega-3, which is beneficial to hair health, while almonds contain biotin.
99. Consider taking supplements with biotin in them to strengthen your hair, allowing each strand to grow longer without breaking.
100. Hair not growing as fast as it once was? Experts say that your hair growth cycle can change as you get older, often becoming slower. Thinning hair is also common as you age, however the growth phase of your hair is also largely based on genetics.
101. Healthy hair, when wet, can stretch to 30% it’s length – precisely why we told you above to not brush it when wet – no one wants to snap their hair off when it’s stretched this much!