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November 9, 2010 at 1:00 PMComments: 3 Faves: 0

Natural Moisture for Dry Hair

By Claire Franklin More Blogs by This Author

Hair that is dull and lank often suffers from dryness. This common problem impacts not only your appearance but also the health of your hair. Dry hair breaks easily at the ends, often does not accept salon treatments, and is difficult to maintain. This kind if hair is said to have poor porosity. According to experts, poor porosity is often the result of raised cuticles and damage to scales that run along the hair cuticle. Although it looks and feels dry, porous hair can actually absorb large amounts of water. Professionals state that healthy hair can absorb roughly 30 percent of its weight in water, while excessively porous hair can absorb up to 40 and 50 percent. Although this may seem beneficial, it is not. Hair that absorbs disproportionate amounts of water also loses moisture as quickly as it gains it. Unlike drooping plants, the solution for dry hair is not to simply add water. In fact, with porous hair, water is often the culprit. When hair is full of water, the weight can compromise its structure and lead to weakness. Damage to the hair's cuticle and cortex layers then ensue without potential remedy. Under such stress, hair eventually breaks. Thus, moisture is only beneficial to hair that can adequately absorb it.

Factors that Lead to Dry Hair

Internal and external factors can both lead to hair damage that causes it to become porous. Internal factors are usually related to disease, prolonged illness or malnutrition. Primary external causes include the following:

  • Regular use of harsh shampoo
  • Shampooing too frequently
  • Repeated application of hair dye
  • Exposure to chemicals in hair perms
  • Chlorine in swimming pools and hot tubs
  • Overuse of a blow dryer or curling iron
  • Too much exposure to sun and wind
  • High mineral content in local water supplies

Of these factors, swimming and over-shampooing are two of the foremost contributors to dry hair. Styling instruments are also frequent enemies. However, easy remedies exist for restoring moisture and giving locks the fresh and healthy look they deserve.

Simple Instructions for Hair Care

Studies reveal that many people wash their hair one or more times every day for a squeaky-clean feel. However, shampoos often contain harsh cleaning agents that can strip away natural oils critical to hair health. Thus, women with dry hair should only shampoo every two or three days, according to salon professionals. While shampooing, attention should be paid to the roots and scalp, thereby avoiding rubbing the hair shafts and ends. The type of shampoo used is also important. One with a pH of between 4.5 and 6.7 is ideal for dry hair. Another rule of thumb is to use only those hair cleansers that you would put on your face. Conditioner is also a must-have for persons battling dry locks. It is important to always towel dry hair to remove as much water as possible before applying a conditioner. In the winter months, conditioners should be left on for at least three minutes, while summer calls for one to two minutes. The main objective is to cover the roots and ends, and rinse with tepid or cool water to help seal the cuticle closed. Hair care professionals also recommend hot-oil treatments to repair dry and damaged hair. Over-the-counter products are available and should be followed according to instructions. Moreover, brushing dry hair can actually cause it to fracture. Hair should thus be brushed gently and never when it is wet. Boar-bristle brushes or vent brushes are beneficial to use, as their rubberized tips do not excessively pull hair.

Smart Practices for Good Measure

While hair maintenance begins at home, persons with dry locks should also schedule regular appointments at the salon. Getting hair ends trimmed every six weeks means revitalizing your look and eliminating split ends. A salon professional can also provide additional advice on how to stimulate dry hair. Aromatherapies are believed to improve the condition of dry hair as well. Lavender, bay and sandalwood essential oils are among the most popular choices for women who want to repair their tresses. These oils should be used individually and work best when combined with six ounces of warm sesame or soy oils. The mixture should be immediately applied throughout the hair, wrapped in a towel for 15 minutes and rinsed with tepid water. Diet also plays a role in hair health. For persons who have dry hair, eating plenty of foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids can help. Flaxseed oil is another component that has shown to improve dry hair. This can be added to popcorn or baked potatoes and will help to replenish lost hair oils. Finally, persons with brittle locks should avoid excessive exposure to the elements and use styling instruments only rarely. These habits will help to establish a healthy head of hair that is free of damage.


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  • interesting! i pretty much do everything that is on the list for factors that lead to dry hair. I will have to be careful.

  • My daughter suffers from severe dandruff (I mean SEVERE) and has seen a dermo in regards to her problem. She is in sports and swims a lot during the summer, so I think it is important to get the chlorine out of her hair and she has to wash her hair after sweating during a game or practice. The other thing I notice is if she doesn't wash her hair, her condition flares up even worse. She does use prescription medication applied to her scalp daily and has to use helps but unfortunately hasn't prevented it from re-occuring. She is a pre-teen and refuses to use a hair cap while swimming...her hair is extremely dry and porous....any tips....thanks!

  • Victoria -

    As for the dandruff - I've gotten it sometimes in the dry winter months, but a medicated shampoo has always corrected the problem.

    However, I have my own dry hair problem, caused mainly by love of changing hair colors. To combat dryness, I use Dove's shampoo and conditioner for damaged hair. I swear - their conditioner is better than some deep conditioning treatments I've used - makes frizzy hair feel smooth!

    Then, since I blow dry, I use a bit of leave in conditioner on the tips of my hair where it can get really dry.

    A great way I've found to style my hair that does require ANY heat though is putting my hair up in pin curls and tying a bandana over it for a few hours - typically while I sleep. When I wake up, I just take out the hair pins and I have a head full of perfect, natural looking curls you couldn't even achieve with a hot iron.

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