Orv (orv) wrote,

Basic care of long hair

I've noticed a lot of people who have long hair don't really know how to take care of it. Guys, in particular, generally aren't taught anything about it when they're kids. I thought it might be helpful to give a few very basic tips.

  1. Wash the roots, condition the tips.

    Consider how hair works. The actual strand of hair is dead. If you have oily hair, the oil you're trying to wash out all comes from your scalp. When you wash your hair, apply the shampoo mostly to your scalp. Similarly, when you condition it, apply the conditioner mostly to the tips, which don't get the benefit of the natural oils from your scalp.

    Do NOT gather your long hair all into a big pile on your head to wash it. This contributes to tangles and breakage. Let it hang straight down while you wash it, either down your back or in front of you, whichever is more convenient. (Personally, I tilt my head forward and drape it all in front, because I find it easier to reach that way.)

  2. Use a conditioner.

    No, a "shampoo and conditioner in one" product is not going to work. You need an actual, separate conditioner. Apply it after washing your hair, and leave it in for a minute or two before you rinse it out. It'll make your hair less dry and frizzy, and greatly reduce the tangles you have to deal with when you brush it.

    Note, too, that not everyone does best washing their hair every day. If your hair tends to be dry, experiment with skipping a day or two; you may like the results.

  3. Brush (or comb) gently.

    Some hair types do better with a brush, others with a comb. In either case, don't yank on tangles. If your hair wants to tangle, brush or comb the tips first, then slowly work your way upward until you've worked out all the knots. Tugging too hard will break your hair. If your hair is thick and you use a comb, use one with widely spaced teeth. Trying to force a fine-toothed comb through long hair is a recipe for tangles.

  4. Blow dry with care.

    It's best to let your hair dry naturally. If time constraints require you to blow dry it, don't dry it until it's bone dry; leave it a little damp. This will avoid making it dry and frizzy.

  5. Get it trimmed now and then.

    Even if your goal is to grow your hair out longer, you should have a little trimmed off the ends now and then. This will even it out and get rid of split ends. A good stylist can also give you individual advice on how to take care of your hair and present it to best effect. Yes, it costs a bit, but if you have long hair in a simple style you probably won't be going more than a few times a year.

  6. Use good hair ties.

    If you pull your hair back into a ponytail, buy only fabric-covered hair ties, and use ones with a little thickness to them. I'm not saying you have to wear a scrunchie, but the slightly thicker ties result in a lot less breakage than the skinny ones. Avoid ties with metal crimps that can catch and break hair.

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