How to Build a Healthy Hair Care Routine – Tips for Getting and Maintaining Healthy Hair

by Dajana Ivkovic September 16, 2022

How to Build a Healthy Hair Care Routine – Tips for Getting and Maintaining Healthy Hair

Shiny, luscious hair just gives you an extra dose of confidence, doesn’t it? So, no wonder so many of us are in pursuit of a hair care routine that will give our hair that healthy glow. As someone who’s struggled with hair breakage and growing my hair long, I can freely say that I’ve tried everything and anything before I found what type of routine is best for healthy and fast-growing hair.

If you want to treat your hair well so it would reward you with shine and growth, here are the proven tips and tricks on building a healthy hair care routine.

Hair-Saving Habits for Healthy Hair

Before we get into the tips that can make a world of difference, let’s summarize which habits lead to healthy hair. You’ve probably heard a bunch of different information but the habits I’ll mention below are suggested by experts and tested by yours truly (plus a few of my friends who couldn’t resist my passionate persuasion to embrace the healthy hair lifestyle).

These are some basic habits that everyone should introduce to their routine:

  • Wash your hair with lukewarm water (or even cool if you can handle it). Hot water can dry out the hair and damage it.
  • Wash your hair two to three times a week, not more, but take into consideration your hair type. No one wants oily hair, but natural oils are essential for hair growth and if you wash your hair every day, you won’t give them time to do their magic.
  • Use a small amount of shampoo and only massage it into your scalp (it will distribute throughout your hair on its own). Make small circular movements with your fingers to stimulate circulation at the roots.
  • Always use a conditioner when washing your hair. Make this your religion. Your hair needs replenishment and a conditioner will take care of that.
  • Use a leave-in conditioner for manageable and soft hair. Leave-in conditioners will make it easier for you to comb your hair after washing so you won’t have to play tugging war with the hairbrush. The easier you comb through it, the less it will break.
  • Use a wide-tooth comb to gently comb your hair without breakage. In case you haven’t heard of this trick before, you should comb the ends of the hair first to get rid of knots and then go for a full stroke from top to bottom.
  • Get regular hair trims even if you’re trying to grow out your hair. The worst you can do for your hair is let those split ends climb up the stands which will only lead to uneven and thin hair that’s harder to fix. Unless you have a specific hairstyle that needs maintaining, according to celebrity hairstylist Richard Collins, you should get trims three to four times a year just to dust the ends.

5 Essential Tips for Building a Healthy Hair Care Routine

I want to share with you a few golden tips that really matter. Give these a shot and I’m sure that you’ll notice a change!

1. Embrace Your Natural Texture

The grass is always greener on the other side, so it often happens that people with straight hair use a curling iron too often and those with curly hair can’t give up on using the hair straightener. Trying to force your hair to be something it’s not can never end up with healthy and happy hair.

Love your hair for what it is and give it proper treatment so it can show its true self in the best light. There are so many products now that are personalized for specific hair types so there is no doubt that you can find the ones that will accentuate your natural texture. Allow your hair to be what it is and provide it with suitable care—that’s how you’ll establish a healthy hair care routine.

2. Find Natural Products that Work Best for You

It’s hard to recommend a certain hair care product thinking that it will work for everyone because the truth is, it probably won’t. I can’t tell you which shampoo and conditioner will absolutely be perfect for your hair, but I can tell you that you should aim for natural products.

You want to avoid harmful and toxic chemicals in shampoo and conditioner and this list of common harmful chemicals found in these products can help you with that mission:

  • Sulfates
  • Parabens
  • Polyethylene Glycols
  • Triclosan
  • Formaldehyde
  • Synthetic Fragrances and Colors
  • Dimethicone
  • Retinyl Palmitate

What’s crucial is to find products that suit your hair type. For example, straight hair tends to get oily more often so if washing your hair twice or three times a week won’t do for you, you’ll need to choose a gentle shampoo. A gentle shampoo won’t strip your hair from natural oils as aggressively as a regular shampoo would, so you can wash your hair with it more often.

A life-saving, wash-reducing tip for people with oily hair is to use a dry shampoo. You can easily go another day (or three) without washing your hair with this product. Our dry shampoo is infused with essential oil and comes in a powder form so it doesn't have any of the harmful aerosols in it (like butane).

For wavy hair, you should get a moisturizing shampoo and always use the conditioner after washing. Curly hair creates obstacles for natural oils to travel freely throughout the strands of the hair so it tends to be dry and frizzy. That’s why you’ll want to use a mild, sulfate-free shampoo that won’t strip away the natural hair oils.

3. Use a Microfiber Towel

Your hair is at its most fragile when it’s wet so you don’t want to put anything on your hair that can cause damage. The biggest mistake you can make is rubbing and drying your delicate wet hair with a towel. I know many of us do this (I was guilty as charged before I took a deep dive into researching proper hair care), but there’s a better solution. Use a microfiber hair towel as it has moisture-wicking fabric that will absorb the water and speed up the drying time.

4. Exfoliate Your Scalp

Your scalp deserves your undivided attention just as much as your hair stands. With this in mind, I introduce to you the scalp exfoliator! If this sounds like too much work, let me dissuade you. The truth is that you can do this once a week and turn it into a meditative massage. I did notice a difference when I embraced the exfoliated scalp treatment (my hair started growing faster and lots of baby hairs started popping up) so I advocate for it.

How a scalp exfoliator works is that it removes the product buildup and dead skin cells on your scalp which creates a healthy environment for your hair to grow. If you have dandruff, this might help you deal with it.

The process is quite simple: just put a little bit of product on your fingertips and gently massage it into your scalp with circular movements. Make sure you massage the scalp from the very front to the very back.

5. Moisturize with Coconut Oil

The sun, indoor heating, alcohol-based styling products, straightening treatments, and hormonal changes—all of this sucks out the moisture from your hair. You need to replenish your hair to make a balance and what’s better for that than the all-mighty coconut oil!

Coconut oil is filled with fatty acids that can benefit your hair’s health. According to research, coconut oil has similarities with natural hair proteins and it is able to penetrate the hair shaft (that part of the hair above the scalp) and reduce protein loss.

I found that unrefined coconut oil works wonders as a pre-wash treatment and since you wash your hair thoroughly after it, even people with oily hair can benefit from it without having to face limp hair afterward. You can simply buy a jar of coconut oil and apply it to the midsection and ends of your hair 30-60 minutes before you plan to wash it (make sure you shampoo your hair twice). If you have very dry hair, you can even use it as an overnight treatment.

The Connection Between Healthy Diet and Healthy Hair

You know that saying “beauty comes from within,” right? Before you deemed it a cliche, let me tell you that when it comes to hair, the beauty of it really comes from within. I’ll explain right away!

Your hair is very sensitive to nutritional deficiencies and if you don’t provide your body with all that it needs, your hair will suffer. Since hair is not a vital organ (like a kidney for example), our body doesn’t prioritize its needs. This means that it will be the first to show the signs of nutritional imbalance in the form of thinner hair, hair breakage, slower growth, and hair loss.

For healthy and happy hair, you need to give your hair cells a healthy balance of proteins, vitamins, fats, minerals, and complex carbohydrates. Some of those highly beneficial, hair-loving nutrients are:

  • B Vitamins (Folate, B6, B12) — They are responsible for the creation of red blood cells which carry the oxygen and nutrients to the scalp, growing hair, and follicles. You can boost your Vitamin B intake by eating wild salmon, chickpeas, avocadoes, green peas, brussels sprouts, berries, cauliflower, eggs, etc.
  • Vitamin C — The main reason why we need this super vitamin is that it helps with forming collagen which keeps our hair’s structure healthy. You can find it in lemons, oranges, grapefruit, bell peppers (all colors), tomatoes, berries, pineapple, broccoli, kale, kiwi, cauliflower, cabbage, white potatoes, etc.
  • Zinc — Zinc is a mineral that contributes to the growth and repair of tissues—including hair. Additionally, it aids with the proper function of oil glands around our hair follicles. This mineral is found in pumpkin seeds, cashews, peanuts, pecans, sunflower seeds, yogurt (fat-free, low-fat), etc.
  • Iron-Rich Protein — Iron helps with carrying the much-needed oxygen to the blood while protein is a must for cell growth (and hair cells fall under this group). The best foods for getting iron-rich protein into your body are shrimp, clams, oysters, egg yolks, chicken and turkey (especially dark meat), pork tenderloin, and if you don’t eat meat then soybeans (edamame), starchy beans, tofu, tempeh, and lentils.
  • Beta Carotene —Beta Carotene transforms into Vitamin A which aids hair growth so we definitely want to give our bodies a healthy dose of this nutrient. These foods can help you with that: carrots, sweet potatoes, butternut squash, spinach, collard greens, pumpkin, cantaloupe, apricots, lettuce, cherries, asparagus, etc.

The foods you eat are most beneficial when they are fresh, so always be on the hunt for fruits and veggies that are in season.

A good diet and nutrition will provide your hair with an environment that supports growing strong and healthy hair. But, diet can’t make overnight miracles. So, if you plan to change your diet starting from tomorrow, the new and improved nutrition will reflect on your new hair only.

Common Habits that Damage Your Hair

  • Wearing your hair in a ponytail or bun all the time – Now, I know that some love or need to wear their hair up, but trust me on this, that tight pull on your hair is doing no good. Ponytails and buns break your stands and can cause hair loss. The solution isn’t to give up on tying your hair. You should simply change up your routine and instead of a high ponytail, go for half-up styles (use a hair clip) or tie a low ponytail using covered rubber bands (silk ones are the best!).
  • Combing your hair too often – Forget about that 100 strokes myth since brushing or combing your hair too often won’t do it any good. Three or four strokes are more than enough and you should try to limit the combing to 2-3 times a day.

  • Using hot tools – Who doesn’t love straight-as-an-arrow hair or dazzling curls, but if you reach for hot styling tools too often, you will make visible damage to your hair. Limit the use of the hot tool and when you do use them, protect your hair with a heat protectant spray or lotion as they will create a physical barrier and minimize the damage.

  • Roughly brushing your wet hair – Wet hair swells up by as much as 20-30% so if you brush it roughly it will snap like a rubber band. To avoid breakage, let your hair air dry for a bit and then remove the tangles with a comb. And remember, always work out tangles starting from your ends.

Final Thoughts

Hair care doesn’t need to be complex to be effective.

You just need to follow some basic do’s and avoid the most harmful don’ts and you’ll be on the right track to getting your dream hair.

Keep in mind that you need to find what works for YOUR hair so be patient and don’t give up until you find that miraculous routine.

Love your hair and it will love you back!

Dajana Ivkovic
Dajana Ivkovic


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