How to keep your long hair looking healthy

Letting hair grow is simply a matter of playing the waiting game. It takes little effort, costs virtually nothing, and is a rewarding change to your appearance that, if done right, can hugely improve your confidence and lead you onto new styles and trends that you might not have otherwise considered. However, once hair reaches a certain length it becomes increasingly difficult to manage and can be a nightmare to maintain looking healthy, which is why many of us give up and cut off our long locks in despair. This should be regarded as a last resort – that said, nobody wants 20 or 30 inches of dry, brittle hair on their head. So if you’re thinking of giving the “Rapunzel” look a go, make sure you follow these steps to keep it looking shiny, strong, and in good condition.

Avoid washing every day

If you’ve been keeping your hair short you may cringe at the very idea, but anyone with hair past chest-length will tell you that not only is a daily wash bothersome and time-consuming, it can severely dehydrate your hair. You need to allow at least two days between shampooing so that the natural oils produced in your scalp can travel down the shaft of your hair to the tips. Dryness is a major cause of split ends so even if you feel your hair is inherently greasy, remember that the longer your hair gets, the more important it will be to keep the ends moisturised. Invest in a shower cap and postpone washing your hair until tomorrow.

Ditch your heated appliances

The majority of us see flat irons and curling wands as our best friends but the ugly truth is they do a lot more damage than good. In the same vein as the daily wash, these gadgets cause hair to become coarse and brittle by drying it out, as well as weakening it, which in the long run will have a visible and irreversible impact on the hair’s condition. Besides that, with the exception of blow-drying, most heated appliances are completely unnecessary – curled hair can be achieved with rollers and a night’s worth of patience, while you can straighten using a round brush when blow-drying your hair. Of course there are times when we all need our quick fixes, but avoid heat as much as possible and you will be left with a noticeably cleaner look and a stronger feel about your hair.

Remember that longer hair is heavier hair

The weight can put great strain on your roots and result in breakage if you aren’t constantly mindful of it when styling your hair. High buns and tight ponytails are a no-no as they put pressure on the follicles in your scalp and along your hairline, which over time will make your hair tired-looking and thin, and can even cause alopecia. Think of how easily a strand of hair can be torn from your head with a light tug. Use scrunchies to tie up your hair instead of elastic bands and buy a bristle brush for gentle combing, particularly right after showering, as hair is most fragile when it’s wet.

Stay away from harsh chemicals

Be aware of the ingredients in every hair product you use and abandon them immediately if you notice any side effects or allergic reactions. Buy more expensive, reputable dyes with no peroxide and no ammonia, and even then, only use them once in a blue moon. Chemical straighteners, perms and bleach dye are out of the question as they spoil the structure of your hair and give it the appearance of being almost fake. If you have used chemicals like this in the past, make sure you have every affected tress removed, because (as with split ends) damage can only worsen and even spread to other areas of the hair.

Maintain a healthy lifestyle

Sometimes the most important piece of advice is the most obvious one. The way you live is reflected in your beauty and in the end is the deciding factor of the condition of your skin, nails, teeth, and, of course, your hair. Eating oily foods like salmon can keep it shiny while protein-rich dishes like milk can help it repair and regenerate itself. But it doesn’t stop with diet – basic aspects of a good well-being can make the greatest difference to your appearance. You need eight hours of sleep every night and three litres of water every day, and making sure you meet these quotas can benefit the look of your hair a whole lot more than you might think. As well as this, it can drastically improve your mood, and a happy, stress-free lifestyle is guaranteed to manifest itself in both the strength and beauty of your hair. These steps are imperative to take as they turn the uphill battle that is haircare into a much more enjoyable experience. Long, healthy hair is one of the most enviable assets a person can have, so nurture yours and never give up on the look you want to achieve.