What you should know about Proper Hair Care and Style.
The hair is often described as one's crowning glory. Ask anyone and they are sure to agree . . . if your hair looks good, you automatically feel good! Some appearance experts go so far as to say that the hair is the single most important factor in looking neat and well put-together. Hard-to-handle hair is the number one beauty complaint of women!
Healthy hair is reflective of healthy life style habits and overall good health. Eat a well-balanced diet, drink plenty of water, exercise regularly, and get sufficient rest/sleep. Medications and health conditions can and do influence hair condition.
Hair changes as the body changes. Hair growth, hair loss, and replacement are natural, normal processes throughout the life cycle. As the body ages, growth and replacement are slowed, which may give individuals the impression they are balding. Balding is a hereditary condition but can also be linked to general body health (recent surgery, diet, medications, chemotherapy, hormones, stress).
Keep hair clean and shiny! Shampoos do matter, as some are harsher than others; select them carefully. Hair and scalp may not need to be washed as often as the body ages/matures, but do not neglect it. How often you wash your hair depends on the type of hair, the weather, your physical activity, and perhaps even your occupation.
Properly shampoo your hair. A proper, thorough brushing should precede every shampooing. Lather well once or twice using your fingertips, not nails, to work the lather outward from the scalp. Use lukewarm (not hot) water to rinse. Rinse well! Daily shampooing will not make the hair fall out, but it can cause breakage depending on hair type. A clean scalp encourages hair growth.
Hair style is more critical than hair color! Keep yourself and your hair style up-to-date. Re-evaluate your hair cut and style periodically; what looked good at age 20 may not at age 40 or 60. A proper hair style as well as hair color can make you look youthful and natural.
Leave long hair to the very young; long hair (below chin-length) adds years to the appearance. If you like long hair, wear it swept up in a twist or chignon--don't pull it back in a knot at the neckline! Tight ponytails and cornrow braiding over a period of time can encourage a form of hair loss.
Suggestions to consider for women:
1. Go short, perhaps very short for easy care and a bit more sophistication. Hair style should be determined with face shape, facial features, personality, and life style in mind.
2. Avoid trendy hair styles, especially as you get older. They tend to call attention to age.
3. Irregular, subtle, or mature facial features are softened and benefit from hair styles that are softened (curls, etc.) around the face.
4. Try bangs or some soft wispy pieces of hair across the forehead.
5. Consider a permanent to give hair some additional body and volume. When done by a trained stylist, today’s perms are generally safe and can give a natural look.
Hair style can camouflage some beauty dilemmas.
1. Long bangs can soften lines around the eyes (crow’s feet) and forehead wrin
2. Layering hair around the face, angling at and below the chin can distract from a wrinkled neck.
3. Layering is effective in slenderizing the face.
Hair color should always look natural. The golden rule in hair coloring is not to go too light or too dark. Cover gray with a shade slightly lighter than your natural color. Bleaches chemically alter each hair strand, but do not injure the root. Hair dye works more like paint by covering hair strands with color.
Think about highlighting or a touch of color. Educate yourself about hair coloring before you take the plunge. Be careful with "do-it-yourself" coloring! Initially, hair coloring is best left to the professional; search for someone skilled in hair coloring techniques.
Gray hair can look chic, even stunning! Keep it silver or white; avoid using blue or purple tints as this is not natural looking. Coloring gray hair is an asset when gray hair is unbecoming with complexion or when hair is more yellow than gray. Yellowish-gray hair is not flattering to most people.
If you use a hair dryer, turn it off just before hair is completely dry. Hold blower several inches away from hair. Allow hair to “air dry” and cool before styling.
Curling is safest if you twist your hair into pin curls overnight. Hot rollers and curling irons give the best results with coarse hair but may damage strands or roots when used to excess. When using a curling iron, always roll in the hair ends last. The safest curling for fine hair is to let it air dry and wind it loosely around sponge rollers.
Sleep on a satin pillow/pillow case to prevent losing hair style overnight. Cover hair when in bright, intense sunlight to prevent sun damage. Smoking can and does change hair texture and color of hair.
If there’s no time to shampoo, sprinkle with a small amount of baby powder down to the roots. Use just enough powder to absorb grease. Comb or brush powder through hair. Don’t overdo, or hair will look gray.
Linda Heaton Ph.D.
Extension Specialist, Textiles & Clothing November 1994