Written by Eunoia
Image Lakshmi Menon, Vogue India 2007
Everybody wants soft, thick, shiny, and healthy hair. It’s a fundamental way to feel healthier and more comfortable in your own body. Yet how many of you know that only proper hair care can produce that kind of hair?
However, healthy hair isn’t limited to expensive products. Neither is it limited to those who post the best selfies on Instagram.
You can make your hair look like that too.
Any type of hair looks amazing when healthy, but each has its own unique care needs.
Importantly, it’s possible to have healthy hair and a clean hair care routine. Organic hair care products are now widely available on the market all ethically and sustainably made to give you healthy hair that’s thick and shiny.
Don’t worry about sensitivities though, because not only are these products organic, they’re also fragrance-free.
With that being said, here are 7 easy steps that will serve as your guide to your #hairgoals and having the best hair this year. Maximize this too as a guide to different hair products and how to use them.
The 7 Steps to Healthy Hair
Get To Know You
Hair guides often jump right into it, but getting to know your hair first is more important. So before you step into the shower or make a purchase at the checkout, know your hair type and texture first.
This is important because knowing will help you determine what kind of product will be best for you. This will guide you when choosing which one will give you a healthy scalp and thick, shiny, healthy hair. Additionally, hair types will also serve as guides to fixing dry hair if you struggle with this because you’d then know its specific needs.
So let’s talk about hair types in the four major categories of straight, wavy, curly, and coiled to keep it simple. However, make sure to get to know each one’s subtype to know your hair better.
So, give your hair a good look in the mirror and observe how it falls down your face and frames it. Do the strands fall straight in line from your scalp and gently touch your ears or shoulders? If yes, your hair is of the straight type.
Straight hair can be categorized in three ways:
- Type 1A - this is straight hair that has a very fine texture, especially common in East Asia.
- Type 1B - this is the same as 1A but is thicker in volume and leans more towards a medium texture.
- Type 1C - this is straight hair that’s coarse in texture and thick in volume.
Does your hair fall in waves like a soft letter S as you observe it from root to tips? If yes, your hair type is wavy. This can be broken down into three categories which are:
- Type 2A - this is wavy hair that’s fine in texture and softly tousled in look. The kind you could get away with the “I woke up like this” look.
- Type 2B - this is similar to 2A but with a more defined wave, a thicker volume, and a medium texture.
- Type 2C - this has the most defined wave out of all three wavy hair types. Type 2C enjoys a coarse texture and a very thick volume.
Does your hair look like Taylor Swift’s on her album Fearless? Loops and curls with a spring define this hair type. If yes, your hair type is curly which can be categorized in three ways too:
- Type 3A - this is curly hair that’s defined in its loops. It has a thick volume and can be frizzy in texture.
- Type 3B - this type has curls that are tighter in its loops which can be wide as your favorite Sharpie for bullet journaling. Type 3B is also thick and frizzy.
- Type 3C - this type has the tightest curls among the three. They can be described as a spiral in look, kind of like a corkscrew. It enjoys the same thickness and texture as 3A and 3B.
You might be getting the drill already from types A to C. Type A starts with a finer texture and less definition. Then it goes up a notch for B and then to C. But for the last hair type, it’s a different story.
If your hair curls tightly as you look at the strands and coarse to the fingers as you feel its texture, your hair type is coily. Also known as kinky, this hair type is also categorized into three.
- Type 4A - this hair type is very tight in its soft delicate curls.
- Type 4B - this hair type is similar to 4A, is zigzag in appearance, and has less defined curls.
- Type 4C - this is the most fragile of all the three and also has the tightest curls.
Now that you know your hair better, you can now choose the right products to include in your hair essentials. So keep your hair type in mind as you go through each of the 7 steps.
Step 1: Prep With A Pre-shampoo Treatment
Finally, let’s get into it!
Did you know that treating your hair to nourishing oils before shampooing is actually important? We’re all familiar with hair guides talking about using hair masks after shampooing. But what comes before is equally essential because pre-shampoo (or pre-poo) fortifies your hair with a layer that protects the hair’s own moisture.
In addition, a pre-shampoo treatment also adds extra moisture to your hair aside from the protective layer it adds to your strands. A pre-poo strengthens and repairs your hair too, which would be great for hair that’s especially dry, brittle, or fragile from over-styling. Detangling will also be easier with pre-poo as it makes the conditioner more effective because it primes the hair.
Just like skin, the scalp and hair strands have their own moisture that can be stripped by shampoo. So protecting them before the wash will be key for shiny, thick, and healthy hair.
Moreover, using oils like avocado oil will help in hair growth if it’s your goal to grow your tresses this season for that chic fall/winter look. Avocado oil is rich with vitamins D, B, A, and E along with magnesium and folic acid, which all work together to encourage hair growth for healthy hair. Avocado oil also helps fortify your strands if you have frizzy or color-treated hair.
Then, if you can go to the sauna or use a hairdryer to allow the oils to absorb into the hair, even better. Make sure to use low heat and not to do it for long because extreme heat is not good for the hair. You can also use a hair mask if that’s what you’d prefer.
For those with wavy, curly, and coily hair, using masques or hair butter is more recommended as these hair types need more moisture. Because of the natural dryness of coily hair, this hair type responds better to products that are richer in consistency like hair butter.
Once you’ve chosen the pre-poo best for you, put it onto your palms and gently massage it into your scalp and down to the hair tips. Let the avocado oil or hair butter absorb into your strands and scalp to allow nourishment and strength to enter your hair follicles.
Step 2: Wash With Shampoo
After your pre-poo nourishing treatment, gently wash your hair with a shampoo that doesn’t contain harsh and unnecessary ingredients. Shampooing will rinse off excess pre-poo and cleanse your hair and scalp from oil, dirt, and bacteria.
Yes, you can definitely find great products off the shelf or from your trusted stylist, but what’s even better is a colorless fragrance-free shampoo that you can create for yourself on Function of Beauty. With over 49k+ 5-star reviews from satisfied customers, their expertise and range of products will help you create your best custom shampoo. Function of Beauty will serve as your personal guide to different hair products and how to use them.
After all, you know your hair and its needs best. So as you get advice from experts or from hair care guides, bring that advice together with your own insight to make choices that will be best for your clean hair care routine.
Customizing is similar to choosing a shampoo that’s right for your hair type. As we talked about earlier, each type has unique concerns that are best addressed by products specifically designed for them.
Here’s what you need to know as you choose your shampoo.
- For straight hair, Keep your strands sleek by looking for a shampoo that has sunflower seed oil in it. Don’t worry as this oil will be beneficial and won’t contribute to the limping of straight hair if used in the right amounts. Additionally, look for a shampoo that effectively and gently cleanses your scalp from product build-up to give it a refreshed and volumized look.
- For wavy hair, a hydrating shampoo like Rahua’s Hydration Shampoo will be good because its blend of Amazonian oils will help control frizz. This will also add a definition to your beautiful waves. What’s great about this is that the scalp gets hydrated too which is essential for hair health. When the scalp’s not nourished, the hair suffers alongside it. But if you’re not too keen on fragrance in shampoo as this one has (it smells amazing though), you can explore one that’s fragrance-free instead.
- For curly hair, a shampoo like Rahua’s will also be helpful because the curlier hair is, the more it’s in need of hydration. This is because the hair follicles of curly hair are a lot more open than the others. This openness allows the moisture to flow freely inside and out of the follicles leading to hair that’s dry and frizzy. Give moisture reasons to stay by locking it in with a hydrating ingredient like aloe vera.
Lastly, keep in mind that fragrance in shampoo does smell good and really adds to the experience of self-care. But if you have sensitive skin, it’s best to avoid products with fragrance as this might aggravate your skin. Skip the fragrance and opt to enjoy fragrance in another form instead that’s non-hair related.
Step 3: Condition Your Hair
Now doesn’t that feel refreshing? Have you noticed how different your scalp also feels with the pre-poo you used and the shampoo? Now you know how those make all the difference.
Step 3 is all about conditioning your hair to be at its best ever by giving back the moisture your hair might have lost. Shampoos have a cleaning action that washes away dirt, oil, and grime from your scalp and hair. But shampoo can also strip off moisture if it has harsh ingredients like sulfate which should never be in your shampoo’s ingredient list.
So to restore this lost moisture, especially for dry hair, it’s important to use a conditioner. The best conditioner would be colorless and fragrance-free too, just like the one you can create for yourself on Function of Beauty.
Credo Beauty also has a great clean hair care line which includes a conditioner that’s applicable to all hair types. Their Color Radiance Daily Conditioner rehydrates your hair with nourishing oils like avocado, rice bran, and sunflower extract. These organic ingredients work well to give you shiny healthy hair without the build-up. Most of all, this conditioner takes care of your hair color too! No mess-ups with this one. Credo Beauty products are also cruelty-free, gluten-free, sustainably-made, and ethically sourced, making them the epitome of clean hair care standards.
How should you apply conditioner? After rinsing out your shampoo, apply the product from midlength to the tips of your hair. Let it stay for a few minutes and then rinse.
Step 4: Exfoliate Your Scalp
Yes, scalp exfoliation exists and it will do wonders for your hair as it takes care of your skin. The scalp is basically skin, so exfoliating it will gently scrub away everything that built up over the day, including dirt, oil, and styling product residue.
Dead skin cells will also be lifted up from the follicles of your hair, giving your scalp a breath of fresh air. This will encourage hair growth and the free flow of its natural oil that will give it shine. You’ll be an au naturelle mademoiselle, a barefaced beauty from scalp to tips.
So to slough off build-up and open your scalp up to new possibilities from your clean hair care routine, exfoliate your scalp once a week. Choose an exfoliator suited for your hair type or particular scalp concern for the best results.
How-to Guide For Hair Products: Chemical Exfoliant
How do you actually do this though? If it’s a chemical exfoliant like Restoresea’s PRO Revitalizing Scalp Treatment, part your hair in four sections and directly spray onto your scalp. One spritz at your hair’s natural parting, one at the left, one at the right, and finally at the back after shampooing. Then style as usual.
How-to Guide For Hair Products: Physical Scrub
If you’re using a physical scrub, part your hair in four sections then massage the product in gentle circular motions. Massage just like you would exfoliate your face. Gently rinse with water afterward. Take note that physical scrubs for a healthy scalp are best applied before shampoo. You can then put this as step 1 or 2.
Step 5: Dry Your Hair With A Hair Turban (Not A Towel)
Soft nourished hair is what hair goals are made of as you step out of the shower. Now’s the time to dry and check out the results of your chosen products.
One common mistake most of us make is using a body towel to dry our hair. Body towels are great for skin but our hair has a different need.
The shafts of our hair strands are easily roughed up with the drying motion we use with a body towel. This is why hair is still frizzy even after all those great products you used pre-poo, for shampoo, and as your conditioner. Split ends can also result from using a body towel to dry our hair.
The lesson here is to never dry your scalp with a towel by moving the towel from the scalp to the bottom of the hair. Likewise, never touch your hair to dry. Both of these mistakes will extremely damage your hair.
What’s advisable is to use a special hair towel you can wrap around your hair to absorb the excess water like the Lisse Luxe Hair Turban. Hair turbans or hair towels are made with soft absorbent materials that don’t pull on your hair while effectively absorbing excess water.
On the other hand, a good and affordable option for hair turban is a cotton shirt. You can wrap this around your hair to dry it. Your hair will come out safe, dry, and ready to style. Avoid the frizz or damage that a body towel carries.
Step 6: Gently Comb Your Hair With These Brushes
Depending on your hair type, you can comb your hair wet or dry. Brushing promotes a healthy scalp as it distributes the natural oils of your head down to your hair’s tips. Here is your best guide to combs for the hair.
For those with straight hair, you can brush even while it’s wet. Use a wide comb brush to detangle hair gently or a paddle brush like Comb No. 001 from Crown Affair. Brush from the bottom up angling away from the scalp.
A wide comb brush like Crown Affair’s Comb No. 001 can also be used by those with curly or coily hair before washing. After washing, while it’s still wet, combing your curly or coily hair using your fingers is more advisable. Put your fingers onto your scalp and gently run them through your hair so you can distribute your skin’s natural oils without adding frizz.
If you’d still like to use a tool, a paddle brush will be helpful as this has more grip on your hair than a wide-tooth comb’s grip for detangling. Using this paddle brush will also be helpful if you apply products that need to be distributed onto your hair.
Step 7: Lock-in Luster and Detangle Your Hair
Finally, to top off your whole look and close your clean hair care routine, put a revitalizing oil at the tips of your hair or even at midlength to add moisture and shine. This will be especially useful if you blow-dried, ironed, or curled your hair. Use this section as your how-to guide for hair products that detangle and bring shine to your hair.
MAY11’s Revitalizing Hair Oil in 30ml will do just the trick with their blend of oils like avocado, Jamaican black castor oil, and sweet almond. Enhance your hair’s luster, restore its shine, and repair it back to health if it’s chemically-damaged.
You can also use a hair detangler spray like Innersense’s Sweet Spirit Leave-In Conditioner to gently untangle knots as you brush and nourish your hair with moisture at the same time.
A lot of hair guides are available out there and the surplus of information can make it seem complicated. But it really isn’t, especially once you go through and select only the advice for your hair type. As you follow this hair guide, you can take care of your hair and make it healthy, shiny, and thick in just 7 steps.
You should take care of your hair just as much you take care of your skin. Great skin and hair are huge steps towards feeling comfortable and happy in your body.