Dry hair can be frustrating. Not only is it more susceptible to damage and breakage, like split ends, but it usually also appears brittle, feels like it lacks moisture or oil, and is hard to brush or style. Dryness is more likely to cause frizzy, dull, or brittle hair.
Fortunately, you do not have to simply accept frizz and hair damage — just a few tips can help you support hydrated hair and prevent it from drying out. By understanding the causes of dry hair, you can take the right steps to avoid dehydrated, damaged hair.
What Are the Biggest Causes of Dry Hair?
Your hair has a method for keeping itself naturally moisturized. Your scalp produces a natural oil called sebum. Sebum is a natural lubricant for your hair, coating the hair strands to keep them flexible and resistant to damage.
When this sebum is stripped from your hair or has a hard time moving through it, you end up with dry hair. Some people have naturally dry hair, which can happen if your scalp produces less sebum.
Your natural hair type also influences how dry your hair can be. To keep your hair hydrated, sebum needs to be able to move through your hair strands. If sebum sits near the roots, then the ends of your hair will stay dry.Hair types like curly, coily, and even wavy hair are more likely to be dry since the oils cannot travel to the ends of the strands as easily as with straight hair.
Although there are natural causes of dry hair that you have little control over, there are several everyday factors that can leave your hair stripped of moisture as well. Some of the other common causes of dry hair include:
- Excessive hair washing
- Using styling products with harsh ingredients
- Too many chemical treatments
- Not using heat protection
- Hormonal changes
- Medical conditions
- Too much blow drying
- Poor nutrition or eating disorders
How Can You Prevent Dry Hair?
Unfortunately, a bad hair care routine can be the biggest reason for dry hair by affecting the natural oils in your hair.
On the bright side, this means you can gain control over your dry hair simply by making the right changes to your routine. Incorporating the right tricks can also help you overcome natural reasons for dryness. If you have consistently dry hair, you should consider the following tips when caring for your hair.
1. Find the Right Conditioner
If you are trying to restore hydration to your dry hair, then there is a good chance that you will start with a conditioner. However, depending on the type of product you use, it may be counterproductive. Not all conditioners and shampoos are made the same, and some may contain ingredients that are harmful to your hair.
When looking for a shampoo or conditioner, choose one without harsh chemicals like sulfates, parabens, synthetic fragrances, or alcohol. All of these ingredients are capable of drying out and damaging your hair. Sulfates, for example, are added to hair care products as detergents but can be harsh on your hair and scalp, removing the natural sebum and even causing dandruff. However, they are not necessary for clean hair.
Whenever possible, aim for hair products that include natural ingredients for cleaning and moisturizing your hair. Ingredients like natural oils, aloe vera, and apple cider vinegar are much gentler on your hair and support its natural moisture with deep conditioning. Hair oils are also great for dry hair.
2. Be Careful With Heat Styling
Hair styling tools can be helpful, giving you the curls or volume you’re looking for, but they can also be working against you. Using a curling iron, flat iron, or even a blow dryer can be surprisingly harmful to your hair. These tools can cause heat damage and dry out your hair.
Try to avoid heat styling tools entirely if possible. If you are going to use styling tools, then be sure to use a heat protectant. Meanwhile, instead of using a hair dryer, use a towel to pat excessive water out and then allow your hair to air dry. If you must blow dry your hair, be sure to leave it at its lowest setting and use it sparingly.
3. Wash Your Hair Less Frequently
Yes, it is important to wash your hair, but you may be overestimating how often you need to do so. Contrary to popular belief, it is quite rare to need to wash your hair every day. Washing your hair strips it of sebum and can leave it dull and dry.
If you have a naturally curly or coily hair type, you may be able to wait as long as a couple of weeks between washes. Because the sebum takes longer to travel through the hair, it will take longer for the hair to appear oily and need a wash.
Even straight hair can benefit from less frequent washing. In reality, you may not need to wash your hair more than three to four times a week unless you have excessively oily hair.
4. Try Additional Hair Treatments
For some, a conditioner is enough to support hydrated hair. For others, it may be helpful to add an extra step into their hair care routine. If you find yourself with consistently dry hair, then you may have to resort to more powerful means to keep it hydrated. For example, after you find the right conditioner for use in the shower, leave-in conditioners are great for locking in moisture.
Other options for moisturizing treatments include hot oil treatments and hair masks. These are excellent additions to your routine with ingredients that allow you to introduce excellent vitamins and nutrients to your hair and provide extra hydration.
These treatments are great for anyone with thicker or curlier hair, where the natural oil has a more difficult time working through the strands. Some natural hydrating ingredients include jojoba oil, argan oil, and coconut oil, among many others.
5. Boost Your Protein Intake
Although there is much to be said about applying the right products to your hair, the reality is that your hair is made up of proteins and cells that originate from your body. This means that your nutrition can play an important role in the health and hydration of your hair. Therefore, what you eat is actually part of your hair care routine.
Since your hair is primarily made of a protein called keratin and consists of every amino acid, protein is a great way to start improving your nutrition for healthy, hydrated hair. You can include more protein in your diet by eating more meat, poultry, eggs, fish, beans, nuts, and seeds.
6. Get Your Vitamins
Protein isn’t the only nutrient you should include in your diet for healthy hair. Other vitamins and minerals are great for supporting the health of your hair and scalp and maintaining your hair’s moisture. Vitamins and minerals provide your hair with important antioxidants and are easily obtainable through fresh fruits and vegetables. Some key nutrients to include in your diet for healthier, more hydrated hair are:
- Vitamin A
- B vitamins
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin D
- Vitamin E
7. Take Omega-3s
Some of the best nutrients you can take to support hydrated hair are omega-3s. Omega-3s are polyunsaturated fatty acids that make up important building blocks of cells in the body. In doing so, they also provide many excellent health benefits, including for your hair. These nutrients can help support the skin barrier, leaving you with a healthier scalp to produce more sebum. They have also shown promise in studies for their ability to support hair density.
There are multiple ways that you can include more omega-3s in your diet. The most popular way to do so is to eat fatty, oily fish like salmon, mackerel, tuna, and sardines. For those who do not want to cook fresh fish multiple times a week, supplements like fish oil and krill oil provide a much simpler option.
However, not everyone likes the smell of fish, and many people are unable to eat it. Fortunately, algae-based supplements are an excellent alternative.iwi life’s algae-based omega-3 supplement gives you a form of omega-3s that is more efficient, completely plant-based, and not going to leave you with unpleasant fishy breath.
Support Your Hair’s Nutrition
Dry hair is frustrating, but you have plenty of options. By building a careful hair care routine, you can reverse the course of dry hair and enjoy lustrous, shiny, and healthy hair. When developing your routine, remember that nutrition goes a long way toward supporting the health of your hair.
At iwi life, we strive to help you maintain your holistic health, from your hair to your heart. With our omega-3 supplement, you can take one soft gel a day and enjoy many potential health benefits, like the ability to promote hydrated hair and help you maintain healthy blood pressure. Try iwi life’s omega-3 supplements for yourself and see all the ways you can support your overall health and wellness.
Dry hair | MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia
Diet and Skin Barrier: The Role of Dietary Interventions on Skin Barrier Function | PMC
Effect of a nutritional supplement on hair loss in women | PMC