|Get the truth about grays, shampoos and brushing so your hair can be healthier and shine brighter. Plus, pick up some helpful tips and tricks along the way that will make your hair more vibrant and strong.|
|The a.m. commute, deadlines…if everyday stress caused hair loss, then we’d all be bald! Genetics accounts for 95 percent of hair loss. Treatments include hair restoration (a surgical procedure in which tiny patches of scalp are removed from the back and sides of the head and implanted in bald spots) and topical use of minoxidil, an FDA-approved ingredient found in Rogaine, which is available over the counter in 2 percent and 5 percent formulas. The lower dose is approved for women, but many doctors recommend the higher dose to slow down shedding and to speed regrowth.|
Act quickly: You won’t notice thinning until you’ve lost at least 50 percent of your hair.
|This is a big exaggeration with a little truth behind it. Light brushing—a few strokes here and there—gives locks luster by distributing the scalp’s natural oils down the hair shaft. Excessive brushing, however, especially if you tug too much, can weaken strands, causing them to break. For gentle grooming, choose a brush with ball-tipped plastic bristles or long, widely spaced natural boar bristles, and use it only to detangle and style hair.|
Avoid snags and tears: Never brush wet hair—it’s too fragile. On dry locks, start from the ends and work your way up.
|Hair cuticles, which resemble shingles on a roof, lie flat when splashed with cold water. As a result, the smoothed cuticles reflect more light, making hair appear shinier and healthier (hot water leaves it rough and lackluster). |
The effect is temporary, however unless you dry and style your hair properly.
To get your locks to cooperate, seal damp hair with a silicone-based serum, then blow-dry with a nozzle attachment, keeping the airflow angled down the shafts to smooth the cuticles.
|The number of hairs in each follicle is genetically determined (typically it ranges from one to four strands in each), and simply tweezing stubborn grays won’t increase that number. |
Still, plucking is a bad habit: If you pull out the same strand repeatedly, you can damage the roots so it won’t grow back.
A better alternative? Embrace your salt-and-pepper locks or dye them. If you’re less than a third gray, try a semipermanent dye, which gently blends away grays and washes out in approximately 28 shampoos. If a third or more of your locks are silver, go with permanent color, which completely covers grays.
Camouflage silver: Wear your hair in wavier styles that lift at the roots, and leave your part jagged, not straight.
|Too much tugging and tension from tight hairstyles such as cornrows and weighty extensions can bring on traction alopecia, a form of hair loss that is common among black women. |
It’s preventable, though: Avoid stressful styles and switch the positions of your braids (ponytails and headbands, too) to alleviate tension.
Did you know? Women typically start to notice their first grays at age 34.
|Why does it seem like your shampoo suddenly stops doing its job? It doesn’t, but after a month of the same hair routine, buildup from conditioners and styling products can leave locks dull and lifeless, so rotating shampoos is not a bad idea. Suds up with a clarifying formula (look for key words like “balancing” or “anti-residue”) to refresh your locks. Warning: Such formulas clean deeply, so they can strip hair of its natural gleam. Use them in moderation; once or twice per month is optimal.|
Did you know? You lose 50 to 100 strands daily—which are continually replaced.