By Leah Fletcher
As Ebony Chambliss ushered in 2017, she, like many others, was finalizing her list of New Year’s resolutions. This time of year, in her estimation, signals an opportunity to “begin anew” and prompts her resolve to get to the gym, eat healthier or try a new hobby.
But when you — like Ebony — are making your list, do not forget about your hair. Healthy hair starts as a good habit. There are real steps you can take this year to reach your hair styling and growth goals, while keeping your hair healthy and shiny.
Here are several expert tips for the best New Year’s hair resolutions you may add to your list.
Nourish your roots
According to hairstylist Suzanne Recos, healthy hair starts from within. That’s why it’s important to nourish your hair follicles with the vitamins, minerals and nutrients they need for thick, healthy hair growth. “If it’s inconvenient or difficult to get these nutrients through your diet, try a hair growth supplement” recommends Recos of the Philadelphia-based Recos Styling Group. She suggests conducting research to identify the resources that support hair growth trends and results.
Schedule regular trims
Even if your goal is to add length to your hair, don’t shy away from regular trims. Stephen Williams of Williams and Associates recommends trimming hair every six to eight weeks to minimize split ends and breakage. The advantage: removing dull, split ends that weigh hair down and make it look unhealthy also gives it thickness and body.
Don’t ignore your scalp
While a scalp message might be invigorating, conditioning your roots and scalp results in greater benefits, opined Recos, who recommends routine hair mask treatments. “Coconut oil is ideal to condition your roots and your scalp, and minimize dandruff with a weekly at-home coconut oil hair mask,” she explained. Recos also suggested finding the right hair mask recipe for any hair affliction, including a coconut oil mask recipe that is perfect for a dry, itchy scalp.
Minimize use of styling tools
Flat irons, curling irons and blow-dryers are essential tools in the beauty arsenals of some. However, Williams advises that you limit yourself to using heat tools only two or three times a week. Using those tools, especially at high temperatures, significantly damages the keratin that makes up the structure of your hair strands,” according to Williams. “Temperatures of more than 400° can actually melt keratin fibers, he explained. “So, use heating tools sparingly, and when you do, always start with a heat protectant product.”
Establish a washing schedule
Under normal conditions, shampooing your hair every day is not recommended. According to Recos, using harsh detergents too often strips the hair and scalp of their natural oils, leaving strands more porous and more prone to damage. But, you should shampoo hair often enough to remove dirt, debris, flakes and excess oils from the scalp. This will help maintain the ideal environment for healthy hair growth, and keep hair looking and feeling clean.
Toss expired products
Beauty and hair products have expiration dates, just as food or medicine do. Brianna Spears, a stylist at the Sharp Cuts Salon in Camden, recommends weeding through your drawer of irons and dryers and discarding those you have had for years. How do you determine whether your styling tools are too old? Spears recommends asking a series of questions for the answer: Do they smell when you are using them? Have they been stored in a drawer or closet for several years? If the answer to one or both of those questions is yes, get rid of them. Spears noted that hair tools are not the only item that need to be eliminated. Products like serums, hair oils, hairsprays and gels have expiration dates. “Discard any product that is more than two years old, especially if it is open,” declared Spears.
Revamp your hairstyle
Getting stuck in a hairstyling rut is easy. Given the array of appealing, innovative hairstyles posted on social media and illustrated in tutorials on YouTube, it might be time to try something new. Try unconventional braids, a change in textures, a dramatic bob, edgy color or on-trend accessories. Stylist Shavonne Ahmad urged, “If you’ve only been braiding or straightening your hair for the past year, it might be time for a change.”
Keep hairbrushes and combs clean
Washing your hair and even make-up brushes are generally performed regularly. However many neglect washing their hairbrushes, said Ahmad. “Even when you do it, the process may be time-consuming and the brushes may never seem to get totally clean.” In Ahmad’s appraisal, a clean hairbrush is important because an unclean one may deposit dirt, dust and debris on your hair, irritating your scalp and giving your hair a dull, dirty appearance.