Secrets to perfect hair

These tips will help you have a good hair day, every day.

07 February 2013
by Emily Pettit-Coetzee

Get it trimmed regularly

Split ends are a fast way to ruin your hair, which is why women with perfect hair have it trimmed regularly. “Hair is exposed to so many damaging factors, like the sun, wind, washing, tight hairbands, heated styling tools – it’s no wonder it’s prone to splitting,” says Chantelle Thackwray, hair stylist and owner of Fringe Hair styling Studio in Cape Town. “Even if you want to grow your hair, the only way it’s going to be perfect is if it grows more than it breaks.” This means going for a trim at least every eight weeks. And if you can’t get to the salon that often? Learn how to di it yourself.

Don’t wash every day

Speak to any woman with perfect hair and you will discover that she only shampoos and conditions every other day, or even as little as twice a week. “Imagine washing a leather jacket every day for five years,” says Thackwray. “That sort of sums up the impact of washing your hair every day. Especially if it’s been coloured.” Regular washing fades colour faster and dries it out by ridding it of natural oils it needs to remain shiny and luxurious. “I would recommend that people wash their hair between every second day and twice a week. Again, this depends on if you have fine to thick hair or natural to coloured hair.

Eat right

What you put into your body will influence the health of your hair. A diet rich in nutrients and vitamins, specially calcium and fish oils, will nourish, protect and strengthen your hair. “The most important thing I can recommend for healthy hair is protein and plenty of healthy fats,” says nutritional therapist, Sally-Ann Creed. “Olive oils, avos, nuts and seeds are great. Protein, as found in beef, lamb, chicken and eggs, is a must, as one of the first signs of a protein deficiency is hair loss and dullness.” If you’re a vegetarian, include a tablespoon of ground flaxseed in your daily diet.

Brush sparingly

Yanking a brush through tangled hair is an obvious no-no, but surprisingly , women with perfect hair often brush their hair rarely. The occasional comb through after shampooing is enough to prevent knots. However, if your hair is wild and unruly (or you live in a particularly windy city), always brush gently. "If your hair is knotty, comb it from the ends, working your way up to the roots," says Thackwray. "A leave-in conditioner is a great option to help detangle.'' For an easy, DIY leave-in conditioner, mix a tablespoon of your favourite hair treatment with water in a 500ml spray bottle and apply.

Wash and go

Many swear by heating irons and hairdryers, but in the quest for perfect hair, overuse of these trusted styling aids is a definite no-no. Letting your hair dry naturally not only saves electricity, but it also saves the cuticle of your hair, which is the part that protects it from drying out. Once the cuticle is damaged, the hair has no option but to absorb moisture from the air, causing frizz and brittle hair that breaks easily. Try allowing it to dry naturally, or if that is just not an option, wash your hair before bed, towel-dry and then leave it to dry in a bun overnight. If you simply cannot do without your heated styling aids, try and limit use to once or twice a week. Use a hairdryer with a powerful airflow, so it works quickly and before using a straightening iron, always spray your hair with a heat protectorof childbearing age are infected with HIV.