Nutraceutical supplements 101: everything you need to know

Nutraceutical supplements

Lately, scientists have begun to talk about the benefits nutraceutical supplements can have on health and hair. Nutrafol is no latecomer to this discussion! So here is what everyone is saying about nutraceutical supplements and the research being done around them.

What are nutraceuticals?

Nutraceuticals is a broad term that is used to describe any product that comes from food sources with extra health benefits, in addition to the basic nutritional value found in foods. The supplements are usually used to promote general well-being, control symptoms and prevent malignant processes.

Origin on the name

Long before nutraceutical supplements were invented, the name was coined by Stephen DeFelice. DeFelice is the founder and chairman of the Foundation for Innovation in Medicine, an American organization located in Cranford, New Jersey. The term “nutraceutical” combines two words – “nutrient” (a nourishing food component) and “pharmaceutical” (a medical drug). Nutraceutical means any non-toxic food component that has scientifically proven health benefits including prevention and treatment of disease.

Definition and Categories of nutraceutical supplements

Definition of nutraceuticals

The definition of nutraceuticals generally depends on the source. They can be classified on the basis of their natural sources, pharmacological conditions, as well as chemical constitution of the products. Nutraceuticals are grouped in the following categories: dietary supplements, functional food and medicinal food.

Difference between the categories

Dietary supplement

A dietary supplement represents a product that contains nutrients derived from food products. Supplements are often concentrated in liquid, capsule, powder or pill form. Although dietary supplements are regulated by the FDA as foods, their regulation differs from drugs and other foods.

Functional food

According to definition, functional food is a category which includes whole foods and fortified, enriched or enhanced dietary components. Components that may reduce the risk of chronic disease and provide a health-benefit beyond the traditional nutrients it contains.

Medical food

Medical food should be consumed or administered internally, under the supervision of a qualified physician. The intended use is a specific dietary management of a disease or condition for which distinctive nutritional requirements are established by the medical evaluation.

Nutraceutical supplements
Nutraceuticals refers to foods having a medicinal effect on health of human beings.

Researchers have said a lot about nutraceuticals over the years, and they sure have attracted considerable interest due to their effects.

Antioxidant defenses, cell proliferation, gene expression, and safeguarding of mitochondrial integrity is some of the many benefits. You can use nutraceutical supplements to help improve your overall health by supporting functions and the integrity of your body.

 

Prevention of diseases

Nutraceuticals supplements are considered to be healthy sources for prevention of some diseases such as diabetes, renal and gastrointestinal disorders, as well as different infections.

Nutraceuticals impose crucial roles in immune status and susceptibility to certain disease states. They also exhibit disease modifying indications related to oxidative stress including allergy, Alzheimer’s disease, cardiovascular diseases, cancer, eye conditions, Parkinson’s diseases, obesity and hair thinning.

What research says about using baking soda as a no poo method

no poo method and baking soda

With the no poo method more people are finding natural hair care options. Baking soda is one such natural option but is it actually better for your hair? Before you choose to make it your regular regime, let Nutrafol give you some insights.

What are the benefits of using baking soda on your hair?

Popularized by the no poo method, baking soda is a hair fad that’s replaced commercial shampoos. It is said that when dissolved in water, baking soda can remove excess oil and buildup, soften your hair, and restore shine. But the method is not foolproof — if used without caution, over time, severe damage can be caused to your hair.
Nutrafol took a closer look so keep on reading to learn what research says about this treatment and if you should use it.

DOES IT WORK?

What the research says

Does baking soda soften your hair and restore its shine? Some researchers say yes, other say no, but there is however no evidence that baking soda can soften your hair or restore shine. There’s more research to support baking soda as a risk for hair damage and skin irritation. In what way you may ask?
The average scalp has a pH level of 5.5, and the hair shaft has a pH level of 3.67. Maintaining this balance helps with hair health obviously, but baking soda has a pH level of 9. And that is the answer to your question in what way may baking soda damage your hair. According to research, products with a high pH level can increase the following:

  • cuticle damage
  • hair breakage
  • frizz
  • irritation

So what about the pH level then…

It is not only your scalp that has a pH level of 5.5, your skin also has that. One study for example found that an alkaline soap (pH 9.5) significantly decreased the skin’s fat content and irritated the protective layer of the skin.
But it is possible for baking soda to produce benefits at first, that is certain. Ingredients with a high pH are effective at removing buildup and drying out the scalp. It is the long-term use as mentioned before, that can be harmful for the hair. This is because it strips your hair of its natural oils and irritates the scalp after a while.
Your scalp’s pH level does not benefit by using the no poo method. In fact, it may even stress out your scalp when you introduce a high and low pH level so quickly together. So avoid no poo if you:

  • have dry or brittle hair
  • chemically treat or color your hair
  • use heat to style your hair
  • have sensitive skin

In general, baking soda is abrasive and can leave your hair and scalp dry. It is effective for people with extra oily hair but people with dry hair should consider following the rinse with a conditioner to moisturize the scalp.

No poo method and baking soda
Is baking soda doing your hair a favor or is it actually making it worse?

What to use instead of the no poo method

The good news is that hair and skin care has increasingly improved since the no poo method. So if you do not dare to go no poo, there is some hair care products out there that does magic. How you choose your hair care products, from shampoos to sprays, should depend on the following:

  • hair damage (chemical treatment, blow dryers, grooming habits, and environmental exposure)
  • hair strength (resistance to breakages)
  • type of hair, such as thin, thick, strong, curly, or straight
  • scalp type

Use a clarifying shampoo: If you want to remove product buildup and oil, use clarifying shampoo. Shampoos like these, contain surfactants such as sodium laureth sulfate or sodium lauryl sulfate, which removes product buildup. And the best part – research shows that these ingredients do not strip moisture from hair.

Try coconut oil: Good ol’ coconut, always so efficient. But what does it do to your hair? Coconut oil  penetrates the hair shaft and prevents hair breakage. And it also works pre- and post-conditioner. Avoid an oily look by not overusing it.

Buy a good conditioner: Conditioner helps create the sleek, frizz-free look many people want. It also seals the cuticle and creates softer hair. The ones to recommend is the ones with silicones, keratin, or oils like argan or jojoba.

What have we learned?

Long-term us of baking soda as shampoo, has more risks than benefits for your hair. Some people may love this natural method, others not so much. Overall, research tells us that, replacing shampoo with baking soda, might in the end not be as good as you thought it will be for your hair.
But, there are many other products and ingredients you can use for hair health.
Whether you are considering baking soda or sticking with shampoo, why not try a nutraceutical supplement that will ensure your hair is looking healthy and strong all year long.

Photos: Aqua Mechanical via Flickr.

Dennis Tang via Flickr.

The benefits of apple cider vinegar for your hair

no poo method for hair

In our previous post, Nutrafol talked about the no poo method, and the alternative of using apple cider vinegar for your hair. Vinegar is very acidic and if your hair is weak, it’s better not to use it.
No matter your current condition, apple cider is a healthier alternative and comes with a lot of benefits, some of which we will explore below!

Benefits of apple cider vinegar for your hair

Balancing up the pH

There are many commercial hair-care products that have a negative effect on your hair, leaving it dry and brittle. The pH of the hair is an ideal of 4 to 5. And the acidity of the apple cider vinegar means that it can help maintain the pH balance of your hair. The apple cider also removes buildups at the same time. All this while not stripping the hair of its natural oils.

Treats dandruff, itchy and dry scalp

With its antibacterial activities and ability to balance pH levels on the skin, apple cider vinegar makes a great natural treatment for dry and itchy scalps.
The antibacterial and anti-fungal properties also help to get rid of dandruff. It will help you maintain the natural pH of your scalp, which will create a hostile environment for fungus, bacteria or yeast that cases dandruff.

Apple cider vinegar for your hair- helps detangled hair

Apple cider vinegar for hair, is an excellent natural way of detangling hair. Therefore the apple cider works as an alternative to conditioner. The acidity of the apple cider vinegar rinse helps to smooth down the hair cuticle and helps you to enjoy a smooth, frizz-free hair.

Apple cider vinegar rinse adds shine to your hair

Rinsing your hair with apple cider vinegar helps to seal the hair cuticle. As a result, light is reflected off the hair, making it smoother, softer and shinier.

the no poo method
Using apple cider vinegar instead of a regular conditioner will leave your hair shinier.

Prevents split ends

Since apple cider vinegar helps detangle hair, using it regularly as a hair rinse, will help to close the cuticles. This will help to reduce split ends and hair breakage.

Apple cider vinegar has some benefits — but can still make hair brassy

Apple cider vinegar arguably has more going for it as a hair rinse than baking soda. Studies have shown that apple cider vinegar is effective in fighting Candida albicans and Aspergillus niger.
Due to the slightly acidic pH of apple cider vinegar mixed with 2-3 parts water, some experts believe it can also extend the life of hair color. But it has to be applied immediately after hair dye is rinsed off. Most hair dyes are alkaline, which opens up the hair cuticle. When hair color is applied, it can then penetrate to the hair’s inner cortex, where it can react with the hair’s pigment molecules to produce a color change. Acidic solutions applied after, like apple cider vinegar, may reseal the cuticle. This flattening may not only help hair color last longer, but also flatten the cuticle. Leaving your hair easier to comb and a bit shinier.

However, if you try this no poo method, make sure to stop if you see that it is not doing your hair a favor. Still feel like you want to go no poo? Why not try natural supplements that will help nourish your hair from within?

Shop Now for Healthy Hair – Men | Women

Behind the shower curtains of the no poo method as a hair trend

no poo method

Nutrafol already wrote what shampoo is doing to your hair, but in favor of the no poo method. The question still remains: is going cold turkey on lathering up really the best move for everyone? And what does science have to say about it? Here are the facts that you need to keep in your bathroom drawer.

It is a fact that shampoo dries out your hair

As horrifying as it sounds, it is true and that is its job. Shampoos are designed to get rid of sebum, which is a waxy, oily byproduct of glands in your scalp. It protects the hair shaft and makes hair look shiny and healthy. Sebum however is hydrophobic – which means that, at the molecular level, it refuses to buddy up with water. Most of the sebum is going to stay put, no matter how long or how often you stay under the shower. The problem with sebum is that it accumulates, it makes hairs stick together and look greasy. So the detergents in shampoo bind to the sebum and then bind the to water molecules. Which is why the hair is left clean after shampooing it.

Shampoo is not the only thing that makes your hair dry

Water is drying it out as well. When you get your hair wet, the cuticles that usually lie flat on your hair shaft can end up getting mused. When wet, hair becomes more fragile. And even if you are not using shampoo, just rinsing your hair can leave it looking dry and vulnerable to damage. That is why conditioner is so important – it has silicone that smoothens those cuticles and leave the hair looking strong and shiny.

Use apple cider vinegar and baking soda at your own risk

Many praise apple cider and vinegar as some miraculous hair products but not many know that vinegar is very acidic. Pouring it onto your hair is going to weaken it. And if your hair is already weak and you scrub it with baking soda, it will end up more dry and brittle over time. So be careful not to overdo it. There is a healthier, less damaging way to go with the no poo method on your hair: with supplements. Keep an extra eye on those that contains botanical ingredients that support healthy hair.

the not poo method trend
Whether you believe in using apple cider vinegar and baking soda as a no poo method for your hair, supplements are always a good choice for maintaining healthy hair.

Sulfate-free shampoos are kind of a bust

Sulfates, which are commonly used as detergents in shampoos, are damaging to hair. So choosing a sulfate-free shampoo is something that many are considering as a better alternative. But let us unpack this no-sulfate thing a little: Yes, all detergents, by definition, will make your hair less oily — and therefore more dry. But is one kind of shampoo better than the other? The answer is no: Most sulfate-free shampoos use some kind of alternative detergent that behaves exactly the same way. However, by choosing a moisturizing shampoo that has less detergent your hair may retain more oil. If you choose to just rely on the conditioner, you will keep even more of your oils. So read the back of the bottles next time and figure out what works for your hair. Most shampoos are basically identical and contains ingredients that are on some level not good for your hair. For better or worse: your hair is going to get dry when washing it, but it is up to you to choose an alternative.

Prevent hair loss by following these simple steps

There are few things that are more alarming than a noticeably sparser hairline or locks that seem to have lost their volume. Loosing 50 to 100 strands of hair a day is normal, but if you start to lose more than that, it can indicate an issue. It is usually nothing to pull your hair out over. The causes can be anything from genetics to how you are styling your hair. Luckily, thinning hair is usually more of a cosmetic concern rather than a health one, and preventing hair loss is actually something that can be done. However, if you do not see some results within a few months, a simple blood test by your doctor can determine if the hair loss is caused by an underlying health condition.

First things first…

Avoid hairstyles that are to tight

Tight ponytails, cornrows, and anything else that pulls on the small hairs that make up your hairline can cause hair loss. The stress caused by these tight hairstyles pulls too strongly on the delicate hairs of your hairline and hair loss can occur. If you do need to put your hair up in a ponytail, use an elastic that doesn’t have metal. It will help to prevent your hair to get tangled in the elastic and the risk of pulling some of them along the way when removing your ponytail.

Avoid heat tools

Heat is always hard on hair. It causes bonds within the hair strands to fracture, causing brittle hair that breaks and falls out. If you however decide to use a hair straightener or curling iron, make sure to move it every ten seconds. Do not leave it on one area of your hair for too long. Also keep in mind that if you hear sizzling, or if you burn your fingers, the heat setting is too high. Remember that you should try to let your hair dry naturally as often as possible. When you do use styling tools, make sure to use a heat-protecting spray.

Choose your food wisely

It is simple: you are what you eat. So a good idea in order to prevent hair loss is to take a look at your diet. Foods high in vitamins and minerals such as iron, zinc, and vitamin B12 can help prevent hair loss. Make sure your diet includes plenty of leafy greens, nuts, beans, fish, and lean meats. If you are struggling with getting enough nutrients in your daily diet, a good supplement can help cover whatever your diet is missing.

Use products targeted to restore hair growth

Thinning hair and hair loss is a huge cosmetic concern for women so many companies have now created products that are restoring hair growth. All these products contain numerous oils and minerals that support healthy hair growth, destroy bacteria that can cause hair breakage and loss, and ensure a healthy scalp condition as well.

Consider some sort of medication

Minoxidil, the active ingredient in Rogaine, is an over-the-counter medication that can be applied to the hair in liquid or mousse form. The medication works by stimulating the hair follicles and promoting regrowth in as little as six months. If six months seems a little long for results, you can also use a hair-thickening spray in the meantime. The spray coats the existing hair and gives the appearance of a more voluminous mane.

prevent hair loss
Preventing hair loss starts with a few simple steps. Start by making sure your diet contains all the vitamins and minerals that you need. Supplements are a good addition to that diet too.

Don’t skip the scalp massage

Scalp massages are more important than you think. It approves circulation to the scalp and stimulates hair growth. Easiest way to incorporate a scalp massage is when you are in the shower. Move your fingertips in a slow, circular movement around the whole head. Not only will you reduce your own stress but also prevent hair loss and promote healthy hair growth.

Consider essential oils

Oils such as carrot seed, cypress, lavender, and rosemary – just to name a few – all have regenerative, soothing, and balancing properties that can improve the condition of the scalp and aid healthy hair growth. Essential oils are increasingly popular as a healthy option. These are easy to find online or in health stores. Add a few drops to your scalp during your scalp massage and benefit from everything that the oils have to offer.

Castor Oil – 5 Incredible Benefits You Should Know About

Nutrafol | Castor oil

Castor oil is derived from the castor beans seed and is a colorless, odorless and tasteless vegetable oil. It grows naturally in Eastern Africa. Traditionally it has been used to treat constipation, but it also has a ton of beauty benefits. Do you prefer to use natural remedies to get beautiful hair and skin? – Then you should try castor oil!

How to Use Castor Oil

Castor Oil and Hair Growth

Thanks to its high concentration of vitamin E, Omega-6 fatty acids and protein, castor oil is great for aiding healthy hair growth. Vitamin E is an antioxidant that builds and repairs tissue in the body. The omega-6 fat acids are vital for our health and we need to get them from food. They support hair and skin growth, bone health, metabolism and our reproductive system. You will find them in most vegetable oils. Protein is also important for hair growth. As the hair is made up of the protein keratin, a protein rich diet will help our body produce it and thus strengthen our hair. To get the most out of your castor oil, massage it into your scalp. Also apply it on hair strands. You can also mix it with another oil, such as coconut oil. Leave it on over night and wash your hair the next morning.

castor oil
Castor oil makes our hair shiny, strong and promotes hair growth. It is also healthy for your skin.

It Also Fights Scalp Infection

Castor oil has anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties that can help your immune system fight scalp infections. Massaging it into your scalp and leaving it overnight will help treat conditions like dandruff. Thanks to this, it can also help with joint and muscle pain. Native Americans have traditionally consumed it to help relieve lower back pain.

A Great Oil to Fight Split Ends

There are many types of oils that you can use to help fight split ends, but as castor oil has so many other health benefits, why not use that? Apply it to the ends of your hair after showering or whenever you feel dried up. The oil will naturally moisturize your strands, help prevent breakage and make the hair soft and shiny.

General Moisturizer

As a natural and healthy oil derived, castor oil is a great moisturizer for both hair and skin. It is an oil that will easily penetrate your skin, thus providing your hair with moisture from the inside. Make a hair mask by massaging your whole head with castor oil, or adding some to your conditioner or leave-in conditioner. Some tips say to add it to lemon juice and honey, or coconut oil. You can either apply this mixture to your hair before washing it, or leave it overnight. The oil will have the same effect on your skin, so you can apply it to your whole body.

Get Thick Eyelashes and Eyebrows With Castor Oil

It is unclear whether there is any research on this one, but there are many testimonies out there that castor oil helps thicken eyebrows and eyelashes. As it contains ingredients that are beneficial for hair growth, therefore it is not that far fetched to believe it. Many beauty suppliers have castor oil specifically for applying on eyelashes and brows. It could be a cheaper and easier way of achieving longer lashes than having an extension. You can get a cheap bottle of organic castor oil and use an old mascara brush, after cleaning it. Then apply the oil to the base of the lashes and wear it overnight. For the brows, just massage it into them like you do with the scalp. Next morning, use a make up remover or water and wash it all off. Just be careful to not get any oil in your eyes, as some people can have allergic reactions to castor oil. Try a little bit on your arm before applying anywhere else.

The Importance Of a Healthy Overall Lifestyle

Even though there are many amazing oils, vitamins and remedies, the most important thing to achieve a healthy hair growth is to be healthy overall. Eating a lot of vegetables and healthy fats will give your skin glow and make your hair shine. Natural supplements can help fulfill your diet. Exercise is also important to get your heart rate up and your metabolism going. Drinking water will moisturize you from the inside out, and it will show in your hair and your skin. Once you manage keeping up a healthy lifestyle, the miracle oils and remedies will have much more effect.

DigniCap, the Cooling Cap That Protects Your Hair During Chemotherapy

Nutrafol | DigniCap

For most people, hair loss is  what we expect during chemotherapy. But the new patented product DigniCap changes that. The new method of cooling the scalp during and after chemotherapy has a proven effect on hair growth.

Losing Hair During Chemotherapy

Most people lose some or all of their hair when going through chemotherapy. It can be a traumatizing experience, as much of our identity is in our hair. And about one in eight American women will develop breast cancer at some point in their lives. Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer among women. Researchers estimate that some 252,710 women will diagnosed with this disease in 2017.

“We have this huge growing population of breast cancer survivors, and many of them are very traumatized by their treatment,” said Dr. Hope S. Rugo. Rugo is the director of breast oncology and clinical trials education at University of California, San Francisco. The school is working on developing different ways of tackling this problem, one of them being scalp-cooling.

Nutrafol | DigniCap
DigniCap is currently the only scalp-cooling device that has been cleared by the FDA.

Studies Using the DigniCap

The method of cooling the scalp in order to keep hair growth alive is old. However, with new technique available today it works better and is easier. Swedish company Dignitana produces the device that is called the DigniCap. This device was used in a cold cap study from the University of California, San Francisco.

The study involved 122 women with early stage breast cancer. Among the women who received treatment with the cold cap, 66.3 percent kept 50 percent of their hair. In the control group, that did not wear a cool cap, the number was zero. For the scalp-cooling group, three out of five quality-of-life measures were also “significantly better” a month after ending treatment.

How the Device Works

The DigniCap is the only scalp-cooling device that has currently been cleared by the Food and Drug Administration. “Managing the side effects of chemotherapy is a critical component to overall health and recovery,” said William Maisel from the FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health. Our hair is a big part of our identity and losing it can cause emotional trauma. The DigniCap is a safe way of preventing or easing hair loss. As it does not involve any medication or surgery, it is safe from side effects.

The Cap

The cap consists of an inner and an outer cap, and works much like a refrigerator, and are filled with a cooling liquid. Temperature sensors built into the cap regulates how often the liquid circulates. When our head gets cooled off, blood vessels in the scalp constrict. When blood flow to the hair follicles slow down, the metabolism of the follicles also slows down.

This is a breakthrough for cancer treatment, as some women will even refuse to undergo chemotherapy treatment in order to save their hair. Dr. Julie Nangia, who is an assistant professor of medicine at Baylor College of Medicine, said that they “are at a higher risk for relapse and if the cancer comes back, we can’t cure it.” Now, with the option of the DigniCap, it could encourage these women to accept a treatment that could save their life.

What are protective hairstyles and how can they be applied to your hair?

protective hairstyle

With great hair, comes great responsibilities and protective hairstyles are a must for keeping that greatness. So buckle up, take your supplements with a big glass of water and read carefully. Nutrafol gives you some insight into which hairstyles will do the most good for your mane.

What are protective hairstyles?

When tucking away your ends, your hair is in a protective hairstyle. Tucking it away is important because your ends are the oldest and most fragile part of the strand. Washing it frequently and on regular basis, conditioning, styling, and de-tangling requires constant tugging on your hair, leaving it weaker and more exposed to damages. As a result, it is normal to experience some hair fall each time you touch your hair.
Protective hairstyles include hairstyles such as twists, braids, updos and wigs.

Braids

Braids come in all shapes and sizes and serve well as one of the protective hairstyles. They effectively hide your ends from potentially harmful effects of regular styling, manipulation, and the environment. Wear then loosely or as sections of hair gathered together along the scalp, laying closely to the head with no room for movement.

protective hairstyle
Tucking your hair away by making a braid is one protective hairstyle that will prevent the ends from getting damaged.

Twists

Many twists uses a two-strand braiding technique in which, like some braided styles, allow the hair to be separated in sections. Twists are versatile enough to be combined and pinned up, which also qualifies them as the third of the different protective hairstyles, the updo.

Updos

The updo – a hairstyle that calls for your loose hair to be tucked away, smoothed down, and out of your face. This look tends to be favorable during special occasions and formal events; nonetheless, it’s still protecting your ends from getting damaged.

Wigs

Cover your natural hair from root to tip with a wig and give your head and hair a much needed break from constant manipulation and styling. Do not forget to cover your hair with a satin or silk cap prior to placing the wig to prevent friction-based damage to your real hair. And do not forget to remove your wig every night to give your scalp a chance to breath.

French roll

The french roll is great to wear as a protective hairstyle since it is simple and elegant. The french roll can be done quick and easy and is suitable for any hair. Do not forget to vary the position of the hair pins, and do not pull to tightly on the nape or hairline when you create your french roll to prevent thinning and hair loss to this delicate regions.

Now that you know what protective hairstyle is and how you can apply it, Nutrafol can give you some insights on the benefits of protective hairstyles:

  • Protection from the elements;
  • Maintenance of moisture;
  • Length retention;
  • Stylish look.

Protective hairstyles are priceless in themselves. Besides a flawless elegant look, they keep your hair ends tucked and protected from aggressive damaging factors. But can you do more to boost the protective effect further? The answer is yes and this is how you can do it.

  • Nourish your hair and scalp with natural oils or apply hydrating balms before styling your hair;
  • Let your hair dry overnight;
  • Wear a hat to protect your hair from high or low temperatures;
  • Sleep with a satin scarf on your head.

Photo: suez92 by Flickr.

Dry and thin hair — why does it occur and how do you get rid of it?

Contrary from what shampoo bottles say, dry hair is not a hair type — it’s a condition and it can be treated. But the first step to recovery is finding out what’s stripping strands of their natural oils. Nutrafol had a talk with hairstylist Sylvia Vaught on what causes dry and thin hair and how you manage to take care of it when the damage is done.

What are the causes of dry and thin hair?

The weather

Summer comes with overexposure to the sun, swimming, and products with alcohol, which all dehydrate hair. And winter comes with extreme cold followed by overheated indoors, which will make your hair parched and dry.

Smoothing treatments

Too many smoothing treatments done close together can leave your locks super thirsty. These treatments work effectively to smooth out hair and make it luscious and dreamy, but if they are done too frequently, the buildup of protein on the hair causes it to become brittle, says hairstylist Sylvia Vaught, who’s also the founder of L.A.-based home blowout service Blow Me.

Hormone changes

Birth control pills, pregnancy, and menopause are all times of physiological shifts within the body that can have an adverse effect on the hair, including dryness and brittleness, Vaught continues. She recommends seeing your doctor to discuss treatment options.

Using the wrong shampoo

Not all shampoos are created equal: Vaught warns against using your man’s drying shampoo when yours runs out. You would be better off rinsing your hair a few times with just water to remove some of the oil, rather than risk the stripping effects of a shampoo that is not right for you, she says.

Brushing hair when wet

Remember that hair is most susceptible to breakage when it is wet, says Vaught. This won’t necessarily dry the hair, but it will leave the ends brittle and lead to breakage down the entire strand, and may result in dry and thin hair. So, instead of brushing wet hair, use a comb with a bit of leave-in conditioner on it.

Daily heat styling

Whether it’s the dryer or flat iron, daily heat to the hair will strip the hair of moisture. This causes quite a bit of unnecessary damage that can be avoided, says Vaught. If heat is imperative, aim to keep the temperature below 400 degrees.

Dry and thin hair
Adding some nourishing oil to your dry hair always helps. Or why not try some nourishing supplements as well?

How to fix damage that’s already been done

Go thicker in the winter

Dry and brittle hair is a common problem year round, but these dry winter months leave many searching for a magic moisturizing solution, says Vaught. A simple fix: Go heavier on the conditioner. Just as you may use a heavier face cream, your hair also needs a heavier dose of moisture.

Straighten hair when wet

Apply argan oil, or some other essential oil, onto damp hair, and run the iron over it for a quick heat conditioning treatment. You will notice a dramatic difference in just one application. Keep in mind, this should not be a regular part of your hair care regimen as frequent application of heat is not good for the hair.

…Or skip the straightener all together

If hair won’t stay completely straight, go for a different look. How about using a salt texturized to create a bit of movement instead, says Vaught.

Deep condition once a week

Mark one day on your calendar for a conditioning mask reminder. Simply wash your hair, put on a deep conditioning mask, wrap your hair in a hot towel for 30 minutes, and voila, says Vaught. Your hair will be silkier and smoother.

Use sulfate-free formulas

These formulas are most commonly recommended for those with color-treated hair because sulfates fade color. However, they also remove moisture. Make sure to wash and condition hair every time with sulfate-free formulas.

Sun protect your hair and it will stay thicker and healthier longer

It goes without saying — when out in the sun, it is important to sun protect your skin. But what about your hair?
And lately, there are all sorts of products promising protection for our scalp and hair. But how on earth does SPF for hair even work? We clearly can’t load up on chalky, heavy lotion in our hair — so what are our options? Nutrafol talked with some experts to give you the best hair-care tips before you hit the outdoors. Paying attention to your mane and sun protect it, is now more important than ever.

What does sun damage to the hair look like?

By stepping outside without protection, you’re putting your hair at risk. These risks include faded color due to oxidation, lack of moisture, and overall distress, explains Ric Pipino, vice president of global creative at Alterna Haircare. These short-term effects make strands look and feel dull and dehydrated, but the longer-term problem is premature hair aging, he continues.
This process could mean a depletion of volume. You know that great, thick ponytail you’re used to? As you age, it’ll get thinner. And the sun only makes this process a whole lot faster.
The summer also brings wind, chlorination and salt water that produce free radicals which attack the hair fiber, says Pipino. These harsh seasonal foes weaken the hair’s integrity, putting you at risk for an overall withered, brittle appearance.

But doesn’t the sun only affect people who color their hair?

Not exactly. Although sun damage on dyed hair is more noticeable, it still affects everyone. The sun’s rays bleach both artificial and natural pigments. This is why it’s important to stay protected when you’re outside for long periods of time, explains Sacha Mitic, founder of Sachajuan. No matter the color, the sun will react with your texture, ultimately resulting in a dimmer, dryer appearance. Even though those rays don’t discriminate, chemically treated hair is more sensitive and therefore more prone to moisture loss, Mitic continues.

sun protect
Add some nutraceutical supplements as a part of your sun protect treatment. This will help your hair to stay healthier during the summer.

How do you sun protect your hair and scalp the best?

The goal when using sun protection in our hair, is to protect it from bleaching and to prevent moisture loss. You could apply SPF lotion for your skin to the scalp. But since that’s tricky, reach for a hat says Mitic. Alternatively, when you’re outside, definitely use a hair product with UVA/UVB protection and work it from your roots to your ends. Also, try a lower bun that sits at the nape of your neck, Pipino adds.
Try applying a conditioner, all over your hair, then throw it in a knot during a trip to the pool or beach. And do not forget to hydrate your body too while you are at it. Adding supplements full of vitamins and nutrients to improve moisture, strengthen and support your hair could help your hair while you enjoy the sun.