By David Alexander via Byrdie
Having a great looking head of hair involves more than just getting a great haircut or choosing the right styling product—it also includes knowing how to take care of your scalp and how to properly take care of your hair. Following are my tips on how to maintain the best-looking head of hair possible.
Maintaining Scalp Health
First, you’ve got to care for your scalp—just like a plant needs proper soil to grow, your hair needs a solid foundation. To maintain proper scalp health, keep yourself as healthy as possible—proper diet and overall health are reflected in the health of your scalp. Next, you'll need a good daily shampoo with the proper shampoo for your scalp type. Once or twice a week, supplement your shampoo with a little exfoliation using a shampoo brush or exfoliating shampoo.
A weekly scalp massage (using the fingertips and a firm pressure in a circular motion) can also help stimulate good circulation. Of course, knowing and correcting common scalp problems such as dandruff is another tool for maintaining a healthy scalp.
Caring for Your Hair
Next, knowing basic hair care tips and how to tackle common hair problems are key to a great looking head of hair. Proper drying and combing is a good start—when the hair is wet it is much more susceptible to damage by rough towel drying or combing. To properly towel dry, shake out the excess water and stroke your hair in the direction it grows, rather than rubbing the hair with the towel. This will help prevent hair from being stretched out damaged. When combing or brushing, use a wide-tooth comb or brush and avoid tugging on the hair.
Additionally, we recommend avoiding chemical services such as coloring or relaxing as these chemicals can also cause damage. Avoiding tight hats or ponytails can also help prevent damage.
Getting a Great Haircut
Now that you’ve taken steps to ensure proper scalp health and hair care, it is essential to get a great haircut. This starts with selecting a style that suits your face shape and finding a barber or stylist who can cut it well. These people are trained to know what will work with your hair or face shape, so if they make suggestions, listen to them. You may find you’ve been getting the wrong haircut and that there are better options for your hair type and face shape. When visiting the barber or salon, make an appointment (if possible) and show up with a freshly washed head of hair (and one which hasn’t been under a hat).
This will help your hair cutter to see how your hair lays naturally and cut your hair so that it works well with the natural growth pattern (thus, reducing styling time).
Knowing Your Products
Of course, a truly great cut will look good even without styling products. That said, always make sure to ask the person who cuts your hair for recommendations. There are dozens of different types of styling products—each is designed to work well for a specific type of style or texture. For example, an aggressive pomade may not be well suited for fine hair just as a light cream isn’t going to do much for coarse, thick hair. Choosing the right product for the look you’re trying to achieve is simple.
Once you and your barber or stylist have selected the right product, be sure to have them show you how (and how much) to use the product. Some products, such as pomades or waxes, require a little learning curve before you can master their usage, so it’s important to know how before you walk out of the salon with the product.
Each of these four areas plays a significant part in how your hair looks, so I recommend following all of these tips consistently to maximize your results. Since your hair, next to your face, is one of the first things people notice about you, the extra time and attention to detail is worth it.