Diagnosing Weak Hair
Weak hair can be defined as limp, droopy, thin or falling out. Split ends, extreme dryness or excessive oiliness can all be signs of weak hair. It is often genetic, handed down from a parent, or it can be caused by hormonal factors such as menopause or childbirth, birth control pills or other medications, disease or illness, poor diet, stress, a fungal infection of the scalp or cancer treatments. Environmental impact from sun exposure, chlorine or salt water, air conditioning or heating and pollution can weaken hair.
It is normal to lose 100 to 150 hairs each day, but since most people have about 100,000 hairs on the head, this loss is not significant. When a hair is lost, a new one grows back in its place. This process continues until middle age, when hair re-growth slows down or stops.
Hair that is lost from breakage is not the same as normal loss. Hair that falls out naturally comes from the scalp, typically with the bulb attached. Breakage from weakness is when the hair breaks off below the scalp. While some breakage is normal, excessive breakage indicates weakened hair. Weak hair often shows itself as split ends, which can travel up the hair shaft and break off.
1. Use the Right Products to Avoid Further Damage to Weak Hair
A good stylist can help you detect and diagnose weak hair, and make recommendations on appropriate product usage. Using the best products for weak hair is essential to restoring troubled tresses. For weak, delicate hair, use a shampoo, conditioner and styling products that will reinforce the hair by infusing protein, amino acids and other strengthening properties.
Don’t use a shampoo that will dry out hair, and when using a reinforcing conditioner, start at the roots and work the conditioner through to the ends. You can enhance conditioning by wrapping a hot towel or shower cap over your head to allow it to penetrate deeply into the hair follicles and shafts. A protein mask or deep conditioning treatment can also be beneficial to locks that have lost their strength.
Keep in mind, however, that the products we use on our hair can be overdone. You can have too much of a good thing, and excessive product usage over time causes damaged and weak hair. When hair is already damaged, compensating with more product can weigh it down, making weak hair look dull and rough. Avoid styling products that contain alcohol, for example, which can be drying to hair; and try to limit shampooing to every other day or even less frequently if your scalp doesn’t produce too much oil.
2. Take Care of Weak Hair by Limiting Chemical Use
Abusing and over-processing hair can lead to weak tresses. Ongoing use of strong chemicals through coloring, bleaching, straightening or permanents can damage hair fiber and make hair weak. When used too frequently or in too strong a dose, these chemicals can cause permanent damage, making weak hair dry and frizzy, with split ends and breakage the result. Counteract chemical warfare by using a shampoo and conditioner for damaged hair and intensive conditioning treatments. Look for styling products containing stearyl alcohol, a fatty alcohol that helps strengthen and soften weak hair.
For severely weakened hair, use a deep-conditioning protein treatment once a week or so. Apply the treatment all over hair that has been cleansed with a hydrating shampoo and leave it on overnight (wrap hair into a bun and sleep with a towel on your pillow). Rinse the treatment out in the morning. When you do opt for haircolor, ask your stylist about conditioner-rich and ammonia-free professional formulas.
Excessive heat from blow-dryers, hot curlers, curling irons and flat irons can cause weak hair and breakage. Using a too-hot blow-dryer on wet hair heats the water remaining under the hair’s cuticle and causes it to expand inside the hair, leaving spaces–or blisters –inside fibers, which weakens hair. These parched strands soak up moisture from the air, causing frizz.
Rather than fighting your natural texture, work with what you’ve got. For straight hair, enhance its health and shine by using cleansing and conditioning products specifically designed to create shine. For curly hair, use products created for wavy texture and scrunch the hair with your fingers to reduce frizz.
To nurse fried strands back to optimum health, use a hydrating shampoo and conditioner, then fortify with a strengthening product prior to styling. Keep styling tools set on low temps, apply heat protection products before styling with dryers or irons to protect from thermal damage and follow with finishing products that are infused with protective oils.
4. Strengthen Weak Hair by Switching Up Your Style
Change how you wear your hair every day: Wearing your hair down day after day can result in tangles and split ends. But ponytails, tight braids and dreadlocks can also stress tresses and cause weakening. Switch styles every day to avoid strain on weak hair and give your look a pick-me-up. When wearing hair down, use a strengthening shampoo, conditioner and styling products to protect weak hair. When wearing it up, use fortifying gel or mousse and hair-protecting elastics with no metal on them.
The friction of over brushing and wearing tight-fitting hats can also cause hair to weaken. Don’t get too zealous when brushing, and never brush wet hair. It’s best to use padded brushes and those with animal hair bristles on delicate locks. A good detangling spray will help defend weak hair while brushing. Spritz it on before combing through wet hair to ease strand stress.
5. The Frizz Factor, and How To Prevent Frizz
When frizziness is apparent, keeping hair trimmed can help prevent further damage and stop the splits from traveling up the hair shaft.
Using a keratin shampoo and conditioner can help restore protein to weak, damaged hair and help bring it back to good health. But remember, this won’t happen overnight; you’ll need to use it regularly to notice a difference.
After shampooing, there are a variety of weak hair serums and leave-in conditioners available to help tame frizz. When using oil-based serums, avoid putting them directly on your scalp, as it can become greasy and make the roots look oily.
When styling, choose finishing products that enhance smoothness and shine.
6. How To Treat Split-Ends: A Hair Divided is Not Happy and Healthy
There is no total cure for split ends, but as mentioned above, you can keep them at bay with a trim every six to eight weeks. For more temporary remedies, use a gentle shampoo and conditioner, and apply a treatment oil to just the tips of tresses. When styling, reinforcing products are best, as they help bond the ends together.
7.How To Care For Your Scalp: Hair Health Starts at the Top
When working to heal weak hair, the first line of defense is to start with the scalp. If your scalp is healthy, your hair will follow suit. Scalps can be dry and flaky or oily, but there are products designed to work with each type.
For dry scalps that feel tight or itchy, a moisturizing oil can be massaged into the scalp for five minutes before showering. A hair mask or deep conditioning treatment will help provide moisture to dry scalps and weak hair.
If your head is itchy and you are regularly finding flakes on your shoulders, you may have dandruff. Nothing kills a good look quicker than a shoulder covered in scalp snow, so if dandruff is a problem, research the variety of dandruff shampoos, conditioners and treatments on the market, or get a recommendation from your stylist or medical provider.
8. A Healthy Diet Helps Restore Weak Hair
Weak and thinning hair can be caused by what you do to your hair, but it can also be brought on by what you do to your body. An unhealthy diet, or too-low of a caloric intake (crash diet), can lead to hair falling out, as can endocrine disorders.
What you eat has an effect on the health of your hair and scalp. The nutrients from healthy food provide the energy that fuels hair growth. A diet that includes iron-rich protein feeds your scalp and hair by building strong keratin, the protein that strengthens hair, improves texture and stimulates growth. Consume lean meat, fish, low-fat cheeses, egg whites, spinach and soy to keep your head happy in more ways than one. In between meals, snack on fruits, vegetables and grains.
Vitamins are also key to hair health. Vitamin C, or collagen, keeps blood vessels in the scalp healthy by supporting hair follicles. Vitamin C also helps you absorb iron from plant proteins. Biotin, an essential B vitamin, strengthens weak hair and improves its texture. Biotin is found in salmon, carrots, egg yolks and sardines. Vitamin supplements can help weak hair as well. Silica, a nutrient found in oats, rice, cucumbers, asparagus, cabbage and sunflower seeds, supports growth of hair and nails, as does calcium, found in dairy products, fish and leafy greens.
Water is another essential for your body and your hair. Adequate hydration helps keep your body functioning like a well-oiled machine, and helps strengthen weak hair. It’s best to drink plenty of water throughout the day and evening.
If the hair care tips listed in this article don’t help make your weak hair stronger and thicker, pay a visit to your doctor or dermatologist to rule out a medical condition.