Whether your hair is straight, wavy, or incredibly curly, one thing’s for sure: Nobody wants damaged hair. And yet, most of our manes are plagued with split ends and a straw-like texture. There are obvious ways to keep the damage to a minimum — you can ditch your straightening iron and get regular trims, for starters. But there are lesser-known ways to keep your hair healthy without changing up your routine. The below pointers won’t drastically improve your hair overnight, but you’ll likely notice a considerable difference in a few weeks.
1. Stock up on biotin
For some, the key to better hair can be lying in wait at your pharmacy. According to Healthline, biotin is a complex vitamin that churns food into energy, and ultimately keeps your hair, skin, nails, and even liver healthy. Lucky for you, any pharmacy has biotin supplements available so your hair gets the extra TLC it deserves. But before you start taking biotin, be sure to check the label so you can ensure you’re consuming the correct dosage.
2. Stick to a cold shower
After a long day at the office, very few things sound as soothing as a hot shower — especially when it’s freezing outside. But little do you know, that hot shower you love so much can wreak havoc on your hair. “Blasting your scalp with extremely hot water will dry out your hair and create tangles that could result in breakage,” Brian Phillips, founder of World Salon, told Stylist. Cranking the temperature dial to cold locks in the moisture and keeps your hair looking shiny. Plus, if you take your showers in the morning, it can give you a much-needed energy kick.
3. Don’t stress
Most people know that stress can lead to sleep problems, irritability, and possibly high blood pressure when left unchecked. But did you know it can stunt hair growth, too? According to ScienceDaily, stress is oftentimes the cause behind unexpected hair loss, which is the exact opposite of healthy hair. To keep your stress to a minimum — and keep hair loss at bay — find a way to unwind. Whether it’s yoga, meditation, or curling up with a good book, you’ll look and feel great after some relaxation.
4. Treat yourself to a scalp massage
Consider this one more pampering than work. It’s no secret rubbing your head for five to 10 minutes can help you destress after a long day at the office, but it can also remove dead skin flakes and promote blood flow to the hair cells, which is great for your hair. To make your scalp massage even more luxurious, go ahead and add a few drops of eucalyptus oil to the mix.
5. Rethink your towel
If you have medium to long hair, you probably wrap your locks in a towel to soak up extra water and keep your hair out of your face while you’re doing your makeup. That trusty towel, however, may be a culprit for your damaged hair. “Your hair gets caught in all the woven fibers and since most women almost always wrap it too tight around their face, all those tiny, fragile strands around your face are more prone to break,” hair stylist Mark Townsend told Cosmopolitan. Instead, trade in your hefty towel for a lighter microfiber option — it’ll help dry your hair without causing damage. If you’re on a budget, wrapping your hair in a old cotton T-shirt will offer similar results.
6. Switch up your ponytail
Whether you’re washing your face or hitting the gym, some situations call for a messy bun or ponytail. But the next time you spring for an elastic, think long and hard about where you place your pony. According to StyleCaster, pulling and tying your hair back in the same place time after time again can cause your strands to weaken and eventually break overtime. While we recommend keeping your hair down as much as possible, you can lessen the damage by switching off between high and low ponytails.
7. Invest in a hair mask
If you’re looking to treat your straw-like ends, a hair mask is a smart buy. While the only way to get rid of split ends once and for all is a haircut, hair masks are packed with tons of nourishing ingredients and can help temporarily mend broken ends. Most people will tell you to apply a hair mask once a week, but some beauty editors slather on a mask whenever they wash their hair. Every hair texture is different, so one hair mask won’t work wonders on everyone. In general you should look for masks that include natural oils like almond and jojoba as well as proteins, but smearing on some coconut oil will work nicely, too.