About Hair Care and Styling
Read about hair care and styling in ‘Beauty: The Ultimate Cosmetic Makeover Guide. Book 2: Body, Teeth & Hair‘.
One school of thought holds that a person’s overall personal appearance has three main elements; the body, the face and the hair on their head; and if two out of three of these elements are looking good, then you look great overall. Bodies and faces are largely determined by genes and age, though nutrition and lifestyle play an important role.
The easiest and quickest of these three components to control is your hair. Proper hair care and styling can make your locks look beautiful.
The appearance of the hair on your head has several components of its own:
- Texture – are the hairs fine or coarse, smooth or rough, curly or straight?
- Color – natural hair colors range from jet black through brown and auburn to blonde, gray and white. Hair dyes have an almost limitless range of colors.
- Shape – by this we mean the overall shape of your hairstyle. It may be upstanding, wide, long, short, shaved, voluminous etc.
- Style – For example page-boy, mullet beehive, bouffant, tousled, quiffed, crimped, permed,
- Balance: oily, normal or dry
- Condition: healthy or damaged by sun, ill-health, chemicals etc.
Hair growth rate
Hair grows faster in warmer weather.  Hair growth rate also fluctuates with changes in our hormone levels. Numerous solutions have been proffered to increase the rate at which hair grows, including the use of herbs, eggs, ‘nourishing oils’ etc. Of these, two are most likely to be successful:
- scalp massage
- a nutritious diet
Scalp massage increases blood flow to the scalp. This technique involves using the fingers and hands to rub, knead and apply pressure to the skin of the scalp. Increased blood flow may nourish the growing roots of the hair follicles, no matter which ‘nourishing oils’ are applied.
The cells that make up each strand of hair require a regular supply of key nutrients. An overall balanced diet is necessary for a healthy scalp and healthy hair. A lack of zinc, for example, can lead to hair loss and a dry, flaky scalp.
For healthy hair your food should contain protein iron vitamins C, E and A omega 3 fatty acids, zinc, selenium and biotin. All of these nutrients can be supplied by fresh fruit and vegetables, legumes, whole grains, nuts and seeds.
The living part of the hair, the root or follicle is the part that is affected by massage and diet. It is also the invisible part. The strands of hair that are visible, the hair shafts, are actually no longer alive. Diet and massage will not affect them. Other treatments will, however. This is where those ‘nourishing oils’ come into play. Hair shafts that are in good condition would look smooth under a microscope.
Hair shine depends on the condition of the hair cuticle. The cuticle is the hair shaft’s outer most layer. It is formed from dead cells which overlap, like scales. The cuticle of shiny, healthy hair-shafts is smooth and intact, with closely overlapping scales. It is the smoothness of the overlapping scales that reflects light, making hair look shiny.
Everyday grooming activities such as combing and brushing, sloughs off some of these cuticular scales. The older section at the end of the hair shaft usually has more scales missing. The process of losing scales is called ‘weathering’. It is made worse by vigorous brushing and combing, and by the application of chemicals. Dyed or permanently waved hair has to have a disrupted cuticle in order for the waving lotion or dye to penetrate. The greater the damage to the cuticle, the duller the hair looks.
Healthy hair feels smooth and soft. Hair that has been damaged feels rough and harsh. Again, this is due to the condition of the cuticle. Hair shafts with an undamaged cuticle have a smooth surface.
Frizzy hair is a sign of cuticular damage. The shafts of frizzy hair tend to accumulate static electricity, because they gain a tiny electrical charge if the cuticle is broken. This causes the hairs to fly apart and separate, especially at the ends.
Keeping Hair Healthy
Read about how to care for your hair to keep it looking its best. ‘Beauty: The Ultimate Cosmetic Makeover Guide. Book 2: Body, Teeth & Hair‘.
 ‘Seasonal changes in human hair growth’ VALERIE A. RANDALL and F. J. G. EBLING Article first published online: 29 JUL 2006 DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2133.1991.tb00423.xby