10 Tips for Thicker Hair
Not every model’s hair is naturally thick, strong and shiny. So why does it look that way? Pharmacist and hair expert, Darryl Segal, shares his secrets for glossier, thicker hair, and encouraging hair growth.
1. Before you wash, brush.
Brushing your hair well before washing will help loosen flakes of dandruff and dirt, and disperse the oils along the hair shaft for easier removal.
2. Wash it often.
A healthy head of hair begins with a healthy scalp. Keeping the hair follicles free of oils and other matter is essential to scalp health. Wash your hair every day, if possible, and never exceed two days before washing. Before applying shampoo, thoroughly wet the hair for a minute or so. This will ensure your shampoo is well dispersed. Concentrate on cleansing the scalp, not the hair. Rubbing shampoo into the hair shaft can rough up the hair’s outer scales (cuticle), diminishing shine. My scalp cleansing shampoo safely removes grease and toxins from the hair follicles, while gently cleansing the hair shaft. Be sure to use warm water when washing your hair. Hot water has a softening effect of the scalp, making it easier to pull hairs from their follicles.
3. Rinse well.
The first rule of rinsing hair is, when you think you’ve rinsed all the shampoo away, rinse for a minute more! The most common cause of dull, lifeless hair is applying conditioner before shampoo is completely washed away. Use cool water to rinse your hair, as this will help close the cuticle and increase shine.
4. Use conditioner.
Conditioner helps to “plump out” the hair shaft and seal the cuticle for thick and shiny hair. You do not need to leave a good quality conditioner, such as my nutrient conditioner, on your hair for more than 30 seconds. It works instantly. Rinse well before gently patting your hair dry with a soft towel.
5. Use a comb before drying.
Brushing the hair when wet is a strict no-no. Hair is at its weakest when wet. Using a brush will stretch the weakened hair and it will break. A widetoothed comb is the best way to detangle damp hair. To detangle long hair, begin combing at the ends of the hair, and gradually work up to the roots.
6. Dry carefully.
If your hairstyle permits, simply let your hair air-dry. Since most of us use a hairdryer, however, it’s important to recognize what aspects of drying can damage the hair.
- Never have the heat set on “high.” The airflow, not the heat setting, removes most moisture from the hair. High heat can damage the hair shaft and lead to frizziness.
- Never apply heat to one section of hair for more than a few seconds. If that section remains damp, simply redirect the hairdryer for a few more seconds then bring back to that section to complete drying.
- Never apply heat less than six inches away from the hair. If you have followed tip#3 and used cool water to rinse your hair, blow drying can help restore warmth and blood-flow to the scalp. It is beneficial to lean forwards when drying your hair, to further encourage bloodflow.
7. Massage, massage.
Massaging your scalp will also improve circulation within the follicles. It is important for the follicles to receive maximum blood-flow, as blood carries with it all the nutrients for healthy, shining hair. The application of a nutrient-rich enhancement product, such as my Scalp Formula, before massaging your scalp will help prevent hair loss and encourage healthy new growth. (This formulation is best applied at night before retiring or in the morning before shampooing.) Use only your fingertips for hair massage, never a massaging tool which can damage the hair. Use all ten fingertips and always massage from the front of the scalp to the back. Do not slide your fingertips over your scalp; instead, anchor them and gradually move them apart, then back again. Repeat this all over your scalp, ending at the nape. Massage your scalp in this way as often as you can, at least once a day. Your scalp should feel tingly, refreshed and looser after this exercise, and you, yourself, should feel calm and relaxed.
8. Eat hair-friendly foods.
Just as foods play a role in the health of your body, so they are vital to the health of your hair. Generally speaking, what is good for your body is also good for your hair. Here are the basic “food rules” for healthy, shining hair:
- Get enough protein. Proteins are the building blocks of the body’s tissues, including the hair follicles. Your hair itself is built from a protein called keratin. Choose high quality proteins that are low in fats for all-over wellness. Fish, beans, tofu, egg whites, poultry and lean meats are all good proteins.
- Take a hair-health supplement. Hurried lifestyles often make it difficult to obtain all the vitamins and minerals for healthy hair growth. A good hair health supplement will provide you with the insurance you need. My hair supplement contains extracts of rooibos, silica (horsetail extract), nettle, Fo-Ti (a Chinese herb that encourages hair growth and reduces greying), and saw palmetto to help reduce the build up of DHT—a hormone that dermatologists hold responsible for falling hair.
- Keep animal fats to a minimum. Clogged arteries lead to reduced circulation, and a reduction of nutrients to the scalp. Supplement your diet with oils that are rich in Omega- 3 fatty acids such as fish oils and flax oils.
9. Know your ingredients.
You regularly apply shampoo to your scalp—in the case of many people, daily. Shouldn’t you also protect yourself from dangerous chemicals? Sodium lauryl sulphate (SLS), sodium laureth sulfate, cocamide DEA, sodium chloride and artificial colouring agents should all be avoided.
10. Minimize hair loss.
If your hair is falling, invest in a haircare programme that helps reduce hair loss. Since many “snake-oil” sellers make their living from making promises they can’t keep, do your research. Rooibos extract, present in all my products, has been scientifically demonstrated to significantly reduce hair loss and, in many cases, increase hair growth.