MEN’S HAIR CARE TIPS
It’s amazing how many ads for shampoos and styling products you see on television that claim to promote “healthy hair!” Let’s get real, people! There is no such thing as “healthy hair.” Hair is basically made up of protein and keratin. The hair itself has no blood supply and no nervous system. Hair is not alive, so it cannot be “healthy.” Because hair is not a living structure, it cannot repair itself and must be maintained properly to preserve strength, elasticity, and shine. Some shampoos and conditioners claim to “repair the damage” to your hair. They simply cannot. The first step in maintaining healthy looking hair is to maintain a healthy scalp and following these mens hair care tips.
Once hair is damaged, the only way to “repair” it is to cut off the damaged length. Just like your car, your hair needs proper maintenance. The following are a few mens hair care tips to keep your hair looking great… looking “healthy!”
Towel Drying is one of the leading causes of damage to men’s hair. Guys love to take a towel and rub that hair like crazy. The problem here is that when hair is wet, it is also very easily damaged. When “rubbing” the hair with a towel, some of the hairs become tangled in the threads of the towel and are stretched to the breaking point, causing damage to the cuticle and split ends. To minimize damage from towel drying, shake out the excess water and then stroke your hair with the towel in the direction it grows. This may take a bit longer but it’s worth it. Remember, though, the damage that is already done cannot be fixed, but after a few haircuts, you’ll see the difference.
Blow Drying is also a leading cause of hair damage. It can dry out the hair and scalp. Haircuts for Men is just not a big fan of the blow dryer, but if you must blow, then follow these tips. First, to prevent damage from blow drying, apply a thermal styling spray or detangler to the hair. This will make it easier to comb and protect against heat damage. Next, make sure to hold the dryer 6-10 inches away from the hair and move it briskly from side to side. This will keep the hair from becoming damaged by heat.Finally, avoid drying the hair completely. Leaving the hair slightly damp will prevent drying out the hair.
Easy On That Comb, Pal
When hair is wet, prevent damage by using a wide-tooth comb or brush. This will limit damage caused by the comb or brush pulling on the hair. I love the Conair Velvet Touch Paddle Hair Brush and the Cricket Ultra Clean Comb for these tasks.
Wash In Lukewarm Water
Water that is very hot can dry out the hair and scalp. Take it easy on the heat.
Avoid Chemical Abuse
Repeatedly coloring or perming hair can wreak havoc. Chemicals used to process hair can be very harsh to your hair and scalp. Haircuts for Men does not endorse use of at-home chemical products. A good barber or stylist will know how to properly prepare your hair and scalp and chose the best product to protect hair from damage.
Don’t Over Wash
Feel free to shampoo daily. Professional shampoos are designed to deposit softening agents, moisturizers and protectants into the hair shaft. But, when you shampoo, concentrate on cleansing the scalp. The hair will be sufficiently cleansed by rinsing the shampoo out of the hair.
Make Hair Grow Faster and Stronger
Eating well, drinking plenty of water, taking vitamins, getting plenty of sleep, and living a stress free lifestyle will promote faster growth of the hair. The hair is often a reflection of the entire body. A body that is healthy and well maintained will likely have hair that is strong, shiny, and “healthy looking.” A hair vitamin such as Natrol Biotin can also help.
Ditch The Ponytail and Ball Cap
Try to avoid wearing tight ponytails or baseball caps which can cause “traction alopecia.” Tight styles can cause breakage and pull hair out of the scalp. If worn long enough, damage can become permanent. If you find yourself wearing a ponytail or ball cap to keep the hair out of your face, then perhaps it is time for a new haircut better suited to your lifestyle.
Frizzy hair is caused by a low amount of moisture and protein. To control frizz, use a good moisturizing conditioner. You can also apply a “smoothing” serum such to add shine and manageability. Baxter of California Grooming Cream is a good option.
Brighten Dull Hair
Hair becomes dull when the cuticle (the outer layers of the hair shaft) is damaged. Well maintained cuticle layers lay flat (like fish scales) and reflect light. When the cuticle is damaged or raised hair tends to become caught on other hair shafts and reflects light poorly, leading to a dull look. Following the steps discussed above will help protect the cuticle and brighten dull hair.
Watch the Pool Water
Pool water contains chemicals that can dry, damage, and discolor hair. To minimize damage from chlorine and other chemicals, always wet the hair with tap water before entering the pool. This will help prevent your hair from absorbing water from the pool. Haircuts for Men recommends taking a spary bottle filled with tap water and a tablespoon of leave-in conditioner (such as Paul Mitchell The Conditioner) to the pool. Before getting in the pool (and frequently durning swimming), wet your hair completely with your water/conditioner mixture. This will help prevent damage, dryness, and discoloration caused by pool water. If you notice discoloration, use of a Clarifying Shampoo (such as Redken Clean Brew Extra Cleansing Shampoo) can help.
Caring for Straight Hair
Wash every other day with a gentle shampoo and follow with a light conditioner. If you’re maintaining a longer style, have it trimmed every six weeks to remove split ends. Pomade will help keep hair relaxed and natural while adding shine and separation.
Caring for Thinning Hair
Choose water-based products that won’t leave a heavy residue and weigh hair down and provide volume and lift. A thickening shampoo and conditioner will help. Keep the cut short and choppy and it will appear fuller. Longer hair will make hair appear thin and stringy.
Caring for Wavy Hair
To minimize excessive volume (pouffiness), use a hydrating product and dense conditioner to add weight. A medium-lenght cut will work well for a versatile look. For styling, a pomade (such as Baxter of California Pomade) will add shine and weight.
Caring for Curly Hair
Curly hair’s structure can stop natural oils from reaching the hair’s ends leaving you with a frizzy look. Use a strong moisturizer to keep hair soft. Keeping hair cut short will help maintain a neat look. Longer styles should be layered to reduce volume. Wash hair no more often than every other day and follow with a good conditioner. A good leave-in conditioner will help add extra moisture. Style hair with an anti-frizz serum.
MEN’S SCALP CARE TIPS
A healthy scalp is essential to great looking hair. Below are mens scalp care tips on maintaining scalp health and preventing common problems. Of course, proper hair care for men is also key to maintaining healthy looking hair.
KEEP YOUR SCALP CLEAN
Maintaining a clean scalp is just one of the mens scalp care tips that will keep your hair looking healthy!
Know What’s In Your Shampoo
The scalp should be cleansed using a shampoo that is mild as possible. Try to find a shampoo that is acid based, rather than alkaline based. Acid based shampoos are more mild to the skin (and hair). Look for shampoos that have a pH of 4.5 to 5.5. Also, look at the ingredients in your shampoo. The key cleanser used in many shampoos is Sodium Laureth Sulfate. Jack Black All-Over Wash is a great pH balanced shampoo and body wash just for guys!
Avoid Drying Problems
Wash hair in lukewarm water (hot water promotes a dry scalp) and avoid drying the scalp with a blowdryer.
Once or twice per week, remove dead skin and dirt from the scalp with an exfoliating scrub made for use on the face or scalp (such as Baxter of California Face Scrub).
Use of a good moisturizing conditioner not only helps keep the hair looking good, but it’s also great for helping the scalp maintain moisture.
A good scalp massage promotes blood flow to the scalp, soothes nerves, relaxes muscles, keeps the scalp flexible, and promotes hair growth and luster. Oh, and it feels great, too. Once per week, massage the scalp using firm pressure on upward strokes. Fingers should be placed under the hair (to avoid pulling) and massage should be performed using the balls of the fingertips in a circular motion. Massage the entire scalp for three or four minutes.
RECOGNIZE AND PREVENT SCALP PROBLEMS
Several scalp conditions, left untreated, may become larger problems and lead to hair loss. Below are a few common scalp problems. If any of the following conditions exist, please consult your dermatologist. Recognizing and preventing scalp problems is just one of the mens scalp care tips that will keep your hair looking healthy!
Acne is a cronic inflammatory disease of the oil glands. When the hair follicle is filled with excess oil and dirt, a blackhead forms and causes a blockage at the mouth of the follicle. This causes irritation and often leads to the development of pus-filled pimples. The treatment for mild acne is to reduce the skin’s oiliness by application of cleansers morning, noon and night. Regular exfoliation can also be helpful. Several creams containing Benzoyl Peroxide or Salicylic Acid can help prevent acne. Persistent or severe acne should always be treated by a dermatologist. Clean & Clear Clear Advantage Acne Spot Treatment is a good option for treating minor pimples on the scalp.
There are two common forms of Dandruff: Dry Dandruff and Greasy Dandruff. The principle signs of Dry Dandruff are white scales on the hair and scalp accompanied by itching. Greasy or Waxy Dandruff is characterized by scaliness of the epidermis, mixed with oils which causes it to stick to the scalp in patches. Dandruff may be associated with a dry or oily condition. Common causes include poor blood circulation to the scalp, poor diet, improper hygiene, excessive use of styling products, dry indoor air, tight fitting hats, or infection. Generally, dandruff is a natural condition and normally cannot be eliminated. Dandruff can be controlled by using a dandruff shampoo and correcting the conditions above that promote dandruff. Long-term neglect of Dandruff can cause baldness. Below are two common forms of Dandruff. Be careful using Dandruff Shampoos containing Zinc Pyrithione. Shampoos containing this chemical are not intended for daily use and should be used about 2 times per week, alternated with a good Moisturizing Shampoo. We like Redken Brews Dandruff Shampoo for dandruff control.
Dry Dandruff (Pityriasis Capitis)
Treatment for dry dandruff includes use of special medicated shampoos, daily use of antiseptic lotions (such as Sea Breeze) and scalp massage while shampooing. Persistent or severe dandruff should always be treated by a dermatologist.
Greasy Dandruff (Pityriasis Steatoides)
Greasy or Waxy Dandruff can be a serious condition and should be treated by a dermatologist. Some mens scalp care tips are better left to a medical professional.
Head lice is one of the most common communicable disorders among children (and sometimes adults). Lice are small parasites that live in the hair and feed off the scalp. Shared use of brushes, hats, and other hair items are common causes of the spread of lice. Contrary to popular opinion, lice cannot be caught from animals. Lice only live on people. Symptoms include: persistent itching and the presence of actual lice and grayish “nits.” You can check for head lice by parting the hair and looking at sections of hair and scalp. This should be done in very bright light. Since lice is communicable, be sure to check everyone in the family and alert your school or daycare, so they may control the spread of the problem. There are special shampoos available to eliminate lice, but other steps must be taken. Brushes or combs should be soaked in lice shampoo for at least an hour (or thrown away). Wash all linens and vacuum carpets. Lice are tenacious creatures that can live off the body for up to 48 hours, so it is important to disinfect clothing, bedclothes and furniture as well as treat the hair. Do not discontinue treatment until eggs and lice are completely gone. Avoid contact with others while infected and never attempt to get a haircut while infected. Many make the incorrect assumption that a quick buzzcut will eliminate the problem. It will not. Many states require barbers and stylists to stop the service immediately if lice are detected. Finally, although lice is quite often eliminated by the use of “over the counter” products (such as RID Shampoo), you should seek the advice of a dermatologist if possible.
These appear as small bumps, most often on the face scalp. Poor shaving and cleansing of the skin can cause the hair to curl over within the follicle instead of exiting the skin. Ingrown hairs are prevented by proper cleansing of the skin and proper shaving techniques. Persistent problems with ingrown hairs should be treated under the advice of a dermatologist.
This is an inflammatory skin disease which commonly appears on the knees, elbows, and scalp. The cause of Psoriasis is unknown and it is not contagious. The lesions are round, dry patches covered with coarse, silvery scales. Psoriasis can be a difficult problem and should be treated by a dermatologist. Some of our clients have found great success by using the horribly named MG217 Psoriasis Medicated Conditioning Coal Tar Formula Shampoo.
Highly common among African American men, razor bumps occur when curly hair is cut close and growns back into the skin. The best treatement for razor bumps is to let the beard grow out and shave less. Proper shaving techniques can also prevent razor bumps. For more on shaving, check out our shaving section of this website.
A hot, red irritation of the skin caused by poor shaving techniques (most often excessive shaving and poor blade lubrication).